THE APOCALYPSE CODEX
Readers can always count on Stross for inventive plotting, a fast, well-paced narrative and a tough look at timely issues. Bob Howard’s new adventure is no exception as he finds himself in America grappling with fundamentalist fanatics. Bob remains a likable hero — witty and with a sense of morality that often gets him into trouble — and teaming him with the unpredictable Persephone and Johnny is a brilliant way to grow the character. If you’re not reading this series, you should be: gritty speculative fiction doesn’t get much better than this.
On the principle that a job well done earns one another job, Bob Howard, computational demonologist for The Laundry, is suddenly on the management fast track and uncertain how he got there. Assigned to a department called External Assets, Bob soon is on a plane to Colorado to “keep an eye on” two outside contractors, witch Persephone Hazard and her assistant Johnny, while they infiltrate Ray Schiller’s Golden Promise Ministries to determine just why the good pastor is cozying up to the British prime minister and what secrets he’s hiding. (ACE, Jul., 336 pp., $25.95)