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Quicksilver: Volume One of the Baroque Cycle Paperback – Sep 9 2004


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Quicksilver: Volume One of the Baroque Cycle + The Confusion: Volume Two of The Baroque Cycle + The System Of The World: Volume Three of the Baroque Cycle
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 960 pages
  • Publisher: Avon; 1 edition (Sept. 9 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060593083
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060593087
  • Product Dimensions: 20.2 x 13.5 x 4.2 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 771 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (202 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #100,149 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)


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ENOCH ROUNDS THE CORNER JUST as the executioner raises the noose above the woman's head. Read the first page
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By V. K. Lin on June 28 2004
Format: Hardcover
~I loved Cryptonomicon, and felt like Neal Stephenson was a bloody genius. Rather than a sequel, he has embarked on an epic prequel. After reading Quicksilver, the first of a trilogy set in late 17th Century Europe, I still think he's bloody brilliant, but felt that I should develop a measuring system for whether folks will like this book. Give yourself the indicated number of points if you agree with the following statements. At the end, total your points, and I'll provide a scale as to~~ whether you will like/love/dislike/hate this book.
You love European history: +3 points
You love lots of details in what you read: +3 points
You're into Newton/Leibniz and things scientific: +2 points
You think Neal Stephenson is bloody smart: +2 points
You loved Cryptonomicon for its detail: +1 point
You loved Cryptonomicon for its style: +1 point
You loved Cryptonomicon for its wit: -1 point
You get bored by endless detail: -2 point
You like a strong plot in the novels you read:~~ -1 point
You like a plot, however strong, at least clearly stated: -1 point
You are turned off by graphic descriptions: -1 point
You like a lot science in your science-based novel: -1 point
You like an easy read that flows well: -2 point
Score: >=10 You'll love this book!. 6-9 You'll like the book but find some of it tedious. 1-5 You'll like minor parts, but wonder if it was worth it. -1 to -5 You'll dislike this book. <-5 You'll hate this book.
I usually read trilogies after all the~~ books are published. But I made an exception here because I love Stephenson and because I am also coincidentally reading Isaac Newton's PRINCIPIA (translation by Cohen).
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Travisji Corcoran on April 2 2004
Format: Hardcover
The ironically named _Quicksilver_ is the most disappointingly leaden
book it has been my displeasure to read in recent years.
After _Cryptonomicon_ my expectations were high. Early on in
_Quicksilver_ I realized that there was no way this book could be as
good as the earlier one, so I adjusted my hopes downward
accordingly...and even then, I was disappointed.
The flaws are numerous.
The one thing that everyone knows about the book is that it contains a
frantic pile of trivia. I was actually looking forward to this aspect
of the book, given that I enjoy random learning opportunities as much
as the next geek, and given that this is one part of _Cryptonomicon_
that I was enthused about. _QS_ disappoints in this regard. To my
mind there are two main bins that trivia are sorted in to: (1) those
random items that are capable of clicking in an interesting way into
the knowledge structure I already have; and (2) utterly random
tidbits. NS delivered a few of the former, and a few truck-loads of
the latter. In so far as the trivia was interesting, I already knew
it (Germanic witch trials, etymology of the word "dollar", the broad
outlines and purposes of the various 16th century political
structures), and in so far as the trivia was not something I already
knew, I found it dreadfully boring (hail-storms of random names of
royalty, many of them playing minimal roles in the plot, etc.).
Ah. I used the word "plot", so I've segued onto the next region of
disappointment. _QS_ does not have a plot, in the conventional sense.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By NorthVan Dave on Oct. 21 2005
Format: Paperback
I should probably preface this review by saying that I am a Neal Stephenson fan. I have read and enjoyed all of other books prior to reading this one, so it should come as no surprise that I enjoyed this novel as well.
It did however take me about 50 or 70 pages to get in to the novel. At first I found the plot to be very slow moving, with lots of confusing names and not a lot happening. Dull and boring are two words that come to mind. But if you can get past the first 70 pages, the novel slowly starts to develop a story line that by the time the book is finished has left you eagerly looking forward to the next book.
I do not want to give away too much of the novel and spoil it for any of the readers out there. But I will say this. Don't be discouraged by the size of the novel (900+ pages). Do stick it out, and read the whole novel, as you will be rewarded for it. And finally, if any of the history that took place in England in the 1600s is of interest to you, then this book should definitely make it on to your reading list.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Daniel Roy on April 11 2004
Format: Hardcover
It seems people who have read 'Quicksilver' have either loved it or hated it. I'm sorry to say, I belong to the second group.
Neal Stephenson originally became one of my favorite all-time authors for 'Snow Crash', for I felt his prose was quick, sharp, precise and very enjoyable. I remained a fan throughout 'Cryptonomicon', because although he was no longer quick, his drawn-out discussions on Things Geek remained fascinating.
I was looking forward to 'Quicksilver', but I'm afraid this book has seriously damaged the affection I had for Mr. Stephenson's work. Quicksilver is no longer witty, nor particularly fascinating. It sounds a lot like somebody who's spent a long time doing historical research setting out to prove the depth of his knowledge... which I guess is exactly what it is.
Stephenson spends the better part of this novel throwing out random historical facts of no importance whatsoever in the hopes of sounding as historically knowledgeable as, say, Umberto Eco. It seems in the middle of his research, Stephenson actually forgot about such things as 'plot', because all we're left with is a very, very, very long mess of discussions of things related to historical events and trying to cleverly tie in with historical characters such as Newton or Franklin.
To cap it off, this book is only one of three in a series (if you exclude Cryptonomicon as 'Volume 0'.) My god, how can one write so many pages on such a lack of plot? I cannot imagine plodding through another such book, let alone two 1000 pages bricks.
If you're thinking of picking this book up because you enjoyed 'Cryptonomicon', try and read a few pages in the library before shelling out the dough. Perhaps you will like it, but I certainly know I did not. I miss the days when Stephenson remembered how to get to the point and pack his novels with action and revelance, instead of being so infatuated with the names Waterhouse, Shaftoe and Root that he felt necessary to write 4000 pages about them.
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