The System of the World

Front Cover
William Heinemann, 2004 - Counterfeiters - 892 pages
The System of the World, the third and concluding volume of Neal Stephenson's shelf-bending Baroque Cycle (Quicksilver and The Confusion), brings the epic historical saga to its thrilling - and truly awe-inspiring - conclusion. Set in the early 18th century and featuring a diverse cast of characters that includes alchemists, philosophers, mathematicians, spies, thieves, pirates, and royalty, The System of the World follows Daniel Waterhouse, an unassuming philosopher and confidant to some of the most brilliant minds of the age, as he returns to England to try and repair the rift between geniuses Sir Isaac Newton and Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz. After reluctantly leaving his family in Boston, Waterhouse arrives in England and is almost killed by a mysterious Infernal Device. Having been away from the war-decimated country for two decades, Waterhouse quickly learns that although many things have changed, there is still violent revolution simmering just beneath the surface of seemingly civilized society. With Queen Anne deathly ill and Tories and Whigs jostling for political supremacy, Waterhouse and Newton vow to figure out who is trying to kill certain scientists and decipher the riddle behind the legend of King Solomon's gold, a mythical hoard of precious metal with miraculous properties. Arguably one of the most ambitious -- and most researched -- stories ever written, Stephenson's Baroque Cycle is set in one of the most turbulent and exciting times in human history. Filled with wild adventure, political intrigue, social upheaval, civilization-changing discoveries, cabalistic mysticism, and even a little romance, this massive saga is worth its weight in (Solomon's) gold.

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - donblanco - LibraryThing

This is how you do historical fiction! A wide-ranging tale covering the history of royal families, court intrigue, early espionage and cryptography, scientific invention, finance, etc. Epic in every way. Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - dhmontgomery - LibraryThing

The conclusion of Stephenson's delightful Baroque Cycle brings the world-spanning adventure of its second volume back to a focus on London at the time of the Hanoverian Succession. If the first volume ... Read full review

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About the author (2004)

Neal Stephenson, the science fiction author, was born on October 31, 1959 in Maryland. He graduated from Boston University in 1981 with a B.A. in Geography with a minor in physics. His first novel, The Big U, was published in 1984. It received little attention and stayed out of print until Stephenson allowed it to be reprinted in 2001. His second novel was Zodiac: The Eco-Thriller was published in 1988, but it was his novel Snow Crash (1992) that brought him popularity. It fused memetics, computer viruses, and other high-tech themes with Sumerian mythology. Neal Stephenson has won several awards: Hugo for Best Novel for The Diamond Age (1996), the Arthur C. Clarke for Best Novel for Quicksilver (2004), and the Prometheus Award for Best Novel for The System of the World (2005). He recently completed the The Baroque Cycle Trilogy, a series of historical novels. It consists of eight books and was originally published in three volumes and Reamde. His latest novel is entitled The Rise and Fall of D. O. D. O. Stephenson also writes under the pseudonym Stephen Bury.

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