Howard's Reviews > Gods and Pawns

Gods and Pawns by Kage Baker
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Mar 03, 09

Read in March, 2009

I have been utterly absorbed by the Company novels and even got my wife, who normally does not read sci-fi, to leap frog ahead of me in reading the series. That said, I approached with trepidation because the book is a series of short stories that fills out character development and plot lines in the ever-growing, complex fabric of the Company epic. Two other books in the series takes this approach, with somewhat mixed results. Boy was I pleasantly surprised to find this one of my favorite company books. Baker peeks into scenes across time of our favorite side characters from previous stories, such as Lewis and Porforio, and lovingly explores their flaws and virtues. By drawing us in with these affectionate portraits, she engaged me more successfully than the other novels in the moral ambiguity of the books' premise - an eternal race of human-born cyborgs manipulating civilization for a profit-making company in the distant future. Kage explores the cyborgs who deal with their condition as both a pawn and a god by drawing on human paths to meaning - love, family, art and grief. These may not make their ultimate complicity in company action redeemable, but I think Kage makes the case well that these are things worth living for even in our very short lives as mortals.
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