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The Confusion (Baroque Cycle 2) Paperback – 7 Apr 2005


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Frequently Bought Together

The Confusion (Baroque Cycle 2) + The System Of The World (Baroque Cycle 3) + Quicksilver: The Baroque Cycle (Baroque Cycle 1)
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Product details

  • Paperback: 832 pages
  • Publisher: Arrow; New Ed edition (7 April 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0099410699
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099410690
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 3.5 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 76,657 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author



Neal Town Stephenson (born October 31, 1959) is an American writer, known for his speculative fiction works, which have been variously categorized science fiction, historical fiction, maximalism, cyberpunk, and postcyberpunk. Stephenson explores areas such as mathematics, cryptography, philosophy, currency, and the history of science. He also writes non-fiction articles about technology in publications such as Wired Magazine, and has worked part-time as an advisor for Blue Origin, a company (funded by Jeff Bezos) developing a manned sub-orbital launch system.

Born in Fort Meade, Maryland (home of the NSA and the National Cryptologic Museum) Stephenson came from a family comprising engineers and hard scientists he dubs "propeller heads". His father is a professor of electrical engineering whose father was a physics professor; his mother worked in a biochemistry laboratory, while her father was a biochemistry professor. Stephenson's family moved to Champaign-Urbana, Illinois in 1960 and then to Ames, Iowa in 1966 where he graduated from Ames High School in 1977. Stephenson furthered his studies at Boston University. He first specialized in physics, then switched to geography after he found that it would allow him to spend more time on the university mainframe. He graduated in 1981 with a B.A. in Geography and a minor in physics. Since 1984, Stephenson has lived mostly in the Pacific Northwest and currently resides in Seattle with his family.

Neal Stephenson is the author of the three-volume historical epic "The Baroque Cycle" (Quicksilver, The Confusion, and The System of the World) and the novels Cryptonomicon, The Diamond Age, Snow Crash, and Zodiac. He lives in Seattle, Washington.

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Review

"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" (The Guardian)

"The definitive historical-sci-fi-epic-pirate-comedy-punk-love story. No easy feat, that" (Entertainment Weekly)

Book Description

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

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer VINE VOICE on 12 Dec 2004
Format: Hardcover
I cannot find words for how good The Confusion is. We still follow the people from Quicksilver as they strive to find their way in the chaotic world of the late 1600's and early 1700's. The themes are still money, piracy, sex, slavery, science, black magic, etc. and the cast is still comprised of vagabonds, galley slaves, scientists, royalty, soldiers, priests, alchymists and much, much more. The action goes (literally) round the world, to places like Egypt, India, Japan, the Philippines, all of Europe and, of course, Qwghlm, the fictional Island that also appears in Cryptonomicon.
I am in awe of how many themes are woven together in this book, and of the amount of research it must have taken. I have never had any sense of what the rennaisance was like, and suddenly the 1600's seem real and present to me. I've done some fact-checking in Wikipedia, and it only serves to expand and deepen the picture that Stephenson paints of that period.
The ending is just about the funniest, saddest, most satisfying, most intriguing and most annoying thing I've ever read. And I can't wait to read the final book in the series which is The System of the World.
A word of caution: These books are subtle. Much of the actions is hinted at rather than described explicitly. Once you get the hang of it, it is immensely satisfying to read.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By D. Harris TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 2 Dec 2004
Format: Hardcover
After reading "The Confusion" I had to go back and read "Cryptonomicon" to confirm what I suspected - these books don't just feature different generations of the same families, they are building into a coherent and (I hope) complete story. There are, for example, passing references in "Cryptonomicon" that only make sense in the light of "Confusion". I'm looking forward to the treat of reading "System of the World" where I hope I will find the final answers - in particular, who (or what) is Enoch Root?
But then I'll probably have to go back and read "Quicksilver" again to get the full picture.
Anyway - an excellent series, taken together.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A. L. Rutter on 8 Feb 2010
Format: Paperback
I am entirely perplexed by this trilogy! Usually by the time I have read the first book in a trilogy - let alone the second - I know well whether I am intending to keep the series for an indulgent re-read in the future. After reading the first book, I had been intrigued enough to read the second but felt that overall I would be discarding the series.

What a difference a book makes! Over the course of this second book, I found myself musing on the story even while I was not reading about the continued adventures of Eliza and Jack. This book is reward for struggling through the first, which was enormously dense and detailed.

The book is shared between Eliza (Juncto) and Jack (Bonanza), their stories intertwining. We find Jack alive and well, and free from the French pox (syphilis). He has been captured by Barbary pirates and his tale involves a convoluted plot between him and other members of the Cabal - to capture a shipment of gold that will lead to their fortunes being made. His story leads him across the world - through the Far East and finally taking a dangerous trip to Acapulco. The capture of the gold has massive repercussions across the world, affecting many including Eliza, who starts her story being waylaid by Jean Bart and carried back to France, where she once again begins manipulating trade.

This time both stories are equally gripping for one reason or another, and the skipping between both allows Stephenson to develop two different tones - the formal, slow burning plot of Eliza and the swashbuckling adventures of Jack Shaftoe.

Many, many characters take centre stage here and become beloved to the reader over the course of 800 pages.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By JohnRW on 5 April 2004
Format: Hardcover
This novel has everything; humour, adventure, intrigue, sex and naval warfare! It's all extremely well written with excellent dialogue and a cast of characters that will split your sides with laughter (my particular favourite was a Spanish nobleman galley slave with Tourette's syndrome…….).If you haven’t read Quicksilver, buy it together with this one and be prepared for a literary feast!
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on 16 Feb 2005
Format: Hardcover
Cryptonomicon was astounding. Weaving together multiple periods in time isn't a new idea but in the right hands it is a powerful tool.
Quicksilver, a massively-pre prequel, was almost as good. A huge book, a real epic, but you're forever stuck with idea that the sheer good fortune of our central characters - just how lucky did Jack, Eliza and Daniel have to be in order to mix with the factual people they did - was a little bit too much. But you were having so much fun, you gave Stephenson more slack.
And so the sequence rolls on - The Confusion will be just that if you've not read Quicksilver (which itself was probably better if you'd read Cryptonomicon). It's a huge endeavour - it took me an age to finish it, and while it starts slowly it's a real slow burner. By the end you'll be as gripped as with the best cinematic thriller.
It's a subtle read, you really do need to pay close attention (or to have access to the Megaweb wiki to look up those previous threads) or you'll lose track completely, but ultimately it is worth it.
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