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Publisher's Summary

The winner of multiple Hugo Awards, Charles Stross is one of the most highly regarded science fiction writers of his time. In The Apocalypse Codex, occasionally hapless British agent Bob Howard tackles a case involving an American televangelist and a supernatural threat of global proportions.

©2012 Charles Stross (P)2012 Recorded Books

Critic Reviews

“Stross gives readers a British superspy with a long-term girlfriend, no fashion sense, and an aversion to martinis.” ( San Francisco Chronicle)

What members say

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Advanced computational demonology

Any book that actually contains the phrase that titles this review deserves to be read. This book is, by the way, the sequel to "The Atrocity Archives," and that book must be read before this one, so if you haven't read that one, stop reading now to avoid possible spoilers and go get the first book.

Stross, normally known for his very hard science fiction, has decided to reboot Lovecraft's view of our universe as a place that horrible monsters from other worlds/dimensions/universes are just waiting to invade for all sorts of terrifying reasons. And the keys to such invasion are certain kinds of advanced mathematical routines that, if run or activated or invoked by either a person or the right kind of electronics, will open the doors to these other universes and let the monsters in. All of those intelligence agencies like the CIA and MI6 are really just covers for the true bulwarks against these monsters -- agents who understand this threat and use a combination of technology and intuitive mathematics ("magic") to fight the good fight. It's all great fun, has a strong tongue in cheek element, and is built around a strong story with lots of interesting plot twists and clever surprises. One warning: Stross takes a particularly hostile view of certain flavors of Christianity here, so if you find such attitudes off-putting, you probably won't enjoy this. Gideon Emery does a really solid job with the narration.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Still great, though a bit of the magic has faded

I am a big fan of the Laundry series, and this book is still excellent, but, as the series moves on, it has matured, by necessity, in ways both good and bad. In general, much like the Harry Dresden series, as the series has developed, it has become less lighthearted, losing the parody and many of the pop-nerd-culture references in favor of more spy- and Love-craft. The characters are now quite well developed, but that leaves less room for the cartoonish bad guys and bizarre plots that made the early books amusing. On the other hand, it means that the stakes feel more real, the plot more grounded in previous novels, and the action more engaging.

This trend is not the reason why I have slightly mixed feeling about the book (though I still strongly recommend it to anyone who has read the series so far). First off, the plot in this particular book is, in some ways, a little less inventive then Stross often is capable of - you are introduced almost immediately to an evangelical church leader with clearly ominous intent, which is a bit of an easy target. There are twists and turns, but perhaps the revelations are more expected in this novel then previous ones.

The second issue is that, as the series has gone on, the main character has shifted from regular schlub to a hero on a larger stage. This is fine, but, as the protagonist moves up the ranks, and as more of the secrets of the Laundry universe are revealed, it removes a little of the overarching cosmic horror that made the series some interesting. Again, this is natural for any ongoing series, but it, plus the slightly less surprising plot, makes the book Really Good rather than Amazing.

On the other hand, the reading is insanely good - many accents, from cosmic horrors to royalty, are covered beautifully. Overall, a really good choice, though this is clearly not where new readers should start.

17 of 23 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Another nice entry in the series

Any additional comments?

3.5 stars. Again, more of the same in a good way - mixture of nerd references, James Bond action, and Lovecraftian horrors Which is to say, all in a day's work for Bob Howard.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Bryan
  • Monument, CO, United States
  • 04-02-13

A Rather Listless Laundry Episode

Most people now know the basic premise behind the Laundry - the super secret British agency that was setup to fight the jibbering horrors that exist in another dimension. This episode finds Bob Howard sent on a mission to Colorado to supervise two field agents who are investigating a charismatic evangelical preacher who has suddenly become a friend of the British Prime Minister. Of course, the Christian preacher is really a worshiper of some alien diety and is putting mind-controlling bugs inside the bodes of his minions. After a rather straightforward mission Bob and his friends foil the evil one and end up isolating the preacher on another world with his possibly awakened deity.

As always with Charles Stross, lots and lots of denigration of Christianity and Americans. Just what kind of culture produces someone who would call a minister a "God botherer"?

Of interest to me, most of the action is set in Colorado. The village of Palmer Lake is where the evil Christians setup their compound, and I live 3 miles from there. Either Mr. Stross has actually visited Colorado, or his research is pretty accurate. There actually is a New Life church in Colorado Springs with associated World Prayer Center. Of course, they are not actually secret demon worshipers, their leaders are not trying to dominate the world, and they are simply living their lives according to their chosen faith, but its part of the setup for the whole Laundry series.

As for the story, it never really felt like Bob was ever in any real danger and the conclusion was obvious almost from the beginning. Let's hope that Mr. Stross goes back to concentrating on an exciting story and stops bashing his favorite strawmen in future stories in this series.

The one excellent part of this audio book is Gideon Emery's narration. It was outstanding and really kept me listening.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Mr. Howard comes into his own!

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

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.

What did you like best about this story?

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.

What does Gideon Emery bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

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.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • DJ
  • 05-16-18

God Game Black!

C Stross has a very fluid and effective manner of writing. His stories, in the first person narrative always gives a dynamic perspective. His characters are richly developed. His mixing of humor, occult and magic, with many pokes at the stiff upper lips of British management always make me smile. I can see many comparisons with my work place environments.
Emery, who narrates the stories adds a rich warm underlining to the story. His story telling evokes the many moods of the characters. He has a nun limited range. Each of his characters is consistent across all of Stross’s books. Only one of the books, written from Mo’s perspective is in a female voice.
Overall these are easy reads/listens. Entertaining thought provoking and just plain fun. Can you tell I liked them?😁

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Something missing

It felt like something was missing from this book especially near the end. It got pretty confusing about what was going on and I felt disappointed.

Overall the book started pretty cool but then went nowhere. It’s nowhere near as good as the first few books in the series.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • ton
  • london england
  • 08-11-17

dont read if your into evangelical worship

Where does The Apocalypse Codex rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

it is about average in the series

Who was your favorite character and why?

bob, angleton and mo are out of the picture most of the time

Which character – as performed by Gideon Emery – was your favorite?

bob,

If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

nailed to the cross

Any additional comments?

there is a lot still unsure about the black chamber,

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

OK, but limited replays for me

I enjoy parts of the book, but not the new characters or the (in my opinion) excessively gross/perverse villains.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Not my favorite book from the series

I don't love the religious theme, it's my least favorite from the series so far. That said, it's still a very good book.