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Merchandise ::  The Gun Seller — A spy novel by Hugh Laurie

The Gun Seller
Available in North America
Gun Seller
Or Available in Britain
The following review is from "Bookslut" ("a monthly web magazine and daily blog dedicated to those who love to read")
"Mystery Strumpet" article by Clayton Moore: October 2005 "True Brit"

"...I continue to flog Hugh Laurie’s The Gun Seller to readers like a fishmonger at market. It’s not like Hugh needs the money anymore, having somehow managed to sneak in to some sort of medical television program called House, but I still think his sole novel is worthy of more attention.

"It never should have been published in the first place. Laurie, who came to enormous fame in the UK through his collaborations with fellow novelist Stephen Fry and in the television series Blackadder, submitted his very funny book under a pseudonym and only revealed himself as its author after it was already under contract to be published. Later, Laurie told a London audience that there would never be an American edition because, well, Americans can’t take a joke. Fortunately, he was mistaken about its appeal and it’s still possible to find copies here and there.

"Nominally a spy novel, the book stars Thomas Lang, a tall, clever, motorcycle-obsessed spy for hire who points his oddball sense of humor at a conspiracy involving international terrorists and arms smugglers. As the book opens, Lang is mulling over the finer points of arm breaking.

"Well, exactly. Of course. The right thing to do, the only thing to do, is to get it over with as quickly as possible. Break the arm, ply the brandy, be a good citizen. There can be no other answer.
Unless unless unless.
What if you were to hate the person on the other end of the arm? I mean really, really hate them?
This was a thing I had to consider.
I say now, meaning then, meaning the moment I am describing; the moment fractionally, oh so bloody fractionally, before my wrist reached the back of my neck and my left humerus broke into at least two, very possibly more, floppily joined-together pieces.
The arm we’ve been discussing, you see, is mine."

"The Gun Seller is as good as comic novels get. Lang’s voice is original and Laurie’s comic timing combined with the good old gee-whiz technology and over-the-top James Bond action sequences make for a very satisfying read. My only complaint is that House is a hit, keeping Laurie from his rightful destiny of writing books for me to read on the Eurostar."

The Gun Seller
Available in North America
Or Available in Britain
The following review is from

"British actor and comedian Hugh Laurie's first book is a spot-on spy spoof about hapless ex-soldier Thomas Lang, who is drawn unwittingly and unwillingly into the center of a dangerous James Bond-like plot of international terrorists, arms dealing, high-tech weapons, and CIA spooks. You may recall having seen Laurie in the English television series Jeeves and Wooster; Laurie played Bertie Wooster, the clutzy hero of the P.G. Wodehouse comic novels that originated those characters. The lineage from Wodehouse's Wooster to Laurie's Lang is clear, and, if you like Wodehouse, you'll probably love The Gun Seller. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

The following review is from From School Library Journal, reprinted by

"A delightful first novel by the British actor, comedian, and author of the television series "A Bit of Fry and Laurie." In this spoof (of sorts) of the spy genre, Laurie's appealing turns of phrase will grab readers from the first paragraph. Thomas Lang, formerly of the Scots Guard and currently a freelance bodyguard/man for hire, is offered an assassination job. He indignantly refuses, attempts to warn the victim, and is soon embroiled in undercover work for the British government, CIA operatives, arms dealers, and terrorists. Those who enjoy action or spy novels will be swept along in the events. Although somewhat convoluted, the plot is so punctuated with bursts of sly humor that readers won't mind a bit of confusion. The author pokes gentle, good-natured fun at the foibles and characteristics of British and Americans alike, as well as his hero, bureaucrats, terrorists, diplomats, and just about everyone else. In a tone reminiscent of Lawrence Sanders's "McNally" series (Putnam), the light, frothy humor is infectious. A quick read, with an engaging, capable hero and lots of plot twists, for YAs looking for something pleasantly different. Carol DeAngelo, formerly at Fairfax County Public Library, VA
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

The following review is from From Library Journal, reprinted by

"Thomas Lang is not exactly James Bond. He has military training and has done some bodyguard work, but on the whole he doesn't care to work too hard. When he is offered a contract on the life of a wealthy London businessman, not only does he turn down the offer, but he attempts to warn the "target" of his danger. This embroils him in a wild plot involving a notorious arms dealer, renegade CIA bigwigs, and a prototype for a military helicopter. There is mystery, intrigue, sex, and violence, all of which Lang tosses off with sarcastic wit and remarkable poise. Laurie's humor hits home. Although the subject is serious, even plausible, much of this comedy-thriller is laugh-out-loud funny and very readable. Highly recommended....    Joanna M. Burkhardt, Univ of Rhode Island Coll. of Continuing Education Lib., Providence
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

The following review is from From Booklist, reprinted by

"Occasionally, the publisher's hype gets it right, and this is such an occasion. British actor Hugh Laurie's writing debut is a skillful mix of Bertie Wooster and James Bond. Laurie's hero, Thomas Lang, once an officer in the Scots Guards, is now an amiable underachiever. He's also a decent chap, so when he is offered a contract to assassinate an American industrialist, he goes to the American's London home to warn him of the danger. In short order, he's in trouble with British intelligence, rogue CIA crazies, and international arms merchants and is forced to infiltrate a small terrorist cell to protect the American's gorgeous daughter. Thomas is alternately feckless and heroic and always arch, puckish, or ironic. Author Laurie employs a glibly discursive Wodehousian style that works as a charming counterpoint to the moments of Bondian derring-do. The Gun Seller is a thoroughgoing pleasure from beginning to end, and Laurie, who has a series of movie roles all lined up after his work in the remake of 101 Dalmations, is a very talented writer." Thomas Gaughan --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

The following review is from From Kirkus Reviews, reprinted by

"It's no surprise that this fey first novel from British TV comedian/writer Laurie (Jeeves and Wooster, etc.) should feature an updated Bertie Wooster pitched headlong into international intrigue, terrorism, and really embarrassing scrapes. Thomas Lang's an inoffensive sort who hasn't done much since mustering out of the Scots Guards. One day, apropos of nothing in particular, a Canadian arms-dealer offers him $100,000 to assassinate industrialist Alexander Woolf. Not wanting either the money or the opprobrium of having kept quiet about it, Thomas hies himself to Woolf's house, where he finds--not Woolf, but a minder who tries to break his arm, and Woolf's well-armed daughter Sarah, who could easily break his heart. Worse, after Thomas is taken in and questioned minutely, yet ineffectually, by the Ministry of Defense, he realizes that the Canadian power broker who set him up was none other than Woolf himself. It's only the first act in a farcical series of adventures that will have Thomas changing his name and cover story more often than most readers change their bedclothes, as he careens from the American Embassy in London to a terrorist cell in Switzerland to a climactic bit of derring-do with a killer helicopter over Casablanca, playing by turns Sarah's solicitous protector, Woolf's avenger, and a Minnesota adjunct terrorist who has to prove his loyalty to The Sword of Justice by killing a Dutch finance minister. Throughout all this balderdash--as Thomas goes through all of James Bond's paces (unarmed combat, ritualistic double-crosses, soft-focus sex with Third World terrorists)--the jokes are reliably funny; but since the premise and its development are nowhere more outrageous than in straight-faced examples of the genre, the japery eventually grows monotonous. Still, every episode is awash with giggles, even if the whole production seems directed at audiences who think Get Smart would have worked better as a six-hour BBC series. -- Copyright 1997, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

The following review is from From Midwest Book Review, reprinted by

"When Thomas Lang is offered a contract to murder a wealthy businessman he politely declines. He goes to warn the target, is attacked by a tough already on the premises and defends himself. When the most beautiful girl he's ever seen appears, he tells her a series of lies -- and finds himself caught up in international intrigue, spying, violence, murder. . . and love. The Gun Seller is a witty departure from the classical spy novel, blending thrills and laughs in perfect proportions. Be warned!. The Gun Seller is easy to pick up, but hard to put down!" --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


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