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King of the Vagabonds Audiobook

King of the Vagabonds: Book Two of The Baroque Cycle

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Publisher's Summary

A chronicle of the breathtaking exploits of “Half-Cocked Jack” Shaftoe – London street urchin turned legendary swashbuckling adventurer – risking life and limb for fortune and love while slowly maddening from the pox – and Eliza, rescued by Jack from a Turkish harem to become spy, confidante, and pawn of royals in order to reinvent a contentious continent through the newborn power of finance.

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

“Bawdy, learned, hilarious, and utterly compelling, [it] is sprawling to the point of insanity and resoundingly, joyously good.” (Times of London)

“Thrillingly clever, suspenseful, and amusing.” (New York Times Book Review)

"Most tales of 'olde' times are replete with castles, robed lords and ladies, and handsome men on horseback. But what about the wretches they pass on the side of the road as they go off to a lively joust? is about those men, the poor, the grifters, whose names are lost to history—the vagabonds. Stephenson's novel tells their story, with the able help of storyteller Simon Prebble. Prebble's witty banter is perfect as the voice of Jack, a knave who is out to prove that even a lowborn can succeed in seventeenth- and eighteenth-century Europe. Prebble even does a great job with the historical characters such as Isaac Newton, Ben Franklin, and others. Equal parts action and adventure, along with a healthy dose of humor, make this a great listen." (AudioFile)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.3 (1336 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Sok11 12-27-16
    Sok11 12-27-16
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    Story
    "interesting but flawed"

    I wish I had enjoyed this as much as Book One:Quicksilver. A bit hard to follow the various characters' motivations, and a really lamentable rendition of Hava Nigila... just overall not too compelling.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Keith LIVERMORE, CA, United States 11-18-16
    Keith LIVERMORE, CA, United States 11-18-16 Member Since 2012
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    "Just Meh"

    I thought about giving it one star but at least parts of it were interesting. This story has no direction. No plot. Nothing. I started this series because I heard it was good and it is rated well but so far it is seriously lacking.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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    Bram Blenk 10-19-16
    Bram Blenk 10-19-16 Member Since 2015
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    "Awesome book"

    One of the greatest series ever written. A masterpiece. It's even better as an audio book than as a paper book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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    Robert M Bickett 10-06-16 Member Since 2015
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    "really enjoyable"

    Neal Stephenson once again brilliantly exposes us to a the unimagined complexity of the lives of other people, in an area that it never even occurred to me to wonder about. A fantastic exploration of the world of the 17th century. Very enjoyable narration, as well.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Don Wood 06-26-16
    Don Wood 06-26-16 Member Since 2015
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    "Good but not a continuation of the last one."

    I enjoyed the story, but not as much as the first one. not for younger listeners!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Emilio M. 04-04-16
    Emilio M. 04-04-16 Member Since 2015
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    "Places you right there, smell, taste, touch"
    Where does King of the Vagabonds rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    At the top of audio books. A very good performance for the period in history.


    What did you like best about this story?

    This is book 2 of 8 in the Baroque series, for that point I cannot really comment on the how much I like the story. That said, the story line is excellent and we are properly introduced to important characters.Toe rad this author, I find myself going away during the book and researching the real history line. In this book especially William of Orange. The author is marvelous at spinning a story line around historical facts.To read how the binary code was understood at this point in history and how it was initially used as encryption for covert notes for me is fascinating. I cannot get enough of the bridges that Stevenson fills for me with respect to trade, the power cities. the early frauds, all of this is power packed.


    Which character – as performed by the narrators – was your favorite?

    Both Jack and Eliza came to life.


    If you could rename King of the Vagabonds, what would you call it?

    I would not rename the book. The series of these books is written for the common persons lot in life. The Vagabond is a very important element in the development of European society, and in fact globally that the story must be told.This character and way of life is rarely told.


    Any additional comments?

    I find that I must replay chapters continuously, this series is not cops and robbers with a lot of words going nowhere and wham bam climax. For me, in order to get the real message behind the story, I have to listen again, because the nuances and intrigue are very important later on in the novel and series.It is like learning math, miss a section and you cannot solve the equation. Same with Stevenson's writings.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Stephen 02-26-16
    Stephen 02-26-16
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    "Skip this one in the series."

    To me, this seemed a way for the author to create or relive banter between a difficult pair of individuals. The story has no particular interest or meaning other than that. If you're not keen on listening to how a blithe idiot associates with a slutty but highly intelligent conniving woman, skip this. I was, however, very happy with the end. The useless pair (apparently) received the fruits of their labors.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Shannon Garden City, NY, United States 01-18-16
    Shannon Garden City, NY, United States 01-18-16 Member Since 2016

    Retired Marine Chief Warrant Officer; just trying to heal up all that's been broken these last 22 years and enjoy my family and workshop.

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    "Amazing Performance!"

    That's is the first and most important thing to say about having this book on audio vs text. An amazing character development for which Stephenson I'd so adept. This was a wonderful 2nd book of "The Baroque" series and I most enjoyed that he went from high left oligarchy/royalty to salt of the earth recognition and rendering of the far right characters who endured the realities of the common person with the pulses of entrepreneurship flowing in their veins.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sarah Hoex 12-31-15
    Sarah Hoex 12-31-15
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    "well written, wonderful narration"

    Simon Preble is a fantastic narrator, his pace and tone are always appropriate, and his characterizations give life and are never over the top.
    now the story, I am a long time fan of Neil Stephenson, and like all his books this is compelling and well paced, more action in then Quicksilver, if you are looking for that, exhaustively detailed. the majority of yhe novel maintains a very light, adventurous tone, the character seem both charmed and charming. The last few chapters though, get heavy, or rather are brought down to earth. SPOILER : In the book there are two very different instances of sexual assault, they are realistic and not sensationalized, but nonetheless it took me a moment to get back into the story.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Chap Walker 05-03-15
    Chap Walker 05-03-15 Member Since 2013

    tattooed viking

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    "Beautiful and bleak and has the ring of truth"

    This is the second of Neal Stephenson's Baroque Cycle books that I have listened to, and they just keep getting better. They have the feel of Umberto Eco's work, but without trying to overwhelm the reader. Stephenson presents a realistic view of the world in 17th century Europe. Its accordingly dark, bleak, and savage, but also very beautiful. Also, do not expect a happy ending-instead, look forward to a real one. I can't wait to read the next book in the series.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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