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The Rhesus Chart: A Laundry Files novel Hardcover – 3 Jul 2014

4.4 out of 5 stars 89 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Orbit (3 July 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0356502538
  • ISBN-13: 978-0356502533
  • Product Dimensions: 14.5 x 3.3 x 22.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (89 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 320,987 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

Brilliantly disturbing and funny at the same time (Ben Aaronovitch (author of RIVERS OF LONDON))

Stross has pulled off yet another fast-paced blend of espionage thrills, office comedy and Lovecraftian horror . . . ferociously enjoyable (Saxon Bullock SFX)

Stross at the top of his game-which is to say, few do it better. (Kirkus Reviews)

Book Description

The fifth Laundry Files novel by Charles Stross, and a jumping-on point for readers new to the series, The Rhesus Chart sees hacker and supernatural spy Bob Howard take on the (literal) bloodsuckers running London's financial district.

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition
It can be hard to review a continuing series since often what you're commenting on is really the cumulative effect of the whole. That's not true with this book since, while a firm part of the ongoing Laundry Files saga, Stross has written it to be accessible to new readers, including a fair amount of recap and exposition. (Actually, slightly too much for me. For example, we get a description of the Laundry's (the supernatural intelligence agency) role not only from series lead Bob Howard, but in similar language from one of the main antagonists). That must be a sign of confidence in the ongoing project, which can only be good for us fans.

So, in this book, the series takes a notably darker turn. The book still full of humour, puns, in-jokes from the tech and SF worlds, bureaucratic nonsense (Bob has to dispose of an aged PC with no hard drive: procedure requires special authorisation for getting rid of a machine without shedding the drive but the unit giving that has been disbanded: solution - fit a hard hard drive). However, it's now clearly become (even more) gallows humour, like listening to the private talk of a group of undertakers or emergency doctors.

As to the plot, the ostensible theme is vampires - not a spoiler, it's in the first line - a nest of which have appeared in the London financial community - but the book doesn't run with that (one would think there was lots of scope to compare bloodsuckers in the world of money with... vampires), rather it focusses on the internal dynamics of the Laundry itself, on what daily experience of nameless horrors does to a friendship or a marriage. Imagine the PTSD from dealing with those many-angled intruders from other dimensions.
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I've had the first book in the series, "The Atrocity Archives" for several months and bought this book almost by accident. Having started it I thought I'd be better off going back to the first in the series and come to this book without jumping into the middle.

So now in the past 4 weeks I've brought myself up to date with "The Laundry", Bob Howard and his gradually move from Nerd towards being a Superhero. This is the first book, in my opinion, that doesn't fall back on styles from other writers and, again from my point of view is better for it. Bob's been with The Laundry's "Active" department for over 10 years and as a quote from Bob says "I have grown old and cynical" Not so old and cynical that he cannot the idiocy that wraps itself around bureaucracies, but much more cynical in how he sees the world. Add in the "Special Sauce" he's aquired from his boss, the enigmatic Angleton and you have someone starting to come to grips with some very unusual circumstances.

If I have a criticism of the book it is only that it would be a good jumping on point for the series and then people would miss out on the development that has seen Bob's character develop from "scared rabbit in the headlights" to being able to declare a "Code Blue" -- even if it does then end up with what he describes as a "Circular Firing Squad".

Nightmare Green isn't a focus of this book, but it's coming and, with the twists in the last 20 pages, it will be interesting to see where this takes Bob and his cohorts in the next book.

Final point, you can use this as a starting point -- I wouldn't recommend it, read the rest first, they are well worth the time involved.

When's the next book due? It will be on my list
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The Laundry is the UK's secret Anti-Occult Security Service. Their mandate to protect us from everything that slithers, crawls or goes bump in the dark. We live in a world of unimaginable horrors - not to mention the bureaucratic paperwork behind the scenes, Civil Service remember!
Demons, Unicorns, Elder Gods, Magical Cultists, Zombies Sorry... Residual Human Resources - The Laundry is forever on the lookout for any supernatural threat... well except Vampires.

Everybody knows that Vampires aren't real! Right?

So, when Bob works on a little project as extra credit, during a code blue -he stumbles into a horrific and terrifying truth! Hiding within the heart of a financial institution - the worst possible surprise...
His horrific Ex-girlfriend! Mhari Oh.... yes. And Vampires ARE actually real!

The Rhesus Chart is a fun story that delves into high finance, government public information campaigns and the trouble that going out for a quick bite in London can cause.
But it's also setting up the Laundry-verse with some new characters that will no doubt re-appear later on in the series, as well as rebooting some older characters ready for new roles.

Bob's stepped in it up to his neck...

Another great Laundry Files novel that I recommend. Especially if you like Vampire stories.
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Before any review I would point out I would actually rate this as 4.5, but have rounded up since 5 seems more reasonable than 4

The book does start to take a movement for the darker, as was seen starting to begin in book 4. We're not really into case Nightmare Green (although we get certain links that effects are being felt) - but I would guess this would be the last book where this is the case.

A few things that if you thought through minor suggested points and non-concluded points in prior books might get certain acts at the end predicted, but I would say don't think about it, just read it and find out!

While all of the Laundry Files books wrap up relatively well, Rhesus Chart takes it to new extremes - a few ideas are suggested at close of play but almost everything that happens in-book is concluded, leaving us with but a few dark fears to lead us onto the final three books.

An excellent read, I just hope we don't have to wait as long for book 6!
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