I had long enjoyed the idea of Charles Stross, I had watched a few talks with him and I have been greatly enjoying several urban fantasy series at the moment so it seemed a good chance to give him another try. I had tried reading the first of the Laundry files before but hadn’t quite managed to get into it, and having heard talks where he talked about the New Management books I felt that was an appealing idea – though at the time I hadn’t realised they were in the Laundry Files universe, as the universe had moved on from the first one.

Welcome to Britain under the New Management! The Prime Minister is an eldritch god of unimaginable power. Crime is plummeting as almost every offense is punishable by death. And everywhere you look, there are people with strange powers, some of which they can control, and some, not so much.

I had expected this book to be about the political machinations of having an eldritch god as the prime minister but in actuality it’s more of a backdrop and is mentioned more in passing than concentrated on.  

The stories concentrate on a gang of criminals who use magic to steal in order to finance a cyberpunk movie version of Peter Pan, in fact the criminal gang share similarities with and are referred to as the Lost Boys. The other characters are Wendy, a local ex-policewoman who is now a private Thief-Taker and who is tasked with tracking them down, and Eve Starkey and Rupert de Montfort, de Montfort is a billionaire scumbag who is keen to get his hands on a powerful book of magic and hires Eve to get her hands on it. There is more to all aspects and characters than meet the eye.

You don’t need to have read the Laundry Files to read these but I think it would definitely give you an extra insight. The book is written with humour and the plot is a bit of a romp. I really enjoyed this and I did find it easier than the Laundry Files to get into (though I have now restarted reading them and am getting on much better this time round). The relationships that unfold between all of the characters help to flesh out the story and also help to explain how magic in this universe works. I liked the world and the use of Lovecraft’s Elder God’s was fun. In terms of characters I found Eve the most interesting and I think that if there is a complaint it may be that I feel she’s the one who got the majority of the character development and I feel like we didn’t really get to know any of the Lost Boys and Imp. But we learned a little about Wendy and more about Eve. I did have a bit of fun trying to work out who Rupert was based on as I feel that he may the authors opinion on someone, or maybe its just that type of privileged millionaire that Stross dislikes.

All in all I really enjoyed this and it has encouraged me to not only read the rest of this series (reviews coming soon) and to go back and start the Laundry Files. Stross build an interesting world and the magic works in an interesting way. The humour and style of the book is what makes it so readable for me though there were a few things that were brought up like they may be important or at least significant in some way that never really went anywhere and, even the film itself that they are desperate to make seems to have got lost somewhere. I enjoyed the Bonds and I liked the fact that it was Rupert’s own private joke that named them and that they lived up to it by driving the Aston Martin, but in the end I wasn’t really sure what the point of him was. Small gripes aside though they are very enjoyable.

If you enjoy urban fantasy and like it with a bit of humour then this is definitely worth a read and if you have tried Stross before but not got on with it then this might be a good starting place, it has certainly encouraged me give Stross another try, and so far I haven’t regretted that choice.

User Reviews


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *