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Publisher Description

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.

It is a chronicle of the breathtaking exploits of "Half-Cocked Jack" Shaftoe -- London street urchin turned swashbuckling adventurer and legendary King of the Vagabonds -- risking life and limb for fortune and love while slowly maddening from the pox.

And it is the tale of Eliza, rescued by Jack from a Turkish harem to become spy, confidante, and pawn of royals in order to reinvent Europe through the newborn power of finance.

A gloriously rich, entertaining, and endlessly inventive novel that brings a remarkable age and its momentous events to vivid life, Quicksilver is an extraordinary achievement from one of the most original and important literary talents of our time.

And it's just the beginning ...

Sci-Fi & Fantasy
October 13
William Morrow

Customer Reviews

Lost in Space-time ,

So good it pisses me off

As a big fan of historical fiction, Quicksilver was to me both a Glorious Revolution and a hard to pass kidney stone (read book for allusions). The glorious part was the wonderful mix of thorough historical research with a cast of interesting fictional characters, plot lines and dialog to bind it all together. The kidney stone part is the painful and semi-hopeless situation of knowing one’s long held dream of authoring just such a work or perhaps a piece of science fiction (e.g. Seveneves) is a laughable fantasy. My time would be much better spent simply reading the works of Mr. Stephenson. I await them with cringing eagerness.

Bruce The Juice Davis ,


I just read Quicksilver for the second time in three years. Tackling the Baroque Cycle twice in three years? Shows how much I enjoyed it the first time through!

JRubino ,

100 Words or Less

This is the case of rock solid research ruining an interesting story.

Stephenson’s setting and characters are vivid within their world. But too much so. It’s as if every detail he’s uncovered needs to be included. Every historical fact needs to be stated. Seemingly minor characters are encountered haphazardly, only to coincidentally emerge as important historical figures: an adolescent Ben Franklin? A young Newton?

It’s too much. I wanted a story that dropped me into that era. I ended up with a comical Who’s Who date book. I had to stop reading after about 50 pages.

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