One wonderful character we start following in the first book of the series is Mendoza. She is an impoverished waif, but with a mind and a mouth. This proves to be very dangerous given that she has the bad luck to be living under the oppressive regime of the Inquisition in Spain during the 1500s. She is accused of--of course--witchcraft and is thrown into a jail, at which point she comes to the attention of Joseph. At first he seems to be Fr. Jose, a priest, but is in fact one of our cyborgs. He sees potential for this kid and he whisks her to the relative safety of the Company, where she is re-made as a cyborg. Cut to later where Mendoza is now a teenage (image here is exactly how I picture her). She travels with Joseph to hostile England as part of a Spanish delegation under the tenuous and violent reign of Mary I, aka ‘bloody Mary’. Of course they are on a Company mission to secure select plants from the garden of their English host. However there is one very good looking Englishman who comes to the attention of Mendoza and visa-versa. He wants to convert her away from the evil Roman Catholic church, but to what exactly? She just wants him alone in that Garden of Iden. But humans and cyborgs mixing, as you might imagine, is a BIG Company no-no.
This series is a wonderful mash-up of robots, wry historical ruminations, capers and hilarity. The Company series proposes that there is an omni-corporation in the future which figured out how to game history: create human-cyborg immortals, send your technicians back in time to create them and then, those cyborgs being immortal, they just LIVE through history from that point on. Then say, you plant them in various important places, at key dates. And if they happen to conserve the great treasures of the ages to be secured by the Company, so much the better (steal is such an ugly word). Or maybe it was the best cash-cow ever created! The steam-punk series follows a handful of these immortal cyborgs romping about and through time and onward into the future. Some of their insides maybe wiring, but their hearts are all human.