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Sarah Broadhurst's view...
Probably one of the most impressive historical works of 17th century life, adventure and scholarship ever, this is the second volume in his Baroque Cycle, the more swashbuckling of the three, but you must start with the first, Quicksilver. They are huge in length (nearly a thousand pages), scope and detail but you certainly don’t feel it as you race through the pages of dashing heroes, dastardly plotting and cunning manipulation. Quite wonderful. I cannot recommend them highly enough. The sort of books you want to curl up and live inside.
Comparison: Susanna Clarke, Alexandre Dumas, Bernard Cornwell.
Similar this month: Jules Watson for historical, Ian McDonald for huge scope.
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Confusion by Neal Stephenson
Neal Stephenson continues his extraordinary 'Baroque Cycle' in this sequel to his bestselling Quicksilver, bringing to life a cast of unforgettable characters in a time of breathtaking genius and discovery. It is the late 1600s, on the high seas. A group of Barbary galley slaves plot as they ply the oars of a pirate ship, hatching a daring scheme to find an enormous cache of Spanish gold. Amazingly, they succeed - leaving some very unhappy men behind who vow to hunt down the vagabonds and bring them to justice, no matter the cost.-Meanwhile, back in France, the beautiful Eliza - toast of Versailles and spy extraordinaire - attempts to return to London with her baby, a child whose paternity is shrouded in mystery.
Making her way home, her ship is stopped by a French privateer and she is returned to the Sun King's court. Thrown back into a web of international intrigue, Eliza must contend with all manner of characters, including buccaneers, poisoners, Jesuits, financial manipulators, and even a stray cryptographer or two.
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ReviewsIdeas 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
About the Author
Publication date7th April 2005
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PublisherArrow (a Division Of Random House Group)
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