"I"m bluffing, but I can look it up on Wikipedia later." -Bob
This is the 4th book in the Laundry series, and the only other one I've read is the first"I"m bluffing, but I can look it up on Wikipedia later." -Bob
This is the 4th book in the Laundry series, and the only other one I've read is the first one. In spite of that it held up quite nicely on its own. I love the existence of this series. It assumes a world in which the horrors Lovecraft described (and some other fantasy creatures) exist, yet are governed by the physical laws of the universe. Magic is a branch of applied mathematics. We view this world through the eyes of a low level government employee, who seems to be shedding more of the "low level" modifier on each outing.
Bob, computational demonologist extraordinaire, is thrown into a situation on foreign soil (from his perspective) with some pretty impressive partners in crime. Even though we have multiple point of view characters, the story is compiled by Bob and thus we get shifts from 1st to 3rd person (with occasional 2nd person warnings). It's a technique I thought was cool, then found annoying, but eventually accepted.
That sort of describes my take on the whole book. It was a hard one to flat out enjoy because of it's massive antagonism toward Christianity (and all religions for that matter.) The pace slowed to a crawl for a good chunk of the first third, however it moved along and a good clip after that point. This entry in the series seriously (for a certain definition of serious) explored the issues of living in a universe where the only supernatural forces are dark and scary. Having drawn the connection between math and magic, the worldwide technical infrastructure will eventually summon something apocalyptically scary and everyone in the know is trying to find a defense.
The super spy, Persephone, gives us a glimpse of what Bob is being trained to be. The bureaucratic fumbling over Bob's designation as middle management, handler, etc awkwardly fits the series but I found myself aching to see everyone in action at their full potential. Mostly I got what I wanted.
Bob's accelerated training is a big part of this and it'll be interesting to see how Stross handles the inevitable "hell on earth" he's forecasting. He does a great job with his central characters and the bits of insanity they encounter, but there's a distinct fog of war hovering over the rest of the world these stories are set in. This was a VERY fun read in spite of the road bumps and definitely makes me want to fill in my gaps in the series.