Odalisque by Neal Stephenson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Still going strong. We have all the characters from the first two books plus a few entries that only deepen the sense of the world of Europe. In the previous two, we got to see a lot of England and then a massive amount of the Dutch world in the second, but this one focused mainly on the French.
Our favorite tease/spy lives her life as a fake noble (but not so fake that no one fails to realize it), but that's all right. It's the life of intrigue in Louis the Fourteenth's court. Truly fascinating.
We also return in full force to Daniel, and while everyone is older, the political intrigue is nevertheless as dangerous as ever with the new English king.
The immensity of detail is such that I'm thrown deep into the late sixteen hundreds without pause or breath and I feel like I'm getting one hell of an immersion. It's also so full of interesting plots and twists, going back fully into the anti-slavery angle even while whole parts of Christiandom want to enslave whole other parts of Christendom just because of their beliefs, it feels like an insane move to go any further or wider in scope when there's such dissension everywhere you look.
And then there's the science and the economics and the way that the perennially tapped nobles play the markets in order to regain their wealth. The science bits are always the most fascinating for me, but I have to be honest. The economics bits are pretty damn close to the top as a favorite.
Let me be clear: I read and loved Cryptonomicon which is like an Epic Economics treatise as well as a cryptography primer, so getting the early explorations of these same topics but within the frame of Europe during this time is a real treat. So much to learn!
I'm really impressed by these, and I've still got five more to go! What will happen next to my poor MCs? *cry*
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