In the Garden of Iden
Tome Doherty Associates, 1997, 329 pages, Science Fiction
Deftly written, this is a simple tale of a girl’s first love woven into a much more complex story of historical intrigue, religious fervor, and time travel. The Company is a powerful organization from the future that claims to use its immense resources to save rare works of art, and extinct flora and fauna, thus preserving a better future. They did this at first by traveling back in time, but now the Company recruits people from the past by saving orphans, turning them into immortal cyborgs, and then sending them out into the world, under-cover, to do the Company’s work.
Mendoza is one such person. She was saved from the pits of the Spanish Inquisition in the 1530s. On her first mission, she is sent to England during Queen Mary’s bloody reign. Mendoza’s mission is to collect samples of an endangered holly bush that has properties to cure cancer from the garden of Sir Walter Iden. There she meets and soon falls in love with Nicholas Harpole, a proud Protestant in a time when the Catholics have regained their power in England. Mendoza wants nothing more than to be with Nicholas but as a Company operative she cannot meddle with his fate. However, love can make people do desperate things.
The first in a long series, this is a fascinating read with interesting characters and discussions on religion, morality, and responsibility to future generations. Another book to try if you are interested in Sci-Fi and Historical Fiction is The Doomsday Book by Connie Willis