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 things 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 superstrength 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 bloodcurdling conspiracy between men and monsters.…
©2014 Charles Stross (P)2014 Recorded Books
On Audible since the late 1990s, mostly science fiction, fantasy, history & science. I rarely review 1-2 star books that I can't get through
The last Laundry novel was a bit disappointing - eschewing much of the office politics and humor and instead telling a straight-forward story where Bob Howard, IT guy/secret occult agent, has to defeat a church of (surprise!) evil evangelicals, an obvious target. At first, The Rhesus Chart looks like it is going to be the same, as we are quickly introduced to a nest of vampire high frequency traders with an scene-chewing bad guy at the helm.
However, just as a resign myself to the cliche, the plot twists, and thickens, in interesting and unexpected ways. Plot elements that seemed clumsy and obvious turn out to be cleverly re-purposed, and the whole book, while retaining the macabre, becomes a lot more fun. Helping this is a return to the sharp humor and office politics of earlier books, with a mix of LOTS of amusing geek references along with some fairly clever lines.
And, of course, the reader is amazing.
There are only a couple downsides, one of which is that the coming of Case Nightmare Green is again not deferred (clearly many more novels are ahead!), and that the story is a little flabby in the middle, slowing down a bit more than needed before speeding towards its conclusion.
So, if you are reading the Laundry novels, this is a must-buy. If you haven't, you really should (though you could skip the last one). I am really happy the magic is back in this excellent series!
Gideon Emery's performance is a major component of the book and it is a bit hard to imagine the book being quite as enjoyable on paper without him.
The book is among the funniest of the Laundry Files series, and very well plotted. For a funny book, however, the ending is surprisingly affecting, deep, and serious. In the best possible way, I mean.
Every time Mr. Emery pronounces the name "Angleton" I can't suppress a smile. He is the perfect reader for this series.
I wouldn't recommend starting the series with this book, but it is probably my favorite so far. The comedy is refined and funny, but the ending kicks like a mule and left me in a kind of stunned silence for a good half hour. The ending was earned with every word on the way out though...and I appreciate a surprise that after a bit of thought doesn't seem like a surprise.
The previous one, Apocalypse Codex was, mmm, not my favourite ever. This returns the laundry files series to form with that Stross-classic mix of zeitgeisty parody and gripping plot. Really nice high-frequency-trading-meets-nsa-meets-management-jargon mashup. He loses grip a little on the climax, but only a little. Worth it.
Yes, I can understand why some people said they didn't like it as much as the first one, and so on. But it's still a good yarn. And Gideon Emery is great. Sounds more like it IS Bob Howard, rather than a narrator. I used to be a science fiction fiend when I was young. These days, I have great difficulty finding a worthwhile story and am considering just giving up on the genre. From that disappointed background, I have enjoyed this series, and hope there will be more.
Avid audiobook addict!
The dry British sense of humour in this book, in a modern up-to-date context is a lot of fun!
Charles Stross is one of my favorite authors and this book as read by Gideon Emery showcases what is great about this series... wonderful satire, great wordplay, a fast paced pot and richly described characters both familiar and strange - bureaucrats and bankers, hackers and vicars, sorcerers and vampires, zomies and soul eaters, a violin that kills demons and a cat called Spooky.
This was just as good as the first book. I love how the characters keep developing and I really love how the plot line twists even deeper into itself. If you liked the last few books in the series - this one will not disappoint. The meshing of technology and magic is ever-present and Bob of course is seriously conflicted and as always refuses to confront his feelings until the very finale. Definitely a good read/listen. I'm not going to tell you anything else - go listen to it or I'll sick Moe's violin on you.
I love this writer, he brings a touch of humor and great characters then weaves a blood curdling plot around them that is creepy, very detailed and realistic, that leaves you with the heebie jeebies at the end. This is his best laundry files book, in my opinion. I replayed the last two hours as soon as I finished, a first for me. Ingenious, funny, horrifying. He's created his own genre. Brilliant.
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Another laundry file story that keeps going from start to finish with twist & turns.
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