The System of the World

The System of the World

Book - 2004
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'Tis done.

The world is a most confused and unsteady place -- especially London, center of finance, innovation, and conspiracy -- in the year 1714, when Daniel Waterhouse makes his less-than-triumphant return to England's shores. Aging Puritan and Natural Philosopher, confidant of the high and mighty and contemporary of the most brilliant minds of the age, he has braved the merciless sea and an assault by the infamous pirate Blackbeard to help mend the rift between two adversarial geniuses at a princess's behest. But while much has changed outwardly, the duplicity and danger that once drove Daniel to the American Colonies is still coin of the British realm.

No sooner has Daniel set foot on his homeland when he is embroiled in a dark conflict that has been raging in the shadows for decades. It is a secret war between the brilliant, enigmatic Master of the Mint and closet alchemist Isaac Newton and his archnemesis, the insidious counterfeiter Jack the Coiner, a.k.a. Jack Shaftoe, King of the Vagabonds. Hostilities are suddenly moving to a new and more volatile level, as Half-Cocked Jack plots a daring assault on the Tower itself, aiming for nothing less than the total corruption of Britain's newborn monetary system.

Unbeknownst to all, it is love that set the Coiner on his traitorous course; the desperate need to protect the woman of his heart -- the remarkable Eliza, Duchess of Arcachon-Qwghlm -- from those who would destroy her should he fail. Meanwhile, Daniel Waterhouse and his Clubb of unlikely cronies comb city and country for clues to the identity of the blackguard who is attempting to blow up Natural Philosophers with Infernal Devices -- as political factions jockey for position while awaiting the impending death of the ailing queen; as the "holy grail" of alchemy, the key to life eternal, tantalizes and continues to elude Isaac Newton, yet is closer than he ever imagined; as the greatest technological innovation in history slowly takes shape in Waterhouse's manufactory.

Everything that was will be changed forever ...

The System of the World is the concluding volume in Neal Stephenson's Baroque Cycle, begun with Quicksilver and continued in The Confusion.
Publisher: New York : William Morrow, 2004
Edition: 1st ed
ISBN: 9780060523879
0060523875
9780060750862
Branch Call Number: F Ste

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a
ace_combs
Jan 06, 2016

Some books just hit you in your sweet spot. All three books in the Baroque Cycle were magnificent--if you love dark humor, English history, wordplay, and vast sweeping sagas, this is 3000+ pages of pure bliss

TutorialSmith Sep 02, 2015

Years after putting down The Confusion I took a trip to the UK and decided I should download The System of the World and finally finish the series. I'm very glad I did! Such a massive undertaking to somehow wrap up this long and winding series, but Stephenson did it well and I came away feeling satisfied.

e
erigami
Dec 05, 2009

Not a bad book, but the ending is a disappointing end to a fun series.

(This book also deserved a hack and slash edit, but that's beside the point)

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