The Nightmare Stacks : The Laundry Files

  • by Charles Stross
  • Narrated by Gideon Emery
  • Series: The Laundry Files
  • 14 hrs and 53 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

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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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

The magic is back and then some!

The last three Laundry novels have been very uneven, as Stross seems to have run out of steam with his increasingly damaged, increasingly powerful main characters. What was once a series that managed to, oddly, combine real humor with spycraft and supernatural horror had become a slog rather than a delight. I barely got through the last book.

All of that changes with the Nightmare Stacks. By switching to a new character who is essentially a relaunch of Bob, his original protagonist, Stross escapes the problems that dogged the previous books. Once again, we have geek humor (references to everything from Baldur's Gate to software licensing terms), witty banter, and dark ritual magic. There is even an amazing dinner party scene that is genuinely hilarious.

In addition to recapturing the old magic, two things make this new book stand out. First, Stross has finally let the timeline of his books move forward into Case Nightmare Green territory, as the first inklings of the end of the world reach the population at large. The result is that we are moving from spy novels to war novels - and Stross writes some amazing Tom Clancy-esque miltiary action scenes.

The second thing that makes this book a stand out is that I think it is accessible to new readers. A short Wikipedia recap of the first book is all you likely need to get up to speed. You can certainly skip Book 6 and lose very little.

Overall, this was great - well read as always, and tight and well written. I am happy that one of my favorite series has found its (dark, eldritch) magic again.
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- Ethan M.

Back on Track!

If you could sum up The Nightmare Stacks in three words, what would they be?

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.

What other book might you compare The Nightmare Stacks to and why?

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.

Have you listened to any of Gideon Emery’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

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.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

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.

Any additional comments?

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.

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- Michael

Book Details

  • Release Date: 06-28-2016
  • Publisher: Recorded Books