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Bob Howard (?) from The Atrocity Archives paperback

Bob Howard is the protagonist of The Laundry Files. Howard is not his real name, but is derived from his code name HOWARD. [citation needed] He references his own middle names in The Jennifer Morgue as Oliver Francis, making him Bob Oliver Francis Howard, giving the acronym BOFH, or Bastard Operator From Hell.

Starting from The Fuller Memorandum, the Laundry books are presented as his memoirs, written on Angleton's insistence that Bob's "institutional knowledge" should be preserved in the (likely) event he were to be permanently unfit for Laundry duty. In The Apocalypse Codex Bob theorizes his experiences will serve as some kind of training manual for rapidly inducing field agents once CASE NIGHTMARE GREEN hits the fan.


Recruited to the Laundry after nearly landscaping Wolverhampton by accident when creating a real-time rendering algorithm that used a logical shortcut which turned out to be an open and un-grounded summoning grid.

Bob initially is introduced as a Technical Computing Officer, grade 2[1] and has been with The Laundry for four years prior to the events of The Atrocity Archives. He has a degree in Computer Sciences, and was contracting for the Department of Transport when he hacked into secure files linked back to The Laundry's work - his infiltration was detected and he was forcibly recruited.[2]

After recruiting, Bob begins a stratospheric (if reluctant) rise through Laundry hierarchy, doing field work under James Angleton and a wrestling his way through a variety of line managers. Some blend of luck, survival instinct and geeky skill enables him to remain (so far) not permanently indisposed to perform his duties (which include speccing structured cable runs, maintaining office equipment and banishing class 4 excursions that may end the universe as we know it)

Over the course of his adventures, he meets Dominique 'Mo' O'Brien, whom he saves from death (repeatedly). Fortunately Mo appreciates this enough to return the favour several times, a fact which greatly helps their romantic involvement along.


Entangled with Ramona Random during the events of The Jennifer Morgue. Supposedly entangled with Angleton after a botched summoning ritual with the Eater of Souls.


  1. p41, The Atrocity Archives, Orbit, 2011
  2. P44, The Atrocity Archives, Orbit, 2011