'A thrilling story of espionage, murder and the creation of the Secret Service' Charles Cumming, author of A Colder War'A flavoursome smorgasbord that features not only Holmes but also Winston Churchill, this is irresistible stuff' GuardianAs a boy, he spied for Sherlock Holmes. As a man, he must save the Empire.London 1909: The British Empire seems invulnerable. But Captain Vernon Kell, head of counter-intelligence at the War Office, knows better. In Russia, revolution; in Germany, an arms race; in London, the streets are alive with foreign terrorists. Kell wants to set up a Secret Service, but to convince his political masters he needs proof of a threat - and to find that, he needs an agent he can trust. The playing fields of Eton may produce good officers, but not men who can work undercover in a munitions factory that appears to be leaking secrets to the Germans.Kell needs Wiggins. Trained as a child by Kell's old friend Sherlock Holmes - he led a gang of urchin investigators known as the Baker Street Irregulars - Wiggins is an ex-soldier with an expert line in deduction and the cunning of a born street fighter. 'The best', says Holmes.Wiggins turns down the job - he 'don't do official'. But when his best friend is killed by Russian anarchists, Wiggins sees that the role of secret agent could take him towards his sworn revenge.Tracking the Russian gang, Wiggins meets a mysterious beauty called Bela, who saves his life. Working for Kell, he begins to unravel a conspiracy that reaches far beyond the munitions factory.Fast-paced, action-packed, full of twists and violent, sometimes poignant shocks, The Irregular: A Different Class of Spy marks the arrival of a brilliant new writer.