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The Atrocity Archives: Book 1 in The Laundry Files (Unabridged)
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The Atrocity Archives: Book 1 in The Laundry Files (Unabridged) [Audio Download]

by Charles Stross (Author), Jack Hawkins (Narrator)
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (58 customer reviews)
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Product details

  • Audio Download
  • Listening Length: 10 hours and 57 minutes
  • Program Type: Audiobook
  • Version: Unabridged
  • Publisher: Hachette Digital
  • Audible.co.uk Release Date: 11 July 2013
  • Language: English
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (58 customer reviews)
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Product Description

Never volunteer for active duty...

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, alternative universes, dimension-hopping terrorists, monstrous elder gods and the end of the world. Only one thing is certain: it will take more than 'control+alt+delete' to sort this mess out...

This is the first novel in The Laundry Files. This audiobook includes the short story The Concrete Jungle.

©2004 Charles Stross. Introduction copyright 2004 by Ken Mcleod; (P)2013 Hachette Children's Books

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
61 of 64 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Revenge of the Nerds? 15 Nov 2007
I must say I'm a bit bemused by some of the earlier reviews...so let's at least try to cut the confusion a bit. First, the book "The Atrocity Archives" (note the plural) contains two separate items: the short novel "The Atrocity Archive" (singular) and the long short story/short novelette "The Concrete Jungle". They are part of a series, i.e. they make use of the same characters in the same world, but there is no reason to expect plot continuity, any more than there would be reason to expect plot continuity between two separate episodes of Star Trek or two Agatha Christie Poirot stories. The separateness of the stories is quite clear from the layout of the book: why some earlier reviewers wanted to read them as one beats me completely. Oh well.

Second, this is actually Charlie Stross's first book, though it's clearly been reissued on the back of his later success, and yes, it does show. This is a book written as a side project by an IT professional, and one feels that other IT professionals were the intended audience. It does, indeed, work better if you're a geek (I'm not, but I am a university physicist so I got most of the in jokes). When it was originally published, the publishers obviously felt, probably rightly, that an introduction by Ken Macleod would help to sell this unknown author - the subtext, that if you like Macleod you're likely to like Stross, is completely justified in my opinion. Yes, the intro could have been dropped for this reissue, but it would probably have cost money to do so.

The stories in this book (and its sequel, "The Jennifer Morgue") are written as affectionate pastiches of classic spy novels, as the Afterword makes clear.
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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very good (A Book Swede Review) 13 Aug 2007
By Christopher Halo VINE VOICE
The Atrocity Archives is a small book compared to the door-stoppers of modern fantasy and SF, weighing in at only 299 pages once you discount the introduction, afterword and (a very necessary) glossary of terms and abbreviations. But don't let that put you off. The sheer number of ideas contained in those few pages is just mind-numbingly amazing, and keeps the story racing along at break-neck pace.

The premise: The Laundry, a top-secret government agency with the duty of protecting the world from unseen horrors--a troop of Nazis existing on an alternate universe, breaking through the dimensions of space and time; terrorist capable of summoning demons, et cetera, etc! And how does The Laundry do this? With magic of course! Not the Gandalf type, though, but by harnessing technology... For with pure mathematics, anything is possible...

When Bob Howard, a low level techie at The Laundry, goes and gets himself noticed by his superiors, his trouble begins...Forced onto assignments where he's frequently in danger, Bob doesn't think things can get any worse ( a very dangerous thing to think in an organization which uses advanced mathematics to compel there employees to tell the truth!) ...so of course they do!

At times too concentrated with jargon and surplus info, this book is nonetheless a cracking read. Some parts are very funny (particularly when you meet his house-mates, Pinky and The Brain!) and the office characters crucifying Bob (metaphorically) for overdue paperwork, etc will be very real to those unfortunate enough to work for a top secret government agency...or just a normal office!

Very nearly Nine out of Ten, the best Stross book I've read yet!

For more reviews, amazing and regular competitions, and author interviews visit: [...]
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Atrociously fun 24 May 2005
The Atrocity Archives, if I must harp on, yet again demonstrates the versatility of Charles Stross' writing. And provides a really good reason to become a fan now.
This is a well conceived mix of spy thriller, Cthulhu-esque terror and comic romp - as our hero (A technical support adviser, for the secret British agency known only as The Laundry) Bob Howard braves the terrors of the unknown universe, middle management, undead nazis and other things both Squibbous and Rugose.
The first tale - The Atrocity Archive (note no 'S') itself it intelligent, witty and imaginative; and leaves you screaming out for more from Bob Howard. Which is quite fortunatly answered straight away by the follow on novlette "The Concrete Jungle", which makes up the last third of the book.
Here Bob is entangled in another plot to turn all of Britain's CCTV cameras into lethal disintegration rays using a 'magic' system, and he must track down the psychotic hackers who have taken it upon themselves to sludge various unwitting members of the public. Can he figure out who, why and where?!
Two tales, both super - and both part of what we can only hope becomes an ongoing series (if the world were truly right - a TV series). And Mr Stross is currently writing the second story...so watch these spaces.
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24 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Len Deighton meets Cthulhu... 25 May 2004
It's difficult to review this book without comparing it to other authors, simply because they share certain common moods. The actual story concept is original, a fusion of espionage, horror, and SF that won't necessarily appeal to readers who are purists in any one of these genres, but is hugely enjoyable if you can take it all in.
Briefly, the story revolves around agents for a British intelligence organisation tasked with suppressing certain mathematical concepts; the ones that are the keys to other dimensions, most of them containing entities implacably hostile to mankind. The trouble is that they happen to be very interesting mathematical concepts, the ones that are close to the cutting edge of computer research, and there are a lot of people out there that are working on them. In the past it took thousands of man-hours to screw up reality, today a laptop can do it in sceonds. This can result in horrific accidents and is potentially the ultimate terrorist weapon. There is an uneasy peace between the world's intelligence agencies, which pool resources to counter this threat, but things haven't always been that way. The ultimate threat of the book is a remnant of Nazi research from the second world war, and turns out to be much nastier than expected.
I enjoyed everything in this book, from the home-life of the hacker/agent hero to its final apocalyptic scenes on a dying alien world. Thoroughly recommended.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Splendid start to an outstanding series
Mix equal parts of H.P. Lovecraft, Len Deighton, Jim Butcher and Neal Stephenson, stir vigorously and stand well back. Read more
Published 2 months ago by xrseyre
5.0 out of 5 stars Marvelous series!
Truly original,exciting and funny.As a civil servant myself I "get this" very much.Recommended.Read all of them and the side stories too.
Published 2 months ago by jim mitchell
3.0 out of 5 stars Missing something
I love the whole H P Lovecraft thing. Forces beyond our ken and with a touch of Stross humour. A good bundle. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Takoul
5.0 out of 5 stars mind buggeringly excellent
Charles Stross is hugely underrated - his writing is intelligent, funny, thought-provoking (and made me giggle on the train, which is just plain embarrassing... Read more
Published 4 months ago by Stan & Sid's servant
4.0 out of 5 stars A promising first novel: entertaining if sometimes flawed
The novel at the heart of this publication comes with three add-ons - a subsequent short story, featuring the same main characters and fictional universe, an afterword also by... Read more
Published 4 months ago by Mark Pack
5.0 out of 5 stars really rather good!
Will be buying the next one as soon as I have finished the Jasper Fforde I am also reading. More mad fun!
Published 6 months ago by A. Weston
4.0 out of 5 stars Sci-fi by a geek, for geeks, but can be enjoyed by others as well
Many of the in-jokes here will probably sail right over your head if you're not a certain type of geek (or at least are not prepared to Google while reading). Read more
Published 6 months ago by Robin Green
3.0 out of 5 stars slow burner
This took me a while to get into, some time before I worked out the significance,or not of the unpronounceables, probably be better when I return to it in a few weeks.
Published 7 months ago by JohnC
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent start to one of the best scifi series around
Cthulu with a James bond twist and a great sense of humour yet still dark as it can be. Brilliant book.
Published 7 months ago by Alastair Dodd
5.0 out of 5 stars One of my favourite books of rthe last ten years
The Atrocity Archives hits me right in my sweet spot - Lovecraftian nightmares, a rich and strangely believable world juxtaposed with weird and magical realities, creative geekery... Read more
Published 7 months ago by M. Hewitt
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