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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.
The first installment takes a while to take off, but then you're in for a very long ride filled with wonders, laughter, amazement and great characters. At the end of the c. Read morePublished on Sept. 12 2012 by Eric Lavigne
It's unfortunate to see numerous 1/2/3-star ratings for what is, by all accounts, Mr. Stephenson's magnum opus (or at least the first part of a trilogy which comprises said magnum... Read morePublished on Aug. 29 2011 by OpenMind
This was the first Neal Stephenson book I ever read, and I adored it! I gobbled up "The Confusion" and "The System of the World" immediately, and only after finishing The Baroque... Read morePublished on Sept. 25 2008 by Paige Turner
This paperback volume is only the first 1/3 of the hard cover version of "Quicksilver".
This is mentioned in very fine print on one of the title pages, but is... Read more
I would love to give you a general idea of the story, but I'm afraid that the 900+ pages which comprise this "slender" volume make it impossible to put it in a nutshell. Read morePublished on March 30 2005 by Patrick St-Denis, editor of Pat's Fantasy Hotlist
I had great expectations for this book, having read all of Neal Stephenson's previous books, but was disappointed by this. Read morePublished on Dec 31 2004 by Chris Wheeldon
well, I've read quicksilver and have found it to be, um, interesting. I fell in another love trance (i've read crytonomicon, obviously! Read morePublished on Sept. 28 2004 by todd tregez
I won't take much of your time. Stephenson has become a falling star. I believe he is regurgitating each and every fact he read at the library, thinking that to personalize them... Read morePublished on July 19 2004 by Nicholas Berry
I just finished Quicksilver about 30 mins ago. At times it was quite confusing in places where things might happen one way but it turns out to be another. Read morePublished on July 18 2004 by Toby Bolinger