As a testimony to how much I’ve enjoyed Stross’ Laundry series, I’ve been accelerating my reading, with a shorter time spent between each pair of volumes as I’ve continued. Alas, with the fourth and most recent book, that trend must come to a halt. And this is really the first one where he uses the ending to taunt the reader of big things to come.
In previous stories, our computational thaumaturge “Bob Howard” has often found himself at desperate, even lethal, odds with managers in his “deep black” occult intel organization. And at the beginning of this novel, he finds he is to become one. But this story does not confine itself to office backstabbery, however sorcerous. Bob’s new managerial role involves tagging along to a Colorado Springs outing, where the Laundry discovers that some, er, enhanced Christian Evangelicals are preparing to wake “Jesus” (they think) and bring It to Earth for dinner. As Bob observes, “There is a certain point beyond which any sufficiently extreme Calvinist sect becomes semiotically indistinguishable from the Brotherhood of the Black Pharaoh” (215).
The style of this book is a change from the earlier volumes, incorporating greater amounts of third-person omniscient perpsective to cover the activities of new-and-interesting characters Persephone Hazard and Johnny McTavish, as well as some villain eavesdropping. This choice sits somewhat awkwardly in what has become even more explicitly a first-person memoir by Bob, but the whole thing is written so entertainingly, and the pace of events is so brisk, that it is easy to forgive.
The silver lining to the cloud of having to wait for the next book in this series is that I’ll probably use the window to get around to some of Stross’ non-Laundry novels, like Accelerando or Saturn’s Children. [via]
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