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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.
Not the fast paced suspense I like in some of Stephenson's other books. Long descriptions of historic trivia, showing the reader that Stephenson has done his homework on Europe in... Read morePublished 16 days ago by Amazon Customer
Incredibly brilliant writer. Huge vocabulary--thank heavens for the highlight word/get definition functionality of my Kindle Paperwhite. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Mark A. Rock
I started Quicksilver looking for a light Sci-Fi read and was really surprised. I actually went back to make sure it was in the Sci-Fi category thinking I had picked an historical... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
Reading this on Kindle makes cross-referencing historical information much easier! If I don't remember someone's name or an old unfamiliar term comes up I can just bring up all the... Read morePublished 3 months ago by J. Bersin
Best writing in decades and much better than the progressive tripe trowelled out by other more political writers.Published 3 months ago by Denn
Basically part of a fictional account of how William of Orange became king of England. The book is read at times by a man and at other times by a woman. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Gary Appenzeller
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 4 months ago by mokita