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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.

Critic Reviews

“[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 Ratings

Overall

  • 3.7 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
    962
  • 4 Stars
    771
  • 3 Stars
    521
  • 2 Stars
    288
  • 1 Stars
    239

Performance

  • 4.2 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
    1,036
  • 4 Stars
    524
  • 3 Stars
    239
  • 2 Stars
    75
  • 1 Stars
    66

Story

  • 3.8 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
    763
  • 4 Stars
    505
  • 3 Stars
    364
  • 2 Stars
    195
  • 1 Stars
    144
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  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Anna
  • Bailey, Colorado, United States
  • 05-15-12

A slower plot.

Would you recommend Quicksilver to your friends? Why or why not?

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.

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Just couldn't get through it

Any additional comments?

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.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Bob
  • Livingston, MT, United States
  • 02-02-12

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

  • 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.

  • Overall
  • Cheryl
  • Belle Ewart, Ontario, Canada
  • 11-26-10

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

  • Overall

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

  • Overall

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

  • Overall
  • Simon
  • svendborg, Denmark
  • 10-21-10

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

  • Overall
  • Steve
  • West Essendon Victoria
  • 10-15-10

Terrible

Out of the 200 audio books I have downloaded over I dont know how many years as a member this without doubt is the worst.
Im reluctant to even give a star it's more a twinkle of a point...

Please Neal Stephen dont write any more in the series or at the very least read a Ken Follett or Steve Berry to get a better idea of weaving a story through your facts.

It is slow listening, boring, and the narration monotonous.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

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