The final Company novel -- in which all is finally revealed, in which Mendoza's millennia-long suffering is proven to not be for naught, in which Dr. Zeus finally gets what's coming to him --is a compulsively readable tour de force. Baker manages to pull together the varied plot threads into a cohesive whole in one of the best books of the year.

The Silence is fast approaching and with it, the many factions within the Company have begun to make their final moves, moves which will determine the final course of humanity. Chief among them -- of course -- is Mendoza and one of her true loves, the revived Victorian superman Edward Alton Bell-Fairfax, along with their entirely unexpected allies. Also moving on the chess board are Budu and Joseph, Suleyman, Victor and miraculously, Lewis, who was believed to be dead.

These disparate forces will all converge on July 9, 2355, on what will be humanity's most memorable and important day -- and will set the stage for a glorious and free future for everyone. (Tor, Jul., 432 pp., $25.95)
Reviewed by: 
Natalie A. Luhrs