THE JENNIFER MORGUE by Charless Stross. Urbana, IL; Golden Gryphon Press; 2006. 1st edition hardcover.
When he's not trying to save the world from unearthly horrors, Bob Howard — an agent for the British supersecret organization known simply as The Laundry — has time sheets to complete and field liaison meetings to attend. (And don't get Bob started on how much he despises corporate PowerPoint presentations!)
In The Jennifer Morgue, Lovecraft meets Ian Fleming in this highly anticipated new "Bob Howard" adventure from Charles Stross, author of the 2005 Hugo Award-winning novella "The Concrete Jungle."
In 1975, the CIA made an ill-fated attempt to raise a sunken Soviet ballistic missile submarine from the depths of the Pacific Ocean. At least, "ill-fated" was the information leaked to the press. In reality, the team salvaged a device, codenamed "Gravedust," that permitted communication with the dead — the very long dead. Enter Ellis Billington, glamorous software billionaire, who has acquired Gravedust by devious means. Billington plans to raise an eldritch horror, codenamed "Jennifer Morgue," from the vasty deeps, and communicate with this dead warrior for the purpose of ruling the world. Worse still, he's prepared occult defenses that can only be penetrated by one agent walking a perilous path.
But James Bond doesn't work for the Laundry. Instead, they send Bob Howard, geekish demonology hacker extraordinaire. Bob must inveigle his way aboard Billington's yacht, figure out what the villain is up to, and stop him. But there's a fly in Bob's ointment by the name of Ramona Random — a lethal but beautiful agent for the Black Chamber, the U.S. counterpart to The Laundry. Billington's yacht is docked in the Caribbean, and Her Majesty's Government is not allowed to operate in this area without an American minder. The Black Chamber has sent Ramona to ride shotgun on Bob, but Ramona has her own agenda that conflicts with her employer's . . .
Bob and Ramona become entangled (literally), and are then captured by Billington and used to further his insidious plot. But let's not forget Bob's significant other, Dr. Dominique "Mo" O'Brien, also an agent of The Laundry, who has been trained especially for this mission. Can these intrepid agents stop Billington from raising the dead horror and thus save the world from total domination? The Jennifer Morgue takes the reader on a wild adventure through the worlds of Lovecraft and Ian Fleming, non-Euclidian mathematics and computer hackerdom — sort of like Austin Powers, only more squamous and rugose — with fast cars and faster women.
In addition to the novel-length The Jennifer Morgue, this volume also includes an added bonus story, "Pimpf," featuring agent Bob Howard in the world of virtual gaming, along with a thought-provoking Afterword entitled "The Golden Age of Spying."
Cover art by Steve Montiglio.
Praise for Charles Stross's previous Bob Howard adventures:
"In The Atrocity Archives, Stross's genius lies in devoting fully as much time to the bureaucratic shenanigans of the Laundry as he does to its thaumaturgic mission. What with all the persnickety time-charts and useless meetings Howard has to deal with, it's a wonder the world gets saved at all.
— The Washington Post Book World
"Much of the action is completely nuts, but Stross manages to ground it in believability through his protagonist's deadpan reactions to both insane office politics and supernatural mayhem."
— San Francisco Chronicle
"Some writers play with archetypes. In The Jennifer Morgue, Charlie Stross makes them sing, dance, and do the dishes for him. A bravura display of intelligent action and real human characters amid eldritch menaces!"
— S. M. Stirling, author of the Island in the Sea of Time trilogy
". . . The Jennifer Morgue, Charles Stross's Lovecraftian sendup of James Bond. It's even better than the first in the series, The Atrocity Archives — and part of that won the Hugo!"
— Charles Brown, publisher and editor-in-chief, Locus Magazine, February 2006
"[Stross has] raised the stakes, taking his story well beyond any kind of 'gag,' both incorporating and transcending his material in one of the most enjoyable novels I expect to read for a while . . . The Jennifer Morgue is the first essential book of 2006 and the Golden Gryphon edition is pretty much perfect."
— Jonathan Strahan, editor of the annual Best Short Novels anthology series
"I started reading [The Jennifer Morgue] at Philcon (after buying it there), where Charlie was the Guest of Honor . . . It's the sequel to The Atrocity Archives, though this one is more of a James Bond parody. . . . (Both are semi-serious, and show that Stross is the one and true heir of H. P. Lovecraft.) I love them to death; they're my favorite Stross books, and this one is even better than Archives."
— Andrew Wheeler, Senior Editor, (US) Science Fiction Book Club
Fine in fine dj. 1st printings are OP from the publisher. Has gone into a second printing.