This is a really good tale. It is engaging and fun and has a nice sci-fi component. It is a Peter F. Hamilton story though so it has (1) Rich Families, (2) Wormholes, (3) Police officers, (4) Murders, (5) High society intrigue (6) anti-aging processes, (7) novel social constructs. Additionally, he includes his standard sci-fi component of wearable computing, omni-present net access and varying degrees of smart-matter.
It's a stand alone tale that, at its core, is a murder mystery. However, the person who committed the murder, the reasons for it, and the what is uncovered by the multiple protagonists is quite fun and enjoyable.
The narration is top rate. Toby Longworth now ranks up there with John Lee, Simon Prebble and Scott Brick as my preferred narrators.
If you like elaborate sci-fi - pick it up. You won't regret it.
First off - there is nothing, NOTHING!, that matches the movie to the book. Even the zombies are fundamentally different.
But, this book was AMAZING. Each chapter is a tale about an nigh-extinction level plague that faced humanity. All across the world, cities nations and towns were faced with the unbelievable. The book takes you through the stages of the first known case of the infection, the various low level outbreaks that were experienced, what happened in the intelligence community concerning the plague all the way to the flat out denial and final acceptance/organization to defeat the infected swarms.
I figured, when downloading this book, that I would get something like what the movie ended up being - a military, end of the world tale with no heart, soul or thought. What ended up happening was I found myself ACTUALLY THINKING about how I would survive a Zombie Apocalypse. There are stories of courage, of horror, of humanity and of truth all throughout this silly book and I was highly impressed.
The cast of narrators is fantastic. Each one was well picked and tell their stories in a way that really captured the soul of their subject.
Bottom line - download this book - you won't be disappointed.
(Note - there is an abridged copy out there too - it is good as well (I have them both). This one, with the complete tale, is better).
Yes and No. If they had listened to (or read) any of the previous Laundry Files books then this is a fantastic addition and I would heartily recommend it. If they hadn't read a prior LF novel then this would be a bad place to start. Read (listen to) The Atrocity Archives first - at the very least.
Mr. Howard is changing and growing as a character and spook. He is no longer just a desk jockey getting a chance at field work or a trusted assistant out and about - he is really getting out there. AND, it helps that the stakes are getting larger.
He has the ability to convey the whole scene in the voice and tonal selections he makes. He has a captivating voice for the primary narrator and does a terrific job with others. His accent and delivery carry just the right amount of amused horror that this series captures so well.
Bob Howard is finally coming into his own as a field agent for the Laundry. He combats both office politics and the unknown horrors in this fantastic addition to the Laundry Files.
The climax - of course. Here is the thing - you can't help but be disgusted by what happens to Bob but at the same time, you realize that there might a lot more that will flow out of the event.
Mr. Emery has done a terrific job with the whole Laundry series. I have begun to track other books that he narrates and will likely get one yet another one in the future.
In general, Mr. Stross has done a terrific job implying the horrors and the nastiness that goes with a lot of the magic in his world without any tactile evidence. In this story, he got a little too far into specifics for my taste - although my sensitivity might be driven by the fact that I have a new-born son myself (I will leave my commentary there to avoid spoilers, but anyone who has read this book will know exactly what I am talking about.)
In general, I have absolutely LOVED the Laundry Files series. It introduced me to H.P. Lovecraft and I have been searching - in vain - for anything in the same genre. Stross does a great job with the writing and I am looking forward to seeing the books take on their own life rather than being a somewhat empty shadow of a different genre (Jennifer Morgue was difficult because it is SO precisely like a Bond book that there was no suspense.)
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