The System of the World

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US hardcover, 1st edition.

The System of the World is a historic fiction novel by Neal Stephenson, published on 2004-09-21, and the third of three volumes of , and the second of three volumes of The Baroque Cycle. The book follows various made-up characters as they travel around Europe in the early 1700s and interact with an otherwise historical England during the days of Isaac Newton, Gottfried Leibniz, and various members of Parliament and the royal families.

The System of the World consists of three smaller books, Solomon's Gold, Currency, and The System of the World.


I own a first edition hardcover of this book and have read it via an audio book.



  • I love all the bits of wisdom scattered throughout the book, like the etymology of words, foreign phrases, facts of history, etc.
  • I love the inclusion of time bombs.
  • The trap at the ending of Solomon's Gold was pretty awesome.
  • Jack Shaftoe continues to be a lovable rouge.
  • The meeting of Isaac Newton and Gottfried Leibniz is every bit as frustrating as one would expect.
  • I like the plausible origin of Enoch the Red.


  • The infiltration of the Tower of London seemed a bit too simple.
  • I wish Eliza played a bigger role in this book. Like with Quicksilver, she's been sent back to play a bit role while the men do all the important bits.


  • Nothing.