The Fuller Memorandum (Laundry Files Series)

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View our feature on Charles Stross' The Fuller Memorandum.

National bestselling author Charles Stross brings back Bob Howard-"a British super spy with a long-term girlfriend, no fashion sense, and an aversion to martinis" (San Francisco Chronicle)

Bob Howard is taking a much needed break from the field to catch up on his filing in The Laundry's archives when a top secret dossier known as The Fuller Memorandum ...

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The Fuller Memorandum (Laundry Files Series)

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Overview

View our feature on Charles Stross' The Fuller Memorandum.

National bestselling author Charles Stross brings back Bob Howard-"a British super spy with a long-term girlfriend, no fashion sense, and an aversion to martinis" (San Francisco Chronicle)

Bob Howard is taking a much needed break from the field to catch up on his filing in The Laundry's archives when a top secret dossier known as The Fuller Memorandum vanishes-along with his boss, who the agency's executives believe stole the file.

Determined to discover exactly what the memorandum contained, Bob runs afoul of Russian agents, ancient demons, and the apostles of a hideous faith, who have plans to raise a very unpleasant undead entity known as the Eater of Souls...

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Stross's third Laundry novel (after 2006's The Jennifer Morgue) continues to describe the Kafkaesque absurdity of government bureaucracies, but the tone turns dark when series hero Bob Howard accidentally kills a civilian during a routine exorcism. Bob soon discovers that there's a mole loose in the Laundry, the ultrasecret British intelligence service that deals with the implications of magic being a branch of pure mathematics. At issue is a memo by the Laundry's founder that relates to something called the Eater of Souls. The only person who knows anything about this is Bob's enigmatic boss, Angleton, but when he inexplicably vanishes, Bob and his wife and fellow agent, Maureen, are left on their own to stop CASE NIGHTMARE GREEN: the end of the world. The satisfying ending should appeal to fans of gory horror while making them question the definition of humanity. (June)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780441018673
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 7/6/2010
  • Series: Laundry Files Series
  • Pages: 320
  • Product dimensions: 6.30 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.30 (d)

Meet the Author

Charles Stross was born in Leeds, England in 1964. He holds degrees in pharmacy and computer science, and has worked in a variety of jobs including pharmacist, technical author, software engineer, and freelance journalist. He is now a full-time writer.

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Read an Excerpt

Bob Howard, accidental hero, return in the fourth of Charles Stross's novel about the activities of that most secret of British secret agencies—The Laundry.

Prologue

Losing My Religion

There can be only one true religion. Are you feeling lucky, believer?

Like the majority of ordinary British citizens, I used to be a good old–fashioned atheist, secure in my conviction that folks who believed—in angels and demons, supernatural manifestations and demiurges, snake-fondling and babbling in tongues and the world being only a few thousand years old—were all superstitious idiots. It was a conviction encouraged by every crazy news item from the Middle East, every ludicrous White House prayer breakfast on the TV. But then I was recruited by the Laundry, and learned better.

I wish I could go back to the comforting certainties of atheism; it's so much less unpleasant than the One True Religion.

The truth won't make your Baby Jesus cry because, sad to say, there ain't no such Son of God. Moses may have taken two tablets before breakfast, but there was nobody home to listen to the prayers of the victims of the Shoah. The guardians of the Ka'abah have got the world's best tourism racket running, the Dalai Lama isn't anybody's reincarnation, Zeus is out to lunch, and you really don't want me to start on the neo-pagans.

However, there is a God out there—vast and ancient and infinitely powerful—and I know the name of this God. I know the path you have to walk down to be one with this God. I know his secret rituals and the correct form of prayer and his portents and signs. I have studied the ancient writings of his prophets and followers in person, not simply relying on the classified digests in the CODICIL BLACK SKULL files and the background briefings for CASE NIGHTMARE GREEN.

I'm a believer. And like I said, I wish I was still an atheist. Believing I was born into a harsh, uncaring cosmos—in which my existence was a random roll of the dice and I was destined to die and rot and then be gone forever—was infinitely more comforting than the truth.

Because the truth is that my God is coming back.

When he arrives I'll be waiting for him with a shotgun.

And I'm keeping the last shell for myself.

A couple of years ago, Angleton suggested I start writing my memoirs. It seemed a pretty weird idea at the time—a thirty-year-old occult intelligence officer should take time off on the job to work on his autobiography?—but he had a point. "Bob," he said, in his usual frighteningly avuncular tones, with a voice like dry sheets of parchment rubbing, "like it or not, that thick little skull of yours contains valuable institutional knowledge that has been acquired over years of service for H. M. Government. If you don't start now, you may never catch up with the job. And if you don't catch up with the job, part of the Laundry's institutional memory might vanish for good." He gave a curious little chuckle, as if he regretted having had to admit that there was any value to my meager contribution. "You might die on your next field assignment, or be turned by the enemy. And that'd be nearly ten years of work down the drain."

Then he pointed me at the rule book that explained how all officers above OC2 rank are required to either keep a classified journal or to periodically update their memoirs, which would be stored under lock and key—automatically classified under the various keywords they'd been cleared for during the time period covered—the books to be opened only in event of their author's death, retirement, or permanent disablement in the line of duty.

You know something? I hate writing. I keep having to distract myself, hence all the little jokes. It's actually not as if the job is all that funny, when you get down to it. Especially as I have to write everything either in longhand or on a 1962 Triumph Adler 66 manual typewriter, and burn the ribbons and carbon papers afterwards in the Security Office incinerator in front of two witnesses with high security clearances. I'm not allowed to use rubber bands or paper clips to hold the papers together (although string and, ye horrors, traditional red sealing wax—and don't get me started on how difficult it is to melt the stuff in a smoke–free building with fire detectors in every office—is permitted). My fingers are hardwired for the Emacs programmers' editor and a laptop; this historic office re–enactment stuff gets old real fast. But I digress.

This is the story of how I lost my atheism, and why I wish I could regain it. This is the story of the people who lost their lives in an alien desert bathed by the hideous radiance of a dead sun, and the love that was lost and the terror that wakes me up in a cold sweat about once a week, clawing at the sheets with cramping fingers and drool on my chin. It's why Mo and I aren't living together right now, why my right arm doesn't work properly, and I'm toiling late into the night, trying to bury the smoking wreckage of my life beneath a heap of work.

It's the story of what happened to the Fuller Memorandum, and the beginning of the end of the world.

Are you sure you want to carry on?

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 52 Customer Reviews
  • Posted May 28, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    a terrific pull no punches paranormal espionage thriller

    Needing to come in from the cold to update the paper work, demonologist Bob Howard is stunned when the top secret The Fuller Memorandum vanishes. As shocking, his dedicated boss Angleton, who could scare the sh*t out of God if there is one, also disappears at the same time. The management of Laundry assumes Angleton stole the highest classified dossier.

    Bob knows he must go back into the field to find the missing Fuller memorandum and what happened to his boss. He soon runs into angry Russian espionage agents, even angrier demons, and the moronic cult followers of the Eater of Souls who if they raise the evil one they will learn life lesson 101 that when it comes to the malevolent; they owe no favors as they will dine on the followers before moving on to the rest of mankind.

    The latest Laundry Files (see The Jennifer Morgue and The Atrocities Archives) is a terrific pull no punches paranormal espionage thriller as the action starts from the onset even with Howard musing about Jesus, Moses and the Dalai Lama in his usual irreverent scornful way. Fast-paced as Howard makes his inquires into the missing Fuller memorandum and his boss, and the lunatics who are trying to bring the end of the world to the world. Bod and Bourne never faced the adversaries Howard confronts; as he fears finding and not finding Angleton, and wants to avoid becoming the Eater of Souls' dessert.

    Harriet Klausner

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 30, 2014

    Another excellent work.

    Charles Stross has the amazing ability to take a Lovecraftian horror and mix it up with British spy novel and a good dose of nerd comedy. I love The Laundry Files and am looking foward to more of hos work.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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