The first in a new set of novels, set in the same world as the author’s Company series.
Baker (The House of the Stag, 2009, etc.) is known for her series about The Company, a shadowy 24th-century group that uses time-travel and immortality-granting technology to obtain precious artifacts from the past. The original series’ story arc culminated with The Sons of Heaven (2007), so Baker has embarked on a new series to explore some of its characters more closely. Here the author lays out the back story of Edward Alton Bell-Fairfax, a genetically engineered Company operative who first appeared in Mendoza in Hollywood (2000). The brilliant Edward is born into privilege in 1824 England. In his 20s, he meets the mysterious Dr. Nennys, who says that Edward was created to be part of a secret organization, possessed of amazing technology—and that Edward has important work to do. The novel’s adventurous Victorian setting, full of anachronistic technology from automatons to night-vision goggles, is reminiscent of steampunk—and fans of that popular subgenre may find much to enjoy. Still, it’s readers already familiar with Baker’s previous Company works who will get the most out of this fast-moving novel.
A fine addition to Baker’s Company mythos.