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WesternSFA
The Apocalypse Codex: A Laundry Files Novel
by Charles Stross
ACE Books, $25.95, 326pp
Release Date: July 3, 2012
A jargon-and-acronym loaded tale, the fourth in the Laundry Files novels: this is Stross at his best—snarky, razor-wire wit delivered by a very sharp plot and of course, droll.

Our Laundry Files hero Bob Howard has returned in another tale of mind-wobbling Lovecraftian horror written at British spy thriller speed.

Be prepared and put on your seat belt.

This zooms.

Bob’s gotten his next assignment: Trail a couple of external assets contractors hired by the Laundry Files org to follow an overwhelmingly popular US televangelist who has crossed The Pond for a cozy visit with the current British Prime Minister. He will also be leading an arena-sized revivalist kind of service in the Docklands. But everyone wants to know why the visit to the PM—even though the Laundry Files (through their connection to the British secret service) have certain inviolate rules one of which is no spying on 10 Downing Street—hence the use of external assets Persephone Hazard and her right arm guy Johnny McTavish, ace practitioners of ritual magic. So Bob needs to keep an eye on them and report back. Simple assignment; right?

Oh, so wrong (of course).

Delving into the world of the Reverend Raymond Schiller becomes murkier and more horror-ridden the deeper Persephone, McTavish and Bob go.

The Reverend has an agenda (well, duhhhh!). One that needs a great many thousands of Saved Souls to bring forth the Sleeping Christ in an apocalypse of religious frenzy and fervor—thus saving the world from the ugliness it’s steeped in currently. And the focal point is a huge mega-church meeting/service in Colorado Springs .

The three Brits utilize a wonderful array of occult items to thwart the reverend and his possessed minions as well as relying on the firepower of a good ol’ reliable Glock.

As I said, this novel zooms because once the horror behind Schiller’s mission is revealed the time-table gets short and tight and these three have to literally fight off an Apocalypse (and the monsters that represent it)—from another dimension. It ain’t holy or pretty.

There are creepy alien parasites, high-stakes confrontations and chases in this book.

And as I said at the beginning: there’s tons of bureaucratic jargon and British acronyms to give it that true tea-infused Her Majesty’s Government flavor. You need to pay attention or you could get lost in Stross’ slippery word wrangling.

New words for the month: Cuprous, glossolalia, eschatology and two I couldn’t find: oneiromantic and cymothoan (which I suspect is a Lovecraft creation)

Wordiness aside: The trip’s worth it. ~~ Sue Martin

For more books in this series click here
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