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The Apocalypse Codex (A Laundry Files Novel) Hardcover – July 3, 2012

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Editorial Reviews


“Smart, literate, funny.”—New York Times bestselling author Lev Grossman, Time

“Well written, well reasoned, and thoroughly entertaining. Dig into the Laundry Files—there’s a mad joy inherent to these books that is difficult to find anywhere else.”—The Maine Edge

“A weirdly alluring blend of superspy thriller, deadpan comic fantasy and Lovecraftian horror.”Kirkus Reviews

“A fabulous, out-of-control paranormal espionage horror thriller.”—Genre Go Round Reviews

  --This text refers to the Mass Market Paperback edition.

About the Author

Charles Stross was born in Leeds, England in 1964. He holds degrees in pharmacy and computer science, and has worked in a variety of jobs including pharmacist, technical author, software engineer, and freelance journalist. He is now a full-time writer.


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Product Details

  • Series: A Laundry Files Novel (Book 4)
  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Ace; Book Club Edition edition (July 3, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9781937007461
  • ISBN-13: 978-1937007461
  • ASIN: 1937007464
  • Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 6.2 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (132 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #609,997 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Charles Stross, 50, is a full-time science fiction writer and resident of Edinburgh, Scotland. The author of six Hugo-nominated novels and winner of the 2005, 2010, and 2015 Hugo awards for best novella, Stross's works have been translated into over twelve languages.

Like many writers, Stross has had a variety of careers, occupations, and job-shaped-catastrophes in the past, from pharmacist (he quit after the second police stake-out) to first code monkey on the team of a successful dot-com startup (with brilliant timing he tried to change employer just as the bubble burst).

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Nick Sanders on July 19, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I was not a big fan of the previous novel in The Laundry Files series (The Fuller Memorandum) because I thought it was too dark and grim, and lacked all the wonderful touches of satire and whimsy that Stross normally brings to these stories. I am pleased to report that this latest novel is much less dark (though of course the subject is darkness and the Lovecraftian entities that lay beyond the darkness), and that Stross seems to be back in fine form.

Bob is back with a new mission, to be undertaken only reluctantly and without a full appreciation for what's *REALLY* going on (as usual). This time, he's accompanied by two new "External Assets" who give him an opportunity to practice his recently learned management skills. (The Laundry has finally come to appreciate his true potential, and is grooming him for promotion. Thus, offical training in the arts of management and leadership.) And Bob discovers, through the usual trials (and errors) that he does indeed possess management and leadership skills--as well as other skills that The Laundry appreciates perhaps more than the more traditional bureaucracy of HMG would.

Stross does a great job with plot, creating a credible threat that demands our hero's best efforts (plus a little more). The "External Assets" are great characters, apparently an homage to a comic strip of which I'm only vaguely aware (sorry about that). But even without an appreciation of the characters' relationship to the comic strip, I was still able to care about them and their fates.

If I have a quibble, it's that Bob's wife, Mo, who is an effective and capable agent herself, is not featured in this episode. It's pretty much all about Bob and his two "Assets" -- and Angleton, of course. And the Auditors. And the Black Chamber.
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17 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Steve Proctor on July 5, 2012
Format: Hardcover
In this excellent supernatural technothriller, John Shirley's Demons meets Neal Stephenson's Cryptonomicon. A British programmer turned demonologist works for the top-secret British organization called the Laundry. His superior is an embodied "Soul Eater." It's all the modern state's way of making sure that supernatural conflicts between good and evil don't end up swinging the wrong way. The current conflict? A strange, perhaps demonically involved American televangelist is getting a little too cozy with the Prime Minister. Problem: the PM can't be investigated by the Laundry. So it's necessary to exploit external channels.

So, is it any good? If you like hard-boiled narration, score one point. If you enjoy plots where the integrity of the fabric of the universe is hanging in the balance, score another point. If you enjoy plenty of hinted-at, but never fully-explained technologies that knit together the spiritual-demonic with modern electronics, score yet again. And if you enjoy a constantly unfolding, ever accelerating plot that drives toward a multi-dimensional apocalypse, score another point. And if you enjoy story elements that cause you to wonder if reality is a dim reflection in glass of a far stranger, and more twisted truth... then you really ought to just run out and buy this book.

For reality-bending that is more "literary," including infinite libraries and the end of the world, check out Borges' Labyrinths (New Directions Paperbook). For a scholar's playful word-bending, check out THE Book of Word Games: Parlett's Guide to 150 Great and Quick-to-Learn Word Games.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on July 5, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Another good Laundry novel, better in some ways than its predecessor, in others a bit flatter. The core drawback is, to write good satire or good horror, you have to write from inside the system. Stross was spot-on with bureaucratic IT departments and the Lovecraft and Bond mythos. Here he takes on American evangelism, and it falls a bit flat: Stross' knowledge isn't nearly as immediate, and at core, he clearly lacks the visceral reaction that makes for first rate comedy or horror: the British-atheist condescension pulls its fangs.

That said, there are some deeply creepy moments ("quiverfull," shudder), but the book's strengths are in plot and characterization, which rank this among Stross's best. We're introduced to a new, and new sort of agent, an off-the-books intuitive mage, in contrast to Bob's paperclipped computational demonology, and the contrast is fun. The mythos of the Laundry and the larger paranormal operations community is built out convincingly, as the scope of Bob's actions widens.

And, finally, Stross has figured out how to nail an ending: gone is (most of) the abrupt infodump that severed and packaged complex plotlines. Here we're almost brought in for a smooth landing, explanations are organic and tantalizingly open, and the coda is absolutely hilarious, leaving me wishing I could start the next volume right now.

I just hope that Stross chooses a subject next time out that *he* finds truly horrifying.
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15 of 19 people found the following review helpful By P. G. Wickberg on July 9, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A new Charles Stross Laundry novel is always a cause for celebration, and this one keeps up with its predecessors in quality but diverges from them by introducing a new principal character to accompany Bob Howard, the beautiful adrenalin junkie Duchess Persephone Hazard (undoubtedly a pseudonym of Modesty Blaise) and her stoic companion Johnny MacTavish. Persephone is a fun character, more like something from Marvel Comics than from the dark world of the Laundry, and I suspect we will be seeing more of her in the future. An opening sequence in which the two burgle Schoss Neuschwanstein (from the air, no less) and it is implied that King Ludwig II of Bavaria was mad in more ways than one, is more James Bond than Laundry. Those who enjoy following the chronicle of Bob and his beloved Mo, however, may find the amount of space devoted to two new characters instead of to Bob's doings a bit irritating.

The other factor in this book that may cause some controversy is that the villains who Bob confronts this time are from the ranks of American anti-abortion evangelical megachurches, a group that may get irritable and reach for the nearest lawyer when they are mocked (and for those not familiar with Colorado, yes, the New Life Church of Colorado Springs does indeed exist, and is almost as influential as Stross implies). And Stross leaves some loose ends here (some of which will undoubtedly be unravelled later): what happened to those innocents caught in the final mass "conversion"? Did the bad guy really die? Did the Sleeper in the Pyramid turn him into something else?
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