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The Machine's Child (The Company) by Kage Baker
Review by Harriet Klausner
Tor Books Hardcover  ISBN/ITEM#: 0765315513
Date: 19 September, 2006 List Price $24.95 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Official Info /

They find Mendoza at a company facility Options Research in 300,000 BCE a place where the immortal Marco tries without success to destroy immortal operatives Zeus no longer has use for. They are able to rescue what is left of Mendoza then she is regrown in a hyperbaric chamber immersed in bioregenerat liquid. When she is restored her memories are faulty and she has no memories of the horrors that were going on in Options Research. Morgan wants Alec to become an immortal and though he believes he doesn't deserve that gift he accepts it for Mendoza's sake. Mendoza doesn't know that Alec shares the memories of Edward or Nicholas nor does she remember loving them. All four personalities have been hurt by Dr. Zeus and they create and carry out a plan that will take down the company in the future. In the meantime, Morgan is searching the database to find Alec's DNA template which is needed to make him an immortal. While operatives in the future are beginning to be aware of how evil Dr. Zeus is, Mendoza's father claims Alec kidnapped her for his own nefarious purposes.

The Machine's Child takes place directly where the Children of the Company leaves off. In this novel, Mendoza is not the main protagonist partly because her memories are faulty and she has gained an innocence that makes her seem more childlike and easily led. The three personalities in Alec's body vie for control and Edward emerges as the strong conniving one while Nicholas is a weaker person who finds his faith doesn't sustain him in his new life. Alec is wracked by guilt for allowing Dr. Zeus to maneuver him into killing thousands of men women and children. Alec’s sensitivity will endear him to the readers but it is Edward and the AI who are the controlling personalities.

There are some very light-hearted moments in Kage Baker's latest work as the totally different personalities constantly bicker and argue about the most inane subjects. The time travel ship moves to many countries in many eras as they stash weapons and other items to be used in the future in their attempt to overthrow the Company. When an immortal operative visits Options Research and sees the horrible things that Marco does, he tells all the immortal agents in the future and gathers those who want sanctuary into his enclave. They are getting ready to take on Zeus in a different manner than Mendoza and company is. Readers will cheer that the field agents finally waking up to see Zeus for what it really is and that is exactly what happens in The Machine's Child.

The author has written a story that fans have long waited for: the beginning of the end of Dr Zeus's tyranny. For the purposes of this story, the author has deliberately made some characters weaker and others more dominant but that is a necessary device to steer the storyline towards a new focus. The audience will end the book feeling very satisfied yet eager to read the next installment to see what the characters do and to find out if their plans bear fruit.

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