Neal Stephenson’s massive, sprawling Baroque Cycle began with Quicksilver and continues in the aptly named Confusion. The book interweaves two novels, Bonanza and The Juncto, taking place between 1689 and 1702. Bonanza follows Jack Shaftoe, as he and other galley slaves in Algiers capture Spanish gold of particular significance to some highly placed alchemists, and make their way ever eastward, through Cairo, India, Manila, and Mexico. The Juncto deals primarily with Eliza, now a French duchess, and her remarkable financial derring-do.
The previous book concerned itself with the intellectual ferment around the Royal Society and European savants, such as Leibniz. Major themes of this book include œconomics, alchemy, and the dawn of the Enlightenment.
Entertaining, but also far too long.