The sixth book in Baker's compelling Company series introduces readers to executive facilitator General Labienus, an immortal cyborg plotting to rule the world. In a series of vignettes taken from previously released stories, Labienus meditates on his long and varied career and plots his next move. He was a god-figure of the ancient world, present at the earthquake that razed San Francisco, and the mastermind behind a 21st-century act of biological warfare that wiped out a large portion of the world's armed forces.

As Labienus carries the reader along through the maze of his memories, fans of the series will recognize various mysteries starting to unravel: the origin of the top-secret Company project Adonai, the fate of prehistoric cyborg enforcer Budu and the many ways in which the Company has manipulated the development of human civilization.

The vignettes that make up the bulk of this book are fascinating, whether or not the reader is familiar with the complex backstory, as immortal cyborgs observe and influence humanity from the dawn of time and into the far future. The Hugo-nominated novella "Son Observe the Time," a heartbreaking tale of the destruction of San Francisco through the eyes of one Company operative, makes up one such interlude. Series devotees will find themselves at once enthralled by the revelations scattered throughout the work and intrigued by the new riddles couched in Baker's skillful prose. (Nov., 304 pp., $24.95)
Reviewed by: 
Jen Talley Exum