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The Apocalypse Codex (A Laundry Files Novel) Hardcover – July 3, 2012
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Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
and now for the down-side...
The first books in the series relied on a nearly endless string of inside references from the IT community and popular horror lore... not to mention the descriptions of government bureacracy that often left me in tears from laughing and my neck sore from nodding in agreement with his dead-on (no pun intended) characterizations of governmental idiocy.
However... those obscure references were always explained in due time through the course of each book... and even the EXTREMELY idiosyncratic "Brit-speak" was normally cleared up via the characters actions. Mr. Stross would throw a phrase or reference at you and you could then look forward to finding out "what he meant by that" later in the book... and THAT was one of the great things about the series!
But... that endearing trait seems to have taken over his writing style and festered into something that is now starting to alienate all but the most rabid and fanatical readers (which I considered myself to be until this last book). It has gotten to the point that his characters are now often nearly unintelligable to even fairly "hip" readers who know many of the "in" jokes and British cultural references.
I have little doubt that this approach seems like a natural progression for Mr. Stross and his editors... "Hey, if the fans say that they like that about the series, let's give them even MORE of it... right?Read more ›
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.
It felt a little weird reading this book while on a plane heading to Denver. Errr, would you mind dropping me off here?
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I liked this series but I started to grow tired of it after a while. I did slog through until the end though. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Dan Johnson
Even when this book is easily the worst in the series, it is still a great book.
If you have been following my reviews on this series, you know I prefer the times when... Read more
This is the fourth book in the Laundry Files and following the authors previous trend, each novel reflects a different style of spy thriller. Read morePublished 4 months ago by JWatts
The author weaves the occult, mythology, theology with computer science to produce a juggernaut finish. Read morePublished 7 months ago by Dr. B
Another fun addition to the Laundry series. We get to follow Bob as he takes the next (unwitting) step up what passes for a promotion ladder at the Laundry, with a lot of sinister... Read morePublished 10 months ago by B. Moret
One of my favorite authors. His blend of humor, fear, action and personality are super entertaining. Read morePublished 11 months ago by E. Nephew
While I still love this series, this one felt like something was missing. When I finished it, I didn't have that overwhelming sense of satisfaction that I had with the first three. Read morePublished 11 months ago by DED
The Laundry novels are a series of engaging riffs on the various espionage genres of the 20th century, when they collide with the Chthulu mythos. Read morePublished 12 months ago by Graeme Buckley