Posted by: Matt | June 16, 2008

The Confusion

The Confusion
Neal Stephenson
815 pgs

The Confusion is the second book in Neal Stephenson’s excellent Baroque Cycle. Beginning with Quicksilver, this series relates the stories of several historical figures like Isaac Newton and Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz, as well as fictional characters Daniel Waterhouse, Eliza and Jack Shaftoe. This is a massive work spanning almost 3000 pages. It also requires a bit of hard work to read but it’s definitely worth it.

Snow Crash was my introduction to Neal Stephenson. After reading that I knew I had to read more. Now that I have read two-thirds of The Baroque Cycle he has become one of my favorite authors. There are a few reasons for this, all of which are evident in The Confusion. Stephenson is brilliant, knows how to write, and is one of the wittier authors I’ve read. My only complaint about this novel is that some of the storyline following Eliza is a bit tedious at times, however as I’ve mentioned, every word is worth it.

If you want to know what this series is about you’re better off reading the synopses on Amazon or Wikipedia rather than my describing the plot. It is much too grand and sprawling for me to do justice. But let me say this, you owe it to yourself to read Neal Stephenson.

Rating: 9.5



  1. The Baroque cycle is on my list of books to read – I’m just waiting to have a decent chunk of time to read them in. Probably not a good idea, since that time is never going to materialize.

  2. Matt, I agree with you, this is a series that is definitely worth the investment of time to read it, even though it is quite long. I also recommend reading the Cryptominocon as well, as at least on of the characters is in that book (and it is an excellent book besides).

  3. Carrie K – They definitely require a lot of time to read, but definitely worth it so far.

    lkethcersid – I will be reading Cryptonomicon after I finish the Baroque Cycle. Stephenson also has a book coming out in September which I am looking forward to.

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