I've finished it. At last. The Baroque Cycle, Neal Stephenson's three volume mega novel, sort of a prequel to Cryptonomicon. Roughly 3,000 pages, and when you get as much time as I do to read fiction (i.e. very very little), that can take a while.
It was certainly an enjoyable read, but my rather disjointed reading style did not lend itself to absorbing the complex interrelationships between all the characters and plot threads. I think I spent almost as much time flipping back and forth trying to reestablish the context as I did just reading.
Oh well, maybe when the kids have left home and I've retired I'll read it all again in a single sitting. :) And then I'll also follow all the historical references and read them too. Right.