Neal Stephenson is a great writer, this series will suck you in fast. One warning, it is a bit too long and can get bogged down in spots yet you are still compelled to keep reading. Very rewarding read.
Although he is known for his science fiction, I would term this group of novels by Stephenson as historical fiction with a scientific bent. Whatever it is, its a rollicking good time. Starring Mathematicians, Alchemists, Bankers, Natural Philosophers, Princes, Crooks, Priests and Pirates, the hero is ultimately Half Cocked Jack Shaftoe, King of the Vagabonds. These books wont let you down.