Tuesday, 7 August 2018

The Nightmare Stacks

Front cover of Charles Stross' The Nightmare Stacks
Charles Stross
Recorded Books

Alex Schwartz had a promising future - until he contracted an unfortunate bout of vampirism, and agreed (on pain of death) to join the Laundry, Britain's only counter-occult secret agency.
His first assignment is in Leeds - his old hometown. The thought of telling his parents that he's lost his old job, let alone them finding out about his 'condition', is causing Alex more anxiety than learning how to live as a vampire secret agent preparing to confront multiple apocalypses.His only saving grace is Cassie Brewer, a student appearing in the local Goth Festival, who flirts with him despite his awkward personality and massive amounts of sunblock.
But Cassie has secrets of her own - secrets that make Alex's night life seem positively normal .

Let me start by saying Gideon Emery has ruined these books.  I tried reading one recently and just couldn't do it without my internal monologue defaulting to a piss poor imitation of his voice and so I had to give up and revert back to the fantastic audio versions that he reads.

'The Nightmare Stacks' is another Bob-less Laundry book and one that's going to blow the whole secret open as Britain is invaded by magical elfy types from another dimension.

The story follows Alex Schwartz one of the newly recruited 'Phangs' (vampires) - left over from a previous novel - as he scouts a new Laundry headquarters in Leeds.  The book is very much in the tradition of the series - lots of policy wonking - and tapping into a particular literary trope - in this case the fantasy novel - but like the superhero one that preceded it things have gone really overt as the endgame comes slowly into sight.  I'm not entirely in favour of this as I do prefer the more covert side of things and I think this and it's predecessor have been by far the weakest books in the series but Stross is an eminently readable (Damn you Emery!) listenable writer and this series is pretty much always a delight to read / hear.

Buy it here - The Nightmare Stacks: A Laundry Files novel

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