The Confusion, by Neal Stephenson (Books 2007, 16)
Man, this book is long. I’ve been reading it for months and months. Interleaved with it, I’ve read various of the other books on my list, of course, which slowed me down further.
Anyway, poor Jack Shaftoe: he starts the book as a Barbary slave, chained to an oar and raving mad with syphillis. Not long before the end, by way of having been a king in a province of. ‘Hindoostan’, he finds himself at the mercy of the Inquisition in Mexico.
And Eliza gets on with manipulating things behind the scenes, while having several babies (land losing some).
Just your everyday tale of seventeenth (and just into eighteenth) century life.
There’s not so much about Daniel Waterhouse in this one, though he does convince Isaac Newton to run the Royal Mint, and he leaves for Massachusetts.
Enoch Root drops in to the narrative a couple of times, without doing very much. There is the strong suggestion – maybe even the outright assertion – that he is incredibly long-lived, which maybe shifts the whole work (just) into the realm of science fiction (or at least fantasy), and perhaps goes towards answering the question I asked in my review of the first part.
I’m going straight out to buy the final volume, but before I can start reading it I have to read and review The Communist Manifesto for Blog A Penguin Classic.