England, 1714. London has long been home to a secret war between the brilliant, enigmatic Master of the Mint and closet alchemist, Isaac Newton, and his archnemesis, the insidious counterfeiter Jack the Coiner. Hostilities are suddenly moving to a new and more volatile level as Half-Cocked Jack hatches a daring plan, aiming for the total corruption of Britain's newborn monetary system.
Enter Daniel Waterhouse: Aging Puritan and Natural Philosopher, Daniel has been on a long and harrowing quest to help mend the rift between adversarial geniuses. As Daniel combs city and country for clues to the identity of the blackguard who is attempting to blow up Natural Philosophers, political factions jockey for position while awaiting the impending death of the ailing queen, and the "holy grail" of alchemy, the key to life eternal, tantalizes and continues to elude Isaac Newton.
As Newton, Waterhouse, and Shaftoe each circle closer to the object of Daniel's quest, everything that was will be changed forever ......Continua
The conclusion to the fantastic Baroque Cycle. Science, politics, economics, intrigue, adventure, alchemy, Isaac Newton, counterfeit currency, the Bank of England, an anti-hero with half a penis - what more could you want? Awesome - this series is an incredible achievement....Continua
... and this has always been Stephenson's problem, being a genius at setting up incredible situations, complex characters, weird genius and almost-historical crises, perhaps a good solution is never to come to a close: or to borrow the closing from history.
And this is more or less what happens in this third book of the Baroque Cycle....Continua
A long time coming finally finished the 3000 page historical fiction monstrosity that is the Baroque Cycle.
I quite enjoyed the riffs on history, economy, contemporary politics, philosophy either as philosophy or disguised as science (the natural kind), 17th century social customs and other tidbits strewn throughout.
London as a decor for this volume served it well and for me brought home for the first time the enormity and the enormous history of that place.
Somehow it feels as if this ending does not carry the weight of the start of this story and of the events that have come to pass but how could it possibly?...Continua
1714. Daniel Waterhouse, natural philosopher, is back in London after a long absence. Among eminent scientists (or alchemists?), conspiring noblemen, legendary thieves and clumsy guards, he gets involved in all sort of obscure plots with the only, inevitable result of bringing into being the new System of the World.
Warning: it is surely not an easy read. Yet, after some 900 pages of witty dialogues, thrilling action and insane details on the most diverse matters (ranging from descriptions of places, streets and history of London to the ingredients to obtain phosphorus - i.e. urine), Stephenson somehow manages to let the reader want for more.. That's what you may call an achievement....Continua
Again, see comments for "Quicksilver" and "The Confusion," as this is the last book in a series of three. Meanwhile... someone should convert Neal's novels into action movies, comedy/drama films (maybe starring Johnny Depp and cast members from "Pirates...") and videogames!! Maybe someone WILL....Continua