The System Of The World (Baroque Cycle 3) Paperback – 6 Oct 2005
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"Neal Stephenson has saved the best until last with The System of the World, a fittingly breathtaking conclusion to his Baroque Cycle, implausibly trumping all of the trilogy's previous strengths, but unfortunately introducing one weakness in that the whole rambunctiously magnificent undertaking had to end" (Christopher Brookmyre Glasgow Herald)
"Truly remarkable" (LA Times)
"Historical fiction was never this much fun - or this successful" (Entertainment Weekly)
The third and final volume of the Baroque Cycle.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
The entire cycle (the author apparently doesn't like the term "trilogy") is set in the late 17th and early 18th centuries and views its characters though a number of themes - Natural Philosophy, war, money, commerce, alchemy, slavery, religion and many more. My impression was that in this volume, the themes go deeper, and Stephenson works harder on them, than in the preceding volumes. Despite this he succeeds in maintaining the pace, a trick which the earlier two (especially "Quicksilver") didn't always manage quite so well (though they were still excellent overall). It could be though that those earlier books did the hard work and set the scene.
Anyway, "System of the World" brings things to a tidy(ish) conclusion. There are suprises. There is a detective sub plot (along the lines of Samuel Pepys meets John Rebus). There is minute detail on London. (Please, someone, organise a Baroque Cycle walking tour - I'm sure it would be more rewarding than for certain bestselling historical novels I could name).
Actually this is the third in a series of four - the fourth, Cryptonomicon, which is set in the 20th century, was published first. The relationship with Cryptonomicon is loose - broadly the characters here are ancestors of those in the later (er, earlier) book and there is geekish fun to be had in watching Stephenson dispose everyone correctly by the end of "System".Read more ›
As usual, Stephenson has pushed the action into the entertaining and only just possible.The action is so gripping that it had me reading into the night. His grasp of period detail is such that it can be hard to realise that he didn't live in the period he is descibing. I found it hard to pick out his exaggerations and fabrications, so for me, the only jarring is his persistant use of american vocabulary. (Which I try to forgive as Daniel lived for so long near Boston!)
However, I'm not sure that a reader could enjoy to this book without reading the previous volumes (Quicksilver, The Confusion). There is too much assumed knowledge for the plot to be comprehensible at this stage of its development.
This trilogy is recommended reading for lovers of a good tale, enthusiasts of military, scientific, nautical, medical and social history,and everyone who enjoys an intelligent book with a fabulous plot. Read all three volumes!!!
I could rave on for hours about the depiction of London - because I live and work there - and this in itself gave me much delight.
All in all, I feel I'm a better person for reading `Baroque Cycle', purely because it might have never come my way and it wasn't thrust down my throat by some advertising blitz. I chanced upon the first book in my local library, and like all good treasures, it took a hold of me. I'd read `SnowCrash', so new of Mr Stephenson's work, and also new that as a writer it would be a gamble for him to write so intensely of a past period, and thankfully he took up that gamble because it's a great read.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is one of the best (sci-fi-ish) series I have read. Neal Stepenson rocks.Published 4 months ago by mat
“Quicksilver” wanders round much of Europe and has a timespan of decades. “The Confusion” takes us around the world, and covers several years. Read morePublished 6 months ago by DB
This is the conclusion of a very remarkable trilogy. Neal Stephenson has obviously done a heroic amount of research into an enormous number of arcane subjects relating to the late... Read morePublished 7 months ago by Livfoss
Once you get into the cycle you cannot stop ....Wonderful can't put down read!Published 15 months ago by Malcolm C
This is a truely great trilogy. Would make a wonderful HBO series.Published 18 months ago by Victor Serge
One of the best novels I have ever read. Stephenson shatters the barrier between mathematical theory and practice by consistently blowing your mind. Read morePublished 22 months ago by anonymous