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The Confusion
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Neal Stephenson follows on from his cult historical novel QUICKSILVER with the extraordinary second volume of THE BAROQUE CYCLE.

About the Author

Date- 2004-10-21
Neal Stephenson is the author of the three-volume historical epic 'The Baroque Cycle' (Quicksilver, The Confusion, and The System of the World) and the novels Cryptonomicon, The Diamond Age, Snow Crash, and Zodiac. He lives in Seattle, Washington.

Reviews

The title of Stephenson's vast, splendid and absorbing sequel to Quicksilver (2003) suggests the state of mind that even devoted fans may face on occasion as they follow the glorious and exceedingly complex parallel stories of Jack Shaftoe, amiable criminal mastermind, and Eliza, Countess de la Zeur, courageous secret agent and former prisoner in a Turkish harem. In 1689, Jack recovers his memory in Algiers, evades galley slavery and joins a quest for the lost treasure of a Spanish pirate named Carlos Olancho Macho y Macho. This leads to adventures at sea worthy of Patrick O'Brian, and hairbreadth escapes from the jaws of the Inquisition. Meanwhile, Eliza is captured by the historical (and distinguished) French privateer Jean Bart while trying to escape to England with her baby. She must then navigate the intrigues of the court of Louis XIV, which are less lethal than those of the Inquisition by a small margin, but still make for uneasy sleep for a friendless female spy. Her correspondence with such scientific minds as Wilhelm Leibniz helps propel the saga's chronicling of the roots of modern science at a respectable clip. Of course, one can't call anything about the Baroque Cycle "brisk," but the richness of detail and language lending verisimilitude to the setting and depth to the characters should be reward enough for most readers. Agent, Liz Darhansoff at Darhansoff, Verrill, Feldman Literary Agents. (One-day laydown Apr. 13) Forecast: The third volume of the trilogy, The System of the World, is due in September (and it may take readers till then to finish volume two). Though fatigue might winnow out a few fans, most should stay the course. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.

The saga continues in the late 1600s, as slaves escaped from a pirate ship hunt down treasure and a beautiful French spy is reintroduced to the Sun King's court. Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.

"Ideas about currency and calculus become thrilling because of the way Stephenson incorporates them into his story... Huge in scope - rich in detail... This weird, wonderful collision of scholarship and storytelling has no peer" * Time Out *
"A rip-roaring, swashbuckling Romance with a capital R ... A blood-soaked, silver-plated depiction of 17th-century life from both ends of the economic scale, and with enough headlong, balls-to-the-wall buccaneering and Machiavellian plotting to satiate the most jaded of palates" * Ink *
"Stephenson excels in marrying geekspeak wtih riotous action. When he describes a battle or a duel, his prose acquires thrilling panache... Jack Shaftoe is magnificent, a swashbuckling hero with a foul mouth and few morals, and his adventures are most appealing" * Guardian *
"The definitive historical-sci-fi-epic-pirate-comedy-punk-love story. No easy feat, that" * Entertainment Weekly *

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