This is the third novel in what has become one of the most popular series in contemporary SF, now back in print from Tor. In the 24th century, the Company preserves works of art and extinct forms of life, for profit, of course. It recruits orphans from the past, renders them all but immortal, and trains them to serve the Company, Dr. Zeus. One of these is Mendoza the botanist. The death of her lover has been followed by centuries of heartbreak. She spends a period of time in early twentieth century Hollywood in the days of D.W. Griffith, and then Mendoza is in the midst of the Civil War, and runs into a man that looks disturbingly similar to her lost love. She is about to find love again, and be in more trouble than she could ever have imagined. At the publisher's request, this title is being sold without Digital Rights Management software (DRM) applied.
The tart-tongued immortal heroine of Sky Coyote returns in Baker's third installment of the Company series. Still reeling from the loss of her lover, the mortal Nicholas Harpole, who burned at the stake in 1555, Mendoza has been reassigned by Dr. Zeus Inc. (a 24th-century corporation) to an outpost disguised as a stagecoach station in Los Angeles's Cahuenga Pass in 1863. Mendoza and her co-workers are a funky bunch of immortals, all specialists in their own fields: finicky Oscar, an anthropologist, poses as a door-to-door salesman; Imarte, an acerbic historian, plays the whore; and Mendoza herself is an expert on extinct plant species. While the narrative unfolds at a languorous pace--the team collects its specimens, the occasional stage rides through--Baker's sinuous prose evokes well California's verdant countryside as it was before being buried under concrete and smog. The dialogue hums with a potent blend of bitchy barbs, humorous asides and pop cultural references. Baker mixes engaging and chilling moments in equal share, but her narrative only shifts into high gear near the end, when Edward Bell-Fairfax, a Victorian-era spy and genetic doppelganger of Mendoza's dead lover, wanders into the station and carries Mendoza off to bed. Although the novel's ending finds her alone again, Mendoza has by then moved from grief to a suitably ironic acceptance of life's troubles. Agent, Virginia Kidd. (Feb.)
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May 01, 2006
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