I found Martin Seay’s The Mirror Thief in the course of helping a library user learn how to download ebooks. I grabbed it as a random example from our Mystery & Thriller category and the blurb intrigued me. It’s a three-timeline story about 1) a vet home from Afghanistan trying to find an old gambler friend of his father’s in 2003 Las Vegas, 2) a homeless teenage grifter looking for the poet who wrote a book he’s desperately trying to understand in 1950s California and 3) an alchemist in 1500s Italy arranging the theft of mirror-making artisans for the Hakemi Sultan in Constantinople.
The three settings (the Venetian, Venice Beach and Venice) felt distinct in style of story and language, but connect reasonably satisfactorily. It wasn’t mind blowing but it was entertaining.
I feel like I should read something non-science fiction soon because it seems I’ve been on a bit of a tear here. Too bad though, because In the Garden of Iden is a Kage Baker book about immortality, time travel and the idiot romanticism of being young.
So the protagonist of the story is Mendoza, a young girl who’s rescued from the hands of the Inquisition back in the 16th century and is turned into an immortal genius botanist working for an ominous megacorporation from the 24th century called Doctor Zeus (which I alternated between pronouncing like Seuss and Zaius; I don’t know which is correct) to preserve things that history records as having gone extinct but will be found in weird isolated niches all over the planet. That’s the setup.
Mendoza’s in 16th century England posing as the 19 year old daughter of a Spanish doctor (which is convenient because she is 19 – the workers for the company don’t travel through time any differently than the rest of us, at least not in this book), trying to preserve these extinct plants with awesome medicinal properties no one’s noticed yet and she falls in love and there are complications.
There’s a lot of neat tech and anachronism in the book but my favourite part is how appropriate the ending is.
So yes, very cool book. Timetravel, immortality, romance and religion. What more do you need?