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Read The Graveyard Game (2005)

The Graveyard Game (2005)

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3.96 of 5 Votes: 2
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0765311844 (ISBN13: 9780765311849)

The Graveyard Game (2005) - Plot & Excerpts

The Graveyard Game is easily my favourite Company series book to date. The story starts with Literature Specialist Lewis’s reaction to Mendoza’s mysterious time-bending visitation from the last book, Mendoza in Hollywood. Lewis’s immediate reaction is to contact Facilitator Joseph, the immortal who recruited Mendoza and rescued her from her own stupidity time and time again. The book’s narration alternates from Joseph’s first-person commentary to Lewis’s third person perspective. While the other novels are ecover only brief moments in history, Graveyard Game starts in 1996 and continues up through 2250, transforming the series from hidden alternate histories in the style of Tim Powers to more wide-ranging near-future science fiction.Joseph is my favourite character in the series, so it was refreshing to hear from him again. Joseph is a cynic, yet a thorough Company man, someone who always follows orders but finds ways to make his orders suit his own agenda. The previous book left him on the edge of his equilibrium, and this book finally pushes him over the edge. As one character tells him: "We've known each other a long time, and I mean it as a compliment when I say you're the most Company man I've ever seen. You're also a lying little bastard when you mean to be. That's a good thing, given your line of work. Unfortunately, I think you lie to yourself, too."Lewis is a nice addition, and his romanticism provides a perfect foil for Joseph. This book also contains the culmination of plot threads and cameos of characters from each of the previous books. The plot also gets--if it’s possible-- even weirder and more scientifically impossible, but I’m still anxious to find out what happens next.More than any other, this book questions the mission of the Company, and the fate of its faithful servants: "We're all of us angry when we come into this immortal life; keeps us motivated to fight for humanity against evil.The question is, how long can we fight without coming to see humanity itself as the source of evil?" One of my favourite elements was the incorporation of the myth of the djinns who are feared by their human masters, yet “must continue faithful slaves until judgment day,” at which point they die at the first trumpet blast because they lack souls.As was foreshadowed in the previous books, in Baker’s future, humanity has become simple to the point of infantility. Her people are oddly and ineptly kind, enacting new laws that forbid all “enslavement” of animals for food, labor, or entertainment. They are intolerant of any who do not adopt the new crusades, but don’t appear to replace the gaps with new behaviors. Personally, I had real trouble accepting Baker’s future. Her future people are flat and superficial, and her characterization of society seems unimaginative and limited to me. I don’t believe in a future where meat, alcohol, and all stimulants such as coffee are outlawed with no new indulgence to replace them. Waves of reform will inevitably sweep through, but I believe reaction will necessarily set in. Our targets of permissiveness and intolerance may shift, but neither behaviour will disappear. I think we view ourselves as less savage than our ancestors, but in actuality, we only isolate ourselves from the violence, and this often only exacerbates the cruelty. Certainly most of us would be unable to kill a turkey ourselves, but with a comfortable padding between ourselves and the slaughter itself, we’re perfectly happy to buy them from turkey farms. I think technology allows us to become ever more specialized and complex, but I don’t think it really infantilizes us. And while the targets of our intolerance, violence, and acceptance may change, I think human nature remains the same.

The 'Company' stories all deal with the idea that, in the 24th century, a company learns how to send people back in time. To creat agents for itself, it takes children of a part time period and turns them into immortal cyborgs, who work for them on missions such as saving 'lost' artworks and extinct species, hiding them safely so that they can be 'rediscovered' in the 24th century.It's all very noble on the face of it, but as time goes on, the Company's motivations and methods begin to seem more suspect to many of the agents. Do the people of the 24th century really appreciate what they've done? What will happen when the agent finally 'get' to that century? Why does no one ever receive any communications or supplies from later than the year 2355? What Happens?The series is very slow-moving, in some ways, because although the focal point of the series is the cyborg botanist Mendoza, some of the books look at events from other points of view and other characters. So although the stories themselves might be full of action, the larger picture hasn't developed very quickly.In 'The Graveyard Game,' Mendoza doesn't actually appear at all. As a matter of fact, she's disappeared. Her two friends, Joseph (who recruited her into the Company) and Lewis, are determined to find out what has happened to her. It starts a bit slowly, but as they gradually uncover rumors and plots and schemes within plots, the tension picks up. It's not just Mendoza - it looks like a lot of agents are disappearing. And whatever happened to the 'old' style of Company agent - the 'Enforcers.' They were supposedly immortal as well - yet they seem to be gone. Where are they? Is the Company disposing of its own people? Or is there a rogue faction within the Company? Or is a hostile outside force at work?

What do You think about The Graveyard Game (2005)?

Pacing continues to be a bit bewildering but also totally in accord with what I want to see next (vs. what might seem more measured, perhaps?).This series strikes a similar chord in me as Lev Grossman's Magicians books, with fantasy/scifi material delving into something shockingly realistic, perhaps all the more striking for being present in scifi/fantasy—often the primary genre for getting around it: the probable lack of guidance/central power/overarching plan. (Not in the writer, but in the book's universe.) There's more of that in the Company than the Magicians, but I think it's the realization of fallibility, changeability, and limited vision that is so… in a way, terrifying, in a way, real. Even in worlds with magic or so-far-nonexistant technology, people are still people, reality is still chaotic, and there may be no definite Big Good or Big Bad to give a sense of purpose or structure or ennoblement to the never-ending conflict of living.NEXT, PLEASE!Reread 8-17-15.
—Molly G

A strange mix; Mendoza-less and yet she permeates every action and chapter.I very much liked seeing events from Joseph's point of view and Lewis' p.o.v., but sometimes it was jarring. Still, their friendship endured and informed the events.My biggest problem was the leap forward, I believe. One of the great strengths of this series, for me, is the historical accuracy. Yet I realized that's because I love history and love it coming alive--when I'm suddenly in the 22nd century and beyond, I don't have any "historical handholds" and it becomes speculative fiction.That being said, I found the descriptions of what occurs in the future to extremely real-sounding, as well as extremely depressing. We humans can be so stupid, sometimes! But Joseph's synopses of future events feels all-too-sadly accurate. My one complaint in that area is that the bright spots of an era--the arts, culture, accomplishments--aren't mentioned. Countries and regions rise and fall and rise anew, but I have to believe that humans are composing, writing, and building art. None of it is mentioned; only the dreary political history.And that being said, what I did like is the growing story of the Company, and the more we know, the darker they seem. I'm not crazy about the, uh, "other players", that pursue Lewis, but I'm willing to stay with the series to see where they figure in the whole Dr. Zeus story.Keeping fingers crossed I learn more about Mendoza in the next one!
—Sue McAvoy

The third and fourth books in Baker's light and entertaining Company series follow the further adventures of immortal botanist Mendoza. Located in the Los Angeles/Hollywood area, Baker lovingly recreates Civil War era California in Mendoza in Hollywood, where Joseph and his protege are reunited at a dusty, out-of-the-way stagecoach stop. While her fellow company agents keep busy, Mendoza is left own her own, still festering with hurt; it is unsurprising when the double of her long dead lover shows up and whisks her into a complex espionage plot.Mendoza in Hollywood maintains Baker's quick and sarcastic tone: her characters are pat and quirky, and the plot has nice mix of Company mystery and historical drama. Next to Elizabethan England, California clearly holds a place in Baker's heart, who relishes the chance to have her characters (and the reader) share her passion. This trick takes a tragic turn, however, when Baker devotes 22 pages to describing D.W. Griffith's film Intolerance and her characters' reactions to it. Mind-numbingly boring doesn't come close to articulating how painfully dull this chapter is; fortunately, once past this hump, the story resumes it's silly, breezy pace. Mendoza runs into a spy who is the physical double of her long dead lover, and unsurprisingly, drops everything to be with him, even aiding his espionage work. To her surprise, seemingly banal Catalina Island off the coast is key to her lover's mission, and she discovers, with devastating result, that even the Company is intensely interested in the island.The Graveyard Game takes up hundreds of years in the future; Mendoza has disappeared from the historical record, and Joseph is discovering that the future--especially the years after 2355--may not be the utopia that the Company is promising. Meeting up with Lewis, Mendoza's friend from Sky Coyote, the two begin tracking down other immortals that have gone missing. More serious than Baker's other three novels, The Graveyard Game greatly elaborates on the mystery and mythos of the Company, introducing a darker, doomsday feel to this fairly easy series.I liked both of these books, although I found Mendoza in Hollywood slow-moving at times. I've come to count on this series for when I need a quick, entertaining read and these two books fill that need well.
—Audra (Unabridged Chick)

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