I almost missed this witty historcal novel because it was hard to relate to the narrative in the first two chapters, which consume 1 hour 27 minutes, and introduce a long-lived character named Enoch the Red. My suggestion is to listen to the author-read introduction and then skip to chapter three, set in 1716 in Newtown, Massachusetts, which introduces the book's affable, accommodating, and somewhat child-like (in terms of wonder, devotion, and curiosity) protagonist, Daniel Waterhouse. Return to the first 2 chapters at the end of the book, where their significance to the Baroque Cycle series will be immediately apparent. I deduct one star from the story for this structural flaw, but rate the overal audiobook 5 stars.
Quicksilver is not a mere exposition of the development of "natural philosophy" into what we call modern scientific reasoning. It sincerely captures the falacious reasoning and original assumptions-- most of which seem absurd and superstitious from today's standards-- of early scientists, and charitably explains how their life experiences, social status, and the prevailing dogmas of the day made their "quaint" ideas, such as the spontaneous generation of flies from filth, understandable. As a caveat, if animal cruelty is particularly distressing to you, as it is to me, I suggest visualizing only the scientists--not their animal subjects--much the way many TV medical dramas do not show the open incisions of surgical patients. Notwithstanding the book tempting the reader to slide into visualization of painful animal experiments, I am eager to read book 2.
The people who say the narrator is horrible have not purchased the book. The sample is read by the author. Listen to Dylan Baker's other narration samples for other books, and I think you will find him a skilled narrator. And this is a good book that pulls no punches.
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