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As good as The Baroque Cycle?

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As good as The Baroque Cycle?

Postby Whatjusthappened » Tue July 13th, 2010, 12:47 am

I've read a lot of historical fiction. Everything from James Fennimore Cooper to James Michener to Allen Eckert to Dumas to Cornwell (Richard Sharpe is one of my favorite characters). The list goes on and on but I've never enjoyed a series of books as much as I have The Baroque Cycle from Neal Stephenson. The development of the characters during the setting of that time period is so good that I'm seriously contemplating reading it for a third time.

Can anyone out there recommend another book/series that might compare? It doesn't need to be set during the Enlightenment or include a voyage around the globe (although those can make for a great read) just something original and entertaining would be great. Thanks

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Postby Ash » Tue July 13th, 2010, 1:13 am

Interesting, I know Stephenson from his science fiction works (tho its been decades since I've read them) Didn't know about this one, and while the time period historically isn't one of my favorites (I love the music from the time period), I might try it anyway, thanks

A sort of historic fiction series, more a fantasy series, that had me spellbound a few months back was George RR Martin's Song of Ice and Fire.

My husband is another big fan of Sharpe, and Cornwell in general. I read his Arthur trilogy which I liked quite a bit.
Last edited by Ash on Tue July 13th, 2010, 1:16 am, edited 2 times in total.

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Postby Telynor » Tue July 13th, 2010, 4:51 am

Dorothy Dunnett's books are terrific historicals with plenty of real history to spice things up. Sharpe is good too. And of course, there's Patrick O'Brian's Master and Commander, set in the Napoleonic wars.

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Postby Leo62 » Tue July 13th, 2010, 11:02 am

I've always meant to get round to the Baroque Cycle but been intimidated by the sheer size of the books! Like Ash, I've read some of Stephenson's SF and enjoyed it. Dan Simmons treads similar ground as Stephenson in terms of combining genres - I'd particularly recommend The Terror, which combines historical adventure and horror, to great effect IMO. :D
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Postby Susan » Tue July 13th, 2010, 12:43 pm

My husband has read The Baroque Cycle twice and absolutely loves it. He was already a fan of Stephenson's science fiction. He's tried to get me to read it without success so far. Like Leo, the size is a bit intimidating to me.
Last edited by Susan on Tue July 13th, 2010, 12:54 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Whatjusthappened » Tue July 13th, 2010, 1:39 pm

Thanks everyone for the feedback
I've read George RR Martin's Song of Ice and Fire series and have been waiting for the A Dance with Dragons to come out for the last few years. I may re-read the whole thing when (if) it finally does.
I also thought Terror was pretty good, although the ending didn't really sit well with me.
I may try the Patrick O'Brian books. It looks interesting. Thanks for the suggestion.
Try not to be intimidated by the size of the Baroque Cycle. For me it's always been about the journey not the destination. That's one of the reason I read it to being with (I hate it when it seems like there should be more to the story but it ends). I'll admit that it is a bit heady and a tough read until you get used to the language but I think once you start you'll really enjoy it. In no time you'll be lost in Enlightenment era Europe with the likes of Newton, Liebnitz, and Louie the 14th. Not to mention arch villain Jack Shaftoe, Enoch the Red, and Dr. Waterhouse.
Last edited by Whatjusthappened on Tue July 13th, 2010, 1:45 pm, edited 2 times in total.


Postby annis » Tue July 13th, 2010, 5:45 pm

You might possibly enjoy Ross King's Ex Libris.
Review on this forum here

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Postby SGM » Tue July 13th, 2010, 10:24 pm

"annis" wrote:You might possibly enjoy Ross King's Ex Libris.
Review on this forum here

In a somewhat later timeframe but you might enjoy The Quincunx.
Currently reading - Emergence of a Nation State by Alan Smith

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Postby Margaret » Wed July 14th, 2010, 1:38 am

Another one you might enjoy is An Instance of the Fingerpost by Iain Pears (see review). Well-researched, very intricate, very clever and mind-bending. And like Stephenson's novels, they deal with the sudden explosion of scientific exploration in the 17th century.

For those who may be wondering (I had to look it up), a fingerpost is a sign shaped like a pointer, which shows the direction to a town or other landmark.
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Postby gyrehead » Wed July 14th, 2010, 3:53 am

I'd second Dorothy Dunnett. Though different in style she is the master/mistress of complex layered historical fiction that is remarkably researched.

You might also like Rita Monaldi and Francesco Sorti's series. So far only two are in English and available through internet bookstores in the UK (bookdepository your best bet).

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