Customer Reviews for

The Confusion (Baroque Cycle Series #2)

Average Rating 4.5
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Most Helpful Favorable Review

2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

Challenging, Fun, Enlightening, Clever, Great Historical Romp!

I can't imagine one writer putting this together. This is the most powerful read I have ever experienced. At times I was engrossed and other times totally frustrated. His verbosity is method to his madness. Keep at it, you will not be dissapointed. And keep your t...
I can't imagine one writer putting this together. This is the most powerful read I have ever experienced. At times I was engrossed and other times totally frustrated. His verbosity is method to his madness. Keep at it, you will not be dissapointed. And keep your tongue in your cheek while reading this historical unravelling of fact and fiction.

posted by 1946695 on September 19, 2009

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Most Helpful Critical Review

1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

f

f

posted by dgarcia on November 16, 2011

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 19, 2009

    Challenging, Fun, Enlightening, Clever, Great Historical Romp!

    I can't imagine one writer putting this together. This is the most powerful read I have ever experienced. At times I was engrossed and other times totally frustrated. His verbosity is method to his madness. Keep at it, you will not be dissapointed. And keep your tongue in your cheek while reading this historical unravelling of fact and fiction.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted November 16, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    f

    f

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 14, 2014

    Help me....

    Here.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 17, 2012

    For Neal Stephenson fans, one of his best

    I am an avid fan of all of Stephenson's books. In the Baroque cycle this book is my favorite. Lots of time with Jack Shaftoe in this one. A must read.

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  • Posted April 3, 2011

    read Quicksilver. but could hold its own

    Great characters, great story, moves your mind thru this period of history like a winning hockey puck. Very funny very slick

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 20, 2004

    BETTER THAN QUICKSILVER, GREAT BOOK!

    I enjoyed Quicksilver immensely though I found some of the portions relating the tale of Waterhouse to be tedious. I was pleasantly surprised to find that in Confusion he dispensed with that storyline and integrated it as a background thread in the the continuing story of Eliza. This novel picks up shortly after Quicksilver and basically continues the same themes and characters. The biggest difference is that the book is paced much better and the story is more action packed and less cluttered with monotonous diatribes by Newton and such. The rollicking adventures of Jack Shaftoe are both amusing and poignant and the machiavellian machinations of Eliza are sinfully entertaining. All in all a phenominal sequel to a very enjoyable book and I hope that the third will move farther in this direction and away from the oft tiresome alchemical and political ramblings that ate up half of the first novel (which though enjoyable, came across as dry at times).

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 28, 2004

    Fast Paced Historical Mayhem

    The pace picks up considerably in this continuation of the intertwined stories of Jack Shaftoe, Daniel Waterhouse, and Eliza, Countess de la Zeur. The plot set in motion in Quicksilver continues to twist into fiendishly complex patterns. Piracy and quests, political and financial intrigue, and the evolution of scientific thought; you¿ll find all of this and more in the hefty second volume of the Baroque Cycle. Read Quicksilver first in order to not be confused by The Confusion. Jack Shaftoe, now a galley slave in Algiers, joins a conspiracy to pirate a Spanish treasure and escape slavery. He and nine other oar-mates embark on their adventure burdened with Jack¿s usual mix of good and bad luck. Sea battles, land battles and general havoc follow the cabal of misfits across oceans and continents. Daniel has a smaller role in this volume, but the role of Jack¿s more socially integrated brother Bob waxes into a remarkable war-filled journey to free his enslaved love, Abigail. Eliza, in the meantime, has lost her fortune and her firstborn son and must tread carefully to keep her head amid the perils of the French court. Eliza works to recover her son and wreak havoc on the financial markets of Europe. Jack¿s adventures from South America to Japan and Eliza¿s maneuverings in Europe draw you along at breathtaking speed with enough momentum to propel you through the 800+ pages. The pace rarely falters and Stephenson continues to make even the secondary characters interesting. He also maintains the obvious attention to research and detail found in Quicksilver. The Confusion neatly sets the scene for the third and final book as divergent plots start to converge, and I can¿t wait to see where Stephenson will take us next.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 19, 2004

    Hefty, extraordinary novel continues an epic historical series

    Neal Stephenson's The Confusion, or volume two of his 'Baroque Cycle,' is a big damn book - at 815 pages, is 100 shorter than its predecessor 'Quicksilver,' and yet with more straightforward plot feels at times longer. Packed to the brim with historical, financial, political, and anthropological detail, and stuffed with roaring action on land and at sea, 'The Confusion' delivers everything one expects from a writer as consistently inventive as Neal Stephenson. He challenges readers, dares them to invest in a dauntingly massive tale, yet possesses the knack of knowing exactly when a reasonably intelligent reader will become bored and injects delicious international intrigue or blazing adventure. 'The Confusion' is two novels - the first, 'Bonanza,' follows the swashbuckling adventures of Jack Shaftoe, as he joins a band of ten ex-slaves to steal a cache of gold and become international quicksilver merchants; the second, 'The Juncto,' a bit more stolidly follows Countess Eliza de la Zeur through her myriad political and financial machinations as she witnesses the monetary disaster than is both France and England. Take your time with this novel, but enjoy it - like its predecessor, it's a rollicking, winsomely entertaining read, with a little of everything for every taste.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 14, 2004

    History class was never this entertaining

    One of the great strengths of 'Quicksilver', Neal Stephenson's first instalment in his 'Baroque Cycle', was its abilty to inform as well as entertain. Against the backdrop of the Reformation and Glorious Revolution, the author has assembled a colourful collection of larger-than-life characters, some wholly fictitious, some heavily embroidered, and some quite possibly frighteningly close to the real persons. It is a testament to Stephenson's strength as a story-teller that he is able to provide such incredible detail of the the historically verifiable events of this era without the story lapsing into a history lecture. In the opening chapters of 'The Confusion', Stephenson's story veers into some less well-known aspects of late 17th Century European history, and as a result the balance between rattling good yarn and history lesson shifts perceptibably towards the latter. However, with the help of the series' most colourful character, 'Half-cocked' Jack Shaftoe, the story is soon racing along at a cracking pace, with some of the most breath-taking swashbuckling ever committed to print. From there on, the story proceeds in leaps and bounds, throwing together enough action and romance to satisfy the most jaded palate, tempered with cerebal excursions into the theory of economics, chemistry, metallurgy and the genealogy of the various European royal families. All this, plus a dramatic twist at the end which opens the door for countless developments in the next installment. I can't wait.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 3, 2004

    Juicy adventure story

    The Confusion Neal Stephenson Morrow, Apr 2004, $27.95, 815 pp. ISBN: 0060523867 In 1689 off the Barbary Coast, a slightly insane Jack Shaftoe is one of a crew of slaves rowing a pirate¿s ship when a plan to escape surface. The ten pull off their stunt and take with them some Spanish loot that turns out to be special gold that alchemists mixed with¿divine¿ qualities......................................... At the same time that the ¿King of the Vagabonds¿ and cohorts make their escape with the gold, the woman he once rescued from a harem, Eliza looks forward to one day living peacefully raising her child while also planning to retaliate against the rogue who ¿sold¿ her to the Ottomans. However sailing the Mediterranean can prove dangerous and Eliza is too skilled an operator for the French to allow her to rusticate or urbanize in London. Instead she is drafted to help the Sun King and crafts an intricate deal to obtain money so that the French-Irish army can invade England.................................... THE CONFUSION is actually two Baroque tales interwoven (literally as the perspective predominantly shifts between Eliza and Jack and to a lesser degree the Juncto (Leibniz, Newton, etc.). The twin story lines are very amusing action-adventure tales in which both are superb, but Jack¿s swashbuckling is incredible. There is no doubt that this epic historical action thriller provides a wonderful witty winner as Neal Stephenson paints a masterly look back as he did in QUICKSILVER......................... Harriet Klausner

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 14, 2004

    Very Cool Novel

    Stephenson proves here (again!) that he is equally at home with semi-historical epics and futuristic tech novels like Snow Crash and The Diamond Age. His only competition with the tech novels is John Robert Marlow's NANO. With the semi-historical books, Stephenson has no competition...

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    Posted December 14, 2009

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