In the Garden of Iden by Kage Baker

 

Science Fiction

In the Garden of Iden (The Company) In the Garden of IdenKage Baker; Tor Books 2005WorldCatDr. Zeus is a shrewd company. After a time machine is invented, the Company learns how to exploit the past. Supposedly extinct flora and fauna are rediscovered. New art works from an ancient master are discovered in odd places (like a chair back that was built around the work of a Renassaince master painter). Nothing can be transported into the future, so these items could not come to Dr. Zeus through the time machine. A different delivery system was devised.

Employees went back in time and found young children who fit certain physical and mental criteria. They were then claimed by these employees as servants, acolytes, or whatever cover story best suited, and taken away. Then these children become immortal to work for Dr. Zeus forever.

Mendoza is one of these children. She was saved from being killed in the Spanish Inquisition. She now is a botanist. Her first assignment is in the Garden of Iden in England. She travels as part of the contingent accompanying Prince Philip from Spain to marry Queen Mary shortly before Queen Elizabeth come into power. She already knows (from her Dr. Zeus schooling) what will happen. She will now see world politics up close even as they are separate from the court. Her job is to collect the flora that is going to be extinct over the next couple centuries.

Although she has trained to be a scientist, Mendoza now also has to learn to live with people – those mortals. She doesn’t completely see the purpose since they are alive a brief span of time – less than a century. She was hoping for a post in the wild New World. Now she is living what she only read about before. She discovers it isn’t as easy as she’d hoped. She can’t cloister herself away from people.

In the Garden of Iden is another one of those books where I scratch my head and wonder where the author came up with that idea. This is Kage Baker’s first book about The Company. Her world is fascinating.

This novel is not just a book about The Company, but a study in human relationships. It’s not easy being immortal with amazing physical powers but still having all normal human feelings and emotions. Mendoza’s first posting shows her just how difficult it really is.

In the Garden of Iden gives a good look at how people interact and the science fiction reader’s look at a possible past and future. Check it out.

Notice: Suggestive dialogue or situations

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