The Laundry Files' "fast-paced blend of espionage thrills, mundane office comedy and Lovecraftian horror" (SFX) continues as Hugo Award-winning author Charles Stross assigns a day trader to a permanent position on the night shift....
After stumbling upon the algorithm that turned him and his fellow merchant bankers into vampires, Alex Schwartz was drafted by The Laundry, Britain's secret counter-occult agency that's humanity's first line of defense against the forces of darkness. Dependent on his new employers for his continued existence - as Alex has no stomach for predatory bloodsucking - he has little choice but to accept his new role as an operative in training.
Dispatched to Leeds, Alex's first assignment is to help assess the costs of renovating a 1950s Cold War bunker into The Laundry's new headquarters. Unfortunately Leeds is Alex's hometown, and the thought of breaking the news to his parents that he's left banking for civil service, while hiding his undead condition, is causing more anxiety than learning how to live as a vampire secret agent preparing to confront multiple apocalypses.
Alex's only saving grace is Cassie Brewer, a drama student appearing in the local Goth Festival who is inexplicably attracted to him despite his awkward personality and massive amounts of sunblock.
But Cassie has secrets of her own - secrets that make Alex's nightlife behaviors seem positively normal....
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The magic is back and then some!
- Ethan M.
Back on Track!
Action-packed, hilarious, and just plain fun. After the (not unenjoyable, just different) detour that was The Annihilation Score, Stross has come back to what makes this series so enjoyable. Alex really comes into his own in this novel after the introduction he had in The Rhesus Chart, and though you might think coming into this that you will be lamenting Bob's absence in this and the previous book, that is not the case at all.
This is a tough question, as I know there are several candidates floating around my head, I just can't put a name to them right now save for books I've read recently. Certain books of the Dresden series come to mind, because of how the endgame of the novel plays out. In that regard this book is also similar to the first entry in Stephen Moss' Fear saga.
Emery has narrated most of the books in the series, with the exception of The Annihilation Score which has Mo as the viewpoint character. He's back to do Alex, and does an outstanding job. Like there was ever any doubt.
Stross has a penchant for expertly blending geek humour and sardonic irony with this series, and that's back in full force as Alex is basically a younger version of Bob in this novel (and the inherent stereotypes of his character are exploited mercilessly with hilarious results on more than one occasion). I should also mention that, as with the previous entry, the CASE NIGHTMARE scenario takes center stage (with a twist) which Stross unravels marvelously.
I hesitate to call this a return to form, as there was nothing really wrong with the previous novel, it just wasn't what I was expecting. For all intents and purposes, this book mirrors the earlier entries in the series, and is a joy to experience.