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Solomon’s Gold  By  cover art

Solomon’s Gold

By: Neal Stephenson
Narrated by: Simon Prebble, Kevin Pariseau, Neal Stephenson (introduction)
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Publisher's summary

In the year 1714, the world is a most confused and unsteady place — especially London, center of finance, innovation, and conspiracy — when Daniel Waterhouse makes his less-than-triumphant return to England’s shores. Aging Puritan and Natural Philosopher, confidant of the high and mighty, and contemporary of the most brilliant minds of the age, he has braved the merciless sea and an assault by the infamous pirate Blackbeard to help mend the rift between two adversarial geniuses at a princess’s behest. But while much has changed outwardly, the duplicity and danger that once drove Daniel to the American Colonies is still coin of the British realm.

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.
©2004 Neal Stephenson (P)2010 Audible, Inc.

Critic reviews

“Self-indulgent ambition disguised as historical fiction was never this much fun—or this successful.” ( Entertainment Weekly)
“Stands out as a masterwork of time, place, and people.” ( Library Journal)

What listeners say about Solomon’s Gold

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bigger and bigger

the story of Jack and Eliza is ever more intriguing. The positioning of real historical characters and things is also educational.

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LOVE this

What made the experience of listening to Solomon’s Gold the most enjoyable?

Stephenson's writing is voluminous and - to be honest - full of extraneous details and side-trips. I happen to LOVE the side trips and enjoy every minute of the stories. He can be a little graphic in rubbing your nose in the dirty details of life in 17th and 18th Century Europe, but I can forgive that as it is surrounded by such delightful characters, deeply intertwined story threads, and magnificently crafted surprise twists.

If you're a smart person who loves complex and rich storytelling, you will love this entire epic series of books. The performances in the audiobooks are astoundingly good.

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A Stephenson stumble is still a superior story

The principal narrator is outstanding (even if the Scottish of Lord Gy is unconvincing, and Dappa and Tomba seem to sound the same), but the narrator reading Eliza makes her sound snotty and aloof -- basically the polar opposite of the actual character. The story was more ponderous than the previous five books as well. Still, even with its weaknesses, an amazing accomplishment.

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Another Neal Stephenson book I couldn't put down

and of course another Cliffhanger. Nobody should be as smart as Neil Stevenson, but I'm sure glad he's a writer.

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    3 out of 5 stars

No End in Sight

While I enjoyed listening to the piece, particularly the random digressions about English heraldry, the origin of the word coin, and other such tidbits, I was really annoyed by the ending of the book, or rather the lack of an ending. I understand this is part of an apparently never-ending cycle of books, but is it too much to ask that at least some of the plot lines be resolved at the end of the book? Moreover, based on the opening of the book, which was rather lackluster, I worry that even when a resolution comes, it won't be all that satisfying.

The body of the novel was interesting, if meandering. There are many characters flitting in and out, usually with no particular announcement of their connection with the rest of the story. Eventually, the connection becomes evident but patience is required from the listener to follow along the journey without any clear idea as to where you are or where you are going. I suspect that if I relisten, knowing now how the characters are connected, I would discern a fair bit of foreshadowing and other elements that are missed,

There is a great deal of erudition and research that went into the piece. Mostly, this emerges in a natural way though sometimes the plot veers artificially into scenes that are merely there to illustrate some aspect of English life in the early 18th century but not advancing the plot at all. For instance, the bear-baiting scene, while somewhat interesting, is a pure detour as are the early scenes in Dartmoor about using tin to make coins and a steam engine to extract the water from the flooded tin mines. These scenes seemed more about demonstrating the author's research than connecting naturally to the plot. (I might be wrong about the tin mines. It seems possible that this issue will be returned to in some future book in the cycle.)

The voice performance of the principal reader was excellent. He's able to pull off a wide range of accents and inflections which helped to flesh out the characters in the mind's eye. Some of these, like the full-on Scottish brogue of one of the characters, are difficulty to do convincingly.

Bottom line: Atmosphere = A, Vocal performance = A+, Plot = B+, Resolution = F

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One of the best in the series

A wonderfully interwoven cloth of character driven adventures, mysterious doings and quests for truth and justice. Magnificent!

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well worth the investment of time

this has been a fun read and I expected over time I will return for a reread.

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This series just keeps being awesome

I read this series first and then about 15 years later came back to them through audible. The writing and the narration go so well together. I’m so impressed! Strongly recommend.

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Story starting to take shape!

There've been hints and suggestions of a possible central plot prior to this, but only by this book do you see some of the threads start to come together. The format also starts to rely less on extended reading of letters and more rely on actual storytelling, although it still heavily relies on conversations between interesting characters to drive the narrative. It's hard to say this book and the later ones are much better than the earlier books, but at this stage I have read enough to start seeing the patterns come together.

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    4 out of 5 stars

My favorite in the series so far

With two left to go, this one has been the most fun. There's a lot less of courtly politics and a lot more outrageous fun. It's all quite a bit over the top and ends with the punch line of what has to be the longest shaggy dog joke in literature. My feeling all along with this series is that Stephenson may be the most arrogant writer I've ever come across and he writes these huge checks with his ego -- then he manages to cash them and we all have a good time. I guess if you have the chops, you can be arrogant like that.

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