[By Nic Lindh on Monday, 04 April 2005]
The System of the World provides a satisfying conclusion to Neal Stephenson’s epic Baroque Cycle, and manages to somehow tie together most of the strands of the huge tapestry he has woven over almost three thousand pages.
The System of the World focuses in on Dr. Waterhouse and the climactic showdown between Jack “The Coiner” Shaftoe and Sir Isaac Newton (whom only Jack has the temerity to refer to as “Ike”).
If you have read the first two parts of the Baroque Cycle, you really don’t have much choice but to read the conclusion. Rest assured that Stephenson manages to close the trilogy with a bang.
Taking a step back from The System of the World and looking at the entire trilogy, it is hard to fathom the audacity, chutzpah, doggedness, and intelligence Stephenson has displayed—creating something this huge and inclusive, a work that truly brings an Era to life and contains so much raw material as well as so much thought is indeed a feat to be toasted.
My hat is off to Neal Stephenson.