I read the Baroque Cycle when it came out and enjoyed it greatly. It's not meant as a history so much as an entertainment and listening to it is a real treat. However, when I read Quicksilver it was a 1000+ page book so i should have known better when this Quicksilver was only 20 hours. What I'd forgotten was that the book I read had three "books" that included one called Quicksilver. These sub-books are published by audible individually. So I feel a bit cheated.
Here are the volumes and books, so expect to spend 8 credits for the whole cycle.
Quicksilver, Vol. I of the Baroque Cycle
Book 1 – Quicksilver
Book 2 – The King of the Vagabonds
Book 3 – Odalisque
The Confusion, Vol. II of the Baroque Cycle
Book 4 – Bonanza
Book 5 – The Juncto
The System of the World, Vol. III of the Baroque Cycle
Book 6 – Solomon's Gold
Book 7 – Currency
Book 8 – The System of the World
Fascinating, funny, thought-provoking.
Daniel Waterhouse realizing King Charles the Second was about to blow up his father's house and his father.
No, too much to savor.
I was disappointed that it wasn't the whole book and that I had to purchase the second part. It is published as one book.
This absorbing book throws light on a time when science is surging to the forefront of popular thinking. It is written with unconventional warm humour.
Simon Prebble's performance is masterful.
Although I enjoyed the story overall and the narrator was quite good, there were points in the book where things just dragged on and on and on... It could have been a much shorter story with just as much impact.
Quicksilver appeals to me because of its subject matter: the history of the Scientific Revolution in Britain, Europe and the American colonies around 1650 to 1750. Stephenson writes a "good yarn" with interesting characters that are well developed, but he is not a literary author. I would rate Quicksilver much better than some mediocre mysteries that I have listened to, but it is not up to the level of audiobooks of Charles Dickens or Tolstoy, or Samuel Pepys diary.
Neal Stephenson's books are great to both read and listen to. Quicksilver is not as entertaining as Reamde or Cryptomonicon, but it is a "must" for any Stephenson fan. There are characters and themes that repeat in Cryptomonicon. Quicksilver is for readers who are interested in mathematics and science, the history of both, and generally have inquisitive minds
I like a narrator to not intrude on the story. If I notice the narrator, then there is a problem. I did not notice in this case, so do not know if I have heard other books by him - that is a good thing!
Isaac Newton is very well realized here. Stephenson creates an amusing, complex and often infuriating character and does a good job of answering the question: "What is genius and how is it manifested?"
I am listening to Quicksilver for a second time before I go on with the second book in the Baroque Cycle. There is so much to take it, that I need to repeat to make sure that I get it all. And it is definitely worth listening to again, as are all of Stephenson's books - which makes them good value.
This is probably my favorite part of the series. It begins a truly epic tale about the changes in the world from the late 1600s to the early 1700s. This portion tells the tale of Daniel Waterhouse, close companion to Isaac Newton, and their introduction into the world of Natural Philosophy. It details the transition between the age of alchemy and "magic" into a world of science and logical study of the nature of life.
Highly detailed, and sometimes slow moving, the entire story will span over 50 years, the reign of many different kings and queens across europe, several trips to America and back, pirates, african queens, and the Philosopher's Stone. Well worth slogging through the slow points to find out what happens in the end.
I would recommend it to any friend who loves science and history
The details the author provides and how he sets the scenes
The narrator is good
One of my favorite parts was in the first half when the main character is in Massachusetts.
It took me a long time to listen to this book...which provides value. There is a lot of detail and period changes, but it is so worth the listening.
I've listened to it multiple times and find more layers of meaning and literary craft'smanship with each listening (and reading).
Enoch Root is always my "favorite" character, starting with my reading of the Cryptonomicon. He is Stephenson's Gandalf. I am always left wanting more with him.
Simon Prebble is simply brilliant in his pacing, inflection and occasionaly and appropriately used "other character" voices.
Enoch Root, for the reasons listed above.... he is the bridge across the old alchemical world, into the new scientific age. He is enigmatic and there is enough mystery in his longevity that we want more.
Stop what you are doing right now, and down load this work. Your life will never be the same.
The Baroque Cycle doesn't compare to other Neal Stephenson books. Instead of being enhanced by the interweaving of many side plots, this trilogy just seems to bog down.
I tried on two separate occasions. The first time I only got a couple of hours into it. Then a few months later, I thought that since I really liked the idea of the book, I should really give it a better try. This time I got about 3/4 of the way through it and I reallized that I would not buy the rest of the series.. so that was it. I found the story too slow and it hopped around too much and I just kept drifting off.
Who knows maybe I will try again some time.