02 September 2006

14. The Confusion by Neal Stephenson

Book two of the Baroque Cycle, The Confusion, was my favorite of the two I've read. This one was a lot of swashbuckling naval adventure. Most of the 800ish page long book deals with Jack Shaftoe and his efforts to get rich and get back to England. And the main action takes place far from Europe, though we do check in on Eliza, married now and having babies, and the Natural Philosophers. This book deals more with economics and money than Quicksilver and less with the fine details of European politics.

More so in this book than the other I found myself asking, "why are we spending so much time on this piece of the adventure?" But as I said earlier, Stephenson is a mad genius and I found myself apologizing. I actually like the length of the books, rich detail and lots of characters and interplay. No action happens in Stephenson's world that doesn't have a corresponding reaction/s.

I look forward to reading the third installment, the final 900 pages or so, and I know I will feel a loss when the story comes to an end. There's still Cryptonomicon, though, which takes place in more modern times, with descendants of the Baroque characters.

I recommend, it's the better of Book 1 and 2.

1 comment:

Olman Feelyus said...

I started the first of these and I just couldn't get through it. I love Shaftoe (wait until you meet him in the Cryptonomicon) and I even made it to his childhood. It wasn't that I didn't think it was good. Stephenson may be a genius, but it was just way too slow and full of info for me. I may try it again in a later phase in my life.

You should definitely read the Cryptonomicon.

It is funny how Stephenson makes all the pre-enlightenment scientists to be big nerds.