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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"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)
Neal Stephenson follows his acclaimed historical novel, Quicksilver, with the extraordinary second volume of the Baroque Cycle
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