Book Review: “Solomon’s Gold” by Neal Stephenson (Book 6 of the Baroque Cycle)


Volume III of the Baroque Cycle by Neal Stephenson, The System of the World (2004), begins with Book Six “Solomon’s Gold.”  This book picks up where the very first book, Quicksilver, left off with Daniel Waterhouse returning to England.  Waterhouse immediately finds himself in the midst of intrigue including attempted assasinations by an Infernal Device, counterfeit coinage, and various missions for Leibniz, Duchess Sophia, and Isaac Newton.  All around him rumors swirl about Queen Anne’s succesor.  Will it be the Hanovers supported by the Whigs or the Jacobite restoration of the Stuarts?

While this is primarily Daniel Waterhouse’s story, the book ends with a cliffhanger as Jack Shaftoe, aka Jack the Coiner, attempts an audacious (and comical) heist at the Tower of London.  I like how Daniel Waterhouse comes into his own in this book.  He’s still plagued by doubts but shows resourcefulness and leadership.  In an interesting reflection on fear he wonders if everyone else is as afraid as him. This novel also really uses London as a character with Waterhouse visiting the various historic (and not-so-historic) haunts of the city.  The London map in the flyleaf is a vital part of this book and I enjoyed following Daniel around town.

Previously:

Author Stephenson, Neal.
Title The system of the world / Neal Stephenson.
Publication Info. New York : William Morrow, c2004.
Edition 1st ed.
Description xv, 892 p. ; 25 cm.