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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.
A rambling good time read that weaves the world's most interesting and enlightening figures of an era into a complex tale. I can't wait to read the next volume. Read morePublished 17 days ago by Bri
An almost indescribable mix of scholarly, funny, techno-nerdish, swasshbuckling, gritty magic. Read it!Published 1 month ago by Andrew C. Hook
Couldn't finish it--so take that into account. It's like name dropping from high school science class.Published 1 month ago by M. Hamann
Gave me an appreciation of what life in 17th century was like for "nobles" and the common man or womanPublished 1 month ago by Steve Ryder
This is my second reading of the Baroque Cycle. The first was years ago. Time dimed my memory enough that I found Quicksilver to be thoroughly entertaining again.Published 1 month ago by Greg Alvord
after reading REAM.DE I jumped into Quicksilver. Took me four months to read it. Tedious. In the back there is a list of characters which I was not aware. That would have helped.Published 2 months ago by Jay Edward Layton
I don't think Neal Stephenson writes anything but five-star books. They are like being shot back into the time period about which he writes. Read morePublished 2 months ago by dwjflies
The Baroque Cycle, of which this is the first volume, is my favorite written work. . . ever! I am currently reading it for the third time and it's better than the first time... Read morePublished 2 months ago by B. Pedit