The Ladies of Nell Gwynne’s, by Kage Baker

I actually very much liked the first three or four Company books by Kage Baker. I remember most of her biography, somnology too: she lives in California, information pills knows more about Elizabethan England than is healthy, viagra and has done a good deal of theatre in her day. Her Company series, which starts with In the Garden of Iden, is about cyborgs — but in an interesting way. The Company has discovered how to go back in time, and once there, they make local kids who would be dead into cyborgs who then take and hide artefacts so that they can be discovered at some point in the future. It’s actually a lot better than I’m making it sound — tons of intrigue and fascinating characters.

Anyway, this novella is tangentially related, in that way where there’s a secret gentleman’s society (the Gentleman’s Speculative Society) that will, in about three or four hundred years, become the Company that is involved. Nell Gwynne’s is a house for ‘fallen women,’ and Lady Beatrice is one of them. These women, however, aren’t just ladies of the night — they’re also rather intelligent spies who retrieve information from the powerful men they service. The information, which goes to the GSS, is used to manipulate their world, which is England in the early Victorian era. When one of their contacts disappears, Lady Beatrice and three compatriots are dispatched to a house party in order to find out what’s going on. Continue reading The Ladies of Nell Gwynne’s, by Kage Baker