After stumbling upon the algorithm that turned him and his fellow merchant bankers into vampires, Alex Schwartz was drafted by the Laundry, Britain s secret counter-occult agency that s humanity s first line of defense against the forces of darkness. Read more...
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After stumbling upon the algorithm that turned him and his fellow merchant bankers into vampires, Alex Schwartz was drafted by the Laundry, Britain s secret counter-occult agency that s humanity s first line of defense against the forces of darkness. Dependent on his new employers for his continued existence as Alex has no stomach for predatory blood-sucking he has little choice but to accept his new role as an operative-in-training.
For his first assignment, Alex is dispatched to Leeds to help assess the costs of renovating a 1950s Cold War bunker for use as the Laundry s new headquarters. Unfortunately, Leeds is Alex s hometown, and the thought of breaking the news to his parents that he s left banking for the Civil Service, while hiding his undead condition, is causing him more anxiety than learning how to live as a vampire secret agent preparing to confront multiple apocalypses.
Alex s only saving grace is Cassie Brewer, a drama student appearing in the local goth festival who is inexplicably attracted to him despite his awkward personality and massive amounts of sunblock.
But Cassie has secrets of her own secrets that make Alex s nightlife behaviors seem positively normal..."
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2016-07-04
- Reviewer: Staff
In the latest Laundry Files supernatural investigation, Stross makes the wise decision to move away from the jaded and worn voices of Bob Howard and Mo O'Brien as protagonists, but the story suffers from muddled plotting and jokes that too often fall flat. Dr. Alex Schwartz is a newly created vampire (having survived the vampire onslaught in The Rhesus Chart) who's still learning the ropes of the Laundry, the British secret agency that deals with horrors and extradimensional threats. Alex is sent to his hometown of Leeds to scope out a potential new headquarters, where he meets a woman named Cassie who has her identity and memories stolen by Agent First, a member of a long-forgotten race that is on the verge of extinction. Stross continues to ably mix technology and Lovecraftian horrors—finally letting the tech advance to the age of smartphones, which helps the story along considerably—and delivers a stellar ending. Alas, the third-person voice that delivers much of the narration (other than some of Alex's diary entries) never gives the material the snark and verve it merits. Fans of Stross's worldbuilding will still be entertained, but compared to the rest of the series, this installment is underwhelming. (June)