I am surprised to find as I come to review the final two books in Neal Stephenson's Baroque Cycle trilogy that I failed to review the first one so this is now a review of the whole series.
Book One: Quicksilver
Using the same family names as from my favourite book ever Cryptonomicon
and to a certain extent their characteristics but for adventures in the 1700s.
Great twisting interweaving stories only hint at what is to come. Although historical people, places and events are mentioned, event to a Luddite like myself this never detracts from the overall joy of reading Neal's excellent writing.
Book Two: The Confusion
Unfortunately this second episode now heaps on the historical references to people, places and events without ever (seemingly) to explain the background, assuming that had completed and enjoyed A level history or maybe a doctorate in 17th century politics.
I tried and I tried to find this book enjoyable and although I made it to the end it felt like a chore. Of course there were throughly enjoyable parts and I just at a loss to recount them against the overall trudge.
Book Three: The System of the World
After the last book I was worried I would never start let alone complete this trilogy but, strangely it was as if many many other readers had had the same issues as this attempt fixed all the previous flaws.
Any reference to a new historical character was recounted with the required background and any slang or alias was also complete with a nod to the actual character we had previously been introduced to.
Back on track this final book was a joy to read with so many exciting scenes playing out bringing all the characters to there unique and many case surprising conclusions.
I wonder if educated peoples found it a bit pretentious, "why of course I know who William of Orange is".
Beware as with previous Neal Stephenson books these are series tomes weighing in at close to a thousand pages each.
Still if you can get them as an ebook this is not such an issue.
bottom line, this trilogy is a must read for anyone, excellent.