I think this is the beginning of "The Company" series; I have read only this book in the series. I love the way Kage Baker wrote. (Sadly, she died in 2010.) She spends more time on characterization and believable dialogue than most SF writers. This is a story of a child plucked from Spain of the Inquisition and trained by the Dr. Zeus Corporation ("the company"). It was a bit vague to me how the Company made its money, though apparently it is from bringing back extinct species of plants and animals that have vanished from our future (but pretending to "find" them in obscure corners of the modern world). Why other companies don't do the same, or how the time travel technology came about or how the Company keeps its secret is never explained--but that hardly interfered with an engrossing story of a newbie Company Agent scouting a Tudor garden for precious plants, and her tragic first love. The historical details are fascinating and, I assume, accurate. The narrator handled the various accents and archaic language gracefully, and I seriously enjoyed the book.
Truthfully, I got so tired of the constant and overwhelming beating of one point (God is a doesn't exist, religion is futile, all religious people are hypocrites and evil) that I thought this writer must have gotten all her instructions from Philip Pulman (His Dark Materials). The proselytizing of the Humanist Manifesto here almost overwhelms the potential of the plot and the cooler sci-fi elements of the story. And, she also almost kills a few good points she was making (zealotry and ignorance - no matter what their purpose) combined always make for bad results.
Once I was able to get past that, I was able to enjoy the very humanness of the main character and the quirkiness of her accompanying party. There is humor and some good observations of human nature in the book - as well as lots of thoughts being seeded for the later novels. The actual writing itself is well done, provides plenty of context and illustration without being overdone.
If it's available, it would be the next book - Sky Coyote. Alas, it seems like this author loves to put herself into heavily religious contexts, with that in mind, I may just read the summary on wikipedia and move on to the later novels.
Janan's performance was one of the saving graces of the book. She's good (though there was a bit of a problem with some of the accents - in fairness - there were lots) and her voice is melodic and believable and she can pull off the male voices and give them more subtlety than many a male reader provide for the female characters.
Yes. It inspired me to try and understand why wonderful writers and people with such vast imaginations can't imagine the possibility of God in the universe. It doesn't make sense to me that people that can contemplate the vast possibilities of the future, technology and so forth can somehow not consider the fact that God may exist. This staggers me considering that we don't know more than 4% of what the universe is made up of (though who even knows what we really don't know?) that smart people can out of hand reject the possibility.
I'd look for the reader again, not sure I'll look for the author again.
I discovered Kage Baker looking for authors similar in style to Jack Vance. Can't say I detect the similarity.
As for the story. The narration is superb. Raouf has a great emptional range and her diction is clear and compelling.
The story itself is labored in places, but Baker raises some interesting points extremely well. Her premise (that immortals work amongst us mortals and that they too question the meaning of life) works well, but she gets a bit bogged down in romance and religious hysteria.
If you enjoy this book then I recommend Jill Payton Walsh's Knowledge of Angels.
I was delighted to see Kage Baker's Company novel, "In the Garden of Iden" on Audible ! Am hoping to see the whole series done, plus her books of short stories about the Company.
Thank you, Blackstone Audio!
It's about time audible had "the Company" novels. This is the first in the series, and works well as a stand alone, so don't worry that they don't have the rest of them yet.
I expected a lot from this book when the immortal time travelers were described—statted out, if you will—but there was no delivery. The characters spent the whole book hiding in a house instead of doing cool immortal time traveler stuff. The performance was good, except for a few too-quiet and too-loud moments, and the dialog is funny; the performer is really good at expressing emotion. Baker is good at switching between modernized badinage and old-timey thys and thous.
Ok story but I just couldn't get into it. Would have done better to get more into the history of the times experienced.