Quicksilver: The Baroque Cycle #1

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Harper Collins, Oct 13, 2009 - Fiction - 480 pages
36 Reviews

Quicksilver is the story of Daniel Waterhouse, fearless thinker and conflicted Puritan, pursuing 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.

It is a chronicle of the breathtaking exploits of "Half-Cocked Jack" Shaftoe -- London street urchin turned swashbuckling adventurer and legendary King of the Vagabonds -- risking life and limb for fortune and love while slowly maddening from the pox.

And it is the tale of Eliza, rescued by Jack from a Turkish harem to become spy, confidante, and pawn of royals in order to reinvent Europe through the newborn power of finance.

A gloriously rich, entertaining, and endlessly inventive novel that brings a remarkable age and its momentous events to vivid life, Quicksilver is an extraordinary achievement from one of the most original and important literary talents of our time.

And it's just the beginning ...

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finally finished Quicksilver by Neal Stephenson, which i began reading at the end of September, if you can believe it. it arrived in the post the day it was released, and being that i had gotten excited over Snow Crash and Cryptonomicon over the summer, i couldn't wait to read it.
and read... and read... and read... ever... so... slowly. the first 350 pages were like sitting in a 9a chem class wondering what kind of freshman idiot you are to take such a boring class so early in the morning. and then you find sudden intense interest in the button of your pen and you keep making it click click click because deep down there's something intensely cerebral in the chemical combinations of your prof's droning vox and the simplistic rhythms of your pen. you begin to marvel as the ink falls into the shallow crevices of paper as you draw a square and fill it in ever so slowly, finding zen moments in the simplicity of OMG THE TEACH JUST BLEW UP HIS HEAD WITH THOSE CHEMICALS!!! and then you sit up and take notice and ask the other students around you what you missed that led up to this point, and they say nothing man, he just grabbed that stuff and blew up and you say to yourself damn, why couldn't he have done that months ago because the final is coming up and you just now found interest in chemistry.
and that's what it was like reading Quicksilver, where the entire first book was boring, book two was swashbuckling fun (Jack Shaftoe is my hero), and book three mixed the characters of books one and two rather well.

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About the author (2009)

Neal Stephenson is the author of Reamde, Anathem, and the three-volume historical epic the Baroque Cycle (Quicksilver, The Confusion, and The System of the World), as well as Cryptonomicon, The Diamond Age, Snow Crash, and Zodiac. He lives in Seattle, Washington.

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