Kage Baker

The final book in the Company science fiction series.

Publication year: 2007
Format: print
Page count: 501
Publisher: TOR

This is the book where the series has been leading. I would recommend starting with the first book “In the Garden of Iden” rather than this one, if you haven’t read Baker before.

The book has multiple points-of-view. The main part is devoted to the Botanist Mendoza and her companions. These passages have a lot of wry humor and observations of domestic life. Unfortunately, I still find their situation more than a little creepy.

During the first half of the book we also follow a small girl who lives under a hill with Quean Barbie and her Uncles, and the stupids who live just to serve the others. The girl, who is initially called just Baby, finds a man who used to be a slave to the big people. But the man turns out to be alive, just hurt very badly. He’s Literature specialist Lewis who disappeared a long time ago.

We also follow Joseph who is busy freeing the old Enforcers and a couple of powerful Section heads, immortals who are poised to take over when the Silence starts. A couple of them want to destroy humans and one wants to protect humans. All of these powers have been building their powerbases and now, we finally see what will happen in 2355.

I felt the ending was somewhat too easy. Then again, we’ve been given so many hints and speculation about the Silence that I don’t know if anything would have been fully satisfying. It was certainly different from most SF (and fantasy) endings and Baker does weave all of the various plot threads together. Perhaps I was somewhat disappointed with just how cowering and ineffectual the human “master minds” are compared to the cyborgs they created. Of course, it was no surprise, because Baker has shown it plenty of times. Also, the more I see Alec, the less I like him and he has really taken over the series by now. But I thoroughly enjoyed the familiar immortals and their melodramatic ways, as usual.

The seventh book in the series.

Publication year: 2006
Format: print
Page count: 356
Publisher: TOR

“The Machine’s Child” continues from the cliffhanger at the end of the fifth book, “The Life of the World To Come”. At the end of that book something happened, which I didn’t know about and which I don’t want to spoil for any potential reader.

At the end of “The Life of the World To Come” Mendoza, the immortal cyborg botanist who was the main character in the first and the third book, was sent into a hellish place for rogue cyborgs where they are tortured forever. That place is situated in 300 000 BC. But Mendoza’s lover Alec and his companions have a time machine and they are tracking Mendoza to her jail. They manage to save her and the majority of the book is dedicated to Alec and Mendoza trying to heal each other and jaunting through time and Alec arguing with his companions. I really (mostly) liked the dynamic between Alec and his companions and the short vignettes of Alec and Mendoza in different times.

Unfortunately, the book also has a lot of things which I didn’t care for. Mendoza was hurt badly. In fact, so badly that Alec’s Artificial Intelligence (named Captain Morgan) has to rebuild her body. And he rebuild it as a fourteen year old girl. Mendoza has also lost her memory. Alec convinces himself (and his companions) that it’s best that Mendoza doesn’t remember her past. So he lies to her about her near past. But then he starts to lie more and more, about himself and about their shared past. I found this to be pretty icky. I started to hope that Mendoza would get her memory back and Alec would be held accountable for his lies. The longer this situation continued, the more uncomfortable I felt with it.

Also, I started the book liking Alec’s companions quite a lot (more than Alec) but then one of them makes a suggestion which was, well, beyond icky. And also I’m a bit puzzled as to why Alec is so enamored with Mendoza. One of his companions spent quite a lot of time with Mendoza so he could have fallen in love with her, but the other two have spent only a little time with her, so their almost instant adoration is a bit strange. Also, it was established in the fifth book that Alec (and his companions) have an almost magical ability to persuade others to do what he wants. So… is Mendoza’s love nothing more than reaction to that ability? Ick!

We also get to see some other immortals preparing for the year 2355 when the ominous Silence falls. Joseph is repairing his “father” and since he was the one who recruited Mendoza from the clutches of the Spanish inquisition, he thinks of himself as her father. So, Joseph is also trying to find Mendoza. Unfortunately, he blames Alec for ruining Mendoza’s life so he’s also trying to pay back to Alec. Both are trying to bring down the big bad, Dr. Zeus Incorporated.

Overall this felt like a yet another book whose main reason for existing is to prepare for the final conflict which should happen in the next book. And it ends with a cliffhanger!

The sixth book in the series.

Publication year: 2005
Format: print
Page count: 300
Publisher: TOR

The previous book, The Life of the World to come, furthered the series’s overall plot and the book ended in a cliffhanger. Sadly, this book doesn’t continue the story but instead explores a ruthless cyborg who is trying to build his own power base both in the human world and among his fellow immortal cyborgs. This book is a collection of short stories which have a framing story around them to knit them together. This framing story is about cyborg named Labienus who contemplates his works through the times. When I got over my disappointment that the story didn’t continue, I was able to just sit back and enjoy various cyborgs’ adventures through time. It is, after all, what attracted me to the series in the first place.

Executive Facilitator General Labienus is a very old cyborg. Before recorded history began, he set himself up as a god-king of Sumeria. He was called Enna-aru and he treated mortals cruelly. Still, they revered him and allowed him to enjoy a most luxurious life. In fact, Labienus longs to return to such times and resents the fact that after recorded history started, he has had to work from the shadows and among the stinking mortals. He would like nothing more than get back what he thinks is rightfully his. Like all cyborgs, he knows that something monumental will happen in the year 2355, when the Silence begins. The time traveling Dr. Zeus Incorporated doesn’t have any information about anything beyond this date. So, Labienus is planning his own coup to start in 2355 and needs to have everything in place by then.

The book is split between four different time periods by the framing story. In the first two parts, the short stories are actually of different time periods than the framing story. I greatly enjoyed most of the short stories but found the framing story to be a bit clumsy. In the short stories we follow the cyborgs Lewis, Latif, Van Drouten, Victor, and Kalugin when they are caught in Labienus’ web of lies. We also get to see a couple of unfortunate mortals struggling to understand the wider world than just their little monastery or garden.

The framing story is written in present tense while the short stories are written in the past tense and some of them use third person POV and a couple use the first person POV.

The fifth book in the series.

Publication year: 2004
Format: print
Page count: 392 + an excerpt of the Garden of Iden
Publisher: TOR

The book starts with an extract from Mendoza’s journal. She’s an immortal cyborg and the main character of the series. Because of what she did in a previous book, Mendoza in Hollywood, she was sent to Way Back When, also known as 150 000 BC, to grow vegetables to the wealthy tourists from the future. But Dr. Zeus Inc.’s efforts to confine Mendoza doesn’t work. A man in a time shuttle appears. He’s from the future but looks exactly like Mendoza’s lost lover Nicholas, from the year 1555, and like her other lost lover Edward, from the year 1862. Mendoza is now convinced that the three men are actually the same man and that he can’t be human. When the man, Alec Chekersfield , tells her that he’s on a quest to destroy Dr Zeus and he comes from the year 2351, Mendoza realizes that he will succeed. Dr. Zeus Inc is almost omniscient company which owns the secrets of time travel and yet, in 2355 the Company will become silent. Nobody knows what will happen after that year. Mendoza will do everything she can to help Alec. He has stolen the time shuttle and so Mendoza disables the shuttle’s self-destruct device and teaches Alec how to control the shuttle. Alec promises to return and vanishes back into the future.

That’s almost the last we’ll see of Mendoza in this book which focuses on the life and times of Alec Chekersfield, and the three men who created him.

Three idle rich men call themselves the Inklings Nouveau. They all adore history and re-enact it to the extent that they can, considering that most things are banned in the future (such as coffee, cheese, chocolate, alcohol…). They work for Dr. Zeus designing the cyborgs which the company uses. One of their previous designs have become obsolete and they are asked to design a new breed of Enforces. They start to design a new man which they call Adonai, a template, or an image of, King Arthur. They will try out this new man in various times to see how he will act. At the same time, we see quite a bit of this future.

Alec lives with his parents and their servants in a boat and even though his mother is cold towards him and his father is a drunkard, he’s early life is relatively happy. But then he has to move to London and everything changes. His mother gets a divorce and he doesn’t seen again. His father stays for a short while and then leaves. Alec is raised by the servants and his Pembroke Playfriend which is an AI. The AI is supposed to have strong moral rules and teach them to the child, too. However, Alec is able to get into the AI’s systems and turns off the AI’s moral code. Now, the AI’s primary goal is to keep Alec safe and happy.

Alec is a genius but the AI, named Captain, advises him to keep that a secret. With the AI’s help, Alec nurtures his instinctive grasp of computers and becomes a smuggler.

The future in this series is pretty bland, just like in the previous books. Almost everything is banned from touching children to walking barefoot on grass. Public health monitors are watching all the time and if anyone behaves illegally, he or she is sent to a hospital. Yet, when Alec and Mr. Lewin go to a museum, it has a statue of Nelson because he kept England free from Napoleon who wanted everyone to behave the same. Meanwhile England and US are trying to get all other countries to ban cheese and meat as well. There are two Mars colonies but nothing is said if they’re more free or not.

Alec tasted real freedom on the boat where he spend his early years and he has no problem later becoming a rebel and breaking all sorts of laws. By contrast, the Inklings Nouveau are far more timid lot, only hesitantly breaking minor laws, such as set a fire in a fire place or walking barefoot in grass.

I really enjoyed this one. It revealed the secrets around Mendoza’s lovers and continued the major plot.

The fourth book in the series.

Publication year: 2001
Page count: 298
Format: print
Publisher: TOR

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.

The third book about the immortal cyborgs who live through human history.

Publication year: 2000
Page count: 332
Format: print
Publisher: Tor

The Spanish Inquisition destroyed Mendoza’s family in the sixteenth century. Then employees of Dr. Zeus Incorporated, from the 24th century, made the child an offer to become part of something larger and wonderful. Mendoza didn’t really have a choice and so she was turned into an immortal cyborg who would live through human history and gather various items and see momentous moments. Mendoza is a botanist and she doesn’t really care for the company of people. She loathes mortal men and can barely tolerate fellow cyborgs. She fell in love with one mortal man when she doing her first mission as a cyborg. It was 1555 in England and Mendoza was very young. The man was Nicholas Harpole, a devoted Protestant, and things didn’t go well. Nicholas was burned at the stake and Mendoza is still haunted by his memory.

The book starts with a brief overview of Dr. Zeus and how the time traveling cyborgs can’t change known history but they can apparently interfere with the lives of unknown people and events. The story is told by Mendoza; it’s her statement to three people.

Mendoza has been living away from people for the past 150 years doing her botanical research. It seems that she’s been happy. However, now she’s been assigned to a more populated area: the outskirts of Los Angeles in 1862. She’s staying at a stage couch inn with five other immortals: the Facilitator Porfirio, Anthropologist Oscar, Zoologist Einar, Ornithologist Juan Bautista, and the Anthropologist Imarte. They’re a very entertaining group. Imarte works as a prostitute because that’s a good way to get men talking about their lives. Mendoza met Imarte before and they don’t like each other. Juan Bautista collects animals before he sends them on to Dr. Zeus and he also rescues a baby condor who then refuses to leave him, ever. Juan Bautista is also still a teenager and he loves his animals very much. Oscar is a traveling salesman and he strikes up a bet with Porfirio that he will be able to sell a very expensive pie cabinet. Unfortunately, the people living in the area are too poor to buy it.

In addition to being a zoologist, Einar is a film buff. The movie industry hasn’t yet started so Einar shows Mendoza the places where all sorts of things will happen in the future. He also arranges viewings for various old films. We also get to know how the others became immortal. Oscar even has a mortal family, his baby brother’s family, and he’s trying to keep them safe.

The first two thirds of the book is about Mendoza getting to know these people and getting comfortable with them. She gets nightmares about Nicholas and she’s producing “crome radiation” during them. The plot doesn’t really kick in until late in the book even though there are a few mysterious events before that. These are probably part of the longer storyline.

The book has a lot of showing rather than telling but that didn’t really bother me, except when Mendoza describes nine hours long movie and her companions’ reactions to it. I was seriously thinking of just skipping it. On the other hand, I thoroughly enjoyed it when Oscar told us about his family and Einar told about a strange bar in LA. Maybe it’s because I used to be a Wild West fan in my teens and I’m still somewhat of a history buff.

Mendoza in Hollywood is similar to the previous book, the Sky Coyote, in that there doesn’t seem to be a plot as such, but more like a character study of the various immortals. Luckily, I found that fascinating. In fact, I’ve ordered the rest of the series since the Finnish library system doesn’t have any of Baker’s books.

My last review to the Curled up with a Good Book -site during 2009: Kage Baker’s the Empress of Mars.

Fun, light-hearted science fiction.
4 stars from 5

The second book in the Company –series and part of my 2nds challenge.

This time the main character is Joseph who is one of the oldest immortals around. He was made into an immortal in the Stone Age. The previous book’s main character, Mendoza, is a secondary character here.

Joseph has been assigned among the mortals for a quite a long while. His latest job is as a Spanish Jesuit. However, at the start of the book, he’s being reassigned. At first, he spends some free time at New World One which is one the Company’s places hidden from mortals. Even though the year is 1599, the people in New World One have every luxury imaginable from modern drinks to water toilets. Joseph enjoys his time there fully although the melodramatic director Houbert is a bit too enthusiastic about arranging entertainment for all no matter if the all what to participate or not. The immortals are served by Mayans who think the immortals are gods.

After a couple of weeks, Joseph is reassigned to further up north, to the place which will be California later. He, and a group of other immortals, are to relocate a tribe of Chumash Indians to the future and to safety from the invading white people. In order to save them, Joseph has to masquerade as the trickster god Coyote who seems to be a sort of champion for the tribe although definitely not all-knowing or even good all the time. He gets implants from the Company and introduces himself to the Chumash.

Most of the story is Joseph’s experiences with the tribe who seems to be fairly prosperous and quite advanced in trade relations. They aren’t stupid or naive, though. Joseph enjoys spending time with them because they remind him of his childhood and youth in the Stone Age. I was amused by how Baker had decided to make the dialogue quite modern and so the Chumash had Canoemakers’ Union and United Steatite Workers alongside with shamans.

There’s also an interesting subplot about the Company. Apparently, none of the immortals are allowed to travel into the future beyond the year 2355. The humans say that this is the start of the glorious golden years but the immortals have their own, darker, thoughts. Also, the oldest immortals have disappeared over the years. Technically, they cannot die but Joseph hasn’t seen any of the Neanderthal immortals for centuries. They seem to be very loyal bunch but not very easy to blend into the crowd anymore. Also, we see some of Joseph’s memories about Budu who recruited him. Some time ago, Budu was arrested and Joseph hasn’t seen him since. I hope Baker will return to these plotlines later.

The Alta California base is run by humans from the future and there’s a stark contrast between the two bases. The New World One is a decadent place where the immortals drink and party all night and can indulge their every vice. In AltCal, the humans are strict vegans, don’t drink, and are deathly afraid of germs from a less civilized time. They impose these limits to the immortals as well. Also, the future humans don’t care for culture, even pop culture, and don’t even understand metaphors. The future doesn’t look very promising.

The plot isn’t really an adventure story. Instead if focuses on the Chumash society and also the differences between the immortals and their bosses from the future. But I tend to like that, from time to time. In fact, I’d like to read some more books like that.

Joseph’s way of coping with outliving mortals is that he makes a point to not to get involved. Not in people and not in ideas. As far as he’s concerned, they are all transitory. I think that’s a good way to cope, at least in the surface, but how long can anyone live like that? It might also make a character boring in the long run. We’ll see.

Overall: a good continuation. I already have the third book.

Edited by Ann and Jeff VanderMeer

To celebrate the Talk Like a Pirate Day, Night Shade Books graciously gave me a review copy of this short story collection about science fiction and fantasy pirates. It’s been on my to-get-list for a while so I was happy. It contains 18 stories from talented writers.

“At least part of the current fascination with pirates, including our own, has to be about freedom, frontiers, a yearning for adventure and a desire to explore exotic locales.” So starts the VanderMeers’ introduction and I fully agree. The stories in this collection are very much about freedom; about the need to be the master of your own life and fate, and to be free of the demands of the society. There are also quite a few exotic locales as you might expect from a SFF collection.

All of the stories are good but some of them stand out to me:

Elizabeth Bear’s and Sarah Monette’s Boojum is a story about Black Alice Bradley who is the newest recruit aboard the alive Boojum spaceship Lavinia Whately. The Boojums eat other spaceships no matter if they are other Boojums or made of steel. The crew finds very interesting cargo aboard the ship they pillage.

In Kage Baker’s I Begyn As I Mean to Go On two runaway slaves are rescued by a pirate ship and they end up having to sign on to the crew. After they pillage a Spanish ship, a dying sailor tells them about his treasure but it turns out to be less traditional than the pirates had hoped for.

Howard Waldrop’s Avast, Abaft! is a humorous tale about the Pirate King who is fleeing the HMS Pinafore. Both crews enjoy singing very much.

In Katharine Sparrow’s Pirate Solutions, three young coders drink rum one night and bite down on the bones at the bottom of the bottles. They find out about their destinies, or previous lives, as pirates. They are determined to bring the tactics of the pirates to the modern world and so they sail away from their current lives.

Paul Batteiger’s A Cold Day in Hell is set above the frozen sea where ships run on skates. The commander of the Ranger and the Jane, one English Leftenant Drake, is chasing the dread pirate Captain Frost.

Naomi Novik’s Araminta or, The Wreck of the Amphidrake is set in an alternate world with working magic. Lady Araminta is a headstrong young woman who is sent to the Colonies to marry and settled down. But on the way, pirates attack.

In Garth Nix’s Beyond the Sea Gate of the Scholar-Pirates of Sarsköe two men are looking for pirates in order to get them to storm the stronghold of the legendary Scholar-Pirates. Both of them are masquerading as pirates themselves: Sir Hereward as Martin Suresword, the Terror of the Syndical Sea and Mister Fitz as Farolio a living puppet down on his luck. Fitz is in fact a puppet which has been brought to life by magic. However, it seems that the duo bit off a bit more than they can chew when they meet Captain Fury of the Sea-Cat.

The stories were surprisingly different: sailing ship, spaceships, airships, skateships, living ships… One of the stories is written as a logbook and other as memoirs which were interesting techniques that worked well. Two of the stories were about pirate ships’ cooks. Some of the captains were intelligent gentlemen and some evil bastards but all of them were colorful.

Very good collection.

This book is part of my reading lists of both 1st in a series and ebooks. I got my copy from Tor.com last year when they were giving out ebooks for free.

When technology is sufficiently advanced, people have only one enemy left to conquer: death. Both in the sense of making people able to live forever, and bringing back extinct animals and plants. Dr. Zeus (also called the Company) is a company of which specializes on beating death. They have managed to invent time travel but noticed that history can’t be changed. Or to be more precise, known events can’t be changed. But plenty of stuff can be done undercover so to speak.

Even though you can’t just travel back in time and make sure a certain plant or animal species doesn’t die, because that is already known history, you can go back, take samples and regrow them again in the future. I was, of course, very interested in the implications of this: what happens if previously generally unknown journals are found? Will those events then become unmutable or have they always been because they have been recorded although not in general circulation? And can you travel forward in time? Are events there just as unmutable because they are history to someone further “up” in the future? What happens when the perceived history is wrong? In other words, who decides what is “recorded history”?

Alas, this book doesn’t answer my questions. In the Garden of Iden is the story of a young woman who has been dubbed Mendoza. Because when another Immortal saves her from the dungeons of the Spanish Inquisition when she’s very young, she doesn’t even know her own name.

The Immortals are a group of people whom the Company has transformed to work for them. Forever. Because the Company thought it wouldn’t be cost effective to transport their own people throughout different times, they thought up something else. Immortality treatment, which makes the subjects virtually unkillable, strong, fast, smart cyborgs, works successfully only on very young children. So, the Company recruits kids from different time periods, takes them forward in time to be treated and educated, and finally puts them to work as operatives around the age of eighteen. In addition to being taught art, science, and history, the operatives are also taught that mortals are vicious and Immortals are perfect. This is, of course, not true. Mendoza has been trained as a botanist.

After training Mendoza is sent for a year to Spain in 1554 has to establish her persona among the mortals in preparation to traveling to England next year in a party of two other Immortals. One of them, Joseph, is supposedly her father and the other, Nefer, is Mendoza’s duenna.

The year in Spain goes by rather uneventfully. In contrast, England is wet, cold, and full of hostile seeming English people. Queen Mary is trying to turn Protestant England back to Catholic and the Catholic Spaniards aren’t really welcome. However, the three Immortals have prearraigned to stay in the house of Sir Walter Iden. Iden’s gardens are famous for having all sorts of bizarre, rare, or historical plants, animals, and things. Among them are purported to be both the Sword of Roland and a unicorn. Mendoza has work to do there with the rare plants while the zoologist Nefer just has to wait for her next assignment.

However, very soon Mendoza meets tall, dark, and dour Nicolas Harpole and falls madly in love with him. While romantic relationships between mortals and Immortals are officially frowned upon, in practice they are tolerated and sometimes an Immortal even has to wed a mortal to further the local role. Of course, the older Immortals caution Mendoza that the relationship will eventually end in heartbreak. Mendoza, of course, doesn’t care. However, Nicolas himself is a zealous Protestant who isn’t really taken with a Catholic girl. At first, at least.

The vast majority of the book is a historical romance which was quite a surprise. I’m sure that the fans of that genre will enjoy the book. I was rather impatient to get back to the science fiction parts. However, there were some sci-fi elements sprinkled throughout the book. The Immortals take with them all sorts of equipment disguised as local things. The Immortals can also talk amongst themselves without the mortals hearing. They even have a radio station which broadcasts current events when and where ever they are, and mortals can’t hear that one either. I would have loved to get more information about the secret infrastructures the Immortals have underneath the mortal societies. The secret infrastructure seems to be quite large but of course they have had time and knowledge to set it up.

There’s a mention that at least some, the eldest, of the Immortals just live through their lives from the moment they are left back to history to the distant 25th century of the Company. However, the Immortals in this book, at least, seem to move back and forth from time and place to another time and place, and also from the Company back to earlier times.

This book seemed a bit too long for me; the romance parts could have easily been cut to half. (Although I’m sure romance readers would disagree. :)) However, I’ve heard that the second book is better and the narrator there is Joseph, who seems to be quite a bit older than Mendoza, so I’m rather curious to read it.