cover image The Apocalypse Codex

The Apocalypse Codex

Charles Stross. Ace, $25.95 (336p) ISBN 978-1-937007-46-1

The fourth novel (after 2010’s The Fuller Memorandum) in Stross’s series about the Laundry, a British mystical intelligence agency, continues its fun blend of Lovecraftian horror, espionage, and office satire. Everyman geek Bob Howard has been promoted to the Laundry’s Externalities department, an obscure branch dealing with outside contractors. His boss, Lockhart, assigns him to manage Persephone Hazard and Johnny McTavish, two mystically talented field agents investigating suddenly powerful U.S. evangelist Ray Schiller. Complications arise ranging from conflicts with U.S. spy agencies, extradimensional parasites, a Bible with some disturbing additional chapters, and the requisite zombies. Stross augments his style, expanding the narrative voice beyond Bob’s own while remaining true to earlier works in the series. Some fans might miss Bob’s wife, Mo (largely offscreen after the book’s first third), but the new characters and setting allow Stross additional opportunities for political and technological snark in the midst of this solid spy/horror story. Agent: Caitlin Blasdell, Liza Dawson Assoc. (July)