Nenia Campbell's Reviews > In the Garden of Iden

In the Garden of Iden by Kage Baker
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's review
Mar 06, 14

really liked it
Read from May 18 to 19, 2011

Mendoza was a child during the Spanish Inquisition, rescued before she could be executed by a mysterious organization called The Company (aka Dr. Zeus Inc). They "adopt" orphans throughout history and genetically engineer them to be immortal cyborgs, which they send on business trips through time to collect extinct/endangered specimens of plants and animals to be used in the future (their present).

This particular book in the series takes place in Tudor England. Mendoza and her colleagues are refugees from Spain who are taking up residence in England under the protection of Sir Walter Iden. The mission is a way for Mendoza, now a botanist, to collect plant specimens from his exotic garden, which features a wide variety of flowers and herbs that The Company wants for use in the 24th century. However, Mendoza is still very young, and she falls in love with a member of Walter's employ; Nicholas. His thinking is well advanced for his time, almost as advanced as that of the cyborgs, and Mendoza is fascinated by his mortality. She finds him interesting, similar to but not in the same way as the plants she studies so carefully.

It's touching as you realize that she's falling in love.

I love the mix of futurism and history. Time traveling is one of my favorite sub-genres of science fiction and Kage Baker does it exceptionally well. She also brings up a lot of fascinating ethical and religious issues, but she does it without being preachy. Mendoza's voice is also phenomenal; she comes across as being both innocent and achingly wise. You can tell her colleagues find her naivete refreshing, endearing, and frustrating, since she is so new to the concept of immortality that she hasn't yet realized exactly what it means, and hasn't grown as jaded as her colleagues.

God, this book was just so amazing. I was completely taken by surprise, as it was so much... well, more that I was expecting. More historical, more interesting, more scientific, more meaningful, more romantic, more human. More everything. Truly a gem among gems in the speculative fiction section. I absolutely cannot wait to check out the rest of the series!!
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