I went into this book really not knowing what to expect. It had been sitting in a stack of books next to the recliner in our living room for months, since my fiance had picked it up on a whim and left it there, to be read at some point. So when I came across a news item a week or two ago that the author, Kage Baker, was very ill, I went and picked up the novel and started to read. Time travel Science Fiction, to be honest, is not usually my thing, so I’m not sure I would have read it on my own. This would have been a huge mistake.
I guess I’m trying to give some context to my feelings about the book, because I whole-heartedly loved it from page one, had trouble putting it down, and almost didn’t sleep a few nights for wanting to read more.
In the Garden of Iden is Baker’s first novel, and the first in a series about The Company; scientists who discover the process of immortality and time travel, and create immortal agents from history and use them to preserve antiquities that would have otherwise been lost. Baker’s writing brings humor and sweetness to the drama of immortal agents and the tricky moral questions about the Company’s purpose. I liked the romance and didn’t feel like the science or the reality of the situation ever took a backseat once it was introduced, rather it fit in with the story and added another dimension to the dilemmas of Mendoza, the main character. I am so excited that there are more books for me to read in this series.
I wrote most of this post on Friday, and left it over the weekend while I continued to think about the book and what I liked. Yesterday morning, Kage Baker passed away. I am so sorry for the loss to her friends and family, and to her fans.
I consider myself incredibly lucky to have finally read this book, knowing that there are more Company novels for me to devour, but at the same time I am so incredibly sad that there will be no more when I am done. 15 novels, short story collections, and novellas in this story, plus Baker’s other works, will certainly keep me reading for quite a while, and yet I am still feeling bereft: there should have been more. Thank you, Kage Baker, for what there is.