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Quicksilver: Baroque Cycle #01by Neal Stephenson
Synopses & Reviews
Quicksilver is the story of Daniel Waterhouse, fearless thinker and conflicted Puritan, pursuing knowledge in the company of the greatest minds of Baroque-era Europe, in a chaotic world where reason wars with the bloody ambitions of the mighty, and where catastrophe, natural or otherwise, can alter the political landscape overnight.
It is a chronicle of the breathtaking exploits of "Half-Cocked Jack" Shaftoe — London street urchin turned swashbuckling adventurer and legendary King of the Vagabonds — risking life and limb for fortune and love while slowly maddening from the pox.
And it is the tale of Eliza, rescued by Jack from a Turkish harem to become spy, confidante, and pawn of royals in order to reinvent Europe through the newborn power of finance.
A gloriously rich, entertaining, and endlessly inventive novel that brings a remarkable age and its momentous events to vivid life, Quicksilver is an extraordinary achievement from one of the most original and important literary talents of our time.
And it's just the beginning ...
"As rich in character sketches as it is in well-developed scenes, Quicksilver will have readers — especially the history buffs among them — happily turning all its many pages." Roland Green, Booklist
"[T]he great trick of Quicksilver is that it makes you ponder concepts and theories you initially think you'll never understand, and its greatest pleasure is that Stephenson is such an enthralling explainer....[A] wonderment to behold. (Grade: A-)" Ken Tucker, Entertainment Weekly
"The meandering, dense narrative...proves one thing: he needs an editor....An incorrigible showoff, Stephenson doesn't know when to stop, but that's a trifle compared to his awe-inspiring ambition and cheeky sense of humor." Kirkus Reviews
"Sparkling prose, subtle humor, and a superb knowledge of the period make this grand feast of a novel a mandatory choice....Highly recommended." Library Journal
"At more than 900 pages, it is a mighty tome. But it is a tremendous gift to his fans, who will delve into a richly imagined world of intrigue, science and plenty of name-dropping." Alan Burchardt, Kansas City Star
"At its best, the novel [explores the philosophical concerns of today] through thrillingly clever, suspenseful and amusing plot twists." Polly Shulman, The New York Times Book Review
"A book of immense ambition, learning and scope, Quicksilver is often brilliant and occasionally astonishing in its evocation of a remarkable time and place....[It] has wit, ambition and, despite its considerable longueurs, moments of real genius." Elizabeth Hand, The Washington Post Book World
"The characters are compelling and draw the reader into the arcana as they muddle their way through a pivotal era in human existence....It's geek literature of the highest order." Eric S. Elkins, The Denver Post
"With exuberant, intoxicating prose, [Stephenson] has written a lusty adventure tale that also seems to be scientifically accurate. At the very least, it is meticulously researched." Steve Bennett, San Antonio Express-News
"Though the novel is intriguing, there's precious little plot....I doubt Quicksilver will captivate the audience that its predecessor did, but it's still an enjoyable read." Elizabeth Wiese, The New York Times
"Stephenson...manages a more than equitable balance of hallowed history and hearty histrionics....If anything, it's Neal Stephenson who stands out the most in Quicksilver. At 927 pages, it's not a page longer than it needs to be." Frank Mundo, San Diego Union-Tribune
"Unfortunately, entire chapters are filled with droning conversations about natural philosophy and alchemy....After 700 pages of plot tangles and caricatured characters, I was tired, too." John R. Alden, Cleveland Plain Dealer
"Quicksilver captures the spirit of discovery with Stephenson's relentlessly dry sense of humor....With its insights into our modern world, the book should appeal to everyone who wonders where technology is taking us..." Jay Pawlowski, Rocky Mountain News
Set against the backdrop of the late 17th and early 18th centuries, Quicksilver brings to life a cast of unforgettable characters in a time of breathtaking genius and discovery, men and women whose exploits defined an age.
About the Author
Neal Stephenson is the author of the bestselling Baroque Cycle (Quicksilver, The Confusion, and The System of the World) as well as the novels Cryptonomicon, The Diamond Age, Snow Crash, and Zodiac. He lives in Seattle, Washington.
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