Of making many books...

There Is No End

It must have been a risk as an author, to try to combine two different and well-established genres. There has been a tradition on Napoleonic naval series: Marryat, Forester, O'Brian,... with a focus on historical action, generally appealing to conservative men. Then there are fantasy novels with dragons, including The Hobbit, McCaffrey, Le Guin, etc etc. Not, one might think, an easy combination to put together. However, Novik succeeds, and in doing so reinvigorates the Napoleonic naval genre. more...

Quicksilver, together with the two equally-long volumes that follow it, The confusion and The system of the world, together comprise Stephenson's Baroque Cycle. Together they form an historical epic set in the period 1660 to 1714, from the 'restoration' of Charles II to the arrival of George I from Hanover. The cycle is based on invented characters, but surrounded by 'real' characters such as Isaac Newton and Louis XIV. Perhaps there is too great a reliance on the 'real' characters — a characteristic of bad historical novelists is to drag in historical personages as puppets, and the example of Patrick O'Brian should be followed here. more...