NOT LESS THAN GODS by Kage Baker, illustrated by J. K. Potter. Burton, MI; Subterranean Press; 2010. 1st SIGNED/LIMITED hardcover edition.
Length: 328 pages.
Throughout the Company series, there were occasional references to a mysterious group operating during the Victorian era. Their origins were, supposedly, lost in the mists of time. Their members had, purportedly, included such worthies as Archimedes, Leonardo Da Vinci, and Dr. John Dee. Their 19th-century headquarters were, allegedly, located beneath an exclusive London club. It was further alleged that in that time and place they called themselves the Gentlemen's Speculative Society, and that a retired naval commander on half-pay named Edward Alton Bell-Fairfax was one of their number. Their goal, it was said, was to bring about a new and better world through the implementation of what the Greeks called Technologia...
Not Less Than Gods is the story of young Edward's creation and recruitment by the GSS, his training, and his first mission. Edward and his fellow agents, armed with a lethally useful array of steampunk technology, set out on a grand tour to gather intelligence. The year is 1849, but the GSS have had advance warning of conflict in the Crimea. Can it be prevented? Can the GSS benefit? Their journey will take them through the shrines of the Holy Land, the bazaars of old Constantinople, the muddy frontiers along the Danube and the chilly splendors of St. Petersburg, to a blazing denouement in its dark streets. Edward emerges from the fire tempered into the perfect GSS operative, steadfast, zealous, determined to bring about a glorious new future... and fully aware a price must be paid in blood and honor.
Limited: 474 signed numbered hardcover copies.
From SF Signal:
“The spycraft is dead-on, the settings and era are completely immersive and convincing, the jokes are funny and the action is taut…Fans of the Company novels will delight in learning more about Bell-Fairfax and his mysterious spymasters, and readers unfamiliar with Baker’s work will find this an excellent place to begin.”
From Library Journal:
“Set in a Victorian England that harbors secret advanced technology, this steampunk spinoff of the author’s popular Company series (In the Garden of Iden) features a likable, if deadly, hero and a wealth of proper conversation and improper actions. Baker fans will enjoy this fresh take on a familiar theme.”
“Baker builds a fantastic alternate Europe with a deft historical touch and spins an excellent spy story around it. Not Less Than Gods is a satisfying addition to the annals of the Company that is also an engaging stand-alone novel.”
Issued in a SIGNED/LIMITED/NUMBERED hardcover edition of 474 copies. OUT OF PRINT.