The Irregular: A Different Class of Spy: (The Irregular Book 1)

‘Irresistible’ Guardian

‘Impressive’ Daily Mail
‘Captivating’ Mick Herron
Nominated for the 2018 Best First Novel, Barry Award


London 1909

Captain Kell of the War Office knows the Empire is under threat – from Russia and Germany, from terrorists and anarchists, spies and infiltrators.

But he can’t prove it to his superiors. He needs an agent he can trust, someone who knows the street, not the playing fields of Eton.

Kell needs Wiggins. Trained as a child by Kell’s old friend Sherlock Holmes, who used to call his little band of urchins the Baker Street Irregulars, Wiggins is now an ex soldier with an expert line in deduction and the cunning of a bare-knuckle fighter.

But he has no wish to be recruited – until he sees a route to taking his sworn revenge on the killer of his best friend.


HB Lyle (Ben) worked in the film industry for many years, first at the Film Council, then Fine Line Features in acquisitions and for a long time in development at Working Title Films. He’s worked on such films as Darkest Hour, Everest, I Give it a Year, and Tinker, Tailor, Soldier Spy. After completing his MA in creative writing (prose) at UEA, he was funded to conduct and complete a PhD study into the culture and practices of screenplay development in the UK.

Ben’s short, HELP, was directed by Leslie Manning and produced by Annalise Davis and was screened at more than 50 festivals worldwide. He’s represented for his screenwriting by Nick Marston at Curtis Brown and currently has original script projects in development with Wilder Films and Lionsgate UK and his publishing rights are represented by Jemima Hunt at The Writers Practice. Spy Hunter (out November 2023) is the fourth novel in The Irregular series, all published by Hodder and Stoughton in the UK and Mobius in the US. The Irregular was nominated for the Barry Award, as well as making the Daily Telegraph’s books of the year 2017.

The Red Ribbon and The Year of the Gun were both books of the year in the Financial Times.