"...Funny, heart-rending, terrifying, pellucid, Baker's magnificent series grows in stature with every installment."

Take a ride through time with the devil.

In Book No. 6 in the Company series, we meet Executive Facilitator General Labienus, last seen presiding over a hearing to determine the fate of the Botanist Mendoza. In a meditative mood after closing out her file, he reviews his interesting career.

His journey through memory is epoch-spanning, for Labienus is a very old immortal. Old enough to have watched pyramids built and empires rise and fall; old enough to have perfected the arts of intrigue and betrayal; old enough to have developed a lasting contempt for the miserable mortal creatures that imagine they are his masters.

But not too old to have kept a certain joie de vivre, or his sense of humor.

Labienus muses on his subversion of a Company black project designated ADONAI, which involved the remarkable destinies of two extraordinary mortals named Nicholas Harpole and Edward Alton Bell-Fairfax. Such a pity, he thinks, that these two boys couldn't have been put to better use...

Labienus considers also Aegeus, his despised rival, who has his own plans for seizing power from their mortal masters. The plans involve a fortuitous discovery Aegeus made, when rescuing a subordinate operative from an accident that befell him in sixth-century Ireland. The operative was Literature Preservationist Lewis; the discovery was a race of mortals hereafter known as Homo sapiens umbratilis, whose unique talents prove useful indeed to an immortal bent on ruling the world. Can Labienus turn this plot to his own advantage?

Labienus, for his part, plans a doublecross that will kill two birds with one stone: he will woo away Aegeus's promising protege, the Facilitator Victor, and at the same time dispose of a ghost from his own past who has become inconvenient. The Hugo-nominated novella SON OBSERVE THE TIME, telling this story, is included here in its entirety. (read an excerpt from that story here)

Betrayal, manipulation, debasement: Labienus is past master at the use of these tools of command. He can dispose of an inconvenient underling without a qualm, gleefully set in motion plots that will cost thousands of lives. And yet...

Beneath his still waters runs a dangerous current of sentimentality. And certain dark and sunken rocks of memory... for Labienus too was once a lost child, rescued to become the immortal servant of a dubious god.

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