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Publisher's Summary

Hugo Award-winning author Charles Stross presents the next case in The Laundry Files. Dominique O'Brien - her friends call her Mo - lives a curious double life with her husband, Bob Howard. To the average civilian, they're boring middle-aged civil servants. But within the labyrinthian secret circles of Her Majesty's government, they're operatives working for the nation's occult security service known as the Laundry, charged with defending Britain against dark supernatural forces threatening humanity.
Mo's latest assignment is assisting the police in containing an unusual outbreak: ordinary citizens suddenly imbued with extraordinary abilities of the superpowered kind. Unfortunately these people prefer playing superpranks instead of superheroics. The mayor of London being levitated by a dumpy man in Trafalgar Square would normally be a source of shared amusement for Mo and Bob, but they're currently separated because something's come between them - something evil. An antique violin, an Erich Zann original, made of human white bone, was designed to produce music capable of slaughtering demons. Mo is the custodian of this unholy instrument. It invades her dreams and yearns for the blood of her colleagues - and her husband. And despite Mo's proficiency as a world-class violinist, it cannot be controlled....
©2015 Charles Stross (P)2015 Recorded Books
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Critic Reviews

"A weirdly alluring blend of super-spy thriller, deadpan comic fantasy, and Lovecraftian horror." ( Kirkus Reviews)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
3 out of 5 stars
By Ethan M. on 11-19-15

Falls apart in all the wrong ways

I am a huge Stross, and Laundry, fan, but this is the weakest entry in the series so far. I really appreciate what Stross is trying to do - introduce us to a different viewpoint, make a middle age female character the hero, and start giving us a more well-rounded view of the relationships in the book. Unfortunately, none of it really works as well as I hoped, though the reading is excellent. Mainly this is because the book seems to constantly focus on the least interesting aspects of its plot and characters.

Major things are happening in the Laundry universe, and we are missing them as listeners. For example, if the rest of the series was about hiding the terrible truth of Case Nightmare Green from the world, this book features a sudden switch where everyone is suddenly aware that supernatural stuff is happening, yet we see nothing of the implications of this. As another example, Stross introduces his own twist on superheroes, but then never does anything very interesting with it. Or the fact that the tension between Mo's violin and her love for Bob should be a big issue, but it never really feels motivated. Even the major overarching plot seems mostly to focus on minutiae (like setting up desks in an office), while giant events happen elsewhere.

It was the least satisfying Laundry book, and is a lot grimmer than previous novels. Overall, I think it is probably skippable, though I am still looking forward to the next in the series.

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22 of 22 people found this review helpful

3 out of 5 stars
By A Tye on 11-08-15

A disappointing addition to a great series.

Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

I would not recommend this book to a friend. While a tolerably book in its own right, it is a disappointment when put into the context of the series. It lack the joy and irreverence of the earlier books despite the absurdist plot elements. Beyond that Mo, who had been a likable if not particularly well developed character, takes center stage and becomes both significantly less likeable and less interesting. There are also some of the cringe worth moments due to the author writing from the point of view of a woman and not quite getting it right. I would recommend reading the series but skipping this book.

If you’ve listened to books by Charles Stross before, how does this one compare?

Definitely my least favorite of this series.

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6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
3 out of 5 stars
By Carole on 10-28-15

Not what I expect from Stross

Sadly Stross's female protagonist is less believable than her male counterpart has been in previous Laundry books. There are fewer signature-Stross devices in it although there's a nice little twist towards the end. Even given the background and history of previous books the story itself feels less grounded, so here's hoping the next Laundry book pulls back into Stross's normal great form.

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

1 out of 5 stars
By J. Underwood on 04-05-17

lost in management buzzword bingo hell

This is nowhere near as good as the other laundry books. Strong female characters - always a fan of that, superheroes - always popular, the minutae of setting up a new government organisation...not so much. If you're interested in a drinking game where you take a shot for every overly complicated management phrase that means nothing in real life..then this is the book for you..and prepare yourself for alcohol poisoning!

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By David on 09-28-15

An excellent story made better by outstanding narration

A long time fan of Stross, I find it hard to objectively comment on his work; personally I think he can do very little wrong. Instead, I will simply say that this is, without doubt, one of the best voice-acted audio books I've had the pleasure of enjoying.

Elle Newlands is simply brilliant, and even if you weren't a devoted acolyte of the Temple of Strossian Pleasures, I defy you to not find her performance thoroughly engaging.

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