The Confusion : Baroque Cycle

  • by Neal Stephenson
  • Narrated by Simon Prebble, Katherine Kellgren, Kevin Pariseau, Neal Stephenson (introduction)
  • Series: Baroque Cycle
  • 34 hrs and 30 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

In the year 1689, a cabal of Barbary galley slaves, including one “Half-Cocked Jack” Shaftoe, devises a daring plan to win freedom and fortune. A great adventure ensues that will place the intrepid band at odds with the mighty and the mad, with alchemists, Jesuits, great navies, pirate queens, and vengeful despots across vast oceans and around the globe.
Back in Europe, the exquisite and resourceful Eliza, Countess de la Zeur, master of markets, pawn and confidante of enemy kings, onetime Turkish harem virgin, is stripped of her immense personal fortune by France’s most dashing privateer. Penniless and at risk from those who desire either her or her head (or both), she is caught up in a web of international intrigue, even as she desperately seeks the return of her most precious possession -- her child.Meanwhile, Newton and Leibniz continue to propound their grand theories as their infamous rivalry intensifies. And Daniel Waterhouse seeks passage to the Massachusetts colony in hopes of escaping the madness into which his world has descended.
The Baroque Cycle, Neal Stephenson’s award-winning series, spans the late 17th and early 18th centuries, combining history, adventure, science, invention, piracy, and alchemy into one sweeping tale. It is a gloriously rich, entertaining, and endlessly inventive historical epic populated by the likes of Isaac Newton, William of Orange, Benjamin Franklin, and King Louis XIV, along with some of the most inventive literary characters in modern fiction.
Audible’s complete and unabridged presentation of The Baroque Cycle was produced in cooperation with Neal Stephenson. Each volume includes an exclusive introduction read by the author.

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What the Critics Say

“[Stephenson] might just have created the definitive historical-sci-fi-epic-pirate-comedy-punk-love story.” (Entertainment Weekly)
“Monumental… combines adventure with Big Ideas and lots of intrigue.” (Locus)
“Vast, splendid, and absorbing.” (Publishers Weekly)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

The Confusion

This is really a pirate adventure with a lot of historical fact, speculation, liberty and down-right fiction thrown in. It's very well written and read. A bit overlong in some of the description and detail, but the reading really makes an excellent job of hiding that.

I would strongly recommend that the listerner begins at the beginning of the Baroque Cycle and sees it through to the end, as most of the plot lines begin before, and finish well after, this book. Although it could be argued that this is a standalone listen I do not believe you would be doing the story any justice be stopping at the end of this book.

The reading and production of this is excellent. The characterisations are broad and consistent, with lots of emotion and humour conveyed.
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- Mr

Maybe a bit too aptly named

I really enjoyed Quicksilver, originally the first of a trilogy of which this is meant to be the second book. Perhaps there were some warning signs in the fact that it was difficult to make out which book this was and how it fitted in the cycle. To say it is a sprawling novel would be an understatement. It is at times almost infuriatingly pleased with its own cleverness and it could easily have been half the length. And yet the whole thing just carries you along. There is a mordant sense of humour running through it which often saves the day when you feel you have heard one too many tall-tale, battle description or exegesis on economics and physics. The narrators are excellent with great voice characterisations. I docked it one star because it did almost drive me to distraction at times trying to keep up with all the plot twists. I would love to see someone try to bring these books to the big screen - there is a ready-made role there for Johnny Depp.
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- Martin

Book Details

  • Release Date: 08-10-2010
  • Publisher: Audible Studios