The Atrocity Archives
Bob Howard is a low-level techie working for a super-secret government agency. While his colleagues are out saving the world, Bob's under a desk restoring lost data. His world was dull and safe - but then he went and got Noticed.
Now, Bob is up to his neck in spycraft, parallel universes, dimension-hopping terrorists, monstrous elder gods and the end of the world. Only one thing is certain: it will take more than a full system reboot to sort this mess out.
Reviewed on 31st July 2018
This book, the first in the Laundry Files series, has been sitting on my shelf for some time, and I’ve been eyeing the series up in bookshops for even longer. I was attracted by the bright covers, interesting descriptions, and quotes on the covers from authors I like.
The book contains two separate stories - the first of which introduces Bob as he becomes a field agent for the Laundry - a secret part of the British establishment dealing with the occult issues brought to the fore by modern technology. It’s a really interesting idea, and the narratives of both stories really nicely blend the edges of Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror.
I was offput a little at the start of the novel by the introduction describing it as a bit Lovecraftian. I haven’t had the best of experiences with Lovecraft (admittedly my introduction to his works was in an unusual medium). However, clearly the elements of Lovecraft that Stross has chosen to replicate aren’t the ones that I found offputting - and the narrative flows really cleanly around visitations by mysterious beings and their descriptions aren’t inconsiderately lacking in detail.
I wasn’t gripped as much as I had hoped to be, but I enjoyed it sufficiently that I’ll be looking out for the second book in the near future.