The Rhesus Chart: A Laundry Files novel Hardcover – 3 Jul 2014
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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)
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.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
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
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.
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!
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Stress spins his darkly funny world around us and drags us into the vortex of entertainment in a way unlike any other authors I have readPublished 2 days ago by M. R. C
I'm a recent Charles Stross reader, and now a confirmed convert. The entire series is pretty fantastic, and this is a pivot link to the book, expanding the cast of characters. Read morePublished 18 days ago by pressthebutton
Vampires vs the civil service and you know that the red tape will win against the blood suckers. Throw in banking, a vampire hunter who isn't called Marianne and Bob Howard, once... Read morePublished 4 months ago by Apf
A solid addition to the Laundry series. I am starting to feel that the free-flying high concepts of the first 2 or 3 books are being replaced by slightly more down to earth ideas,... Read morePublished 7 months ago by Greg Mathews
Another hugely fun slice of snarky pastiche. Not a lot more to say about it, it follows nicely in the footsteps of the others and while the ending fell a shade flat, it was still... Read morePublished 8 months ago by Tom
Extreamly good read. There is a need to read some other books in the series prior to this to install a sense of scope and fear, but as they are also good reads then its a double... Read morePublished 9 months ago by mike netting
Witty, complex, compassionate, ethical, well-paced, subtle, brilliant, amusing, entertaining, erudite, buoyant, observational, jargon-crunching, techy, interesting, fun. Read morePublished 11 months ago by Crinkly