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Quicksilver

by Neal Stephenson

Other authors: Lisa Gold (Family Trees), Jane S. Kim (Illustrator)

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: The Baroque Cycle (Vol. I, Books 1-3)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
8,692156825 (3.9)235
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 ...… (more)
Recently added bytprotopopescu, private library, AlyceVerey, BrendaSullivan, davejo, mrdan, rmcmahon22, CriticalHit
Legacy LibrariesLeslie Scalapino
  1. 40
    Foucault's Pendulum by Umberto Eco (ateolf)
  2. 10
    Water Music by T. C. Boyle (lyzadanger)
    lyzadanger: Similar buffoonish, humorous treatment of English historical figures.
  3. 00
    An Instance of the Fingerpost by Iain Pears (ehines)
    ehines: Both interesting contemporary books set amidst the scientific enlightenment, Pears is a bit more historical where Stephenson is more flashily contemporary, but fans of one certainly should look at the other.
  4. 00
    The Mongoliad: Book One by Neal Stephenson (Mind_Booster_Noori)
    Mind_Booster_Noori: Neal Stephenson retelling History with his excellent writing skills...
  5. 00
    Boilerplate: History's Mechanical Marvel by Paul Guinan (Othemts)
  6. 00
    Mason & Dixon by Thomas Pynchon (uncultured)
    uncultured: Quicksilver is to Mason & Dixon as Agatha Christie is to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.
  7. 01
    Fingersmith by Sarah Waters (YossarianXeno)
    YossarianXeno: Both are compellingly written historical novels
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» See also 235 mentions

English (150)  German (4)  All languages (154)
Showing 1-5 of 150 (next | show all)
In the end, it was rewarding. ( )
  NachoSeco | Oct 10, 2022 |
Amazing in scope, but too long. Great characters and containing historical accuracy which will teach everyone something. ( )
  tarsel | Sep 4, 2022 |
I enjoyed it, although I can see how the style might be somewhat laborious to some. It's the first in a trilogy, so full opinion will be awhile in coming.
  eri_kars | Jul 10, 2022 |
A historical fiction surrounding scientists in the 1600-1700s UK. Like any typical Neal Stephenson novel, there is a good amount of technical information and humor. At moments this can be incredibly interesting and a great read. At other times it can be difficult to get through. The main issue I have with this book though is that there is no storyline. The characters were a bit basic and there was nothing holding me to them. ( )
  renbedell | May 26, 2022 |
fiction
  FlippedBooks | Mar 19, 2022 |
Showing 1-5 of 150 (next | show all)
"A great fantastical boiling pot of theories about science, money, war and much else, by turns broadly picaresque and microscopically technical, sometimes over-dense and sometimes too sketchy, flawed but unarguably magnificent, Quicksilver is something like a Restoration-era Gravity's Rainbow."
added by bookfitz | editThe Guardian, Steven Poole (Oct 24, 2003)
 
"A book of immense ambition, learning and scope, Quicksilver is often brilliant and occasionally astonishing in its evocation of a remarkable time and place -- Europe in the age of Newton, Pepys and Locke, to name just a few of the myriad characters who flock across its pages."
 

» Add other authors (4 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Stephenson, Nealprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Gold, LisaFamily Treessecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Kim, Jane S.Illustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Aquan, RichardCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gräbener-Müller, JulianeTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sarkar, ShubhaniDesignersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Springer, NickCartographersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Stingl, NikolausTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
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Epigraph
Those who assume hypotheses as first principles of their speculations ... may indeed form an ingenious romance, but a romance it will still be.

— Roger Cotes,

Preface to Sir Isaac Newton's

Principia Mathematica,

second edition, 1713
There is, doubtless, as much skill in pourtraying a Dunghill, as in describing the finest Palace, since the Excellence of Things lyes in the Performance; and Art as well as Nature must have some extraordinary Shape or Quality if it come up to the pitch of Human Fancy, especially to please in this Fickle, Uncertain Age.
Memoirs of the Right Villanous John Hall, 1708
In all times kings, and persons of sovereign authority, because of their independency, are in continual jealosies, and in the state and posture of gladiators; having their weapons pointing, and their eyes fixed on one another; that is, their forts, garrisons, and guns upon the frontiers of their kingdoms; and continual spies upon their neighbors; which is a posture of war.
— Hobbes, Leviathan
Dedication
To the woman upstairs
First words
Enoch rounds the corner just as the executioner raises the noose above the woman's head.
Quotations
"Crying loudly is childish, in that it reflects a belief, on the crier's part, that someone is around to hear the noise, and come a-running to make it all better. Crying in silence, as Daniel does this morning, is the mark of the mature sufferer who no longer nurses, nor is nursed by, any such comfortable delusions."
"'As I'm now beginning to understand–you are something of a virtuoso when it comes to manipulating men's mental states,' Monmouth said.
'You make it sound ever so much more difficult than it really is,' Eliza answered. 'Mostly I just sit quietly and let the men manipulate themselves.'"
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
This is the first volume of the three-volume edition. Please don't combine with the first volume of the eight-volume edition with the same title.
Publisher's editors
Blurbers
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Wikipedia in English (1)

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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Average: (3.9)
0.5 6
1 62
1.5 9
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