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In the Garden of Iden (Company) Paperback – 23 Jan 2006


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Product details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Tor Books; New edition edition (23 Jan. 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0765314576
  • ISBN-13: 978-0765314574
  • Product Dimensions: 14 x 1.9 x 21.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 470,046 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Amazon Review

In 16th-century Spain no-one is surprised, what with the Spanish Inquisition and all it entailed, if they are carted off to the dungeons on trumped-up charges. What 5-year-old Mendoza, on the brink of being tortured as a Jew, is totally unprepared for is to be rescued by the Company--the ultimate bureaucracy of the 24th century--and made immortal. In return, all she has to do is travel through time on a series of assignments for the Company and collect endangered botanical specimens. The wisecracking, mildly misanthropic Mendoza wants nothing to do with historical humans, but her first assignment is to travel to England in 1553--uncomfortably close to those damn Inquisitors--with Joseph and Nefer, two other Company operatives. Their intent is to gather herb samples from the garden of Sir Walter Iden, a foolish though generous country squire. (Kage Baker knows her Shakespeare: Sir Walter is the descendant of Alexander Iden, loyal subject of Henry IV, who slew the hungry rebel Jack Cade in that very garden in Kent.)

The cyborg trio poses as Doctor Ruy Lopez, his daughter Rosa (the irrepressible Mendoza, now grown) and her duenna, Doña Marguerita; Sir Walter's hospitality and discretion are bought for the promise of restored youth. (There are hilarious moments that call to mind the Coneheads, who claimed to be from France when caught doing anything peculiar.) Sir Walter's secretary, Nicholas Harpole, is immediately suspicious of and hostile towards the strange "Spanish" visitors, which prompts Mendoza to fall in love with him. Nicholas has his own badly kept secret: he's proudly Protestant at a time when Queen Mary and Philip of Spain are on a catholicizing rampage. Mendoza knows Nicholas is probably doomed, and that as a Company operative she cannot meddle with his fate, but love makes people do desperate things. Baker surpasses even Connie Willis in humour and precision of period detail in this fresh, ingenious first novel. --Barrie Trinkle --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

"A savoury if there ever was one. The period details is delicious. What a treat. A beautiful writer." Cecelia Holland"

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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By David Roy on 23 Oct. 2003
Format: Mass Market Paperback
In the Garden of Iden is Kage Baker's debut novel of "The Company." It's a science fiction novel set in the 1550s, during the reign in Britain of Queen Mary. Baker's fluid style is a joy to read and her transformation from "modern" English to Renaissance and back to modern is wonderful. This is a marvelous debut and I can't wait to read more in the series.
I've loved Kage Baker's work ever since I read her stories in the various Year's Best Fantasy books, and I was eager to dive into a novel written by her. It was definitely worth the wait. Her prose style is wonderful and she seamlessly changes dialogue depending on who's talking, thus giving us the dialect of the time alongside the modern phrasings of a group of cyborgs honed by time travelers. I'm not expert enough to tell whether or not she gets the Renaissance dialogue right, but she certainly makes it feel right. It really makes you feel like you are there listening.
Another thing Baker avoids, for the most part, is making the romance cloying. While there were a few times where Mendoza and Nicholas became annoyingly written, most of the time this was turned on its head by a choice comment from Joseph (the leader of the expedition and Mendoza's recruiter) or something else happening. She doesn't overwrite the romance scenes and she deftly "fades to black" when the sex scenes are about to start. Thus, while the novel definitely has some adult themes, there are no actual scenes that should keep kids away from the book. Instead, she writes two adults who love each other deeply but know that there are some serious potential problems that might get in the way of that love.
The concept of the Company is very interesting.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By John M. Ford TOP 500 REVIEWER on 4 Jun. 2011
Format: Paperback
Little Mendoza may be the only one in 16th century Spain who doesn't expect the Spanish Inquisition to be all that bad. Our fiery-tempered child heroine was innocent, after all, when they swept her up with the pagans who were planning to sacrifice her. Before she can experience their harsher attentions, Mendoza is rescued and given a new life as an immortal who will spend centuries working to preserve the treasures of history.

Mendoza's employers are time travelers from the far future who rescue children in mortal danger. The children are made immortal and prepared for service in the Company. The Company becomes rich in the future by "rediscovering" extinct species and lost treasures tucked away by Mendoza and her colleagues throughout the centuries. In return, the Company provides long life and access to the amenities of the future--such as chocolate and air conditioning.

Mendoza's first assignment is to infiltrate Elizabethan England and obtain rare plant samples from the botanical garden of Sir Walter Iden. Readers get an on-the-ground view of this period in England's history. We also feel the excitement and pain as Mendoza falls in love with a mortal who, no matter how she tries to avoid it, must someday die.

The author's writing skill endows the love-lived characters with a weary wisdom. Responding to Mendoza's sarcastic references to reincarnation, a team leader ten thousand years her senior snaps, "It's realer than you think. There are only so many personality types among mortals. They just use the same ones over and over. Zealots like your Nicholas keep turning up, and every time they do, they make trouble for everybody." What might it mean to have thousands of years of experience with human personality?
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Format: Paperback
I remembered reading some short stories regarding Ms. Barker's Dr. Zeus world, and so picked up this book. Smart move. Fast paced, amusing, with a very interesting premise and consistent internal logic, this story of cyborg immortals sailing through the ages to rescue the really IMORTANT things (works of art and rare strains of holly...) is one of the most enjoyable books on my shelf. The only reason I gave it 4 stars and not 5 is because I felt the plot was a bit rushed at places - me want more exposition!!!
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Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
It's hard to find an original voice and ideas in modern SF, but Baker shows them in this book. Yes, there are no spaceships; deal with it. Instead there are characterization, and some interesting ideas about history and what our attitudes to it should be, and a plot driven by the tension arising out of these. The next book in the series, Sky Coyote is even better, but it helps to have read this one first.
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By Mrs. S. E. Tudor on 21 Aug. 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Loved this. Second time I have read it and still just as entertaining and insightful. Themes from this seem to be in lots of more recent films etc, didn't realise Kage Baker was so influentiak.
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