Brendan Lyons's Reviews > Quicksilver

Quicksilver by Neal Stephenson
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Jul 02, 12


This book is the first of the Baroque Cycle series ... which seems to go on forever and ever and ever. That is actually a Good Thing because Stephenson draws the reader into the convoluted secret world of the 17th century (with, admittedly, a few lapses and boring bits en route)in such a way that s/he will never quite see it the same way again. The research that must have gone into the writing of this series is nothing short of colossal but Stephenson never quite parades it in our faces -- although coming close from time to time -- but puts it to the service of a rip-roaring tale that seems to gather speed as it moves along. Cabals, codes, cyphers, the adulteration of the money supply, pirates, the Turkish siege of Vienna, Newton, Leibnitz, the political manoeuvring behind the Hanoverian succession to the British throne (their descendants still occupy the position)... it's all there, with much more besides. This book comprises the overture to a heaving seething gallimaufry of a work which can be totally exhilarating or totally exhausting depending upon the reader's response to the ideas, themes and speculations which it introduces.
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