By Charles Stross
Ace Hardcover, $25.95, 325 pages
The Apocalypse Codex follows Robert Howard, an everyday office worker (if your everyday office helps keep the world safe from aliens) Lovecraftian monsters and unspeakable horrors. Howard works for an organization called The Laundry, charged with keeping people safe from things they never knew existed, and he does a good job of it. But when he is tasked with keeping track of a freelance agent, there is nothing that will be able to keep London, or the world, safe.
Author Charles Stross is, first and foremost, a fantastic writer. He is able to create a world in his writing that is both believable and surreal. When an MI5 agent talks about encountering a Cthulhu, the reader believes every word of it. The characters are also fun. It is not uncommon for a character to complain of dealing with upper management when trying to approve first-class train passage, even though that train happens to be carrying them to a pit of eldritch horror.
There are a few pitfalls to the story however. The author tends to capitalize words at random, without explaining why they are important. There is also an excessive use of acronyms throughout the text with no definitions of their meaning.
The Apocalypse Codex is a fantastic, magical read, akin to Jim Butcher or Doctor Who. Readers should line up to purchase their copy this summer.
Reviewed by Andrew Keyser