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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.
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 10 days ago by Steven M. Anthony
Didn't keep my interest as well as cryptonomicon. May try it again later.Published 1 month 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 1 month ago by Uther
History combined with fiction in a scientific and intriguing way. a little confusing in respect to secondary characters. Very interesting.Published 1 month ago by Anthony Smith
read first two times in hardcover and rushed to follow the plot to it's finish . after this time I found new delights in the language writing as well as plot convolutions. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Old Mac user
This series is fabulous. It's long but a reader doesn't mind long and the second book in the series,"The Confusion" is one of the best adventure novels I've read in a long... Read morePublished 2 months ago by Jacqueline D. Johnson
Unexpectedly depressing, accurately barbaric and distressingly gruesome. Had to put it down; not my cup of tea.Published 2 months ago by Richard Clark