Aimlessly Going Forward

blog by Tomas Sedovic

Season of Skulls by Charles Stross

book, review

4/5 stars

Season of Skulls is the third book in the Laundry Files spinoff New Management.

Eve Starkey’s worst nightmare becomes reality and she’s in bigger trouble than at any point in the previous books, really. The only way out seems to be to travel the Dream Roads that lead to a fictional 1816 where she ends up in The Village - an open prison for occult practitioners captured during the Napoleonic wars (I haven’t wathed the 1967 The Prisoner but it’s been an explicit inspiration).

She meets friends, find suspicious people and desperately tries to (a) set her life back under her control and (b) survive and escape.

Unlike the previous two novels, Season of Skulls is almost entirely focused on Eve. If expands on her character and past, giving her a much more rounded view. She’s still a deeply cynical individualist who’ll kill you with her tongue (or — more literally — with her sorceress mind). But she’s also more human than the firs book might suggest.

We learn about Eve’s past, including what made her the the calculating hyperefficient assistant (beyond patriarchy at the top exec levels I mean) and what really happened to Rupert.

Season of Skulls has welcome callbacks to both the previous New Management novels as well as the OG Laundry works.

It is also far less revolting than Quantum of Nightmares and just a really nice book to read — especially if you’ve enjoyed the previous two novels.

This review was originally posted at Goodreads.

Screenshot and link to the website for the Dose Response game

Hi! I wrote a game! It's an open-world roguelike where you play an addict called Dose Response. You can get it on the game's website (pay what you want!), it's cross-platform, works in the browser and it's open source! If you give it a go, let me know how you liked it, please!