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In the second book, Stephenson introduces Jack Shaftoe and Eliza. "Half-Cocked" Jack (also know as the "King of the Vagabonds") recovers the English Eliza from a Turkish harem. Fleeing the siege of Vienna, the two journey across Europe driven by Eliza's lust for fame, fortune, and nobility. Gradually, their circle intertwines with that of Daniel in the third book of the novel.
The book courses with Stephenson's scholarship but is rarely bogged down in its historical detail. Stephenson is especially impressive in his ability to represent dialogue over the evolving worldview of seventeenth-century scientists and enliven the most abstruse explanation of theory. Though replete with science, the novel is as much about the complex struggles for political ascendancy and the workings of financial markets. Further, the novel's literary ambitions match its physical size. Stephenson narrates through epistolary chapters, fragments of plays and poems, journal entries, maps, drawings, genealogic tables, and copious contemporary epigrams. But, caught in this richness, the prose is occasionally neglected and wants editing. Further, anticipating a cycle, the book does not provide a satisfying conclusion to its 900 pages. These are minor quibbles, though. Stephenson has matched ambition to execution, and his faithful, durable readers will be both entertained and richly rewarded with a practicum in Baroque science, cypher, culture, and politics. --Patrick O'Kelley --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
At almost 1000 pages, this book is a bit daunting, but worth the effort. Beautifully written, Quicksilver is an intelligent, complex look at the 18th century in Europe and... Read morePublished 1 day ago by mokita
I LIKED this book, but I didn't love it. The pace is a bit slower than his earlier works. It makes it difficult to read at times. Read morePublished 1 day ago by Rush
Stephenson is great when writing speculative fiction, but historical fiction just betrays his ignorance of science and math. Read morePublished 7 days ago by Jonathan Birge
I have plenty of patience for Neal Stephenson because he's currently my favorite author; but I found this book, unlike even Cryptonomicon (which I adored), to be very difficult. Read morePublished 9 days ago by Rebecca M. Hendricks
I absolutely loved the brilliant Snowcrash, and even though I knew this series was in a different genre, I expected the same energy and wacky sense of humor. Read morePublished 18 days ago by Amazon Customer
I'm a huge Neal Stephenson fan, so I was looking forward to a trilogy of books. Unfortunately, about the only thing this book has in common with his other (mostly brilliant) works... Read morePublished 18 days ago by Sean R. Wise
Excellent book it left me wanting to read more about the characters.Published 22 days ago by Amazon Customer
Stepehnson has a way with words, no denying that. Among many other examples of evocative imagery, Minette's womb comes leaping to mind. But I've made my way to p. Read morePublished 26 days ago by wiredweird