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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.
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 4 days 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 21 days 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 24 days 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 29 days ago by B. Pedit
These are my favorite books and that should say a lot but you don't know me so I'll elaborate. They scratch my every itch whether for history of real and complicated people, or... Read morePublished 1 month ago by L. Knight
I’ve read much of Neal Stephenson’s work, most of it in the science fiction/cyberpunk genre. I have found those novels to be extremely well written, usually creating an entirely... Read morePublished 2 months ago by Steven M. Anthony