cover image Not Less than Gods

Not Less than Gods

Kage Baker, . . Tor, $25.99 (319pp) ISBN 978-0-7653-1891-6

The ninth Company novel (after 2007's The Sons of Heaven ) introduces Edward Bell-Fairfax, a child of mysterious origins who gradually discovers that he's not quite like ordinary people. Born to an unmarried aristocratic mother, raised by distant foster parents, and spirited away to boarding school by the sinister Dr. Nennys, Bell-Fairfax serves an unhappy stint in the military and afterward is inducted into the Company of scientists and spies. Using messages from the future and Charles-Babbage-meets-Maxwell-Smart “technologia,” Bell-Fairfax travels Europe with his mentor, Ludbridge, attempting to swing the Crimean War in England's favor and learning in the process that achieving utopian goals requires a great deal of dirty work. Plenty of cloak-and-poison-dart action gets the reader through the exhausting Victorian nomenclature (the Aetheric Transmitter, the Ascending Chamber) and discourses on the evils of misused technology. (Mar.)