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The Confusion Ltd (Baroque Cycle) Hardcover – 1 Feb 2005

4.6 out of 5 stars 32 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 816 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow & Company; Limited edition (Feb. 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060599340
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060599348
  • Product Dimensions: 31.7 x 19.8 x 7.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (32 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 4,944,123 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description

Review

"Vast, splendid and absorbing." -- Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"[T]he definitive historical-sci-fi-epic-pirate-comedy-punk-love story. No easy feat, that. A-."--Entertainment Weekly

"Vast, splendid and absorbing."--Publishers Weekly (starred review)

Vast, splendid and absorbing. --Publishers Weekly (starred review)"

[T]he definitive historical-sci-fi-epic-pirate-comedy-punk-love story. No easy feat, that. A-. --Entertainment Weekly"

Book Description

Neal Stephenson follows his acclaimed historical novel, Quicksilver, with the extraordinary second volume of the Baroque Cycle. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Not a book to be embarked on lightly, but you know that if you've finished Quicksilver and, ideally, Cryptonomicon. I can't praise the Baroque Cycle highly enough - it's a sequence that covers just about the whole of human experience - life, love, death, riches and poetry, slavery and majesty. Currency and current, piracy and princes...
Enough - I'm coming across like a trailer for The Princess Bride.

This volume is made up of two parallel novels, fused, or confused, by alternating chapters between the two. One volume follows (mostly) Jack Shaftoe, and his attempts to return to England from slavery in the East. That he accomplishes this as the only predictable part of his journey. The other tells Eliza's story, through palaces and... well, mostly through palaces.

I hope you read it, and enjoy it's elegance, intelligence and occasional low wit as much as I did.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I imagine Stephenson knows the origin of the the word perfectly well, and is only too happy to think of his cycle in that way. Concerning this second book, when I was doing my PhD I often needed to analyse the ceramics I was making by heating them up with a material called Fusion Mixture. The results were all too often difficult to interpret, so I scrawled "Con" on the bottle before "Fusion". But of course that was the original meaning of the word "Confusion": simply "melting together" - the sort of insight you keep on getting from Neal Stephenson, and he does a lot of melting together in this volume. Anyway, a great follow up to "Quicksiver", if anything less confusing, and it also makes sense of some of the puzzling bits of "Cryptonomicon", but as other reviewers point out, you would certainly need to read the Baroque Cycle in the correct order, for your brains would melt if you didn't. Looking forward to "The System of the World".
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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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I had read Quicksilver previously and found that I started that book with keen interest but that it sapped the life out of me towards the end and i gave up with a few chapters to go.
This book is of a similar nature in that it tries to combine several books in one and each book contains many additional stories and characters with their full family life histories, in many cases. I am reading it in installments with other more terse and exciting books in between to keep my interest and renew my enjoyment of reading.

Robin Guy
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Tis it seems nae the case. The exploits of many including Eliza, Bob (Jacks brother) and monsieur Daniel Warehouse and with the help of the ever changing cabal make this a great and thoroughly enjoyable read. The only sad part is that I have to thank a Scot for leading me to this series of books.
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This is a great story about what happens to jack and Eliza leading up to the summoning of Daniel back to London.
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Format: Paperback
This second novel in the Baroque Cycle consists of two books taking place roughly over the same period of time. They are therefore fused together, with sections alternating between the two, hence the title.

Bonanza regales the adventures of Jack Shaftoe after he left Amsterdam and Eliza. We follow him through his ordeal as a galley slave to the Turks. With his wits returning to him, he forms a collaboration with several other slaves to free themselves and capture the contents of a certain ship from a Spanish harbour. This leads to them travelling around the Mediterranean before venturing further east to an area then known as Hindoostan. Eventually they even cross the Pacific and end up in Mexico, before making the trip across the Atlantic, back to Europe.

Juncta covers a similar time period, but focuses mainly on Eliza and her interactions at various European courts and with scientists. Through a series of events, Eliza finds herself on the receiving end of the affections of Etienne de Lavardac, son of de Duc d’Arcachon. Using her cunning wits and tempting looks, Eliza manages to advance herself in society, obtaining the services of various men when they are of use to her. She is a strong, independent personality, who recognizes her worth but also realizes that, as a woman, she will sometimes need the assistance of a man.

The result is an intricate weaving of storylines which are all interconnected. Backgrounds and settings are described quite elaborately, but they do serve the story, so do not become tiresome. Effects of prolonged sea travel are explained in vivid detail, adding realism to the sometimes fantastic tale.

Due to the complexity of the narrative, I recommend reading this with a clear and attentive mind, so as to not become confused yourself.
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