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    THE GRAVEYARD GAME by Kage Baker

    Harcourt, Inc. 2001

    Throughout time, a mysterious organization called 'the Company' has been acting, saving lost species, lost art, lost literature and occasionally lost people. It has created a race of immortals who monitor history and are, in turn, monitored by their superiors. Yet something strange has been happening. Immortals are, well, immortal and should not disappear--should not be able to disappear. Two immortals wonder what happened to Mendoza (major character in earlier Kage Baker novels (see more reviews of novels by Baker)), and then enbark on a search that winds through the centuries.

    Lewis, a literature preservationist, and Joseph, a 'facilitator' discover that the Company is not the virtuous and united organization they thought it was. It seems torn by factions, some intent on the destruction of human life, some willing to make bargains with any devil in exchange for knowledge, and some looking for ways to destroy the immortals that it, itself, has created. With every peeling back of the onion, more layers of lies are revealed. What, exactly, is the company and why has it lied to its own agents about its origins?

    The strengths of THE GRAVEYARD GAME come from its wonderful creation of the Company and the immortals, and from the meticulous descriptions of the changing face of modern history through which Joseph and Lewis wander. Civilization is transformed again and again with some of the most noble human desires backfiring into repression and destruction. Lewis and Joseph are both appropriately paranoid, although perhaps a little more careless than their tens of thousands of years of life would have made them. Lewis's obsession with Mendoza and her lost English lover drives the story but is not fully characterized. Rather than investing the reader in Lewis's quest, Baker allows the reader to remain distanced, viewing Lewis as an obsessive rather than a hero.

    THE GRAVEYARD GAME is hard to put down. Both the story concept and the descriptions of civilization are excellent.

    Four Stars

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