2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Next time cut it short, Neal...,
This review is from: The System Of The World (Baroque Cycle 3) (Paperback)
It takes weeks to read "Quicksilver", "The Confusion" and "The System of the World". Is it worth it? Definitely yes. Whatever it is you seek in a book, you are going to find plenty of it here. A great story that will bring you from Boston to London, from Versailles to Amsterdam, from Africa to Asia and through more adventures than any Indiana Jones film. A fantastic cast of characters, real ones and fantastic fictional creations like Half-Cocked Jack Shaftoe, the ultimate adventurer despite a certain anatomic shortage, and Eliza de la Zeur, virgin odalisque, financial genius and all-around epitome of feminine brilliance and determination. And masterful writing that manages to unravel a magnificent yarn of love, hate, revenge, betrayal, political intrigue, scientific discoveries and financial speculation borrowing styles from Defoe, Choderlos de Laclos, Stevenson and John Ford with a welcome touch of humor in the direst situations. And while you're having great fun reading, you are going to absorb along the way also plenty of interesting information about a momentous passage of age happened 300 years ago, and reminiscent of a similar phenomenon that may be happening nowadays. Is the Baroque Cycle perfect? No, sometimes it really is too long-winded, and probably the almost homonymous Robert Louis Stevenson could have told the same story in half the words. But this is really the only thing in which Neal Stephenson can get any better: the Philosopher Stone of his narrative would be more synthesis. Next time cut it short, Neal... that didn't make a lesser man of Jack Shaftoe, nor will it lessen your novels if not in size.