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10 thoughts on “Υδράργυρος

  1. Bryan Bryan says:

    This book is just too vast to give justice to it in the few lines of this review that I might come up with now.If you are ready to read this, here are some suggestions 1 Start with Cryptonomicon first You don t need to read this first, but it will help you get used to Stephenson s style, and you ll appreciate Quicksilver better having done so.2 Before reading Quicksilver, spend some time brushing up on some basic English history Did you know that London burned Do you know what the Monmouth This book is just too vast to give justice to it in the few lines of this review that I might come up with now.If you are ready to read this, here are some suggestions 1 Start with Cryptonomicon first You don t need to read this first, but it will help you get used to Stephenson s style, and you ll appreciate Quicksilver better having done so.2 Before reading Quicksilver, spend some time brushing up on some basic English history Did you know that London burned Do you know what the Monmouth Rebellion was, and the Bloody Assizes that followed Do you know about the interregnum Do you know that William III deposed James II in a coup It would be nice if a timeline could be provided that summarizes the main points of English history that serve as context for this book I admit I did not know enough myself of the history involved to get full appreciation of the book on my first reading so now I ll have to read it again some time after doing some historical readings.Perhaps read the wikipedia page on the diary of Samuel Pepys if not the diary itself Although he s really just a minor figure in this novel, his diary covers many of the same events that you ll encounter in Quicksilver.3 Be prepared to deal with long digressions and elaborate descriptions Instead of seeing them as tedious, look for the humor Stephenson inevitably tries to put some humor into these, and although it s often very dry, it s quite amusing when you see how he s looking askance at the goings on of the times and persons.4 Beyond the history, take care to understand the geography.5 Take some time to consider the cryptography used in the novel When you understand just how a letter within a letter can be written, you ll appreciateof Stephenson s particular genius.6 Even though this is hardly a science fiction novel, it does deal largely with scientists in the Royal Society Be prepared, then, for descriptions of events seen through the eyes of a trained scientific observer Something as simple as the motion of a boat s mast can be used scientifically to provide information about how the boat is loaded, as you ll find in the novel Again, these portions of the book are trademarks of Stephenson s ingenuity, and I enjoyed them immensely.7 Be patient This is a long book, and not an easy read If you can keep track of the main characters, you can actually put it away for a time, and return to it later to resume reading I actually started this book some time ago, reading it only when I had uninterrupted opportunities to digest the novel I read other, lighter, works in the interim to keep me occupied and entertained.In fact, after starting this book, I actually began work on a Master s degree, and completed the Master s degree faster than completing the book That was perhaps a bit too slow, but also tellsabout how busy I was instead of describing the nature of the book.8 Revel in the richness of this book It is indeed a masterpiece, and you can certainly gainwith each reread This type of book is indeed rare, and its peculiar idiosyncrasies just make itdistinctive in its majesty, not lessening its achievement in any way


  2. Kemper Kemper says:

    The following is an excerpt from the journal of Neal Stephenson After the success of Cryptonomicon, I m having some problems narrowing down my next project The issue is that I have far too many ideas, and I can t decide which plot to use for my next book.I know that I want do something set during the late 17th century in Europe It was an amazing time with huge changes in politics, culture, commerce and science, but there was just so much going on that I can t seem to make up my mind and pic The following is an excerpt from the journal of Neal Stephenson After the success of Cryptonomicon, I m having some problems narrowing down my next project The issue is that I have far too many ideas, and I can t decide which plot to use for my next book.I know that I want do something set during the late 17th century in Europe It was an amazing time with huge changes in politics, culture, commerce and science, but there was just so much going on that I can t seem to make up my mind and pick one or two concepts for the book Here are some of the top ideas I m mulling over The soldier and scientist dynamic between Waterhouse and Shaftoe worked so well in Cryptonomicon that I d like to do something similar here Perhaps have characters who are the ancestors of Lawrence Waterhouse and Bobby Shaftoe This would be during the early period of the Royal Society when men like Isaac Newton, Robert Hooke, Gottfried Leibniz, and many others were essentially creating modern science and battling among themselves Putting an ancestor of Waterhouse in among them seems like a natural fit I m also fascinated by all the religious upheaval in England following Cromwell s death through The Glorious Revolution Having a character with a Puritan upbringing caught up in these events would be interesting Maybe that s the place to bring a Waterhouse into it But I m equally interested by all that was happening in commerce during this time Our modern economic systems were being developed, and even the very nature of money itself was being redefined I d very much like to do a plot that involved that However, I m also intrigued by all the political machinations and palace intrigue that took place across all of Europe If I do something with the political side, then I ll almost certainly need to set something among all the wars and conflicts that took place That might be a natural place to use a Shaftoe character I d really like to dig into the details of how dirty, smelly, nasty and short life was to most people back then It might beoriginal to get away from the known events and famous people of the time and show a viewpoint from someone common like a vagabond Maybe this should be a Shaftoe character Thinking about vagabonds, it d be interesting to do a modern take of a picaresque novel with a rogue ish hero getting into adventures and insulting the people of quality This would definitely be a great Shaftoe character I d also like to explore the role of women in this society Maybe have some kind of very smart female character who has to use her charm and brains to navigate a variety of social and political challenges Could I tie that in with the money thing Doing some kind of story about spies would be really cool If I write about spies, I could use some of the cryptography stuff I brought into the last book again Pirates I definitely need to do something with pirates Slavery I should also work in some stuff about slavery I d also like to use the Enoch Root character again That d really establish him as an ageless stranger who is kind of pushing events in certain directions, just like he did in Cryptonomicon Plus, that gives it a bit of a sci fi element so I ll be eligible for all the Locus and Hugo type awards On top of everything else, I m dying to play with the format a little Maybe do some chapters like a stage play from the era Or tell a section via a series of letters If I use letters to tell the story, it d be another chance to work in the code stuff.There are too many possibilities I don t know how I ll ever Wait I just had a crazy thought I shouldn t be trying to NARROW the focus I should EXPAND the focus Throw all of these ideas and eveninto one giant stew pot.No, that s insane It d be too complex and convoluted How could readers keep everything straight Just trying to keep track of the various royal families alone would drive most people mad I guess if I used just two or three main characters, but then had them shift into a variety of roles Waterhouse as a Puritan, a scientist, and a political player in England Shaftoe as a soldier, a vagabond and a syphilis sufferer Maybe add another Shaftoe if one is going to have syphilis Make the woman a spy, an anti slavery advocate, and a natural genius with money Could it work Have them all bounce against all the people and events of the time How could I make that coherent And it d have to be huge Probably at least three books with 800 to 900 pages a book Yes Yes I can make it work I am just that damn good Those who go along with it will marvel at my genius Those who can t follow along will be too exhausted to complain It s brilliant Those fools won t know what hit them And I will call it The Baroque Cycle BWAH HA HA HA HA HA Yes, I, Neal Stephenson, like to write evil laughter into my journal while I m plotting my books Kemper s Random Comments on Quicksilver Wikipedia is your friend while reading this book Jack Shaftoe is not called Half Cocked Jack just due to his tendency to act without thinking shudder Isaac Newton should not have been allowed to handle needles Considering the way that various dogs, cats, horses, rats, frogs and ostriches are treated, this story is obviously set long before the ASPCA or PETA existed Stephenson has a lot of fun allowing his characters to make history Daniel Waterhouse casually comes up with the name New York when others are debating what to call New Amsterdam after it changes hands Eliza invents the word sabotage Young Jack and his brother Bob create modern advertising and an early form of infomercial while making up small plays to advertise for their service helping condemned men hang faster and suffer less by dangling from their legs Venice gondoliers suffered from canal rage caused by the hectic fast paced modern lifestyle they lived in After reading of the various medical treatments used in here, you will hug your doctor the next time you go in for a check up, and you will also feel the urge to call your dentist for a cleaning Jack considers it quite an accomplishment to have lived to the ripe old age of 20, and tells 19 year old Eliza that she s got a good ten or twenty years left to her European royal families were kind of gross I loved that Stephenson brings back his fictional country of Qwghlm, a godforsaken island under British rule where ice storms in June are common, and the English cut down all the trees Who knew that you could outwit pirates with math The scenes of trying to buy something are always hilarious because of all the haggling, not over the prices, but over what type of coins will be accepted because most are worthless due to the lack of reliable currency Why did I find it so funny that the English characters call syphilis the French Pox and the French characters call it the English Pox


  3. WK WK says:

    4.0 4.0It s the Moby Dick question.The plot s about an angry guy chasing a whale There s not a lot of variation on this theme he catches it, or he doesn t Maybe he catches it and wishes that he didn t, maybe he doesn t and regrets that he failed But this basic plot, a straightforward quest for revenge, is such thin gruel that you d have to be on the lower end of the intellectual spectrum to fail to realize that the book s about something a little bitthan hunting a big fish.Even so, the 4.0 4.0It s the Moby Dick question.The plot s about an angry guy chasing a whale There s not a lot of variation on this theme he catches it, or he doesn t Maybe he catches it and wishes that he didn t, maybe he doesn t and regrets that he failed But this basic plot, a straightforward quest for revenge, is such thin gruel that you d have to be on the lower end of the intellectual spectrum to fail to realize that the book s about something a little bitthan hunting a big fish.Even so, there s no guarantee that you re going to tolerate 20 pages about rope At the end of the digression, you re either going to respond in one of two ways You might be of the sort to go, Hmm, that was some fascinating rope discourse I had no idea that rope could be used in such multifaceted ways, and having read that, I am now a different and slightlyrounded person Then again, you could respond with a JESUS FUCKING CHRIST, enough with the stupid rope already For fuck s sake, where s that son of a bitch whale The white sea mammal is the TITLE of the book, and I m reading about some shitty rope Christ, I need some vodka You should know what sort of reader you are before picking this book up, because The Baroque Cycle is about 3,000 pages long, and Neal Stephenson digresses like an ADHD kid on speed Melville s focus is a goddamn space laser in comparison Quicksilver has economics, mining, mathematics, piracy, slavery, early Puritan philosophy and I forget what else.It is genius, pure and simple.This is one of the first great works of the 21st century, and I can t recommend it highly enough But odds are great that you ll hate it mightily if your concern is the destination instead of how you get there


  4. Jamie Jamie says:

    I think it s official I hate Neil Stephenson s books I hated his so called cyberpunk classic Snow Crash a fact that sets me apart from most of the nerdegalian and I really hated Quicksilver.Quicksilver is kind of hard to classify, if you in fact insist on classifying it It s kind of historical fiction in that it s set in the 17th and 18th century and follows the rise of empiricism and science It features real people from that period, like Isaac Newton, Gotfried Leibniz, Robert Boyle, Rob I think it s official I hate Neil Stephenson s books I hated his so called cyberpunk classic Snow Crash a fact that sets me apart from most of the nerdegalian and I really hated Quicksilver.Quicksilver is kind of hard to classify, if you in fact insist on classifying it It s kind of historical fiction in that it s set in the 17th and 18th century and follows the rise of empiricism and science It features real people from that period, like Isaac Newton, Gotfried Leibniz, Robert Boyle, Robert Hook, King Louis XIV, and others But the fiction part of historical fiction comes into play because the main characters an aspiring natural philosopher read scientist named Daniel Waterhouse, a former concubine turned finance tycoon named Eliza, and a charming vagabond named Jack Shaftoe never really existed and were fabricated for the sake of the book, which traces the activities of these three main characters as they live through the era.The main problem I have with Quicksilver was that it was largely plotless I kept waiting for something to happen or some plot to coalesce out of the noise, but it didn t The characters are really just there to give Stephenson an excuse to carry on about the development of science as a discipline, the ephemeral nature of money, and pirates sometimes all three in the same passage There s no narrative, just a seemingly endless burbling of scenes the damn thing is nearly 1,000 pages long, and I READ the paper version of this one I actually kind of liked the some of the parts with struggling scientist Daniel Waterhouse the best, because the history of science interests me, but even these moments of engagement were covered up by obscure details and diversions that were like overgrown plants in a sprawling garden.In fact, the whole book is bloated with details about experiments, geneologies, dissertations on stock markets, battles, family histories, and other verbal flotsam that it made it downright hard to read the book and impossible to enjoy I get the impression that Stephenson gorged himself on research for the book, and then decided to use it all every last syllable no matter what hellacious effect it has on the narrative or the goal of actually telling an interesting story Quicksilver may beentertaining than a high school textbook on the same topics, but only marginally.And the thing is that it s only the first THIRD of a trilogy, plus a tie in to Stpehnons s book Cryptonomicon What s worse is that I went ahead and picked up the other books in hardback, though I did so at a thrift store and only set myself back a total of like three bucks I think I m just gonna eat that cost and not even think about picking them up, given how much I disliked Quicksilver Life is too short


  5. Manny Manny says:

    I received an unexpected visit yesterday evening from a Mr Nosnehpets, who told me he was a time traveller and writer from the early 25th century He had just published a historical novel, and wondered if I would do him the service of reviewing it Why me I asked, bemused Well, replied my visitor with an insinuating smile, You appear in itthan once You don t know it yet, but you re one of your period s major authors I snatched the book, Mercury, from his hands, and it was even as h I received an unexpected visit yesterday evening from a Mr Nosnehpets, who told me he was a time traveller and writer from the early 25th century He had just published a historical novel, and wondered if I would do him the service of reviewing it Why me I asked, bemused Well, replied my visitor with an insinuating smile, You appear in itthan once You don t know it yet, but you re one of your period s major authors I snatched the book, Mercury, from his hands, and it was even as he said There was hardly a chapter where I didn t turn up Often I would speak for paragraphs at a time You have cast me in an overly flattering light, I protested I think you ll find that quotation actually comes from Oscar Wilde And this one is due to Winston Churchill Details, details, said Nosnehpets impatiently Only the worst kind of wikipede is going to object Try and see the big picture I never came close to stopping the invasion of Iraq, I said faintly, as I continued to leaf through it I went to a demonstration in Washington, that s all And I never had a torrid affair with Catherine Zeta Jones I know we were both brought up in Wales, but Nosnehpets sighed I suppose you re going to tell me you didn t discover the Higgs particle either he asked, with an unpleasantly ironic inflection Even though you do admit that you were resident in Geneva in 2011, and you worked for years with Stephen Hawking I live in Geneva, I agreed reluctantly And in Cambridge, my office was on the other side of the road from the Department of Applied Mathematics and Mathematical Physics But to jump from that to You inspired them, snapped Nosnehpets Stop nitpicking You and Angelina were the real source of all the ideas If I ve exaggerated a little, it was only for dramatic effect He looked hurriedly at his wrist I suddenly noticed that what I had taken for a tattoo was actually a high resolution display projected directly onto his skin I m sorry, he said The portal will be closing in a minute But please, before I leave, just answer me one question Why did you do it Why did you destroy the whole world of classical literature And why that ridiculous pseudonym I ve tried my best to explain it, but, honestly, I still don t understand I gaped at him Whatever are you talking about I asked.He was already starting to fade, but I could still hear his voice Doctor Rayner, he whispered plaintively Why, why, why did you write Twilight


  6. Mark Hebwood Mark Hebwood says:

    Well Where to start with this Ok Let us first pretend that there are only two criteria to use when analysing works of fiction, 1 number of characters and 2 richness of plot Now let us say we are drawing a chart, with quality 1 on the horizontal axis, and quality 2 on the vertical axis Now we have a space into which we can slot a few books lying around the house A Dickens novel goes into the upper right quadrant of the grid many characters and rich plot to bind them together A Samu Well Where to start with this Ok Let us first pretend that there are only two criteria to use when analysing works of fiction, 1 number of characters and 2 richness of plot Now let us say we are drawing a chart, with quality 1 on the horizontal axis, and quality 2 on the vertical axis Now we have a space into which we can slot a few books lying around the house A Dickens novel goes into the upper right quadrant of the grid many characters and rich plot to bind them together A Samuel Beckett play would be located upper left just a few characters, but richly textured interactions between them Dan Brown Bottom left I am afraid ok there are other views but this is me talking now And what s in the bottom right quadrant The London telephone book takes pride of place, situated on the far right and exactly on the axis And just to the north west of it we find Quicksilver.Why Well let s see Let me talk about size first Quicksilver forms part of a sequence of three volumes, each weighing in at some 900 pages Each volume consists of 3 reasonably stand alone novels, so essentially we have a series of 9 texts, running to a combined 3000 pages Indeed, the scope is evenexpansive than this and we can think of these 9 novels as a prequel series to Cryptonomicon, another 900 page tome in which Neal deals with events happening in WWII So in terms of scope, Neal s work is biblical.So What happens in the three novels bound up in Quicksilver The first novel is about a 17th Century natural philosopher, who is recalled to England to mitigate in the quarrel between Leibniz and Newton The second novel is about the rise and fall of an Oriental slave girl as a merchant in Amsterdam And the third novel is about the Leibniz Newton quarrel again You think that by distilling near 40,000 lines of text down to five I have done the plot injustice Well I haven t And this is precisely what bothers me about Neal s first three books I don t know what they are I do not think they are novels But neither do I think they are narrative history, as, for example, Hilary Mantel s Wolf Hall So what are they I think Neal s work is best described as a tableau of 17th Century life Let me explain what I mean by this Let us imagine a detailed, comprehensive historical monograph entitled 17th Century Europe in Politics, Science, Philosophy, and Religion Our imagined work is a huge achievement in scholarship, its scope dwarving that of Gibbon s Rise and Fall Now imagine this monograph as a pop up book, delivering a three dimensional model of intricate detail, showing all the facets of social life, all the complex interactions of historical persons, all the painful breakthroughs in nascent scientific thought.For the moment, this model is static and not animated Now we create several figurines that we set into our pop up model of 17th Century life We breathe life into these figurines, and they start walking around, interacting now with this person, now with that one, creating an event here, and another one there We observe what s going on and write it all up, bind it into one book and call it Quicksilver.Excellent We have successfully created a tour d horizon through the world of the 17th Century It does not matter that our characters do not have depth they are only vehicles to transport our encyclopaedic knowledge It does not matter that events do not create and develop a plot we are not really telling a story In the end, Neal hands the reader a kaleidoscope to observe the 17th Century It shows the richness of life in glittering, but confusing colours, and in identifiable, but jumbled shapes If there is an overall, guiding principle in the work, the disjointed mass of detail and isolated events makes it hard to discern Quicksilver is to literature what music scores are to music, what a dictionary is to poetry, what a street map is to a metropolis It shows the detail, but not the soul


  7. Darwin8u Darwin8u says:

    The gold that paid for a pound of Malabar pepper was melted and fused with the gold that paid for a boatload of North Sea herring, and all of it was simply gold, bearing no trace or smell of the fish or the spice that had fetched it In the case of C lestial Dynamics, the gold the universal medium of exchange, to which everything was reduced was force. Neal Stephenson, Quicksilver Book 1 Quicksilver That one man sickens and dies, while another flourishes, are characters in the cryptic message t The gold that paid for a pound of Malabar pepper was melted and fused with the gold that paid for a boatload of North Sea herring, and all of it was simply gold, bearing no trace or smell of the fish or the spice that had fetched it In the case of C lestial Dynamics, the gold the universal medium of exchange, to which everything was reduced was force. Neal Stephenson, Quicksilver Book 1 Quicksilver That one man sickens and dies, while another flourishes, are characters in the cryptic message that philosophers seek to decode. Neal Stephenson, Quicksilver Book 1 Quicksilver gives off a bit of a low brow SF Pynchon vibe It works well in parts, and falls a bit flat in parts dialogue, etc I sometimes wish Stephenson wouldn t chase down every last snowflake I really do, however, enjoy the primary narrator Daniel Waterhouse and his interactions with such figures as Isaac Newton, Samuel Pepys, John Wilkins, etc Having already read Cryptonomicon, I was also glad to see Enoch Root one of my favorite characters from that book Like Pynchon, Stephenson takes historical fiction and probes the fiction needle into history at funky angles He thrills at causing his fictional characters to interact in oblique ways to historical characters Given the large amount of negative space in history think about how much we DON T know about people like Newton, or even the consumate diariest Pepys , a creative writer of historical fiction can bend reflect refract the light of the past to tell many compelling stories King of the Vagabonds and they don t even have to be plausable, they just can t completely contradict major historical events.Book 2 King of the VagabondsJack had been presented with the opportunity to be stupid in some, way that was muchinteresting than being shrewed would ve been These moments seemed to come to Jack every few daysNeal Stephenson, King of the VagabondsStephenson continues his Quicksilver Volume with Book 2 King of the Vagabonds Where Book 1 Quicksilver dealt primarily with Isaac Newton and Daniel Waterhouse, King of the Vagabonds centers around the adventures of Half Cocked Jack Shaftoe , Doctor Leibniz, and Eliza It seems to have taken stock of Joseph de la Vega s Confusion de Confusiones 1688 , and perhaps also Charles Mackay s later Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds, and even Frances and Joseph Gies Life in a Medieval City Much of the book involves the adventures of two or three of the above Jack, Liebniz, Eliza making their way across many of the markets and cities of Europe It allows Stephenson to discuss not only the politics of the age of Louis XIV, but also the changing markets Leipzig, Paris, London, Amsterdam , politics, religion, and birth of the Age of Resaon Stephenson has said in Book 1 he was primarily dealing with nobility and the top end of the economic ladder So, in Book 2 he wanted to spend a bit of time at the bottom of the ladder hence Vagabonds Half Cocked Jack Shaftoe, Daniel Waterhouse, and Eliza of Qwghlm are all ancestors of characters from Stephenson earlier book, Cryptonomicon Enoch Root appears in this book as well as in Quicksilver AND Cryptonomicon He is like a Zelig for science Always appearing just where he needs to be to give the wheel a turn, the cart a push, the clock of progress a wind.Book 3 OdalisqueEven a well made clock drifts, and must be re set from time to timeNeal Stephenson, OdalisqueAn odalisque was a chambermaid or a female attendant in a Turkish haram seraglio , particularly the ladies in haram of the Ottoman sultan So, the book title references Eliza, who in book 2 King of the Vagabonds is rescued by Half Cock Jack King of the Vagabonds Eliza in this book enters the world of European economics and spycraft She rises from broker of the French nobility, eventually earning the title of Countess of Zeur She also aids William of Orange as he prepares to invade England, gaining the added title of Duchess of Qqghlm Odalisque also brings us back to Daniel Waterhouse.I personally missed Jack Shaftoe, but that was partially assisted because we were introduced to his brother Bob Shaftoe.I ve enjoyed Volume one I m a big fan of the Age of Enlightenment and was thrilled to experience of fictionalized Pepys, Newton, Leibniz, William of Orange, etc Negatives of the book s , and series, so far Like in Cryptonomicon Stephenson is going big think Pynchon, Eco, etc , but his prose is flat often and his dialogue is worse The dialogue seems closer to a Boston pub in 1987 than in a Royal Society meeting, but meh It was still intersting and fascinating I like the label History of Science Fiction So, I might not read this one twice, but I ll for sure finish the series just not tonight


  8. Markus Markus says:

    Quicksilver by Neal Stephenson is in some ways the strangest book I ve read this year.The most surprising aspect of the book is the fact that there is no plot I ve read books that have started really slowly, and even books where the author largely ignores plot to focus on building the setting This book, however, has no plot.For all intents and purposes, Quicksilver is The 17th Century The Novel In many ways it feels like the literary equivalent of an open world video game You just go around Quicksilver by Neal Stephenson is in some ways the strangest book I ve read this year.The most surprising aspect of the book is the fact that there is no plot I ve read books that have started really slowly, and even books where the author largely ignores plot to focus on building the setting This book, however, has no plot.For all intents and purposes, Quicksilver is The 17th Century The Novel In many ways it feels like the literary equivalent of an open world video game You just go around exploring with the characters, with no context or coherence whatsoever Historical value is incredible Certain individuals, like Isaac Newton, John Churchill and William of Orange, figure heavily Tons of others make shorter appearances As for location, the book takes you everywhere from the port of colonial Boston to the 1683 siege of Vienna.And almost surprisingly, it s charming Almost a thousand pages of exploring a historical setting occasionally becomes an arduous task, but occasionally also becomes an exciting adventure filled with interesting details.The book is divided into three parts Considering the ridiculous size of the whole volume, you might define the three as books in themselves I definitely had to take a break and read other things between each of them.The first book focuses on Daniel Waterhouse, Puritan thinker and scientist and one time member of the Royal Society His part is split in two between a present day 1713 account of his leaving Massachusetts on a ship bound for England This acts as a frame story for the second, which is a tale about his life and exploits with the Royal Society decades earlier I strangely enjoyed the formerthan the latter, even though it is moving so slowly that although the book starts out in Boston, the ship ends the part by sailing out of Massachusetts Bay.The second book focuses on Jack Shaftoe, vagabond turned mercenary, and Eliza, slave in the harem of the Ottoman sultan From their meeting during the siege of Vienna, the book follows them on a journey together through the various principalities and kingdoms of Europe, filled with strange details and interesting histories.The third book pulls the first two together in something of a conclusion, leading up to the year 1688 The historical ending of the book was rather obvious if you are familiar with these times.Overall, it s a muchinteresting book to read in than a book to read While there is little sign of a story, and the fictional protagonists are not particularly outstanding, the setting is uniquely interesting and very well described Despite being a work of historical fiction, the reader will inevitably learn a lot about 17th century history, in very enjoyable ways


  9. Dan Schwent Dan Schwent says:

    This was the book that knocked Neal Stephenson off of my buy on sight list Too long, nothing happening, the first of three dauntingly large volumes That about sums it up.


  10. Sud666 Sud666 says:

    Neal Stephenson books are not for everybody Actually, they are but not everybody will like them This will certainly be the case for Quicksilver It s a love it or WTF did I just read kind of reaction A NS book is often dense and erratic in the linear story Mr Stephenson has a myriad of interests and a sizeable intellect backing him up His stories tend to delve in a variety of side topics all of which are very informative but outside the normal story arc and that can be off putting t Neal Stephenson books are not for everybody Actually, they are but not everybody will like them This will certainly be the case for Quicksilver It s a love it or WTF did I just read kind of reaction A NS book is often dense and erratic in the linear story Mr Stephenson has a myriad of interests and a sizeable intellect backing him up His stories tend to delve in a variety of side topics all of which are very informative but outside the normal story arc and that can be off putting to many who dislike tangential topics to the main plot Well..you have been warned For the rest of you that like NS, let me tell you about Quicksilver.It is a book broken up into three parts The first part, Quicksilver, is flashback of the early life of Daniel Waterhouse during the early 1700s The second part, King of the Vagabonds, focuses on James half Cocked Shaftoe and the vast majority takes place circa 1683 The final part, Odalisque, goes back to D Waterhouse and details his exploits during his time as a courtier for Charles II of England.Set during the Baroque era NS shows the monumental changes taking place As an aside, the Baroque era was one where the Catholic Church, under the guidance of the Council of Trent 1545 1563 in Trento, Italy , decided to perform a Counter Reformation to act against the growing Protestant outbreak What the Council espoused, ironically contrary to past Church policy, was that the Church ought to encourage arts that explored religious themes with a direct and emotional involvement Thus the exaggerated motion and clear, easily interpreted detail of the Baroque style found a receptive audience among the Church and the Aristocracy who felt that the the dramatic style of Baroque art and architecture was a means of impressing visitors by projecting triumph, power, and control Thus the Baroque style originates in Italy, specifically Rome, and began to spread throughout Europe during the 1600s.The story is a grand adventure The setting is Europe and the cast includes many famous people from Newton to William of Orange Along the way you will learn about the conflict between Gottfried Leibniz and Issac Newton about the math behind Newton s ideas was interesting well..to me It shows the basis for the creation of calculus and how it differed from geometric and trigonometric expressions Truly amazing It also hints at the fact that what Leibniz is referencing as a math language is the basis for the binaric calculations done by modern computers Very cool.I will not spoil the plot nor delve too much into the details since NS does it far better than I if you re interested in the scientific, political and economic forces that drove the baroque period then this is the book for you Vast in scope, dark in humor, dense in knowledge, lacking in a strict, linear plot this is textbook NS Coming in at the size of a textbook I reiterate this is not for everyone, but if you show the patience to get through it, I think, you will find it to be worth it I did