Neal Stephenson – Quicksilver

After having given up on it (roundabout page 200), and then moving on to Reynolds’ “Revelation Space”, I returned to finally finish “Quicksilver”. In the end it was well worth it, but it took some getting there.
It is a semi-historic novel (some would even call it science fiction) and it is a big work (~900 pages and two more books to come to finish the “Baroque Cycle”).
But after finishing book one [Quicksilver is subdivided into three “books”] (dealing largely with Daniel Waterhouse’s around Newton, Leibniz and Cambridge), the story of Jack the Vagabond and Eliza (whose choices of which men to sleep with I do not entirely agree with) was more gripping and lead the two rather separate arcs nicely together in book three. Not without a hint of a cliffhanger, though…
The amount of research that must have gone into this book is astounding and was well worth it. I am very glad that Stephenson made a distinction of his “Dramatis Personae” into fictious and non-fictious folk so I don’t embarass myself when small-talking historical “facts”. Also, the link to his previous work “Cryptonomicon” is rather tight, people’s ancestors and some places are fleshed out further. Recommended; if you manage the first “book” section, you’re in for a good ride.

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