It’s not like I would ever badmouth Charlie Stross, after all against all expectations he seems to be a friend of mine on GoodReads, but it’s hard to explain just how much I love the ‘Laundry’ series.
As a reader, perhaps more slowly recently, I have read many hundreds of books. I long ago stopped keeping count after devouring dozens to achieve a reading proficiency award as a young child. Sometimes I sympathise with the hero (or more likely, the anti-hero) and to a certain extent I might even identify with them. But with Bob, I feel I have a central character who I’m not only identifying with, but who, except for the fact he is fictional, I could possibly be.
If there’s one area my reading lacks it is horror as a genre. Apart from a smattering of Stephen King and HP Lovecraft, I just haven’t done it. However programming books, statistics books and the occult – well I read a lot of those. The latter when I was younger and fighting my way out of my Catholic indoctrination, the former when I was older and establishing a career. If you actually take the intersection (think hard about just how you draw a four way Venn diagram by the way..) of the above, then what you get is the Laundry series.
Bob is a man on the move, a reluctant employee being dragged up the corporate ladder by people who have marked him for his ability to deliver under pressure. It’s just that the pressure he is exposed to is not that of your normal workplace. When you go to work each day you may relish the challenge, or wish that your job had variety, but it is at least (thankfully) unlikely that you will be set upon by cultist worshippers of dormant gods, reanimated Russian hitmen zombies, or bosses who make your skin crawl and appear to have been around since perhaps the dawn of time itself.
Bob is the at the front line of an engagement which really might well be apocalyptic for the human race, against a newly realised, yet most assuredly ancient enemy. A world where computational power and magical dexterity are inextricably intertwined, and the soldiers battle despite having some certainty about which way the final confrontation is going to go..
The books are written with a hefty dose of humour, Bob is endearingly anti-social and I suspect half the jokes pass me by in a blur of turning pages. There’s one thing having humour thrust in your face, quite another to have it woven neatly and subtly into the narrative, but when I spot them I’m tickled pink.
The Laundry series gets better and better.
Ph’nglui mglw’nafh Cthulhu R’lyeh wgah’nagl fhtagn!
5 stars. Obviously.
Buy Amazon Paperback: The Apocalypse Codex: A Laundry Novel (The Laundry Files)
Buy Amazon Kindle Edition: The Apocalypse Codex: A Laundry Novel (The Laundry Files)