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Quicksilver Audiobook

Quicksilver: Book One of The Baroque Cycle

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Publisher's Summary

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.

What the Critics Say

“[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)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.6 (2511 )
5 star
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3.7 (1726 )
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Story
4.2 (1693 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Bob Livingston, MT, United States 02-02-12
    Bob Livingston, MT, United States 02-02-12 Member Since 2013
    HELPFUL VOTES
    6
    ratings
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    88
    5
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    "Couldn't finish it"
    What disappointed you about Quicksilver?

    Nothing happened, very, very slow.


    Would you ever listen to anything by Neal Stephenson again?

    I've listened to other Stevenson books and really enjoyed them.


    Did the narrators do a good job differentiating all the characters? How?

    The narration was fine. The story wasn't


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer 12-02-11 Member Since 2013

    Regolith

    ratings
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    1
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Always good"

    I've read the Baroque Cycle trilogy twice since publication - it is extraordinary fiction. The very things that make it enjoyable to me - finely-grained, dense story telling - also seem to be the very things that many of the reviewers here don't like about it.

    The plot is rich, particularly if you know your history - Stephenson's story telling and characters come through with developments that are pure kick, intriguing, complex, humane, and understandable.

    Simon Prebble's narration is perfectly fitting and well done - masterful acting, really. The many characters are all distinct to the ear and the imagination. If you liked the read, you shouldn't be dissappointed.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Cheryl Belle Ewart, Ontario, Canada 11-26-10
    Cheryl Belle Ewart, Ontario, Canada 11-26-10 Member Since 2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
    2
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    "What can I say"

    I gave up on this book about 3 1/2 hours into it. The narration was putting me to sleep & the story!!!!

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jtm3 10-26-10
    Jtm3 10-26-10 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
    22
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    5
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    "I just couldn't do it."

    I like historical fiction a lot and have listened to scores of books since joining audible.com but this is one of only a couple of books that I simply could not finish. I had high hopes for the book and the series after reading the publisher's summary but the book never develops. I like long detailed books, but this one rambles aimlessly, sometimes providing exhaustive lists which drone on until the point at which I wished for an accident on the freeway to take my mind off the book. Here is an example. At one point, about 5 ?? hours into the book the topic of ???punishments??? is discussed. The list which follows for the next five minutes is laborious and mind numbing but when it ends, it simply ends and the author goes on to another topic without tying the last five minutes to anything before or after (at least as long as I continued to listen). Which brings me to the biggest problem I had with the book; even where there is an occasionally interesting section it is all too quickly gone without advancing the story line.

    After reading some of the glowing reviews here I can???t help but wonder if they were really listening to the same book or if they were related to the author.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Wendy Robinson 10-21-10 Member Since 2007
    HELPFUL VOTES
    4
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    "Quite disappointed"

    I almost never stop part-way through a book but I did not find this stoy engaging enough to keep me going.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Simon svendborg, Denmark 10-21-10
    Simon svendborg, Denmark 10-21-10 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
    ratings
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    42
    2
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    1
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    "Gave up."

    Neal Stephenson wrote one of my favorite books (cryptonomicon) and Simon Prebble is my all time favorite narrator. So when I found this series it could not be a better match.
    But this book just does not go anywhere! I know I had high expectations, but I really wanted this book to be good, and because of this I kept on listening, but had to give up 2/3 into the book.
    I cannot recommend this book. But I can fully recommend Cryptonomicon by Stepenson.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Robert Yeager 10-01-10 Listener Since 2005
    HELPFUL VOTES
    3
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    5
    5
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    "Good, just good"

    I found the historical and philisophical aspects of the book interesting, but it gets rather boring. It is like hanging out with my geek-friends who don't have a life, only their work. I was looking forward to intrigue and wow, this just didn't have it.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jase "Edgewalker" 09-30-10 Member Since 2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "A beautifully crafted world that goes nowhere fast"

    My feelings are mixed. On one hand, the writing style is fairly clever, but there is nothing to move the story forward. As a reader, a vision of an alternate pre-enlightenment era is entirely insufficient in itself to warrant so much reading. This book reads like a late-era European history textbook with a narrative structure. I was never enthralled by the lives and doings of boring rich gentlemen the first time around, and adding a bit of sci-fi to their lives does not, in itself, nudge them into being interesting. Even still, I'm sure I'd have probably enjoyed the book if it had had an interesting plot, (environment and characters being already dismissed to my mind,) but alas, the plot, again, reads like a historical account. The tides of history aren't an interesting plot in and of themselves. For me, there needs to be some serious degree of human drama to propel the story, and there mostly isn't. For readers who enjoy the style, the victorian language, and period, and love the idea of combining something magical with it, I recommend Clarke's "Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell" instead.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Vicky Thorneside, QLD, Australia 08-21-10
    Vicky Thorneside, QLD, Australia 08-21-10 Member Since 2013
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Well narrated, poor storyline"

    I agree with all the other reviewers on this one. There is one reason you might want to get this. It helps you get to sleep at night!

    In truth the narration is great, bringing life into what is possibly the most disjointed and uninteresting story I have come across. Even the science history is poor. At one point it mentions he meets I think it was Newton as a boy, next minute he was recommending that someone reads his book.

    The overdescription is just annoying too. The author seems to think that it is good if he can say something in a paragraph he could have said in a word! What actually happens is you know what he is rabbiting on about at the start of the paragraph but you have to wait for a minute or so to get some petty detail you don't want to know anyway.

    Avoid this book like the plague....unless you have insomnia!

    5 of 10 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Pieter South Africa 08-17-10
    Pieter South Africa 08-17-10

    An unsocial freak living his life around audiobooks, the next best thing to under water blowdryers.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    20
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    "Oh, what was that again?"

    I was hoping this would be something diffirent since i am a history fanatic. I usually listen to books while working, but several times the book dissapeared among the hundred thoughts i have which never happens on any other audio book. It is complex and the main character is extremely boring. It is very technical yet it will have an audience with those who find toothpicks and pebbles more interesting than the end of the world or some alien invasion. Did i forget to say YAAAAAAAAAAAAWWWWWWWWNNNN!!!

    15 of 32 people found this review helpful

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