24 Oct Neal Stephenson zaps across the centuries with his brilliant, bulging historical novel Quicksilver, says Steven Poole. Neal Stephenson is a writer from whom ideas erupt with the force of a volcano’s Quicksilver is the first volume in a monumental historical saga — written by. Quicksilver is the story of Daniel Waterhouse, fearless thinker and conflicted Puritan, pursuing knowledge in the company of the greatest minds of Baroque- era.

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They attempt to return to Cambridge, but again plague expels the students. Retrieved March 8, Luckily, the presence of Jack’s former employer, John Churchillensures that he is not immediately killed. Did you know that London burned? Roar of Sky by Beth Cato. It is a political and scientific monster delving into the 17th and 18th century.

If I’ve exaggerated a little, it was only for dramatic effect. Personal issues and mental illness are evident. While under Roger’s patronage, the actress Tess becomes Daniel’s mistress both at court and in bed. I will not spoil the plot nor delve too much into the details since NS does it far better than I.

The reception to Quicksilver was generally positive. Retrieved March 16, Quicksilver is an important literary accomplishment, and the saga as a whole will be too.

Frequent mention of alchemy indicates the shift from an earlier age to a newer transformative age. Vast in scope, dark in humor, dense in knowledge, lacking in a strict, linear plot-this is stephenso NS. Book 1 rather than Volume 1 you may not be as impressed.

Daniel remains one of the more prominent people in the Royal Society, close to Royal Society members involved in court life and politics. Eliza woos Daniel and uses this connection to nneal entrance into the English court and the Royal Society.

It’s kind of dissapointing because the ideas and possibilities of where this book could have been going were really interesting Read new romance book reviews, posts from your favorite authors, samples, exciting digital first publications and e-book specials. Newton was an alchemist, and one character compares finance to alchemy: Based on the success of Cryptonomicona New York Times bestseller with sales of aboutcopies, the initial print-run for Quicksilver wascopies. Just unneccesary and silly and revolting.


To ask other readers questions about Quicksilverplease sign up. Or tell a section via a series of letters? As Waterhouse boards his ship for the transatlantic voyage, the scene dissolves, we quicksolver transported back to and the narration of his time at Trinity College, Cambridge, sharing a room with Newton, begins. Following this dazzling first section — comprising the novel’s first pages, approximately — we move into “King of the Vagabonds,” which shifts the novel’s focus from the lives of English high society to society’s dregs.

While attending school at Trinity College, CambridgeDaniel becomes Newton’s companion, ensuring that Newton does not harm his health and assisting in his experiments.

It isn’t true that Quicksilver lacks a plot; it just lacks a conventional plot structure. You must judge for yourself, but use some of the information I presented. Great men in English politics and science at each other’s throats Newton and Hooke would become bitter enemies confide in Daniel, helping to guide his career to greater heights.

A Samuel Beckett play would be located upper left – just a few characters, but richly textured interactions between them. One of the most elaborate, detailed and wonderful books I’ve ever read and re-reading it was pure pleasure.

View all 4 comments. It had high points. Though he plans to depart for Massachusetts, Daniel’s case of bladder stones increasingly worsens during this period. I think that when The Baroque Cycle is completed, we will be looking at a significant event in modern publishing history. Daniel Waterhouse, a British natural philosopher and non-conformist; Eliza, a woman kidnapped from a remote British isle and abducted into the seraglio, who is later rescued and who subsequently makes her way into the court of Versailles and the world of high finance; and Half-Cocked Jack Shaftoe, King of the Vagabonds, adventurer, galley slave, pirate, and symp This is a review of the whole Baroque Cycle.

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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. Oh, there are moments of real conflict and intrigue, but they are few and far between. I think about four-fifths of SF fandom would probably throw up their hands and give up after the first or so of just over of Quicksilver ‘s pages, but then, those people are also avoiding Greg Egan, Iain M.

It was one of the most boring books I’ve ever read in my entire life.

Quicksilver (novel) – Wikipedia

Like in Cryptonomicon Stephenson is going big think Pynchon, Eco, etcbut his prose is flat often and his dialogue is worse. No scholarly, and intellectually provocative, historical novel has been this much fun since The Name of the Rose “.

Unfortunately, Neal Stephenson was not only too late in both cases, but is also not nearly the writer Pynchon is, and therefore ended up failing rather spectacularly, producing a series of novels that, in spite of their massive bulk, seems rather flat and shallow if held up against Pynchon.

Afterwards, the French Ambassador in Amsterdam persuades Eliza to go to Versailles and supply him information about the French court. You can say any sort of nonsense in Latin, and our feeble university men will be stunned, or at least profoundly confused.