From the introduction to the hardcopy version: …”Imagine a world where speaking or writing words can literally and directly make things happen, where getting one of those words wrong can wreak unbelievable havoc, but where with the right spell you can summon immensely powerful agencies to work your will. ….Welcome to the IT department”….
Welcome to the IT department of the Laundry, a secret agency of the British government that exists to protect the unknowing public from all things eldritch, squamous and tentacled. Think Lovecraft meets Len Deighton or LeCarre…but with a bit more humor.
Our hero is Bob Howard; he works in the IT department and is an expert in “applied computational demonology”. (It turns out that simply solving the right equations in the right conditions can cause great gaping holes in reality allowing those eldritch and squamous horrors to come oozing into our dimension).
Bob’s job (and that of the Laundry) is to keep the general public blissfully unaware of the horrors in the dark places.
The book is broken into two novellas – The Atrocity Archive and the Concrete Jungle. In the first one, we wind up in a dark cold universe where the Nazi necromancers been waiting for 60 years….they have teamed up with a shadowy middle-eastern terror organization and are trying to bring “Fimbulwinter” upon the world. It is up to Bob and the Laundry to save the day – and his new girlfriend Mo.
The second tale – Concrete Jungle – includes a primer on basilisks and the medusa effect. Or as they like to code name it – “SCORPION STARE” . The science behind the Medusa and how to weaponize it. Starts out with “too many concrete cows in Milton Keynes” and goes from there. The UK has CCTV cameras on every corner. If they were fitted out with a weaponized basilisk capability….well….Bob needs to save the world again.
I love this book – read it multiple times – hardcopy, kindle and audible. all thumbs and tentacles up! This is the first of 5 Laundry books. Highly recommend all.