In this first volume of Neal Stephenson’s genre-defying epic, Daniel Waterhouse, fearless thinker and courageous Puritan, pursues 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.
The Baroque Cycle, Neal Stephenson’s award-winning series, spans the late 17th and early 18th centuries, combining history, adventure, science, invention, piracy, and alchemy into one sweeping tale. It is a gloriously rich, entertaining, and endlessly inventive historical epic populated by the likes of Isaac Newton, William of Orange, Benjamin Franklin, and King Louis XIV, along with some of the most inventive literary characters in modern fiction.
Audible’s complete and unabridged presentation of The Baroque Cycle was produced in cooperation with Neal Stephenson. Each volume includes an exclusive introduction read by the author.
Listen to more titles in the Baroque Cycle.
©2003 Neal Stephenson (P)2010 Audible, Inc.
“[The “Baroque Cycle”] will defy any category, genre, precedent, or label – except genius….Stephenson has a once-in-a-generation gift: he makes complex ideas clear, and he makes them funny, heartbreaking, and thrilling.” (Time)
“A book of immense ambition, learning, and scope, Quicksilver is often brilliant and occasionally astonishing in its evocation of a remarkable time and place.” (Washington Post Book World)
I was first introduced to Neal Stephenson through his book Cryptonomicon (to which, in some ways, Quicksilver is a distant prequel). I loved Cryptonomicon, with its intricate plotlines, its fantastic characters, and its tidy resolution. I was eager to read more.
Quicksilver was a good book, but it did not live up to Cryptonomicon primarily because it is too slow moving.
If you are interested in natural sciences and the history of the Royal Society, this is a playful historical fiction that is extremely interesting in its portrayal of those scientists, their debates and activities.
The main character is a sort of ambling good-natured scientist who meanders through various scientific societies making acquaintance with some of the great minds of the time through seeming happenstance. In this respect, I loved the book and its completely irreverent approach to these great minds.
However, it had none of the adventure, urgency, or swashbuckling of Cryptonomicon. It was an interesting read, but a very slow one. Amusing and entertaining, but never gripping.
Seven hours into this book, there is no discernable plot. And the book is gross, with descriptions of animal torture. I have nothing against a little grossness, as long as it is relevant to the story. This, so far, is not. I will not continue to listen.
the concept is amazing. the interactions between the great scientists of the 19th century. i never even realized that all of these great discoveries and inventions were happening within the same few decades.
however, the book was extremely difficult to get through. slow, not always fun.
It is up to you to use your powers for good!
So disappointed in the book overall. I expected more. The story drug on and on and never got anywhere. Would not recommend your time or $.
I so wanted to like this story. The narration is very good, the topic should be interesting, but I just couldn't get through the book. This is the first audio book that I didn't finish. I tried, but I couldn't. I started listening to this at bed time to put me sleep more quickly.
Love Simon Prebble; Neal Stephenson not so much
Boring. I kept asking myself
The last scene I listened to, which happened to be a string of F-words. That put me over the line to be done with this book.
It inspired me to get my money back.
Audio books are in dire need of a content rating system. I could have avoided disappointment if I had known this book contained so many F-words.
A frequent listener with a taste for a little of everything.
This story is well narrated, and the characters are interesting. Unfortunately, there's not much positive to say beyond that. While I enjoy listening to historical fiction, fantasy, and sci-fi, I do like to know what I'm investing my time into. If you were to ask me what the plot of the book was, I couldn't tell you. If you asked me what the point was, the best I could give you is that it shows the author's knowledge about scientific discovery during the time periods highlighted. Nothing more. Occasionally, there are funny lines and situations - those are the only things that kept me listening until the end of this part. Otherwise, I would have abandoned it.
It may just be me, but I really couldn't follow the storyline in this book. I quickly got disinterested and couldn't finish it.
I had hoped for historical info within a (good) novel and found the opposite. Especially in the first half of the book, the dialogue turns into a lesson in eg. european coinage as a prism is bought from a vendor, making for clunky dialogue. The prism turns out to be irrelevant to the story line. The second half of the book seems to turn focus to the story line in a manner I found much less constructed.
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