It is problematic when you make claims to your character’s perception and adroitness that our interior view  of him seems to lack. Inside his own head, Daniel seems totally lost, perpetually behind his fellow Royal Society members and family members both, always the first to get confused and the last to understand. He isn’t shy, but he’s a bit….passive. Just a conduit for observations, not feelings about what he observes. 

Outside his head, he makes these witty remarks that come out of nowhere. To he point where the man stating them sounds utterly at odds with the man we’ve seen behind the mouth forming the words. It’s very disorienting. We never see the source of this wit. Or, for that matter, of his intellect:

“…[Money] follows simple rules–it obeys logic–and so Natural Philosophy should understand it, encompass it–and I, who know and understand more than almost anyone in the Royal Society, should comprehend it.”

Since when? When have you been so astute–forgetting even measurable achievements, what have you thought in your own head that is so worthy of praise? If he has these thoughts, we’ve yet to see them. Daniel is portrayed as affable, and intelligent enough, but by no means brilliant–in matters scientific, political or otherwise. One could write this statement of his off to brash youthful vanity, but we don’t even have a basis for that–again, he is portrayed up to this point as someone humble, unassuming, who has spent his life being “good enough,” but no more.

It’s frustrating. Because the guy trying to understand, the guy in whose head we spend so much of the book–him I get. But this sassy little charlatan making quips in midnight carriages? Who the hell is he? Where has he been the rest of the book? 

And…how long till he leaves?


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