Friday, February 05, 2010
Mini-Review of "The Baroque Cycle" by Neal Stephenson
I first became aware of the writings of Neal Stephenson when a friend suggested that I might enjoy reading "Cryptonomicon." How right that friend was. I would describe Stephenson's style as "Dan Brown with a bawdy sense of humor." He creates complex plot threads, uniting a kaleidoscope of colorful characters - some historical and others merely fanciful - who bump into one another in ever-shifting ways.
To follow my reading of "Cryptonomicon," I discovered that Stephenson had written a long series of books entitled "The Baroque Cycle." I have just finished reading the first two books in the series, "Quicksilver" and "King of Vagabonds." I can't wait to continue reading in the series. The action is set in Europe in 17th century, and takes the reader on a picaresque journey from the London of King Charles, the Amsterdam of Leibniz and a Turkish harem set up as part of the Ottoman siege of Vienna. This is rollicking good fun written with a clever and acerbic voice and wit. If your literary tastes run in these directions, you cannot go wrong in reading Stephenson.