I’ve just read of the death of sci-fi writer Kage Baker and am moved to write and sing the praises of her Company series of books. I don’t know who or what led me to pick up her first novel of the Company series In the Garden of Iden - not being much of a science-fiction or fantasy reader. It was probably the notion of time-travel, of someone juxtaposed into the 16th century.
I found reading nirvana – that holy trinityof interesting characters, ingenious story, and loads of rollicking action – this was a book (and then luckily a series of books) to get pleasurably lost in.
This review from Dayid Soyka on the SF Site explains the series well:
Kage Baker’s latest in her series of stories about the Company, a mysterious 24th century conglomerate that recovers lost artifacts from the past. Salvage operations are performed by a network of immortal cyborgs — surgically-created humans recruited as children (the process is not suitable for adults) throughout the eons — on the scene of various disasters to recover items just before, say, the Alexandria Library burns down or the San Francisco earthquake hits. Thus, the paradox of time travel — whether going back in time can cause events that will change “the present” — is sidestepped by using agents who are “of the time,” though the time of their existence lasts for centuries, and who are careful not to alter the known historical record.
Phew. But the way Kage writes, it’s not gimmicky at all – there is clarity and cleverness. And characters … what characters! Our main protagonist Mendoza is a young woman from the time of the Spanish Inquisition who is charged with preserving botanical specimens. And I am utterly in love with the male hero and his various incarnations – Nicholas Harpole/Edward Alton Bell-Fairfax – and can’t help but envisage someone intense and delicious like Christoper Eccleston playing him in a movie.
The Company series finished recently, but now it looks like Not less than gods has added to the story.
So rest in peace Kage, you’ve given this reader immense pleasure, and I’m just one of many who’ll miss your creations. Luckily the ones you given us are here to stay.
- Books by Kage Baker