King of the Vagabonds (Vol. 1 of The Baroque Cycle, part 2) by Neal Stephenson

Once again, the book begins with hangings, although this is a little more involved. Jack Shaftoe is the unlikely hero of this tale which starts at the start, with his brothers. Eventually, Jack is on his own but is well-known as “half-cocked Jack”, the King of Vagabonds. This name does have an explanation that supports it, however, I am not going to go into that. You will just have to make an educated guess!

Jack is what is called, “The Devil’s Poor”, as opposed to, “God’s Poor”. “Devil’s Poor ” are the kind of poor that are not worth helping. However, Jack finds ways to help himself (even if its confused and sometimes backfires). His view on life and this world, Europe in the late 17th century, is often callous but there is real sincerity that just cannot help but shine through.

Jack has an involvement with a beautiful woman, Eliza, whom also narrates her own story throughout the book. It is Jack’s care for her, which he is really bad at showing, but it proves his inner goodness. This story created so many emotions in me. I honestly cannot explain it exactly without giving away what happens. All anybody really needs to know is that The Baroque Cycle is incredible. The story leaps off the pages and into my heart…. I’m just going to say, I’m feeling some feelings, ya’ll.

This is a must read! Thanks for reading my review and happy reading!!!

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