I just finished reading the remarkable “Baroque Cycle” by Neil Stephenson.
It’s a 3-volume, 8 book, 3,000 page historical fiction covering a pantheon of characters, in the late 17th and early 18th century. It’s about international trade, wars, espionage, heists, slave-trade, cryptography, enlightenment, alchemy, the Newton-Leibniz calculus controversy, piracy, Cromwell, vagabonds and lords, monetary policy, the age or reason, English and French monarchies, baroque architecture and city planning, King Salomon’s Gold, South-East Asian warlords, duels, unrequited love, the Plague, horology, Tzar Nicholas, buried treasure, Catholic-Protestant-Puritan battle for ascendancy, sea voyages, hand-to-hand combat with period arms, the Inquisition, the fire of London, The Royal Society, and 20 other joyously interconnected ideas.
What is more it is imbued with colorful heroes and villains, many based on unimaginably detailed research of real people living at the time. It carries on at a good pace and many sections leave you smiling and shaking your head at the vocabulary and virtuosity of this remarkable author.
The Baroque cycle is an epic masterpiece by a genius.
It is so good, that this is the second time I’ve read it.