Contents - 1. Introduction - Mitochondria - clandestine rulers of the world; 2. Hopeful monster - the origin of the eukaryotic cell; 3. The vital force - Proton power and the origin of life; 4. Insider deal - Why mitochondria are needed for the evolution of complexity; 5. Power laws - Size and the ramp of ascending complexity; 6. Power, sex, suicide - The troubled birth of the individual; 7. Battle of the sexes - Human prehistory and the nature of gender; 8. Clock of life - Why mitochondria kill us in the end.