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In the second book, Stephenson introduces Jack Shaftoe and Eliza. "Half-Cocked" Jack (also know as the "King of the Vagabonds") recovers the English Eliza from a Turkish harem. Fleeing the siege of Vienna, the two journey across Europe driven by Eliza's lust for fame, fortune, and nobility. Gradually, their circle intertwines with that of Daniel in the third book of the novel.
The book courses with Stephenson's scholarship but is rarely bogged down in its historical detail. Stephenson is especially impressive in his ability to represent dialogue over the evolving worldview of seventeenth-century scientists and enliven the most abstruse explanation of theory. Though replete with science, the novel is as much about the complex struggles for political ascendancy and the workings of financial markets. Further, the novel's literary ambitions match its physical size. Stephenson narrates through epistolary chapters, fragments of plays and poems, journal entries, maps, drawings, genealogic tables, and copious contemporary epigrams. But, caught in this richness, the prose is occasionally neglected and wants editing. Further, anticipating a cycle, the book does not provide a satisfying conclusion to its 900 pages. These are minor quibbles, though. Stephenson has matched ambition to execution, and his faithful, durable readers will be both entertained and richly rewarded with a practicum in Baroque science, cypher, culture, and politics. --Patrick O'Kelley --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
The Baroque Cycle, of which this is the first volume, is my favorite written work. . . ever! I am currently reading it for the third time and it's better than the first time... Read morePublished 3 days ago by B. Pedit
These are my favorite books and that should say a lot but you don't know me so I'll elaborate. They scratch my every itch whether for history of real and complicated people, or... Read morePublished 14 days ago by L. Knight
I’ve read much of Neal Stephenson’s work, most of it in the science fiction/cyberpunk genre. I have found those novels to be extremely well written, usually creating an entirely... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Steven M. Anthony
Didn't keep my interest as well as cryptonomicon. May try it again later.Published 2 months ago by BillB
Mr. Mark L. Francis says:
I apologise but I have not read this book. However there is a reason.
1. Read more
This is my fourth reading of the entire series. Every time I have read the series I have understood more of the subtleties and intricacies of the story. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Uther
History combined with fiction in a scientific and intriguing way. a little confusing in respect to secondary characters. Very interesting.Published 2 months ago by Anthony Smith