The fourth book in the series.
Publication year: 2001
Page count: 298
Lots of spoilers for the previous book, Mendoza in Hollywood!
At the end of the previous book the Botanist Mendoza was sent far away. Two other immoral cyborgs, Joseph and Lewis, are searching for her. Joseph recruited Mendoza from the dungeons of the Spanish Inquisition and Lewis has apparently fallen in love with her. In addition to having some fatherly feelings toward Mendoza, Joseph is driven by guilt. For a long time, he has known that something is wrong. The cyborg who recruited him, one of the really old ones named Budu, has also disappeared but Budu gave Joseph a file first. Joseph has been too afraid to access it but now he’s forced to do so and he’s afraid of the information he finds there.
The story starts in Hollywood 1996. In the previous book Mendoza and another cyborg, Einar, were thrown forward in time from 1863 to 1996. This should be impossible but it turns out that Mendoza produces Crome particles which enable time travel. But she can’t control it.
Lewis witnesses Mendoza and Einar being sent back to 1863 where they are suppose to be. The Company doesn’t tell Lewis much about it but he investigates on his own. This is dangerous because he’s defying Company’s orders not to do so and the Company can and does monitor the cyborgs all the time: they have been engineered to send a continuous data stream to the Company. Lewis contacts Joseph who has accidentally gotten on his hands a device that can short circuit the data stream for a day. Joseph and Lewis question the last immortal who saw Mendoza. Later, Joseph questions another of the group who was stationed with Mendoza.
However, it takes a long to find out any clues about where Mendoza is and what else the Company is hiding, especially because it has to be in secret. The story takes place in 2025, 2142, 2225, and 2275. Lewis and Joseph meet and compare notes. We also find out a lot about the changes in the world. By the way, while the story jumps forward in time, the characters live through the years normally (if that’s the word for immortal cyborgs).
Between each jump forward in time, there’s an interlude called “Joseph in Darkness” where he talks about the search, about his motives and feelings and about the changes in the world. To other people they probably feel like infodumps but I was fascinated. We don’t, of course, know the details about how most of the world became vegetarian, for example, but I enjoyed the broad strokes, too.
Lewis is a Literature Specialist, not a secret agent. He becomes fascinated with the mortal man, Edward, who looks just like Mendoza’s first (and only) mortal love. Who was burned at the stake in 1554. In 1863 Mendoza left her post and killed mortals because of Edward. Lewis becomes convinced that Edward is some sort of Company tool, somehow living for centuries even though he’s suppose to just a mortal. Eventually, Lewis starts to write a book where Edward is one of the central characters. We also get to know his back story.
Joseph is a more serious character. He doesn’t actually want to be in danger but in the end, he feels too guilty about not find Mendoza and Budu earlier. He’s lived a long time and he doesn’t have a high opinion on humans.
The book has quite a lot of humor. In the future alcohol, tobacco, chocolate, and animal products have been made illegal and so the cyborgs do their best to indulge while they can. They can’t actually get drunk but chocolate produces the same kind of effect. So, there’s a scene where Lewis and Joseph are in a chocolate bar, drinking hot chocolate and eating chocolate, and the waiters wonder why they behave like they’re drunk. Lewis even snorts chocolate powder up his nose.
The previous books have hinted that the Company is doing pretty awful things but here we witness some of them first hand. Apparently, they’ve even taken a hand in human evolution. When humans still lived in caves, there was a large cult who killed anyone who tried to invent anything new. The Company decided that the cult should be exterminated and created a race of huge, aggressive cyborgs to essentially kill other people. Unfortunately, after a while they became too inconspicuous and the Company couldn’t have that. Unfortunately for the Company, the cyborgs can’t be killed so the Company had to something else with them. It seems that the Company don’t value the cyborgs as individuals but just for the work they do.
And then there’s the ominous year of 2355 when the silence starts.
The Graveyard Game advances the big plot a lot which was great. Mendoza isn’t seen in the book at all.