Quicksilver (Baroque Cycle Series #1)

Quicksilver (Baroque Cycle Series #1)

by Neal Stephenson
4.0 129

Paperback(Mass Market Paperback - Reprint)

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Quicksilver (Baroque Cycle Series #1) by Neal Stephenson

In this wonderfully inventive follow-up to his bestseller Cryptonomicon, Neal Stephenson brings to life a cast of unforgettable characters in a time of breathtaking genius and discovery, men and women whose exploits defined an age known as the Baroque.

Daniel Waterhouse possesses a brilliant scientific mind -- and yet knows that his genius is dwarfed by that of his friends Isaac Newton, Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz, and Robert Hooke. He rejects the arcane tradition of alchemy, even as it is giving birth to new ways of understanding the world.

Jack Shaftoe began his life as a London street urchin and is now a reckless wanderer in search of great fortune. The intrepid exploits of Half-Cocked Jack, King of the Vagabonds, are quickly becoming the stuff of legend throughout Europe.

Eliza is a young woman whose ingenuity is all that keeps her alive after being set adrift from the Turkish harem in which she has been imprisoned since she was a child.

Daniel, Jack, and Eliza will traverse a landscape populated by mad alchemists, Barbary pirates, and bawdy courtiers, as well as historical figures including Samuel Pepys, Ben Franklin, and other great minds of the age. Traveling from the infant American colonies to the Tower of London to the glittering courts of Louis XIV, and all manner of places in between, this magnificent historical epic brings to vivid life a time like no other, and establishes its author as one of the preeminent talents of our own age.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780060833169
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 01/31/2006
Series: Baroque Cycle Series , #1
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 480
Sales rank: 260,886
Product dimensions: 4.15(w) x 6.75(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

Neal Stephenson is the author of Reamde, Anathem, and the three-volume historical epic the Baroque Cycle (Quicksilver, The Confusion, and The System of the World), as well as Cryptonomicon, The Diamond Age, Snow Crash, and Zodiac. He lives in Seattle, Washington.


Seattle, Washington

Date of Birth:

October 31, 1959

Place of Birth:

Fort Meade, Maryland


B.A., Boston University, 1981

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Quicksilver (Baroque Cycle Series, Parts 1-3) 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 124 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Thusfar all the 'complaints' regarding this book are that it's too long, the dialog is too stiff, and that there's no plot. History doesn't have a plot. Life doesn't have a plot. This book is a portrait of what life was like in the 1600's. It's not a neatly packaged story with a clear beginning and ending. Think of the Baroque Cycle books as a history lesson with personality. If you don't like history, or don't care about how aspects of our lives came to pass, then this isn't the book for you. As for the 'passivity' of the characters in the story... in order to maintain the historical integrity of real world events the *fictional characters* kinda need to be passive. Daniel Waterhouse doesn't do anything of consequence because Daniel Waterhouse didn't really exist... what would you have him do? Invent something? Cure something? Kill someone? Daniel Waterhouse is the camera-man through which we can watch Neal Stephenson's retelling of real-world history. If you want pure fiction, look elsewhere. This is a masterfully disguised history lesson.
Golfer76 More than 1 year ago
Although this is fictional and staged during one of the greatest periods of scienctific discovery, it is not science fiction. The many historical characters act and perform as they did in their exciting times. Questioning everything, from science to religion to financial systems to governmental forms, the delightfully real and fictional characters live each day to learn, educating the reader at the same time. Lest this 1000 page volume 1 of the Baroque Trilogy sound daunting, rest assured that the creative inclusion of lovable scoundrels keep you laughing and wondering what mess is around the next corner. A sure bet for avid readers with scientific, financial, historical, or philosophical interests.
Guest More than 1 year ago
As a Stephenson fan, I opened this book with high hopes. Alas, they were quickly dashed. He shovels up mountainous descriptions of landscapes and architecture and period costumery, religious and political and scientific intrigues, but all to no purpose in advancing the action. A second flaw is that he pastes much of this description into dialogue form, making conversations between the characters stilted and artificial. Stephenson is undeniably brilliant; but he needs to cut more and write tighter. What might have been a decent 400-page story unfortunately balloons to 900+ pages.
Victoria Sazani More than 1 year ago
this and its two sequels are the a great way to escape into a past that might have been with a touch here and there of 'hmmm' and a lot more hilarity. Go Neal Go
Thermnd More than 1 year ago
I'm floored! At my age, I'm learning new vocabulary, more about the 1600's than I can believe, and can put down my Nook. Neal Stephenson will have my attention while I read all he has written. I recommend this book to all my friends.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A very detailed work that accurately depicts life in 17th century Europe and North America. At times hard to follow as there seems to be no central story line other than following a variety of characters through a series of events. Regardless, Stephenson has put tremendous care and vividness to this book and time period.
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RBHolb More than 1 year ago
I will admit, the book starts slowly and it took me some time to get into it.  Once I did, I was hooked.  This book was the first time I was so engrossed in my reading that I missed my stop on the bus.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A great read, although dense to get through, but incredibly accurate in its portrayal of society and life in Europe the 17th and 18th century.
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Mndgy More than 1 year ago
The author brings to life what may well be the most important decades of western civilisation
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A must read!
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