The Confusion: Books Four & Five of the Baroque Cycle (Unabridged)
by Neal Stephenson
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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.
Great but glitchy
A gorgeous book, gorgeously read. Unlike a previous installment, this volume of the Baroque Cycle does not place undue demands on Simon Prebble's debatable musical talents: it *does* place a strain on his ability to handle Neal Stephenson's phonetic rendering of what's supposed to be an Irish accent, but Mr. Prebble is not to blame for that.
I have to deduct one star for a technical problem: several of the chapters in Parts 3 and 4 are out of order, placing events of 1696 before those of 1694, so it's difficult to properly appreciate the recorded version without a copy of the print book to hand. I hope that this can be rectified in a future edition.