The Annihilation Score : The Laundry Files

  • by Charles Stross
  • Narrated by Elle Newlands
  • Series: The Laundry Files
  • 16 hrs and 22 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

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....


What the Critics Say

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


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

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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- Ethan M. "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"


I'm a big fan of Stross and the Laundry Files books but I found this one frustrating and boring. First of all Bob is basically gone and the novel is told from his wife Mo's perspective. She's neither very insightful, empathic, or interesting. Following her starting a new governmental office in a vast bureaucracy is as thrilling as it sounds even if it is to start a superhero office. Which also feels like a break with the Laundry Files mythos and not a welcome one. There's plenty of superhero stories out there and this doesn't need to be one of them.

I'm afraid that Stross might be traveling down a similar path to what happened in the Clan Corporate books. The first books were great and had very interesting ideas and then devolved to schlocky thrillers near the end. If he's bored writing in the world and characters of the Laundry I wish he'd leave it be and move on.

I'd suggest you leave this one be.
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- D. Johnson "LEEEMUUUR"

Book Details

  • Release Date: 09-09-2015
  • Publisher: Recorded Books