cover art by Paul Youll


"Another entry... in Baker's superlative series about Dr. Zeus... An astonishing and thoroughly satisfying installment. What's more, Baker's overall concept and rationale, flawlessly sustained through five books, grows ever more spellbinding and impressive."

ook number 5 in the Company series finds Botanist Mendoza at a Dr. Zeus agricultural station in the deep past, where she has been marooned since that unfortunate incident in 1863 Hollywood. Undeterred by the fact that she seems to be going mad in her long solitude-- what else could be causing the disorienting temporal shifts she has begun to experience?--Mendoza is still patiently awaiting the return of the mortal man she has loved and lost twice.

n the day a stolen Company time shuttle from the twenty-fourth century crash-lands in her cornfield, Mendoza's patience is rewarded. The shuttle's pilot is Alec Checkerfield, the seventh earl of Finsbury, a young man of extreme height and unusual talents. He's a man on a mission with a grievance against Dr. Zeus Incorporated, and his early death is a certainty, thanks to the security device set to blow the stolen shuttle to atoms once he attempts to take it through time again. Mendoza is aware she could disconnect the bomb and, perhaps, prevent her lover's usual heroic demise. But should she? And after a night of passion, betrayal and sacrifice, the lovers part once again.

ut this is only how the story begins.

ith a brief detour to the year 1578, the action moves forward to the twenty-fourth century. In the year 2325, Alec Checkerfield is a remarkable if somewhat lonely little boy living on his parent's yacht in the Caribbean, and his life is about to take the first of the turns that will ultimately bring him to Mendoza's cornfield.

eanwhile, in the year 2350, at a cozy terrace house in London, three men employed by Dr. Zeus Incorporated have been given a black project that will test the limits of their peculiar genius. Can they create a new kind of Immortal? One more dedicated, less given to questioning the Company's orders than the Preservers and Facilitators who have been its slaves for millennia?

lec's struggle to solve the mystery of his existence brings about hideous tragedy. Desperate to atone, he goes in search of Mendoza once again. But first he must come to terms with two strangers who have abruptly appeared, to their surprise and consternation no less than Alec's, on the bridge of his ship...

lmost all the puzzle pieces are out of the box now. Real time travel at last, two-fisted (or even six-fisted) adventure, romance, rebels, cabals, crime and punishment.

nspirational elements in this one: the art of Don Maitz, the books of Robert Louis Stevenson. The deathless performances of Robert Newton and Wallace Beery. Roxy Music's Avalon, as heard in an endless tape loop one fateful evening long ago, in a bar on Catalina Island. Ralph Vaughan Williams's Flos Campi (the Song of Songs) and Five Mystical Songs, settings for the devotional work of the Elizabethan poet George Herbert. Thanks, boys.

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