Odalisque (Quicksilver, Book 3)

( 2 )

Overview

The trials of Dr. Daniel Waterhouse and the Natural Philosophers increase one hundredfold in an England plagued by the impending war and royal insecurities -- as the beautiful and ambitious Eliza plays a most dangerous game as double agent and confidante of enemy kings.

Read More Show Less
... See more details below
Paperback (Mass Market Paperback - Reprint)
$7.19
BN.com price
(Save 10%)$7.99 List Price

Pick Up In Store

Reserve and pick up in 60 minutes at your local store

Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (39) from $1.99   
  • New (7) from $4.02   
  • Used (32) from $1.99   
Sending request ...

Overview

The trials of Dr. Daniel Waterhouse and the Natural Philosophers increase one hundredfold in an England plagued by the impending war and royal insecurities -- as the beautiful and ambitious Eliza plays a most dangerous game as double agent and confidante of enemy kings.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Time magazine
“Genius . . . You’ll wish it were longer.”
New York Times Book Review
“[QUICKSILVER] explores the philosophical concerns of today . . . through thrillingly clever, suspenseful and amusing plot twists.”
Newsweek
“Sprawling, irreverent, and ultimately profound.”
Seattle Times
“A sprawling, engrossing tale.”
Entertainment Weekly
“Stephenson’s new machine is a wonderment to behold. A-”
Sunday Telegraph
“An astonishing achievement.”
San Antonio Express-News
“[QUICKSILVER] is a rare thing: a 1,000-page book that you don’t want to end.
Book World
“[O]ften brilliant and occassionally astonishing ...[QUICKSILVER] has wit, ambition and ... moments of real genius.”
Book
“[A]n awe-inspiring book, stuffed with heart-stopping action scenes ... and a treasure trove of forgotten historical lore.”
Independent
“Dense, witty, erudite ... and gripping ... a far more impressive literary endeavor than most so-called “serious” fiction.”
Time Magazine
"Genius . . . You’ll wish it were longer."
New York Times Book Review
“[QUICKSILVER] explores the philosophical concerns of today . . . through thrillingly clever, suspenseful and amusing plot twists.”
Sunday Telegraph
“An astonishing achievement.”
Newsweek
“Sprawling, irreverent, and ultimately profound.”
Entertainment Weekly
“Stephenson’s new machine is a wonderment to behold. A-”
Book
“[A]n awe-inspiring book, stuffed with heart-stopping action scenes ... and a treasure trove of forgotten historical lore.”
Time magazine
“Genius . . . You’ll wish it were longer.”
Seattle Times
“A sprawling, engrossing tale.”
San Antonio Express-News
“[QUICKSILVER] is a rare thing: a 1,000-page book that you don’t want to end.
Independent
“Dense, witty, erudite ... and gripping ... a far more impressive literary endeavor than most so-called “serious” fiction.”
Book World
“[O]ften brilliant and occassionally astonishing ...[QUICKSILVER] has wit, ambition and ... moments of real genius.”
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780060833183
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 3/28/2006
  • Series: Baroque Cycle Series , #1
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 464
  • Sales rank: 952,989
  • Product dimensions: 4.18 (w) x 6.75 (h) x 1.16 (d)

Meet the Author

Neal  Stephenson
Neal Stephenson is the author of seven previous novels. He lives in Seattle, Washington.

Biography

In Neal Stephenson's 1992 novel Snow Crash, human beings can immerse themselves in a computer-generated universe, and computer viruses can infect human bodies. This blurring of the boundaries between silicon and flesh seems characteristic of Stephenson, a writer whose interests in technology and engineering are inseparable from his skills as a storyteller.

Here is a novelist who talks about the "data management problem" of writing a historical novel, and who apologizes for not responding to fan mail by explaining that he has an "irremediable numerical imbalance between outgoing and incoming bandwidth."

Indeed, Stephenson seems to have a computer metaphor for almost every aspect of the writing life, even when he's not using a computer to write. He wrote the manuscript for Quicksilver in longhand, using a fountain pen. With this slower method of putting words to paper, he explained in an interview with Tech Central Station, "It's like when you're writing, there's a kind of buffer in your head where the next sentence sits while you're outputting the last one."

"Paper," Stephenson adds, is "a really good technology."

As the author of Snow Crash, Stephenson became a cult hero to cyberpunk fans and an inspiration to Silicon Valley start-ups. His Metaverse was the Internet as cutting-edge carnival, a freewheeling digital universe where a pizza-delivery driver could become a samurai warrior. "This is cyberpunk as it ought to be, and almost never is," wrote David Barrett in New Scientist.

Stephenson followed Snow Crash with The Diamond Age, which Publishers Weekly described as "simultaneously SF, fantasy and a masterful political thriller." Stephenson then broke out of the science fiction genre with Cryptonomicon, a 928-page doorstop of a book that drew comparisons to Pynchon's Gravity's Rainbow. Cryptonomicon interweaves two cryptography-themed plots, one set in the 1990s and the other during World War II. "What cyberculture needs right now is not another science-fiction novel but its first great historical novel, and Cryptonomicon is it: an intimate genealogical portrait of the 20th century's computer geeks, great and small, and of the technosocial landscape they have more and less knowingly shaped," wrote Julian Dibbell in The Village Voice.

Hefty though it is, Cryptonomicon is a quick read compared to Stephenson's Baroque Cycle, which begins with Quicksilver and continues in two more volumes, The Confusion and The System of the World.

In Quicksilver, a historical novel set in the 17th century, Stephenson explores many of the roots of modern science, mixing meditations on calculus, chemistry and cryptography with a cast of oddball characters (and many of the real-life historical figures, including Isaac Newton, turn out to be very odd indeed).

"At first it feels like Stephenson is flaunting how much time he spent at the library, but the lure of the next wisecracking history lesson becomes the most compelling reason to keep going," wrote Slate reviewer Paul Boutin.

So how did Stephenson manage all that historical data?

"I started with a bunch of notebooks, just composition books, in which I would write notes down in chronological order as I read a particular book, or what have you," he explained in an interview on his publisher's Web site.

"Those are always there, and I can go back to them and look stuff up even when it's otherwise lost. Then, I've got timelines and timetables showing what happens when in the story. I've spent a while monkeying around with three ring binders, in which I glue pages here and there trying to figure out how to sequence things. It's a big mess. It's a big pile of stationery. Many trips to the office supply store, and many failed attempts. But in the end, as long as you can keep it in your head, that's the easiest way to manage something like this. You can move things around inside your head more easily than you can shuffle papers or cross things out on a page and rewrite them."

The three-pound processor inside the author's head, as it turns out, is a really good technology.

Good To Know

Stephenson comes from a family of scientists: His father is a professor of electrical engineering, and his mother worked in a biochemistry lab. Both his grandfathers were science professors. Stephenson himself majored in geography at Boston University, because the geography department "had the coolest computers."

Stephenson co-wrote two political thrillers, Interface and The Cobweb, under the pseudonym Stephen Bury with his uncle George Jewsbury (whose own nom de plume is J. Frederick George). "The whole idea was that 'Stephen Bury' would be a successful thriller writer and subsidize my pathetic career under the name Neal Stephenson," he told Locus magazine. "It ended up going the other way. I would guess most of the people who have bought the Stephen Bury books have done so because they know I've written them. It just goes to show there's no point in trying to plan your career."

In the Beginning... Was the Command Line, Stephenson's book-length essay on computer operating systems, complains that graphical user interfaces distort the user's understanding of computer operations. On his current Web site, Stephenson dubs the essay "badly obsolete" and notes: "For the last couple of years I have been a Mac OX user almost exclusively."

Read More Show Less
    1. Also Known As:
      Stephen Bury (co-author pseudonym, with J. Frederick George)
    2. Hometown:
      Seattle, Washington
    1. Date of Birth:
      October 31, 1959
    2. Place of Birth:
      Fort Meade, Maryland
    1. Education:
      B.A., Boston University, 1981
    2. Website:

Read an Excerpt

Odalisque

The Baroque Cycle #3
By Neal Stephenson

HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.

Copyright © 2006 Neal Stephenson
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0060833181

Chapter One

Whitehall Palace
February 1685

Like a horseman who reins in a wild stallion that has borne him, will he, nill he, across several counties; or a ship's captain who, after scudding before a gale through a bad night, hoists sail, and gets underway once more, navigating through unfamiliar seas -- thus Dr. Daniel Waterhouse, anno domini 1685, watching King Charles II die at Whitehall Palace.

Much had happened in the previous twelve years, but nothing was really different. Daniel's world had been like a piece of caoutchouc that stretched but did not rupture, and never changed its true shape. After he'd gotten his Doctorate, there'd been nothing for him at Cambridge save lecturing to empty rooms, tutoring dull courtiers' sons, and watching Isaac recede further into the murk, pursuing his quest for the Philosophic Mercury and his occult studies of the Book of Revelation and the Temple of Solomon. So Daniel had moved to London, where events went by him like musket-balls.

John Comstock's ruin, his moving out of his house, and his withdrawal from the Presidency of the Royal Society had seemed epochal at the time. Yet within weeks Thomas More Anglesey had not only beenelected President of the Royal Society but also bought and moved into Comstock's house -- the finest in London, royal palaces included. The upright, conservative arch-Anglican had been replaced with a florid Papist, but nothing was really different -- which taught Daniel that the world was full of powerful men but as long as they played the same roles, they were as interchangeable as second-rate players speaking the same lines in the same theatre on different nights.

All of the things that had been seeded in 1672 and 1673 had spent the next dozen years growing up into trees: some noble and well-formed, some curiously gnarled, and some struck down by lightning. Knott Bolstrood had died in exile. His son Gomer now lived in Holland. Other Bolstroods had gone over the sea to New England. This was all because Knott had attempted to indict Nell Gwyn as a prostitute in 1679, which had seemed sensational at the time. The older King Charles II had grown, the more frightened London had become of a return to Popery when his brother James ascended to the throne, and the more the King had needed to keep a nasty bleak Protestant -- a Bolstrood -- around to reassure them. But the more power Bolstrood acquired, the more he was able to whip people up against the Duke of York and Popery. Late in 1678, they'd gotten so whipped up that they'd commenced hanging Catholics for being part of a supposed Popish Plot. When they'd begun running low on Catholics, they had hanged Protestants for doubting that such a Plot existed.

By this point Anglesey's sons Louis, the Earl of Upnor, and Philip, Count Sheerness, had gambled away most of the family's capital anyway, and had little to lose except their creditors, so they had fled to France. Roger Comstock -- who had been ennobled, and was now the Marquis of Ravenscar -- had bought Anglesey (formerly Comstock) House. Instead of moving in, he had torn it down, plowed its gardens under, and begun turning it into "the finest piazza in Europe." But this was merely Waterhouse Square done bigger and better. Raleigh had died in 1678, but Sterling had stepped into his place just as easily as Anglesey had stepped into John Comstock's, and he and the Marquis of Ravenscar had set about doing the same old things with more capital and fewer mistakes.

The King had dissolved Parliament so that it could not murder any more of his Catholic friends, and had sent James off to the Spanish Netherlands on the "out of sight, out of mind" principle, and, for good measure, had gotten James's daughter Mary wedded to the Protestant Defender himself: William of Orange. And in case none of that sufficed, the Duke of Monmouth (who was Protestant) had been encouraged to parade around the country, tantalizing England with the possibility that he might be de-bastardized through some genealogical sleight-of-hand, and become heir to the throne.

King Charles II could still dazzle, entertain, and confuse, in other words. But his alchemical researches beneath the Privy Gallery had come to naught; he could not make gold out of lead. And he could not levy taxes without a Parliament. The surviving goldsmiths in Threadneedle Street, and Sir Richard Apthorp in his new Bank, had been in no mood to lend him anything. Louis XIV had given Charles a lot of gold, but in the end the Sun King turned out to be no different from any other exasperated rich in-law: he had begun finding ways to make Charles suffer in lieu of paying interest. So the King had been forced to convene Parliament. When he had, he had found that it was controlled by a City of London/friends of Bolstrood alliance (Foes of Arbitrary Government, as they styled themselves) and that the first item on their list had been, not to raise taxes, but rather to exclude James (and every other Catholic) from the throne. This Parliament had instantly become so unpopular with those who loved the King that the whole assembly -- wigs, wool-sacks, and all -- had had to move up to Oxford to be safe from London mobs whipped up by Sir Roger L'Estrange -- who'd given up trying to suppress others' libels, and begun printing up his own. Safe (or so they imagined) at Oxford, these Whigs (as L'Estrange libelled them) had voted for Exclusion, and cheered for Knott Bolstrood as he proclaimed Nellie a whore.

A crier marching up Piccadilly had related this news to Daniel as he and Robert Hooke had stood in what had once been Comstock's and then Anglesey's ballroom and was by that point a field of Italian marble rubble open to a fine blue October sky. As a work table they had been using the capital of a Corinthian column that had plunged to earth when . . .

Continues...


Excerpted from Odalisque by Neal Stephenson Copyright © 2006 by Neal Stephenson. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

The trials of Dr. Daniel Waterhouse and the Natural Philosophers increase one hundredfold in an England plagued by the impending war and royal insecurities -- as the beautiful and ambitious Eliza plays a most dangerous game as double agent and confidante of enemy kings.
Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3
( 2 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(1)

4 Star

(0)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(1)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Posted February 7, 2009

    Pocket-Sized Chunks

    I loved Quicksilver and I'm reading The Confusion. I only wish I had known about these trade paperbacks first; the original hardcover books are large and ungainly for pleasurable reading. Having each logical book in a better size makes much more sense. BTW - this book is clearly labeled The Baroque Cycle #3, so anyone who read Quicksilver would recognize the title as being the third section of the original. I want all eight books in the Cycle this way.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 2, 2006

    Ripoff

    They just broke the hardcover 'Quicksilver' into smaller chunks and re-titled. Instead of having something new from this great writer, I have to go get my money back. Harpertorch should be ashamed. Deceptive and unethical.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews

If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
Why is this product inappropriate?
Comments (optional)