Wulf's Webden

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Book cover

Earlier this week I finally finished Quicksilver by Neal Stephenson, the first in his three part “Baroque Cycle”. That’s notable because I’ve been reading it for more than four months (albeit not continuously), significantly slower than my normal pace.

That’s not to say that it’s bad book. It’s written to the standard I’ve come to expect of Stephenson’s work, well-plotted, filled with intriguing characters (often in more than once sense of the word) and festooned with details that hint at incredible levels of historical research. If I was still a history undergraduate, going through the term of Early Modern studies that formed part of my course, this would have been a brilliant starting point, weaving together reality and fiction. I would have been well placed to discern the difference between the two but the storyteller’s art would have drawn me deeper into my studies not to mention that, as a history student, I’d have had the time to spend all day reading!

Alas, having left those halcyon days behind, this mammoth work with its endless pages and tiny font has proved to be hard work. I was disappointed to find that the end of the book was inconclusive. I know it is part of a trilogy but I’d hoped that at least some of the main story arcs would have come to a conclusive end. I would like to know what happens to the main characters but find myself baulking at the investment of time required.

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