These are, respectively, the second and third books in Neal Stephenson's Baroque Cycle, and they completely lived up to the hype I gave the first book. Brilliant, hilarious, touching, inventive, ingenious - Stephenson is a literary god in my view. How he managed to get all that research done, make it into a comprehensible narrative, and then describe complex mathematical and scientific theories lucidly, is completely beyond me.
The scientific parts of the story are well-balanced by the romantic plot, and neither overshadows the other. I often find that when reading a book that has two or more storylines, I look forward to one more than the other. Not so with this series. Each story is so well told, well thought out, and perfectly executed that I enjoyed each part as much as the previous bits. The fact that the entire series is nearly 3,000 pages long should deter no one from reading it; you hardly notice the length at all, and when it is over, you'll wish he'd written yet more.