The Hugo Award-winning author of The Delirium Brief reveals the secrets of The Laundry Files in an adventure of Lovecraftian horror and espionage hi-jinks...
As a newly appointed junior manager within the Laundry—the clandestine organization responsible for protecting Britain against supernatural threats—Bob Howard is expected to show some initiative to help the agency battle the forces of darkness. But shining a light on what’s best left in the shadows is the last thing Bob wants to do—especially when those shadows hide an occult parasite spreading a deadly virus.
Traders employed by a merchant bank in London are showing signs of infection—an array of unusual symptoms such as super-strength and -speed, an uncanny talent for mind control, an extreme allergic reaction to sunlight, and an unquenchable thirst for blood. While his department is tangled up in bureaucratic red tape (and Buffy reruns) debating how to stop the rash of vampirism, Bob digs deeper into the bank’s history—only to uncover a blood-curdling conspiracy between men and monsters...
Hugo winner Stross continues his Laundry Files series (The Apocalypse Codex) with another entertaining but occasionally repetitive tale of a British government agency fighting the supernatural. Some British investment bankers have accidentally stumbled on a formula that turns them into vampires, and they quickly apply their talents and learn how deadly they can be. Bob Howard, tech geek and occasional spy for the Laundry, gets caught up in an investigation that soon starts to have implications for the safety of the world and the future of Bob's relationship with his wife, Mo. When one of the vamps, Mhari, turns out to be an ex-Laundry agent herself, things get even more convoluted and dangerous. Stross stumbles a bit at times by this point in the series, the multipage jokes about British bureaucracy complicating things have gotten tired but generally offers a meaty story. As the stakes get really serious, fans of the series will be particularly concerned about the fates of some favorite characters.
The stars are crowding in.
Time in Bob Howard's universe is ticking away. It's not all hearts and flowers, but still a good read. I did find myself flipping numerous pages of explanatory text I didn't need (because I started early with The Atrocity Archives).
Stross writes these tales as free-standing stories which is a plus for new converts, but (as discussed by other reviewers) the explanatory text gets tedious if you've been reading them as they come out over the last decade. I just used the NEXT button a lot faster in places.
This book could be 2/3 it's current size. No easy answer, but still glad to give Charlie my $$.
The Fifth Laundry Files Novel is Bloody Good!
“The Rhesus Chart” is the fifth full novel in the Laundry Files Series. In these books, Charles Stross takes us into the world of the UK’s secret government agency which protects its citizens from supernatural horrors from the darker parts of the multiverse.
The protagonist of this novel is Bob Howard, former computer nerd, who has taken up the practice of computational demonology. In short, he’s becoming a accomplished necromancer. He’s also having to deal with all the red tape that being a junior manager in a civil service organization entails. He’s just started a research project into what should be a exceedingly rare neurological syndrome, when he discovers there’s a cluster of cases that just appeared in London. This leads him to the cause, which is impossible. It’s impossible because everyone clearly knows there are no such things as vampires.
The story of the Laundry and its staff are rife with dry dark humor that is characteristic of this series. It’s interesting to watch Bob grow as a character, but there is generally a terrible price to be paid as he becomes more powerful and proficient. In spite of all the darkness, Bob tries to do the best he can for those he deals with, even his crazy ex-girlfriend. Or the stray cat that decides to adopt him...