the Little Red Reviewer

Posts Tagged ‘thieves

Gods and Pawns by Kage Baker

published in 2007

where I got it: purchased used

.

.

.

.

I’ve been trying (and not always succeeding) to read Kage Baker’s Company books in the order of publication.   Which meant next up was Gods and Pawns, which was  published in 2007.   The series starts with In The Garden of Iden, a novel that completely broke my heart into a billion little pieces. Then came Sky Coyote, in which I fell a little bit in love with Joseph even though he is a complete asshole. Or at least, I thought he was an asshole until I met Porfirio, now that guy is a piece of work.  The Company books get darker and darker the further you read in the series, and yet Baker’s writing style is full of humor and wit, so you’re laughing at the same time.  With all the research that went into these novels and short stories much of her work reads a little bit like Tim Powers, that of course these crazy things didn’t happen . . . but no one can prove that they didn’t….

 

Gods and Pawns is a collection of short stories that take place in the Company world. Similar to her collection In The Company of Thieves, these mostly light-hearted short stories are excellent entry points into Baker’s Company world.

 

What is The Company? In the future, time travel is discovered. However, you can only travel backwards in time, and recorded history can not be changed. The owner(?) of The Company sends operatives back in time, where they take in orphaned children and turn the children into immortal cyborgs who are now employees of The Company.  For the cyborgs, it’s a post-scarcity life – they never need to worry about money, or a job, or a roof over their heads. The job security is great because they are immortal. But what are they working towards? What is the point of finding and then hiding all the valuable paintings and manuscripts and gems in the world for some future you may never see? Is this a good gig? Is it slavery?  What’s the retirement policy like?

 

I have condensed and vastly oversimplified Baker’s amazingly complex world. If you enjoy long running space opera series with fantastic writing, time paraxodes (paradoxii?) horrible secrets, lots of dark humor, all written by an author who is a genius at playing the long game, this is a great series for you.  If you’re not sure if that is something you’d like, the short stories are a great place to start.  For more information, and possibly epic spoilers, checkout the Company reread that Stefan Raets did at Tor.com last year.

 

While I was disappointed that Mendoza doesn’t star in a larger portion of the stories in Gods and Pawns, I was happy to see my favorite side character, Lewis, get the spotlight.

 

Surprising nobody, my favorite short story in Gods and Pawns is the Lewis/Mendoza story, “To The Land Beyond the Sunset”, in which our two immortal operatives act as mortal guests of a family of supposed gods.  Mendoza is excited about the rare plants she finds on their property, and Lewis is trying to figure out how exactly these people are related to each other, and why they seem so ignorant. There’s also the whisperings in the walls of a secret family member who keeps getting moved around the villa so the “visiting mortals” can’t see him. There’s the expected humor in this story, Mendoza and Lewis are immortal, and do have what could be construed as godly power. And this lonesome family appears to be underfed, ill-informed, living in a ramshackle villa, and not godly at all.  Everyone is playing a role, it seems.  Mendoza’s first discovery makes me hope these people die a horrible death for what they are doing. The next discovery makes me feel so terribly sorry for them.

I always imagine Lewis looking like Cyril from Archer.

Read the rest of this entry »

In the Company of Thieves, by Kage Baker

Published November 2013

where I got it: received review copy from the publisher

.

.

.
.

.

.

.

.

.

.

I’ve been a devotee of Baker since reading her The Anvil of the World, a hilarious fantasy adventure novel. Then I read the first company novel, In The Garden of Iden, and I fell in love with her dry humor, her snarky immortals, and the innocence of a new hire who never asked for any of this. Kage Baker is one of those authors who should be on the shelf of any speculative fiction fan.  Once you read her, you’ll understand what all the fuss is about.

In the Company of Thieves is a collection of six Company stories, many which were previously published, including The Women of Nell Gwynne, Rude Mechanicals, and Mother Aegypt.  Kage Baker was very close with her sister Kathleen, and each story has a very short introduction by Kathleen, giving some background about when or why it was written, sometimes why Kage was drawn to that location or plotline. The Baker sisters grew up in California, so many of the stories take place in some of Kage’s favorite places in California. The final story in the volume, Hollywood Ikons, was finished by Kathleen after Kage’s death.

Not sure what Baker’s “The Company” is?  The best summary I can find for The Company is on the blurb for the book, so I shall borrow it:

“The Company, a powerful corporate entity in the twenty-fourth century, has discovered a nearly foolproof recipe for success: immortal employees and time travel. They specialize in retrieving extraordinary treasures out of the past, gathered by cybernetically enhanced workers who pass as ordinary people. or at least try to pass. . .

There is one rule at Dr. Zeus Incorporated that must not be broken: Recorded history cannot be changed. But avoiding the attention of mortals while stealing from them? It’s definitely not on the company manual”.

Immortal cyborgs stealing stuff? Historical fiction? Madcap adventures and tricking dumb mortals?  Where do I sign up?

Rude Mechanicals – Anytime recurring Company characters Joseph and Lewis show up, you know trouble and hijinks are on the horizon. A Shakespearian comedy of errors, the story takes place in 1930’s Hollywood. Lewis is working as an assistant and translator for the famous German director Max Reinhardt, who is directing and producing an outdoor version of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Joseph has been tasked with acquiring Reinhardt’s notes for The Company, so it’s a good thing Lewis is an expert forger. To complicate matters (and by complicate, I mean create hilarious situations for the reader to enjoy!), Reinhardt keeps digging up trees to make his set look better, and his earthworks are getting way to close to a particular buried treasure that needs to stay buried for a little while longer, as per Company request. Comedy of Errors ensues, with a secret diamond getting passed off as costume jewelry, getting actually stolen, and actually gotten back. Lewis makes the perfect “straight man”, a guy who just wants to do his job, not get fired, and get some damn sleep. Joseph on the other hand, thinks this is the most fun he’s had in centuries!

Read the rest of this entry »

the spirit thiefThe Spirit Thief, by Rachel Aaron

published in 2010

where I got it: the library

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

The entire internet has been afire about Rachel Aaron’s Eli Monpress series for a while now, and it’s no secret I’ve a major weakness for thieves in fantasy environments, so how could I resist a story about the greatest thief ever?  The first volume wasn’t exactly what I expected, but surprises are always a good thing, right?

The infamous thief (and wizard!) Eli Monpress is certainly the focus of the story, but we learn about the world through Spiritualist Miranda Lyonette. She’s been sent to the Kingdom of Mellinor to keep Eli from stealing an important artifact.  Lucky for us, she’s rather unsuccessful in her mission, otherwise this would be a very short and rather un-fun book.

Upon her arrival at Mellinor, Miranda finds that Eli has completely ignored the artifact and has instead kidnapped King Henrith and is holding him for ransom.  Out of the woodwork steps the King’s brother, Prince Renaud, who claims the throne for himself and convinces everyone that Miranda is secretly working for Eli and against the kingdom.  As Miranda unravels what’s going on, she’ll have to choose which is more important: following the rules, or doing the right thing.

Miranda is a court-trained Spiritualist, which means she’s made binding agreements with the spirits she works with. She offers them physical protection and a portion of her own energy, and in turn she can use their magic upon request. It’s a very formal agreement, and she’d never think of using a spirit against its will, or hurting it in any way.  Wizards who go against their training, who take advantage of the strength of spirits, are known as enslavers, and should be destroyed at all costs.

Eli’s relationship with spirits is completely different. He doesn’t offer protective contracts with them, but he doesn’t force them to do anything either.  He just talks to them, almost as if they were just other people he was having a conversation with. He’s certainly not a spiritualist, nor is he an enslaver. The Spirit Court isn’t sure what to make of him.  And that’s just one reason why there’s a huge bounty on his head.  Eli Monpress, the man who steals everything that’s not nailed down, and when he wants something that’s nailed down, he convinces the nails to give him a hand.

Read the rest of this entry »

Hi Everyone, welcome to the second week of our The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch read along!  we’re starting to get into the meat of the story, and many games are afoot. People are starting to die, mob bosses are taking evasive actions, and even the Right People are running scared.  this section of our read along covers chapter three Imaginary Men through the interlude called The Boy Who Cried for a Corpse, and this week’s questions were provided by the lovely nrlymrtl over at Dark Cargo.  Be sure to be  a friendly blogger this weekend and head over to Dark Cargo and comment on her Lies of Locke Lamora post. Lots of other fun stuff over at DC as well.

Some folks mentioned last week their editions didn’t have a map. here ya go, bigger version available at Lynch’s website. while you’re there, check out his live journal. . .  he’s been posting some nifty behind the scenes goodies as well!

Be warned, there be spoilers ahead.  Those wishing to avoid said spoilers should probably not click the “more” button below, as my answers and some other fun stuff is below the jump.  Leave your link in the comments or e-mail or tweet it to me, and I’ll add you to the link list below.

just discovering this read along and want to get involved? no problem! just comment on this post that you want to be added to the sooper seekrit mailing list, and it shall be done. 😉

on twitter?  use #lynchmob.   but not @lynchmob.  that’s someone else.

here are this week’s discussion questions:

1) Do you think Locke can pull off his scheme of playing a Midnighter who is working with Don Salvara to capture the Thorn of Camorr? I mean, he is now playing two roles in this game – and thank goodness for that costume room the Gentlemen Bastards have!

2) Are you digging the detail the author has put into the alcoholic drinks in this story?

3) Who is this mysterious lady Gentlemen Bastard Sabetha and what does she mean to Locke?

4) Are you as creeped out over the use of Wraithstone to create Gentled animals as I am?

5) I got a kick out of child Locke’s first meeting with Capa Barsavi and his daughter Nazca, which was shortly followed up in the story by Barsavi granting adult Locke permission to court his daughter! Where do you think that will lead? Can you see these two together?

6) Capa Barsavi is freaked out over rumors of The Gray King and, in fact, us readers are privy to a gruesome torture scene. The Gray King is knocking garristas off left and right. What do you think that means?

7) In the Interlude: The Boy Who Cried for a Corpse, we learn that Father Chains owes an alchemist a favor, and that favor is a fresh corpse. He sets the boys to figuring out how to provide one, and they can’t ‘create’ the corpse themselves. How did you like Locke’s solution to this conundrum?

Make sure you visit these other wonderful conversations:
Nashville Bookworm
Rose’s Thingamajig
Dark Cargo
Tethyan Books
Kaitharshayr’s Musings
Paperless Reading
Scruffy Fiction
All I Am: A Redhead
Lynn’s Book Blog
Numbers, Words and Ramblings
Booky Pony
Books Without Any Pictures
Just Book Reading
My Awful Reviews
Coffee Cookies and Chili Peppers
Beware of the Froggies
Lisa Pizza / A Blog thinger
Realbooks4Ever
Genkinahito’s
Felix Pearce
the Hugo Endurance Project
The Bente Way of Life
SF Signal

NEW!!!

Updates to the Theory of Everything

Read the rest of this entry »

Hi Everyone!  Welcome to our first weekend discussion of The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch. As resident cat herder for this first section, I got to come up with the discussion starters. This discussion covers from the beginning of the book through the Interlude entitled “Locke Stays for Dinner”, as per the reading schedule. We’ve just met our characters, and we’re getting to know the island nation of Camorr – run by  a Duke, but really run by the criminal underground, if you get my drift.  We’re just beginning to get an inkling of what’s going on, and it’s already a wild ride!

participating? awesome!  Leave a link in the comments to your discussion post in your blog so everyone else can find you. In fact, as the weekend progresses and more posts come up, I’ll be adding links to the bottom of this post. So check back again, and see what new discussions have gone up!  while you’re at it, check out Scott Lynch’s live journal, for additional fun tidbits.  Cuz he’s just nice like that.

not participating, but want to join in on the fun? Just say so in the comments, and I’ll ad you to the sooper seekrit list of goodies.

on twitter?  use #lynchmob (until we offend someone, that is).

Here are this week’s discussion starters:

1. If this is your first time reading The Lies of Locke Lamora, what do you think of it so far?  If this is a re-read for you, how does the book stand up to rereading?

2. At last count, I found three time lines:  Locke as as a 20-something adult, Locke meeting Father Chains for the first time, and Locke as a younger child in Shades Hill. How are you doing with the Flashback within a flashback style of introducing characters and the world?

3. Speaking of the world, what do you think of Camorr and Lynch’s world building?

4. Father Chains and the death offering. . .  quite the code of honor for thieves, isn’t it? What kind of person do you think Chains is going to mold Locke into?

5. It’s been a while since I read this, and I’d forgotten how much of the beginning of the book is pure set up, for the characters, the plot, and the world. Generally speaking, do you prefer  set up and world building done this way, or do you prefer to be thrown into the deep end with what’s happening?

6. If you’ve already started attempting to pick the pockets of your family members (or even thought about it!) raise your hand.

my answers after the jump!

check out other discussions here:

Nashville Book Worm
Dark Cargo
Rose’s Thingamajig
Felix Pearce
Books Without any Pictures
Lynn’s Book Blog
Geeky Daddy
Scruffy Fiction
Vilutheril Reviews
Booky Pony
Tethyan Books
Paperless Reading
Beware of the Froggies
John Ayliff
My Awful Reviews
Just Book Reading
Kaitharshayr’s Musings
All I Am – A Redhead
Realbooks4ever
Coffee, Cookies and Chili Peppers
Travels through Iest
Logan K Stewart
Hugo Endurance Project
Lisa Pizza
Dark Cargo Explorer
Genkinahito’s Blog
SF Signal
Musings of a Bibliophile
the Bente way of Life

Updates to the Theory of Everything **NEW! ***

Read the rest of this entry »


Follow me on Twitter!

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 1,849 other followers

Follow the Little Red Reviewer on WordPress.com

Archives

Categories

FTC Stuff

some of the books reviewed here were free ARCs supplied by publishers/authors/other groups. Some of the books here I got from the library. the rest I *gasp!* actually paid for. I'll do my best to let you know what's what.