The Amberlough Dossier #1

Lara Elena Donnelly

fiction fantasy lgbtqia+ mystery
adventurous dark mysterious slow-paced

400 pages | first published 2017

Le Carré meets Cabaret in this debut spy thriller as a gay double-agent schemes to protect his smuggler lover during the rise of a fascist government coup

Welcome to Amberlough City, the illustrious but corrupt cosmopolitan beacon of Gedda. The radical One State Party—nicknamed the Ospies—is gaining popular support to unite Gedda's four municipal governments under an ironclad, socially conservative vision.

Not everyone agrees with the Ospies' philosophy, including master spy Cyril DePaul and his lover Aristide Makricosta, smuggler and emcee at the popular Bumble Bee Cabaret. When Cyril's cover is blown on a mission, however, he must become a turncoat in exchange for his life. Returning to Amberlough under the Ospies' watchful eye, Cyril enters a complex game of deception. One of his concerns is safeguarding Aristide, who refuses to let anyone—the crooked city police or the homophobic Ospies—dictate his life.

Enter streetwise Cordelia Lehane, top dancer at the Bee and Aristide’s runner, who could be the key to Cyril’s plans—if she can be trusted. As the twinkling lights of nightclub marquees yield to the rising flames of a fascist revolution, these three will struggle to survive using whatever means—and people—necessary. Including each other.

What the community thinks

summary of 366 ratings (see reviews)

Content warnings

Expand filter menu View warnings


adventurous 83%
dark 66%
mysterious 55%
tense 55%
emotional 44%
challenging 16%
funny 16%
sad 16%
hopeful 5%


medium 44%
fast 44%
slow 11%

Strong character development?

Yes: 58% | It's complicated: 29% | No: 11%

Loveable characters?

It's complicated: 61% | Yes: 33% | No: 5%

Diverse cast of characters?

Yes: 77% | It's complicated: 22%

Flaws of characters centre-stage?

Yes: 94% | It's complicated: 5%

Average rating

Accept and close

By using The StoryGraph, you agree to our use of cookies.
We use a small number of cookies to provide you with a great experience.

Find out more