Baker’s flip, hard-boiled voice offers a pleasant counterpoint to the ageless characters that inhabit The Company novels. In the 24th century, a mysterious entity known as Dr. Zeus, Incorporated (aka The Company) has discovered how to travel back in time. In order to save on the prohibitively expensive cost of time travel, The Company recruits young humans to undergo extensive surgical enhancement that transform them into immortal cyborgs to do their bidding through the ages.
Baker’s books offer both lucid prose and deft storytelling. She achieves the difficult task of delivering self-contained story arcs in each book while also enticing the reader to follow the thread of a longer-form plot, one that stretches from the dawn of humanity to the 24th century. Who are the mysterious forces behind The Company, and what is their eventual endgame?
In this installment, cyborg “Facilitator” Joseph embarks on an assignment in pre-Columbian Alta Calfornia. His job: to convince a Chumash village to abandon their ancestral home before white settlers wipe them out. To give his story credence, he appears to them as Sky Coyote, patron god of the tribe. Baker’s well-researched facts (she’s a native Californian and worked with the Living History Centre) lend verisimilitude to the fantastical story lines that might prove unbelievable in less skillful hands.