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The Labyrinth Index

(Laundry Files #9)

4.16  ·  Rating details ·  3,523 ratings  ·  249 reviews
The arrival of vast, alien, inhuman intelligences reshaped the landscape for human affairs across the world, and the United Kingdom is no exception. Things have changed in Britain since the dread elder god Nyarlathotep ascended to the rank of Prime Minister. Mhari Murphy, recently elevated to the House of Lords and head of the Lords Select Committee on Sanguinary Affairs ( ...more
Kindle Edition, 384 pages
Published October 30th 2018 by
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Charles Stross October 30th. That's definite.

(The book—and my entire process—was set back by the death of my father last year.)…more
October 30th. That's definite.

(The book—and my entire process—was set back by the death of my father last year.)(less)

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Okay. So I admit I've been chomping at the bit to get my hands on this and I seriously couldn't wait.

So I devoured it.

Only to be devoured.

By K Syndrome.

And then I was volunteered for a Mission Impossible with other K Syndromes and other oddities in the United States! And the President... has been erased from everyone's minds. The Gesh! What a Gesh!!! It's almost like he gave us our greatest wish while making it totally evil at the same time. :) And then I remember that old stint on the intern
Nov 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Apocalypses are easier slept through than experienced.

I finished this on Halloween. As expected/hoped, it was a wild ride with the author pulling out all the stops (that were never there). The reason I post the review only now? Because I needed some time. Time, amongst other things, to digest the events here.

This 9th volume in the series is from Mhairi's point of view (Bob's former girlfriend, I hadn't known that that was how her name was spelled since I only ever read the audio versions). I
kartik narayanan
Nov 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
The Labyrinth Index has rekindled my interest in the Laundry Files.

I was getting a bit bored with the series since it seemed to be repeating the same formula over and over again. In fact, I don't even remember a single thing about most of the later books. The two changes that Charles Stross has brought in - focus on a different character and focus on consequences - makes this book a lot more memorable.

Mhari is a great protagonist as her supporting characters. Even thought she is a PHANG, her vu
Aug 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Nov 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
CASE NIGHTMARE GREEN is in full effect. The UK is under the New Management, an ancient evil only slightly less horrible than the alternatives and the USA seems to be undergoing a similar change with the President missing.

Mhari Murphy has been tapped by the new resident of 10 Downing St to reform the Special Operations Executive (SOE), an early predecessor organization of the Laundry and assigns her to deal with the American problem. With a collection of political undesirables and skilled expenda
Michael Burnam-Fink
Nov 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2018, sci-fi

Okay, the President has not technically been kidnapped. Rather, the Operational Phenomenology Agency, aka the Black Chamber, aka the Nazgul, has worked a geas across the entire United States to make them forget that the President even exists. Mhari Murphy, Laundry Officer, PHANG, (oh, and Bob's ex from book 1) is the Bad Dude responsible for getting him back, along with a team of high-level Laundry agents doing old-school 'Set Europe Ablaze' style SOE sabotage.

This being The Laundry, nothing is
C.T. Phipps
THE LABYRINTH INDEX is probably the book which is the most like a James Bond pastiche after a long period of the series poo-pooing on the very concept. It stars an arrogant sexist protagonist who fights against a sinsiter cartel with a world-ending scheme that doens't actually make a whole lot of sense. The big difference being that Mhari is a woman sexist against men (referring to her boyfriend and partner as "****boy" for most of the novel) plus she has a team of minor Laundry characters accom ...more
Alex Sarll
Stross has recently been describing the Laundry Files as taking place in an even darker timeline than our own, which puzzles me. I mean, yes, there's an elder god in Downing Street, but at least he's one of the competent ones, not the gaggle of the mindless, gibbering variety with which we seem to be lumbered. And this is a Britain where the stupid and dangerous privatisation of a government agency (to wit, our occult counter-espionage department, the aforementioned Laundry) has just been *stopp ...more
Peter Tillman
After a slow start, and almost-fatal damage to my WSOD —N’yar Lat-Hotep (aka the Black Pharaoh) as PM !— Stross almost pulls this one off with a rousing finish. I never really believed the Concorde rescue-scheme could actually work, though I don’t doubt the precursors Stross researched, and his writing is as good as ever. I just don’t like this series very much. Even less since almost none of the principal characters are human anymore. Well, Mhari Murphy sort-of is, but I don’t much like her, ei ...more
Feb 22, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobook

Yay for libraries!

I am now caught up with Laundry Files and kinda sad about that. Mhari's POV was pretty good! A couple of slow spots in the story and the US was not in a "good" light for the plot. I still prefer Bob's POV for the stories. =)
Oct 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
**The Labyrinth Index**, the latest entry in *Charlie Stross*' Laundry Files series … escalates. When the last volume of the Laundry Files ended fairly apocalyptic, I was under the impression that Charlie was fed up with reality overtaking his books pre-publication, and escalated to a level reality isn't yet willing to follow.

The Labyrinth Index introduces Mhari as the protagonist and POV character, which I found refreshing and nice. Laundry protagonists are a bit chancy, for me – Mo was part gr
Just when you thought that things can't get any worse in the Laundry universe (Delerium Brief #8 ended with the Laundry dissolved and Fabian Everyman, aka "The Mandate", aka The Black Pharaoh N'yar Llat-hotep becoming Prime Minister of the UK). But in this world, things can ALWAYS get worse as events approach CASE NIGHTMARE GREEN (aka the Lovecraft Singularity). and the Black Chamber (the Laundry's opposite number in the US) plots the awakening of Cthulhu, with a first step making the entire US ...more
Nov 11, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ack! These are so complex now that I almost need to reread the entire series when each new book comes out. Mental note to do that before the next one... This one was mainly from Mhari's POV after the shocking developments of book 8 have had a chance to sink in a little bit. ...more
Sigh. Not one of the better Laundry books. Not the best characters, in fact really kind of hard to like any of the characters in this one. Even Brains and Pete are poorly used. Silly, but not in a good way. But not truly done badly. Stross is always interesting and this book is not an exception. And the book is always plausible if just barely so. But not an especially fast or enjoyable read.
Nov 01, 2018 rated it did not like it
Imagine if a male character refered to his partner as slut or f$%^toy or some other derogitory name all the time. No need for it. Stross's work unfortunetly has gotten worse. Such a shame as it was an awesome series ...more
Loved this! This restored my love of the series. And unlike Mo's book, this one shows how to write a flawed female MC without making the reader want to strangle her. I was really on the bubble on the series prior to this one, but now? I'm dying to see where it goes next! ...more
David Harris
Oct 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I'm grateful to the publisher for an advance copy of this book (thanks Nazia!)

Stross's Laundry Files are now, I think, his most numerous and long lasting series, running to eight or nine novels (with The Labyrinth Index) and several novellas and short stories (depending how you count the stories in The Atrocity Archives, the first book).

While always having at its centre The Laundry itself, the UK's occult service ("occult secret service" would be a tautology, no?) which is lovingly portrayed wit
Wing Kee
Feb 04, 2019 rated it really liked it
Probably my favorite in the series to date!

World: The world building is dense, there are a lot of moving parts, a lot of Lovecraftian jargon, a lot of characters and locations and sometimes it can overwhelm readers. However, if you take the time and you slowly absorb it and go along for this journey this world building is pretty amazing. There is some info dumping, readers will feel a bit lost but the results are so good. This world is so very interesting and Stross has really made it his own, f
David Wintheiser
Nov 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
The first Laundry Files book where we see the aftereffect of the Faustian bargain made by the leaders of the Laundry to save themselves from annihilation at the tentacles of the Sleeper in the Pyramid. This book also gives us a longer look than most other books into the workings of the Operational Phenomenology Agency, a.k.a.: the Black Chamber, the lords of which have been consistently referred to in other Laundry works as the Nasgul.

It's a curious and timely book, with a significant focus on t
Jan 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
Just as the series started veering towards “monster of the week” material, the previous book ended on a massive U-turn bang, and now we have a rather fine spy-thriller with occult tradecraft practiced in a universe where the Lovecraftian singularity is on the upswing and a dread elder god is running the UK. The weird thing for me is the extent to which a more or less traditional spy thriller formula slips seamlessly into a Lovecraft-infused universe, and of course, as no doubt many have mentione ...more
Nov 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
Hey Stross is still kicking butt with these books. Even though good old Bob was nowhere to be found in this book, we have the same kind of adventures of civil servants fighting or perhaps abetting the Elder Gods. Somehow the president is missing and it's up to Mhari to save the day. You probably could start with the series by reading this book but I'd recommend starting at the beginning. ...more
Dec 26, 2018 rated it liked it
The Laundry Files continue, but possibly they're past their sell-by date.

What started as a clever set of spy pastiches starring a relateable IT guy thrust into the worlds of spycraft and supernatural horror with a brilliant premise - that magic is driven by math and the advent of computers meant that Lovecraftian horrors heard the dinner bell ringing - has at this point gone on long enough that Stross is now mining minor characters for stories and seems to have dropped the pastiche concept whic
Jan 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
One thing I have to complain about for the Laundry Files - the names aren't very indicative of the books themselves. While there is a Labyrinth that plays into the plot a little bit, it makes it hard to keep track of the books (I just discovered that I missed the Annihilation Score). But that's pretty much the worst criticism I have.
Mhari makes for a strong protagonist as she leads a deep cover assignment of expendables on a multi-level goal into America. The story is told like a heist, with a l
Stross has made me empathize with a vampire. A vampire who, when she was human, appeared to be a sociopath. Who used to be the HR manager for a bunch of quants. And who is now a baroness and Nyarlothotep's executioner. Stross is amazing.

The Laundry Files have always been dark. Since at least the days of Queen Elizabeth I, it seems, the Brits have been keeping demons on the payroll for the greater good, James Bonding their way to save humanity from worst demons. Now they've installed an elder go
Nov 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A compelling page-turner in the espionage thriller tradition, with added occult menace and more vampires than you can shake a stick at. America's president has been vanished - removed from the memory of every human citizen - and so Madhi, businesswoman, vampire, and occasional secret agent, has been tasked by the dark god posing as Britain's Prime Minister to assemble a team of politically expendable agents to resolve this problem, one way or another. There's a lot going on here - unfortunately ...more
May 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
I'm never sure exactly where to put Mr. Stross.
Once I was well into this I really enjoyed it but the beginning lost me for a bit, probably because I haven't read The Delirium Brief, which I think comes before this one.
I remember Mhari from an earlier book but now that she is a vampire things have heated up. What I really liked was the way Stross made it very clear that his vampires can only live if someone else dies. I can understand why some might very well choose to walk out into the sunlight
Feb 03, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sf, fantasy, 2019, library, 8
I was kind of surprised how much I enjoyed this book when it is clearly a transitional book leading to the next major arc of the ongoing story.

Mhairi is our protagonist this time, and I'm kind of prejudiced against her because of Bob's comments way, way, way back at the beginning of the series. This is totally unfair since Bob was both biased and not a reliable narrator and she's developed and changed a lot since then. And in this book, she's marvellous. She's full of imposter syndrome and the a
Doctor Science
3.5 stars rounded up.

On the one hand, the world of the Laundry Files is careering closer to existential collapse, as Dread Nyarlathotep is now Prime Minister of the UK, and the US is experiencing a coup by the Really Deep State, angling to summon Cthulu itself. And our POV character is a vampire torn between horror at what she's become and the worse horrors she's working to forestall.

On the other hand, the President of the US is intelligent, competent, and NOT a tool of alien forces.

So it's a w
Oct 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Well, that escalated quickly.

With Bob stuck in a box marked "open only in case of apocalypse", the new POV character is Mhari, previously seen contracting a nasty case of vampirism and then parlaying it into a top job. This isn't a side story though: with that apocalypse very clearly looming on the horizon, the many actors - human or otherwise - are jockeying for position, and Mhari is tasked by the New Management of the UK with finding out exactly what the Americans are up to, and let's just sa
D.L. Morrese
Mar 29, 2019 rated it liked it
I've never been a fan of horror stories, although I sometimes find the kind with supernatural face-eating and soul-sucking monsters unintentionally humorous for their absurdity. Stross's Laundry Files books slightly exaggerate that kind of thing, making them intentionally humorous; not laugh-out-loud funny or even comic, but entertaining. In this one, a couple of gods are waging a behind the scenes struggle for supremacy. In the U.K., N'yar Lat-Hotep, an ancient Egyptian god, has become Prime Mi ...more
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Charles David George "Charlie" Stross is a writer based in Edinburgh, Scotland. His works range from science fiction and Lovecraftian horror to fantasy.

Stross is sometimes regarded as being part of a new generation of British science fiction writers who specialise in hard science fiction and space opera. His contemporaries include Alastair Reynolds, Ken MacLeod, Liz Williams and Richard Morgan.


Other books in the series

Laundry Files (9 books)
  • The Atrocity Archives (Laundry Files, #1)
  • The Jennifer Morgue (Laundry Files #2)
  • The Fuller Memorandum (Laundry Files #3)
  • The Apocalypse Codex (Laundry Files, #4)
  • The Rhesus Chart (Laundry Files, #5)
  • The Annihilation Score (Laundry Files, #6)
  • The Nightmare Stacks (Laundry Files, #7)
  • The Delirium Brief (Laundry Files, #8)

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“His Infernal Majesty leans towards me confidingly. “You have imposter syndrome,” He says, “but paradoxically, that’s often a sign of competence. Only people who understand their work well enough to be intimidated by it can be terrified by their own ignorance. It’s the opposite of Dunning-Kruger syndrome, where the miserably incompetent think they’re on top of the job because they don’t understand it.” 8 likes
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