What we have here is an 81 page novella from Charles Stross which explains in some respect Bob Howard’s absence from books 6 and 7 in the ‘Laundry Files’ series, ‘The Annihilation Score’ and ‘The Nightmare Stacks’. Poor old Bob is somewhat estranged from his wife, Dr. Dominique ‘Mo’ O’Brien and its not going to help things when he’s sent on assignment to Japan.
From the information Bob has been given it looks to be an easy assignment but, of course, the devil is in the detail. Only Bob’s predecessor, Dr. Angleton, was never very good at noting down the details.
While the original request was for Dr. Angleton (aka the Eater of Souls), he’s dead so Bob who’s next in line gets the gig. This ruffles feathers in Japan where the Miyamoto Group do not like surprises and weren’t expecting Bob. Miyamoto Group’s assigned Yoko Suzuki to assist and she doesn’t try to hide her annoyance.
The assignment basically involves trying to bring under control the local yokai back under control. They are popping up all over the place and that should not be happening. Each occurrence seems to be getting bigger and meaner.
There’s a lot of Japanese culture reflected in this short tale. It builds slowly to a rather cleaver epic struggle. Bob’s rather unprepared for what’s about to hit him.
This is an enjoyable read which adds to the ‘Laundry Files’ growing archive of material. What I did find truly horrifying about this 81 page novella was the price, $19.99 for the hardback version which is the size of a traditional paperback.
Yes, it’s a good short story from the ‘Laundry Files’ but the price seems steep to me.
(pub: Tordotcom, 2022. 81 page hardback. Price: $19.99 (US). ISBN: 978-1-250-80570-6
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