Take a ride through time with the devil.
In Book No. 5 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 is involved in a Company black project designated ADONAI, which involves the
remarkable destinies of both Nicholas Harpole and Edward Alton Bell-Fairfax, and may affect
the outcome of the battle for power in 2355 in a way even Labienus fails to anticipate.
We meet also Aegeus, Labienus's 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 that has become inconvenient. The Hugo-nominated novella SON OBSERVE
THE TIME, telling this story, is included here in its entirety.
Many questions are answered; more are asked. What is ADONAI? Who will win the struggle
in 2355, Labienus or Aegeus? What is Facilitator (and occasional god) Joseph's mission at the
palatial estate of millionaire William Randolph Hearst in the year 1933, and how is a dead
chihuahua involved, let alone the ghost of Rudolph Valentino?
And have we really seen the last of the Botanist Mendoza?
This is above all the story of the young lives changed by their encounters with Dr. Zeus,
the lost children rescued to become immortal servants of a dubious god, and the mortal children
who could not be saved.
Wicked Uncle Labienus has plans for them all...
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