A second novel of the Company, following Baker’s fine debut, In The Garden of Iden (1998). Dr. Zeus, Incorporated, invented time travel and immortality in the 24th century, and thus owns the world: thanks to their foreknowledge of the future, the Company’s faithful, immortal operatives can make all the right investments, rescue species from extinction, and grab artworks about to be lost to history. Now, in 1699, an entire village, Humashup in California, is to be preserved. Though hunter-gatherers, Humashup’s Chumash tribe have already invented Big Business—along with unions, sweatshops, and various sharp practices; they believe, tolerantly, in sky gods. So Facilitator Joseph (he’s 40,000 years old, and has served in Egypt, Athens, and Rome) will be surgically altered to pass for Sky Coyote, the Chumash trickster god. Sky Coyote will persuade the villagers to cooperate in the forthcoming upheaval, wherein they’ll all be shipped off to an earthly paradise, along with their possessions, lifestyle, and beliefs. There are problems, though: the Chumash are threatened with invasion by some ruthless, monotheistic neighbors; and Joseph’s superiors, mortals from the 24th century, are prudish, ignorant, and childlike, though he does come to recognize that they have admirable qualities too. Most worrying of all is the future. Beyond a barrier in the year 2355, everything is shrouded in mystery. Utopia is supposed to begin then, but Joseph isn’t so sure; conspiracy theories abound, and anyone who voices dissent soon vanishes, never to be seen again. Indeed, Joseph carries in his head an encoded file given him by an old friend, containing information about what’s really going on, but he’s never dared to decrypt it. An agreeably subversive, sometimes hilarious entry: Baker’s Company is still impressive, but here she’s more or less lost the plot.