Computational demonologist Bob Howard catches up on filing in the Laundry archives when the top secret Fuller Memorandum vanishes - and his boss, suspected of stealing the file. Bob faces Russian agents, ancient demons, a maniacal death cult, and finding the missing memorandum before the world disappears next.
***2018 Summer of Spies***
3.5 stars—the best one of the Laundry Files that I’ve read so far.
Perhaps because we’re into historical references that I’ve actually lived through. Younger folk may roll their eyes at all the Cold War references in this volume the way I rolled mine during all the WWII/Nazi references in the first book of the series.
There’s much less computer jargon in this third novel, for which I was thankful. Bob may be a computation demonologist, but he talks more like a regular guy here. There was also a section in the first few pages of the story about “Losing my Religion,” which in Bob’s case means that he must give up his comfortable atheism because of his current knowledge of the eldritch gods who could easily wipe out humanity if their attention was drawn our way. Much more philosophical that you would normally expect from such a fantasy tale.
The series does contain a lot of amusing pop culture references. Bob’s coworkers, Pinky & Brains, show up again in this installment and although Brains is not trying to take over the world, he does take over Bob’s new phone to install beta software that prevents Bob from returning the phone. Bob & Mo also name the phone—the NecronomiPod. Highly appropriate for a series that references Lovecraft in many fond ways. Not to mention Bob’s reading material while on the train, which he describes as “a novel about a private magician for hire in Chicago,” which would seem to me to be Harry Dresden! Plus Bob’s kidnappers at one point ask, “What has it got it its pocketses?” (along with 2-3 “my Precious” occurrences). Stross’ geek cred is maintained with these details.
At least in this installment we learn the significance of paper clips, which perhaps explains the zeal of the Auditors in questioning the Laundry employees regarding their inventories of those office supplies. (It’s not all just the Pointy Haired Bosses trying to make their employees’ lives miserable).
The author (unsurprisingly a former computer programmer) manages to continue to combine elements of James Bond, Lovecraft, and Dilbert successfully to create a funny and readable sci-fi series. The Laundry—successfully defending humanity against the NIAs (Nightmarish Immortal Aliens).