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The Confusion[ THE CONFUSION ] By Stephenson, Neal ( Author )Jun-14-2005 Paperback (Englisch) Taschenbuch – 14. Juni 2005

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Amazon.com: 4.6 von 5 Sternen 18 Rezensionen
10 von 11 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
4.0 von 5 Sternen Moves faster than "Quicksilver" 4. März 2006
Von Daniel Berger - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
I expressed misgivings about "Quicksilver", but confess most were quieted by "Confusion." A lot of the hanging threads are brought together, many questions answered, many mysteries resolved. The huge amount of exposition in the first volume sets the stage for more and faster development in the second one. By its end, many plot lines have been boiled down to one unexpected conflict to set the stage for the concluding "The System of the World."

"Confusion" is circuitous. Such a profusion of events transpire that by its end, one really does feel like two decades have passed. We find at its outset Half-Cocked Jack Shaftoe still alive, a diseased and half-crazed galley slave in a motley crew from all over the world. Led by an improbable Jewish-American Indian halfbreed, they engineer an audacious escape, propelling them ever eastward to escape the enemies they've made and exploit the unusual treasure that has fallen into their hands. Their escapades stretch out over years and thousands of miles before they begin to find their way back towards Europe and an Eliza Jack still dreams of.

Eliza's life of financial, romantic and court intrigue, meanwhile, continues and develops through numerous twists and turns. She turns a moment of supreme vulnerability into a marriage vaulting her into position and power. Her kidnapped child Jean-Jacques is followed by siblings of equally complicated parentage. She uses sex - Eliza has several romps in this book - to slay a vile noble and his equally vile mistress in unusually Baroque style. But it's her financial acumen that gives her son's kidnapper an elaborate comeuppance, and other bad guys get theirs in picturesque and dramatic fashions. (You really enjoy the demise of a bad guy far more when the author has spent a thousand or more pages making him bad, than you do in a typical novel.)

Daniel Waterhouse plays a lesser role than in the previous volume. He has recovered from his operation and still wants to head for America, but doesn't have the money to do so. Money is a focus here. Europe suffers from a financial crisis: the world hasn't come up with a system that can accommodate burgeoning world trade and a huge influx of silver from Spain's Latin American colonies. Waterhouse and those around him, including his patron Roger Comstock, now the Marquis of Ravenscar, mull this problem as Tories, meanwhile, plot against King William and Jacobites go to war with him in Ireland.

Jack's experiences with foreign cultures provide vivid travelogue but sometimes drag, like the first volume does, with Stephenson's interminable expository style. Too much is too slowly revealed about Jack's fellows and their plan's unfolding. Eliza's portions of the book move better, perhaps because they concern characters and relationships already introduced in "Quicksilver" and so more quickly plow new ground. Waterhouse remains a more believable character than Jack and Eliza, but the latter two are more colorful.

Postscript: In reviewing the first book I faulted Stephenson for over-arch writing such as declaring colliding Venetian gondolas "canal rage." Here, though, I laughed out loud when Jack echoes the not-yet-born Frank Sinatra and says, "These vagabond boots are longing to stray." I also detected a possible Bobby Darin/"Mack the Knife" reference near the end of the book when Stephenson manages to work "scarlet" and "billows" into the same sentence. He has such fun with this enormous work and that fun greatly outweighs its faults of rambling. And I differ with other reviewers who seem to find it a placeholder or just connective tissue; I found the first book more tedious.
3 von 3 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
4.0 von 5 Sternen Great but not Five Stars 8. November 2007
Von Avid Reader - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
The same qualities - good and bad - that plagued QUICK SILVER also are found in CONFUSION (and SYSTEM OF THE WORLD by the way). On the plus side is the originality of the story, the description of the origins of modern science, the history of the time from both a royal and a common perspective, fascinating characters and a writing style that merges seamlessly with the story. On the down side, it's the same old complaints that plague the entire series: Excessive wordiness (using ten words when one would do), excessive foreign terms (especially French), ridiculously long titles and names, long pages where nothing happens.
Still, the stories this time, the actual plot and actions, were superior to the previous work. The book could easily carry a sub-plot: The story of Eliza and Jack. Of course our hero Mr. Waterhouse is there with all of his wonderful insights along with Boyle, Newton, Liebwitz and other Founding Fathers of the Next Epoch. I especially appreciate how the author includes monetary policy and economics changes that were every bit - if not more so - as revolutionary as the scientific and political ones. Many times this is omitted or glossed over by writers who are either ignorant of the subject or think it is boring. From this trilogy one gathers that the Scientific Revolution would have been impossible in the old barter/feudalistic system that preceeded it. This money tale is continued and amplified in the next book as the pace quickens.
2 von 2 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen a must for Stephenson fans 22. Oktober 2008
Von N. Bertrando - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
Excellent. This continuation of the Baroque Cycle Saga is even more enthralling than Quicksilver. Stephenson maintains his storytelling style of exquisite detail, interspersed with quirky, ribald humor and intellectual subtleties. Expanding the domain of action beyond Europe to North Africa and the meso-American colonies, The Confusion surely sets the stage for a resounding conclusion in System of the World. A masterpiece of intertwined storylines, unexpected developments, and personal struggles. This vast voyage also provides the reader with the context from which our current systems of economy, philosophy, and science emerged. If you have the hours to devote to these tomes, grab all three volumes and immerse yourself in the saga.
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5.0 von 5 Sternen Read the first? Don't give up yet! 18. Februar 2008
Von Peter A. Greene - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
So you've read the first, and you can't help noticing that many people quit on the Baroque trilogy at that point. Should you keep going?

I guess it depends. This is a trilogy that is after enormous ideas. Where a straight history would focus on finance or economics or science or math or transportation or politics or power or even the human heart as the driving force behind history, only a novelist could demonstrate dramatically how all of these forces are related and combined and intertwined.

Or, as Stephenson puts it in this second volume, "Because it made a good story, Bob supposed, and people could only make sense of complicated matters through stories."

Of the three volumes, this is the most narratively straightforward, and it covers virtually the entire planet, focusing mainly on Jack Shaftoe and Eliza. It has everything that makes Stephenson engaging-- some great action sequences, some hilarious bursts of comic scene and dialogue, and large and complex ideas worked out in many ways.

Stephenson remains a master of pacing, and nobody can come up with so many different ways to set scenes of conversation.

And if this trilogy is Lord of the Rings, Cryptonomicon is the Hobbit-- you owe it to yourself to dig out Crypto again for all the many many many ways in which it is linked to this trilogy. Much of what connects them is easily forgotten (I had, for instance, forgotten that the mountain named after Eliza in this trilogy is in fact the site of the data haven in Crypto).

This trilogy is genius writing, and if Stephenson has lapsed in any way, it's in requiring a bit more thinking while providing a bit less mindless spectacle. If Quicksilver didn't quite hook you, I still encourage you to keep reading!
4.0 von 5 Sternen A worthwhile read 13. Februar 2010
Von perceive - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Taschenbuch Verifizierter Kauf
I am never really sure how to describe Neal Stephenson and his novel's to other people. His novels cover a vast breadth of human and technological interests. They also require a good attention span and an attention to detail.
This, the second book of the Baroque trilogy, further expands on the scenarios covered in Quicksilver and in that process adds a large amount of detail about the era and the people of the time that has certainly whetted my appetite to go and do further investigation of the people and time. I guess in some ways there is no higher compliment. It is a generally well paced book and covers most of the "discovered" continent of the time, in Mr Stephenson's own inimitable way of course.
If you have not read any of Neal Stephenson's books, obviously, this is not the place for you to start, I would either recommend the book Quiksilver, or one of this standalone novels rather than dump a new reader right in the middle of an established storyline.
If you have read Neal Stephenson's books, then you probably have a good idea what to expect, unless of course all you have read is Snow Crash. This book is much more detailed than now Crash, in both technical and periodic detail, as well as personal development.
Also, one other caveat, this book does require a good attention to detail. If you are after something that you read, and put down, rather quickly then this is probably not for you.
However, if you are after both an interesting story and a taster for further investigation of the baroque era, certainly you may find this book worth the effort.
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