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a worthy prequel to cryptonomicon
ARTICLE INFOlast night, my girlfriend shannon asked me what the plot of quicksilver was and i had to stop and think for a minute before i could give her a coherent answer.
book by neal stephenson
rated 8.0/10 by 4 people
a short synopsis of cryptonomicon
added 2001 may 09 by oletheros
the truth is that quicksilver is about a whole host of different things, but it mostly concerns a swath of european history spanning the mid-seventeenth century, right up to events in the early eighteenth century. the bits in the eighteenth century material are just a framing device though; most of the action takes place between 1650something and 1690something.
there are several fictional characters that are introduced to provide someone to walk through the various stage sets that stephenson constructs with his ability to make interesting twenty-page tangents and exhaustive research. these characters interact with the luminaries of the day, natural philosophers, kings, princes, merchants, generals and everyone in between. in fact, there are so many names dropped throughout the course of the narrative that the author had to include a twenty page list of characters at the end so readers could keep them all straight.
it's an engaging read, though, and it illustrates just how intertwined the worlds of finance, politics, mathematics, science and religion really were during this period.
given that stephenson has a history of not being able to end a novel well, i thought he wrapped this one up quite nicely, especially since it's the first book in a trilogy (and this book alone is the size of most trilogies!). there are obviously more things to come in the lives of the characters and the nations of europe, but the stopping point felt natural and well thought-out.
it should not come as a surprise, then, that i'm looking forward to the next one in the series. after all, the story is just getting good...