Scan 33What’s it all about?

The Atrocity Archives is all about The Laundry, a secret part of the British security services which deals with the supernatural and the occult and unmentionable things in other dimensions and that sort of stuff. It is most particularly the story of Bob Howard and how he moves from being the tech guy (albeit the tech guy with some very particular knowledge and skills) to an operative in the field. Other than that I shall say nothing about the events that transpire in the two connected stories that make up the novel.

Why did I want to read it?

This is actually a re-read, picked up again because I bought the most recent Laundry Files novel by Charles Stross (The Rhesus Chart) and realised that it would be a good thing to read the lot in sequence and then appalled myself by realising I only had the first one so decided to start from the top and ease myself back into the Laundry world.

What did I think of it?

Re-reads are often a bit dangerous especially after some time has passed because what you may have loved way back then you may not still love now. However, I was really pleased that I found this equally as enjoyable as the first time I read it and it sets me up nicely for the rest of the sequence. Bob is a very engaging character and his origin story (for it kind of is that thing) is cleverer than most because he’s already in the secret organisation, so knows loads of stuff, it’s just the change in his status because of the particular case he gets involved in that by necessity leads him into learning loads of additional cool stuff; and he is good at what he does without being totally smug.

I particularly love this because having been a civil servant for *gulp* 28 years – I was very, very young when I started 🙂 – I recognise the bureaucracy and the obsession with the small things at the risk of missing the bigger picture and the office politics and petty rivalries and the jockeying for position which made this all so believable. Well, recognisable when you put aside the liberal use of the adjective squamous, the zombie doorman, the deployment of Hands of Glory and the general Lovecraftian-ness of it all.

Though now I come to think of it…..

The staff disciplinary measures are a bit extreme!

Great fun and looking forward to working my way steadily through the remaining four novels and three (I think) short stories.