now that i’ve read quicksilver by neal stephenson, i’m one-third of the way through the baroque cycle: only 2000 more pages to go! this book is basically three books in one, so that makes it a little easier to digest. it’s historical fiction, set in england and europe during the baroque era, and it includes both historical and fictional characters. there’s also a tie, via family names and one character, with cryptonomicon.

i enjoyed it, although i found it tough to get into the story. the second section is the most entertaining of the three, but the stories from the first two sections come together in the third in a very satisfying way. there’s an interesting mix of narrative styles in the book — some chapters are presented as plays, some as a series of letters, and others as conventional narrative.

probably the most fascinating aspect of the book, since it basically focuses on the lives of “natural philosophers,” or scientists, is what was going on while insights we take for granted, like newton’s laws of motion, were first being published.

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