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The Confusion by Neal Stephenson
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The Confusion (original 2005; edition 2005)

by Neal Stephenson

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5,16957866 (4.2)42
Member:divinenanny
Title:The Confusion
Authors:Neal Stephenson (Author)
Info:Arrow (2005), London, Paperback, 815p.
Collections:Your library, eBooks, Read, Read 2012, Favorites, Buy and Get 2010, Readable
Rating:*****
Tags:historical fiction, history, france, uk, netherlands, paris, london, 1600s, fiction, locus

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The Confusion {Baroque Cycle, Books 4-5} by Neal Stephenson (2005)

Recently added byapostate, crucibulum, gyme, nasrat, private library, jcyskr, austintaylor, sweyenberg, genespears
  1. 20
    Vermeer's Hat: The Seventeenth Century and the Dawn of the Global World by Timothy Brook (Othemts)
    Othemts: Vermeer's Hat contains a good description of Manilla as a trading port in the 17th century. Chinese merchants settled on the outskirts of the city to sell silks. In return they received silver that arrived from New Spain on a galleon once each year.
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English (55)  German (1)  Finnish (1)  All languages (57)
Showing 1-5 of 55 (next | show all)
This was even better than Quicksilver. The story never bogged down. This was the first book I read on my Nook, and I flew through it in 3 weeks (Quicksilver took me 4 months). ( )
  grandpahobo | Mar 23, 2015 |
The Confusion is Volume II of the author’s Baroque Cycle. Volume I contains the first three “books” of the cycle, while The Confusion contains Book 4 (Juncto) and Book 5 (Bonanza). These two books were originally published separately, but when combined in this volume, the “chapters” are alternated so as to maintain chronological order. That is because the two books deal with two completely separate story lines.

Juncto is set in northern Europe and features Eliza, Duchess of Arcachon and Qwhglm, and Daniel Waterhouse. Bonanza follows the adventures of Half-Cocked Jack Shaftoe from his days as a galley slave along the Barbary Coast through Egypt, the Indian sub-continent (Hindoostan), the Far East, New Spain (Mexico) and ultimately back to England.

If you read Volume I, Quicksilver, or the three books that were encompassed therein, then you are familiar with the characters and the historical landscape (late 17th, early 18th century). While the historical fiction contained in these works is highly educational and at times fascinating (at others, somewhat confusing), this is not my favorite Stephenson effort. Nevertheless, as in his cyberpunk and sci-fi stories, a certain level of attention and effort is required in order fully grasp the author’s work. Some may not want to put forth the effort, but I appreciate it. ( )
  santhony | Nov 24, 2014 |
Continuing my reread (listen) of The Baroque Cycle, The Confusion feels very well balanced to me. It mixes (con-fuses) two tales. One is the tale of a noblewoman who relates to us the growth of money and finance in Europe. The other is the tale of a diverse crew of Barbaby slaves who swashbuckle their way to stealing a trove of alchemical treasure and circumnavigate the globe.

The Baroque Cycle is science fiction written about history. It makes me feel smart reading it and it a damn good time as well. ( )
  nnschiller | Sep 18, 2014 |
This is two interleaved books. Bonanza, book 4, follows the story of Jack Shaftoe who is sold to the Barbary pirates, and Junto, book 5, which follows the story of Eliza to Holland, France, and other places in her quest to make herself financially secure. I really enjoyed this book. More than the first. Not for those who don't enjoy long tangents and it really requires a good basic knowledge of European history as he doesn't slow down to explain much. ( )
  stuart10er | Nov 5, 2013 |
This is by far the best of the Baroque Cycle novels, and that's saying a lot. Greatly enjoyed every minute of reading this book. ( )
  wweisser | Jul 6, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 55 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (8 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Neal Stephensonprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Aquan, RichardCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kellgren, KatherineNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pariseau, KevinNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Prebble, SimonNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Van De Velde, WillemCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
So great is the dignity and excellency of humane nature, and so active those sparks of heavenly fire it partakes of, that they ought to be look'd upon as very mean, and unworthy the name of men, who thro' pusillanimity, by them call'd prudence, or thro' sloth, which they stile moderation, or else through avarice, to which they give the name frugality, at any rate withdraw themselves from performing great and noble actions.
— Giovanni Francesco Gemelli Careri,
A Voyage Round the World
The Commerce of the World, especially as it now carried on, is an unbounded Ocean of Business; Trackless and unknown, like the Seas it is managed upon; the Merchant is no more to be follow'd in his Adventures, than a Maze or Labyrinth is to be trac'd out without a Clue.

— Daniel Defoe

A Plan of the English Commerce
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He was not merely awakened, but detonated out of an uncommonly long and repetitive dream.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
This is the second volume of the three-volume edition. Please don't combine with the fourth or fifth volume of the eight-volume edition with the same title.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0060733357, Paperback)

In the year 1689, a cabal of Barbary galley slaves -- including one Jack Shaftoe, aka King of the Vagabonds, aka Half-Cocked Jack -- devises a daring plan to win freedom and fortune. A great adventure ensues -- a perilous race for an enormous prize of silver ... nay, gold ... nay, legendary gold.

In Europe, the exquisite and resourceful Eliza, Countess de la Zeur, is stripped of her immense personal fortune by France's most dashing privateer. Penniless and at risk from those who desire either her or her head (or both), she is caught up in a web of international intrigue, even as she desperately seeks the return of her most precious possession.

Meanwhile, Newton and Leibniz continue to propound their grand theories as their infamous rivalry intensifies, stubborn alchemy does battle with the natural sciences, dastardly plots are set in motion ... and Daniel Waterhouse seeks passage to the Massachusetts colony in hopes of escaping the madness into which his world has descended.

This P.S. edition features an extra 16 pages of insights into the book, including author interviews, recommended reading, and more.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:27:39 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

"In the year 1689, a cabal of Barbary galley slaves -- including one Jack Shaftoe, aka King of the Vagabonds, aka Half-Cocked Jack -- devises a daring plan to win freedom and fortune. A great adventure ensues -- a perilous race for an enormous prize of silver ... nay, gold ... nay, legendary gold" --Cover, p. 4.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 2 descriptions

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