On My Shelves: The Apocalypse Codex

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Bob Howard, former network admin, now applied computational demonologist and sometime field agent for the it-doesn't-exist agency called the Laundry, has managed to survive the nearly soul-shattering events of The Fuller Memorandum, which puts him directly in line for something more terrifying: promotion, possibly into even having responsibility for other people.

Unfortunately, as with many things Laundry-related, promotion is an offer you can't refuse – at least, not safely. And with CASE NIGHTMARE GREEN (more colloquially known as "When The Stars Are Right") approaching – or maybe starting – the Laundry needs more and more people in its higher brackets who are competent, quick-thinking, and, in honesty, lucky.

What Bob doesn't know (yet) is that the Laundry's known all along that operating like a typical bureaucracy has its weaknesses, and so to avoid this, they have also created an even more black-ops division: External Assets, answering only to the half-legendary group that RUNS the Laundry, referred to by the name "Mahogany Row".

Bob's life is about to get even more complicated… and dangerous. External Assets has run across a deadly plan to summon Something… using one of the most powerful Fundamentalist sects in the United States!

 

 

     (Spoilers Ahead! If you don't want any – it's a good book, go read it!)

 

 

I admit it; I've always found the televangelist-type people a frightening combination of ridiculous and utterly creepy, something like a monster clown. If that's not Charlie Stross' attitude, he certainly taps into it with this one. Raymond Schiller is a perfect Fundamentalist preacher just one quarter turn off into insanity – with the titular Codex as a hidden, horrific addition to their Bible.

Counterpoint to the nightmarish cult of Schiller's Golden Promise Ministry and the THING they are going to awaken are the two agents that Bob's going to work with, codenamed BASHFUL INCENDIARY and JOHNNY PRINCE – a beautiful, multitalented action-woman with more than a little magic up her sleeve, and her faithful, apparently platonic, companion, hell-on-wheels backup, and aide.

Yes, Bob's getting on an adventure with Modesty Blaise.

This adventure could have become even more dark to read than The Fuller Memorandum. That it didn't is due at least in part to the presence of Persephone Hazard (BASHFUL) and Johnny McTavish (JOHNNY), and once more to Bob's ability to narrate us PAST some of the worst of the horror.

In addition, we discover that there are lasting effects on Bob from his being at the center of a ritual to summon the Eater of Souls – effects that come in pretty handy at the end.

Naturally, of course, there's a price to pay for success in preventing the awakening of the Sleeper in the Pyramid and defeating Schiller's attempt to basically convert the world to a parasitic-based worship… Promotion.

"Welcome to Mahogany Row, Mr. Howard. And may whatever god you choose to believe in have mercy on your soul."

 

Comments

  1. Zan Lynx says:

    I love that whole series.
    If I remember this one right, the CIA’s magic department comes off as incredibly creepy in this one.

Your comments or questions welcomed!