The Jennifer Morgue is the second book in the Laundry or Bob Howard series by Charles Stross. This review contains some minor spoilers.
Did you ever experience the feeling of being turned into a zombie while watching a PowerPoint presentation? Well, here it is for real, a PowerPoint presentation is used to turn people into zombies. After barely surviving this ordeal, Bob Howard, computer übergeek and demonology hacker extraordinaire in his Majesty’s occult secret service, must stop software billionaire Ellis Billington. Billington has managed to get his hand on a Soviet Cold War device that permits communication with the dead. He plans to use it to raise an eldritch horror, codenamed Jennifer Morgue, from the Stygian depths, in order to rule the world.
The entire operation has been put under a specific geas by Ellis Billington, meaning that if the good guys want to win they have to play it by the rules of the archetypal British spy novel. So you have a huge yacht in the Caribbean, a very rich evil mastermind with a white cat, casinos, martinis (shaken, not stirred), and you also need a British secret agent. Don’t tell Bob, he’s not supposed to know.
And you’ve got to have girls — Bond girls. There is the gorgeous looking (at least glamor level 3) Ramona Random from the Black Chamber, who planted a demon on her in order to control her — not just any demon but a succubus. Every man she has ever slept with died horribly less than 24 hours later. Can she be trusted? Is she even human? What will Bob’s girlfriend Dominique “Mo” O’Brien do? Lie back and think of England? Yeah right, when hell freezes over.
What is the role of the Laundry, Britain’s occult secret service? The Laundry wouldn’t be the Laundry if they played by the rules, at least to other people’s rules.
Charles Stross did it again. This is the second book in the Laundry or Bob Howard series, where hard science fiction is mixed with the British spy novel and Lovecraftian horror, and spiced with humor, sarcasm and satire. Not as geeky, fast-paced and witty as the first novel in the series, The Atrocity Archives, but still very good.
Click here for my review of the first novel.
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