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Quicksilver {Baroque Cycle, Book 1 of 8} by…
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Quicksilver {Baroque Cycle, Book 1 of 8} (2003)

by Neal Stephenson

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Showing 1-5 of 25 (next | show all)
My copy is the first book of the first volume of the apparently massive Baroque Cycle. I thought Stephenson did a fantastic job of conveying the exuberance of the scientific revolution as scientists went shooting off in all directions, trying to learn everything about everything. Other things I liked were the humour, the sense of place and history, and the main character. My main reservation about the book was that I just don't like real people being given fictionalized lives. So, overall, I liked it (except for a certain incident), but I don't feel inclined to read the rest of the series—life is too short for that. ( )
  SylviaC | Dec 23, 2015 |
More reviews on Weighing A Pig Doesn't Fatten It...

Just a short review for this long book…

If you get through the first 200 pages Quicksilver pays off, but it still is a struggle at times: a bit too much details and characters. But, it’s as important to stress that there are as much brilliant parts as well.

Also, if you aren’t that interested in Daniel at first: hang on, because in the second part and third part of this book he only plays a minor role, and two other, much more interesting characters are introduced.

All and all, very much worth the effort. My hunch is that the next book in the Baroque Cycle will even be better. ( )
  bormgans | Dec 15, 2015 |
After reading Snow Crash, then Cryptonomicon(took a while to get going but reallly enjoyed it) I was looking forward to this.
Interesting characters and plot, highly imagined historical setting but it develops very slowly. Gave up after 65%! Maybe go back... ( )
  urbanfoxhunter | Dec 12, 2015 |
An interesting exploration of a period of extraordinary scientific development set in its historical and social context. For the most part it is quite absorbing but there are passages - some quite long - where the author seems to lose sight of his goal and go off on some whim. I'll certainly read the next volume. 15 October 2015. ( )
  alanca | Nov 20, 2015 |
I’ve been putting off saying anything about this book, because I wasn’t sure how to put it. It is an ambitious book, a retelling of the history of science, taking on the change from alchemy to science, and the massive social changes coming from the Reformation and the Plague.

If you don’t like science, you probably won’t like it. We meet many of the fathers of science, and they aren’t always figures to look up to, at least not personally, even if they are brilliant and driven.

I found it fascinating. ( )
  majkia | Mar 14, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 25 (next | show all)
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To the woman upstairs
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Enoch rounds the corner just as the executioner raises the noose above the woman's head.
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This (ISBN 0060833165) is the first volume of the eight-volume edition. Please don't combine with the first volume of the three-volume edition with the same title.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0060833165, Mass Market Paperback)

In Quicksilver, the first volume of the "Baroque Cycle," Neal Stephenson launches his most ambitious work to date. The novel, divided into three books, opens in 1713 with the ageless Enoch Root seeking Daniel Waterhouse on the campus of what passes for MIT in eighteenth-century Massachusetts. Daniel, Enoch's message conveys, is key to resolving an explosive scientific battle of preeminence between Isaac Newton and Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz over the development of calculus. As Daniel returns to London aboard the Minerva, readers are catapulted back half a century to recall his years at Cambridge with young Isaac. Daniel is a perfect historical witness. Privy to Robert Hooke's early drawings of microscope images and with associates among the English nobility, religious radicals, and the Royal Society, he also befriends Samuel Pepys, risks a cup of coffee, and enjoys a lecture on Belgian waffles and cleavage-—all before the year 1700.

In the second book, Stephenson introduces Jack Shaftoe and Eliza. "Half-Cocked" Jack (also know as the "King of the Vagabonds") recovers the English Eliza from a Turkish harem. Fleeing the siege of Vienna, the two journey across Europe driven by Eliza's lust for fame, fortune, and nobility. Gradually, their circle intertwines with that of Daniel in the third book of the novel.

The book courses with Stephenson's scholarship but is rarely bogged down in its historical detail. Stephenson is especially impressive in his ability to represent dialogue over the evolving worldview of seventeenth-century scientists and enliven the most abstruse explanation of theory. Though replete with science, the novel is as much about the complex struggles for political ascendancy and the workings of financial markets. Further, the novel's literary ambitions match its physical size. Stephenson narrates through epistolary chapters, fragments of plays and poems, journal entries, maps, drawings, genealogic tables, and copious contemporary epigrams. But, caught in this richness, the prose is occasionally neglected and wants editing. Further, anticipating a cycle, the book does not provide a satisfying conclusion to its 900 pages. These are minor quibbles, though. Stephenson has matched ambition to execution, and his faithful, durable readers will be both entertained and richly rewarded with a practicum in Baroque science, cypher, culture, and politics. --Patrick O'Kelley

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:10:53 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

The exploits of an alchemy-rejecting scientist, a vagabond leader, and a former Turkish harem prisoner intersect in the world of the American colonies, the Tower of London, and the courts of France, in a novel set against the backdrop of the late seventeeth century and early eighteenth century. By the author of Cryptonomicon.… (more)

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