Read Odalisque by Neal Stephenson Online


The trials of Dr. Daniel Waterhouse and the Natural Philosophers increase one hundredfold in an England plagued by the impending war and royal insecurities -- as the beautiful and ambitious Eliza plays a most dangerous game as double agent and confidante of enemy kings....

Title : Odalisque
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780060833183
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 464 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Odalisque Reviews

  • Bradley
    2019-06-14 12:19

    Still going strong. We have all the characters from the first two books plus a few entries that only deepen the sense of the world of Europe. In the previous two, we got to see a lot of England and then a massive amount of the Dutch world in the second, but this one focused mainly on the French.Our favorite tease/spy lives her life as a fake noble (but not so fake that no one fails to realize it), but that's all right. It's the life of intrigue in Louis the Fourteenth's court. Truly fascinating.We also return in full force to Daniel, and while everyone is older, the political intrigue is nevertheless as dangerous as ever with the new English king. The immensity of detail is such that I'm thrown deep into the late sixteen hundreds without pause or breath and I feel like I'm getting one hell of an immersion. It's also so full of interesting plots and twists, going back fully into the anti-slavery angle even while whole parts of Christiandom want to enslave whole other parts of Christendom just because of their beliefs, it feels like an insane move to go any further or wider in scope when there's such dissension everywhere you look.And then there's the science and the economics and the way that the perennially tapped nobles play the markets in order to regain their wealth. The science bits are always the most fascinating for me, but I have to be honest. The economics bits are pretty damn close to the top as a favorite. Let me be clear: I read and loved Cryptonomicon which is like an Epic Economics treatise as well as a cryptography primer, so getting the early explorations of these same topics but within the frame of Europe during this time is a real treat. So much to learn!I'm really impressed by these, and I've still got five more to go! What will happen next to my poor MCs? *cry*

  • Lindsay
    2019-06-18 07:25

    This is the third book in the eight-book Baroque Cycle, and also the third part of the first volume. So it involves a fair amount of tying together separate characters and story arcs introduced in the first two books, Quicksilver and King of the Vagabonds, which is mostly accomplished by having Eliza meet up with Daniel Waterhouse in England. (Jack Shaftoe does not appear at all in this book, though he is alluded to a few times by other characters. His brother, Bob, does make an appearance near the end, introducing a story arc of his own that intersects with those of Eliza and Daniel.)Structurally, this book follows the latter part of King of the Vagabonds in switching back and forth between two geographically distant characters' points of view. Where in the second book it was Eliza and Jack, here it is Eliza and Daniel, who are much more similar in temperament and habit --- both are smart, cautious characters who observe, plan, and then act, rather than heedlessly throwing themselves into the thick of things. This makes for more suspense, and more sense that each narrative is building toward something, as opposed to just listing along from one episode to the next. But it also makes for fewer entertaining incidents, so if you really liked Jack's part of the last book, you might find yourself bored by this one.Eliza by now is ensconced in King Louis IV's court at Versailles, where she has a sponsor of sort, the comte d'Avaux, whom she met in the previous book and who has gotten her a position as governess to the children of some noblewoman. That's only a pretext for her to be at Versailles, though, where she has several more important roles she keeps shrouded in varying degrees of secrecy. Nearest to the surface, she acts as personal finance manager to practically the entire court, most of whose members are nearing bankruptcy trying to maintain their households and wardrobes at a suitable level of opulence. Known to fewer people, she corresponds with d'Avaux, keeping him updated on what goes on at court; she also corresponds with the Natural Philosopher Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz, who has published his calculus. She uses a couple of different codes to write her letters; the letters she writes to d'Avaux are written in a simpler code that she anticipates will be broken by Dutch spies, who are her real audience for those missives. (D'Avaux, it was revealed in the last book, is working to undermine King Louis, but is not pro-Dutch either. I'm not 100% sure how much his agenda and Eliza's overlap, though I don't THINK he knows the Dutch are reading his correspondence ...) Anyway, at the highest level of secrecy, she's spying for William, the Prince of Orange, who intends to seize power in England.And, reading that paragraph, you will start to see why I don't like the title of this installment in the Baroque Cycle. An odalisque is a woman whose defining feature is her idleness; she's kept by others to be idle, and beautiful, for them. Eliza, who has to be the one the title refers to, is dizzyingly active ALL THE TIME, simultaneously doing two or three incredibly difficult things, and making sure no one sees her doing them, at any given time. Stephenson might well have chosen the title ironically; that's the only way I can see it making any sense.I mentioned that Daniel Waterhouse comes back into play in this book; he does, and when we meet him he has come into his own as a political power player. He's still a Fellow of the Royal Society, but he doesn't conduct any research of his own. Instead, he hangs around King James II's dwindling court, watching his doctors try to treat his advanced syphilis and talking with other people about what's going to happen next. He intercedes on behalf of his fellow Puritans, getting them released from jail whenever they get rounded up on suspicion of fomenting another rebellion (remember that in the first book, Daniel's father Drake was instrumental in bringing Oliver Cromwell to power, and was rewarded for this by having his head cut off once Charles II was restored to the throne). While he's watching and waiting, the Glorious Revolution happens around him. He knows he has played some role in bringing it about, but he mostly just wanders around dazed once it actually starts unfolding. Mostly, he tries to keep an eye on his friend Isaac Newton, who is going off the deep end, abandoning physics for some sort of esoteric metaphysics. His parts of the book, especially compared to Eliza's and especially toward the end, are anticlimactic.

  • Ryan Young
    2019-06-10 12:31

    fictionalized history of europe (actually netherlands england france and germania) during the 1680s. follows the exchange in amsterdam, the court of the sun king, the short lived reign of james ii, and continuing transformation of the scientific world. newton and leibniz struggle to explain gravity and thus the solar system. should science simply try to describe the universe (newton) or try to explain it (leibniz)? what place is left for god (and hence the catholic church) if science can explain the mechanics of the world, and even predict the future? in the 1600s, being able to predict where a planet would be in the future was viewed satanic sorcery among the religious, and an assault on free will among the rest. also the characters are very fun.

  • Lars Dradrach
    2019-06-07 10:38

    It's hard to praise the Baroque Cycle to high, maybe just as hard as it is to categorise, it's historic fiction, a little fantasy, adventure like Dumas and philosophical discussions about the nature of everything.The marvel of it all is that Stephenson manages to hold it all together and even make it interesting, somehow the most outrageous plot developments seems reasonable.The unabridged audible version is wonderful narrated, a joy to listen to.On to "The Confusion" volume 4 and 5.

  • Navaneethan Santhanam
    2019-06-08 09:28

    The stories in Quicksilver and King of the Vagabonds begin to converge as characters begin desperate gambits to ensure that their preferred candidates sit upon the throne of England. Deviating from the style of the previous books, Odalisque combines traditional storytelling with with epistolary, journal entries, and a short play. Definitely the cleverest book of the series so far!

  • Dave Stone
    2019-06-02 08:29

    I liked it. each book picks right up where the last one ended. they are all of a piece, so I won't be reviewing each one as much as the whole thing at the end. I'm digging it so far and doing a bit of supplemental reading on the side to brush up on my history of the late 1600.

  • Daniel Beckwith
    2019-06-08 11:39

    better than book 1, worse than book 2... i'll keep checking them out

  • Phil Criswell
    2019-06-24 13:33

    Very good, but really hard to categorize or say whether I liked it until I was close to the end.

  • Clif Hostetler
    2019-05-28 10:16

    This book 3 of the Baroque Cycle follows the paths of the two fictional characters, Dr. Daniel Waterhouse and Eliza. Readers of the Baroque Cycle were previously introduced to Waterhouse in book 1 and Eliza in book 2. In this story they manage to encounter most of the leading historical figures of the day. The story begins in 1685 with Dr. Waterhouse present at the death of King Charles II. Tension in England then rises because the new King, James II, has Catholic preferences and the core of English sentiments are Protestant. Meanwhile on the Continent, Eliza is deep in the world of spies, counter spies and finance. She is a confidante of William of Orange (Holland) and Louie IV (France). Her adventures included witnessing the attempted kidnapping of William of Orange. Her travels also witnessed the beginning of French preparations for the invasion of Lorraine that signaled reduced pressure on the Netherlands. This allowed William of Orange to make his move on England that resulted in the so called Glorious Revolution of England.The story includes descriptions of the advances in natural philosophy. Included are descriptions of the tensions between Leibnetz and Newton, development of calculus, development of the laws of gravity, and the development of the field of dynamics in physics. The following quotation is an example of colorful and descriptive writing that caught my eye:...he was one of those blokes who used peripheral vision for everything. Give him a spyglass, he'd raise it to his ear, and see as much as Galileo. His nose had been broken at least twice and he'd endured a blowout fracture of the left eye-socket, which made it seem as if his face were a clay effigy squirting out between the fingers of a clenching fist.LINK TO Wikipedia article about the Baroque Cycle by Neal Stephenson.LINK TO my review of Quick Silver (Bk. 1) by Neal Stephenson.LINK TO my review of King of the Vagabonds (Bk. 2) by Neal Stephenson.LINK TO my review of The Confusion (Bks. 4 & 5) by Neal Stephenson.LINK TO my review of Solomon's Gold (Bk. 6) by Neal Stephenson.LINK TO my review of Currency (Bk. 7) by Neal Stephenson.LINK TO my review of System of the World (Bk. 8) by Neal Stephenson.

  • Oscar
    2019-06-22 13:40

    Con ’Odalisca’ concluye el primer macrovolumen del Ciclo Barroco, que empezó con ‘Azogue’ y ‘El rey de los vagabundos’, y que en inglés se publicó en un único volumen, ‘Quicksilver’, que ganó el Premio Arthur C. Clarke en 2004. (Nunca entenderé la política de ciertas editoriales a la hora de publicar ciertos títulos. Hay veces que publican libros de 1000 páginas sin problemas, y otras te dividen libros de 700, aprovechándose del pobre lector.) En este último volumen, Neal Stephenson nos sigue narrando los encuentros de Daniel Waterhouse con personajes famosos del siglo XVII, así como las intrigas de Eliza en la corte de Luis XIV en Versalles, sobre todo a través de su correspondencia cifrada.Una vez completado este primer macrovolumen, ya se tiene una visión más de conjunto y se pueden sacar ciertas conclusiones. Decir que Stephenson se va por las ramas sería el eufemismo del año. Porque la verdad es que el autor abusa de la trama política y se pierde entre los vericuetos de la genealogía de la realeza. A mí personalmente me gustan los aderezos en una trama, la paja vamos, siempre que esta paja sea entretenida. Y este no es el caso. Stephenson tendría que haber aplicado la tijera sin ambages, sobre todo en ciertos pasajes realmente farragosos e innecesarios.Me gustaron más las dos primeras partes de esta historia que esta última, sobre todo ‘Azogue’, donde Stephenson se extiende más sobre la ciencia de la época, algo que sigue existiendo en ‘El rey de los vagabundos’, pero que se pierde en ‘Odalisca’. A este último libro le falta vitalidad, esperaba un crescendo por parte del escritor, y lo que hace es dejarlo todo para el siguiente macrovolumen del ciclo, La confusión, otras 1000, que a su vez finaliza con El sistema del mundo. Es decir, que estamos hablando de casi 3000 páginas. Sin duda un proyecto ambicioso por parte de Stephenson.

  • manuti
    2019-06-11 11:29

    Y ya van 3 comentados.  Después de comentar brevemente las 2 primeras partes [1 y 2], esta tercera es más de lo mismo, o sea, que si te gustaron las 2 anteriores esta no te defraudará. Esta novela se centra en el personaje de la odalisca, Eliza (una joven de la isla Qwghlm [isla que ya aparecía o aparecerá en Criptonomicón]) que aprovechándose de lo aprendido en el harén del sultán turco para adelantándose a su tiempo y aprovechando la libertad protestante de los Países Bajos y los enfrentamientos entre Francia, Inglaterra y Alemania, y a su vez entre católicos y protestantes. Todo ello aderezado con la época en que la ciencia se convirtió en lo que es hoy en día dejando de lado la brujería y la alquimia. En general cada libro está bastante bien, pero el conjunto de los tres que forman el ciclo barroco 1 son totalmente recomendables. Reseña en BEM on LineReseña en Stardust

  • Piotr
    2019-06-26 09:41

    Absolutne arcydzieło... co jak co, ale jednak Neal Stephenson potrafi stworzyć książki kompletne, bohaterów idealnych i historie tak prawdziwe jak tylko potrafi być prawdziwa fikcja literacka. W postaci cyklu barokowego (w tym przypadku pierwszego tomu [lub pierwszych trzech ksiąg)) dostajemy powieść historyczną w której znajdziemy oblężenie Wwiednia, piratów (z port royale i Turcji) rozważania filozoficzno-naukowe, rozwój nowoczesnej fizyki, biologii, astronomii, zegarmistrzów, chirurgów (nie mylić z lekarzami którzy w tamtych czasach zajmowali się głównie upuszczaniem humorów z ciał pacjentów. Poznajemy zasady rządzące gospodarką i handlem, dworami królewskimi, genealogią i dziedziczeniem. Mamy także bardzo obrazowy opis porodu oraz usuwania kamieni moczowych... książkę czyta mi się o tyle ciekawiej, że wcześniej przeczytałem "okalające książki Stephenopsna - czyli wcześniejszy Cryptonomicon i późniejszą Peanatemę. Od razy widzimy tu jasne nawiązania do Cryptonomiconu oraz wątki które zostały rozinięte w Peanatemie. Takie podejście do literatury możemy znaleźć chyba tylko u Stephensona...

  • T.L. Evans
    2019-06-05 11:32

    Odalisque is a solid, enjoyable addition to Neal Stephenson's Baroque Cycle, but as that it is the third entry in the series (and also marketed as both its own volume (at least in audio format) and part a collected volume called Quicksilver, which is also the title of the first installment in the book/series), it really does require the reader to already be invested in the tale. Not to say that one could not read this without having read the rest of the book, but one's enjoyment of it will be more limited. What is more, I feel that this series is getting a bit long in the tooth by this stage. Even so, I did enjoy reading it despite the fact that I don't feel the need to go out at once and pick up the next volume.For my full review go to or shortlink straight to the articles reviewing the whole of the Quicksilver Volumes at:Quick Silver - The Baroque Cycle #1 - of the Vagabonds - The Baroque Cycle #2 - The Baroque Cycle #3 -

  • Tim Jin
    2019-06-26 08:42

    "Odalisque" is the last book in the first volume and there are two more volumes to go. I'm not too sure why Audible decided to split up the three volumes into eight books, but so far, the third book is my favorite. The story is finally moving along in Baroque Cycle. Unlike Quicksilver, which was basically the premise, and King of the Vagabonds, which was explaining the day wagers, Odalisque goes back at exams the hierarchy of the monarch. The story between of Daniel and Eliza makes it more compelling to read. The best part of this chapter in the series is the science and astronomy from Newton and his peers. In any series that I listens to, at certain point I need to read something else because after the third book, I loose interest. Maybe because I'm a fan of Stephenson or been waiting to read Baroque Cycle, I'm powering through these books and can't wait for more.

  • Halle Lieu
    2019-06-11 13:22

    “So, all hail Isaac Newton! Let us give him his due, and glorify and worship whatever generative force can frame such a mind. Now, consider Hooke. Hooke has perceived things that no man before has ever perceived. … Newton makes his discoveries in geometrickal realms where our minds cannot go, he strolls in a walled garden filled with wonders, to which he has the only key. But you, Hooke, are cheek-by-jowl with all of humanity in the streets of London. … You are the millionth human to look at a spark, a flea, a raindrop, the moon, and the first to see it. For anyone to say that this is less remarkable than what Newton has done, is to understand things in but a hollow and jejune way, 'tis like going to a Shakespeare play and remembering only the sword-fights."

  • William P.
    2019-05-28 11:29

    The pace gets a little weird in this book. The style changes drastically from book to book and this one didn't really hold up as well as the first two. I'd like to see where it's going, but I'm beginning to doubt that it's "going" anywhere in particular. Also, the audiobook version, for some ungodly reason, switches to second reader for sections written as letters by Eliza. She's not good. Not only is her voicing of the character different from Prebble's (which I love, and he still narrates her in the main, third-person stretches), but it really doesn't match the character. It's just... wrong. And these letters are not an insignificant part of the book. If it weren't for Prebble, I'd say give the audio a miss and read it, but... Prebble...

  • Jason gordon
    2019-06-17 08:35

    After reading and thoroughly enjoying Cryptonomicon I instantly dove into this book, hoping for, nay, expecting the same delightful experience. I'm sure that to some French and/or British historians and other learned persons steeped in the esoteric machinations of the Royal Families etc, this book is a delightful way to pass time. I will simply call it tedious. Lucid, satiric, verbose, and imaginative as well, but that is, of course, the very reason I started reading it to begin with. All the hallmarks of Neal Stephenson, buried in 20 pounds of make-up, wigs, and cravats, insufficiently illuminated by wavering tallow and plaque ridden pyres.

  • Kevin
    2019-06-14 14:43

    As with all books so far in this series, interesting reading, not sure where it is going. Traces a time period in the late 1600s when the world was quite a bit different. Royalty lived in their own world of power, seduction, and intrique. This book covers events in France related to taking the Alsace-Loraine area and expand their territory to the Rhine while the Netherlands had their eyes set on England. The characters are interesting and the audio book was great. Overall though, I felt the story line just is not quite there yet.

  • Steve
    2019-05-31 10:20

    If Book One: Quicksilver, was primarily about Daniel, and Book Two: King of the Vagabonds was primarily about Jack, Book Three finds the spotlight turned on Eliza. Indeed, she has gone from nearly being executed in a Turkish harem, to a financial impressario who plays European finance like a board game, uses Kings like pawns, and obtains title and position with astonishing political and social alacrity.

  • William Showalter
    2019-06-17 07:28

    This story gets back to following Daniel Waterhouse's tale, while following Eliza and if I recall correctly (I've read all the Baroque cycle back to back, so my borders may be bleeding together) introduces us to Jack's brother Bob as a prominent character.While maybe the closest thing one of these books can be to being described as a "filler" (it only gets 4 stars where as the rest of the books have received 5), fans of the epoch will not be let down.

  • Maitrey
    2019-06-14 14:41

    The final third of Quicksilver is every bit as good as the first two parts. It takes ahead the plotlines concerning Eliza, moving between Versailles, London and The Hague culminating in a long winded letter to Leibniz. Daniel's story is still a cliffhanger.See my review in Quicksilver for a more detailed review.

  • Strong Extraordinary Dreams
    2019-06-14 12:37

    Well, the history is good, but it's not much of a novel or narrative really, is it? There are short passages where the author becomes a bit more excited though in general its quantity over quality. I will read the remainng 5 books ... over the hopefully 40 remaining years of my life; I think I'm done with The Baroque Cycle for this decade, anyway.

  • Andrew
    2019-06-18 09:41

    Great end to the "Quicksilver" trilogy. Stephenson seemed as if he didn't really know how to move the story along quicker because there were alot of letters between characters in this one. This didn't take away from the book at all though. A great (if funny) cliff-hanger ending too. Looking forward to reading "The Confusion" soon.

  • Maria Elena
    2019-06-08 07:30

    I absolutely loved this book. It was my favorite in the series so far. I found it hilarious and loved the dry wit. The author used letters, narrative, and drama to tell the story and it worked. Having lived in Germany and visited many of the places in the book made it a lot of fun. Eliza and Waterhouse are my favorite characters. The ending was jaw dropping.

  • Seth Kaplan
    2019-06-06 12:38

    Plodded along a bit until the final 150 or so pages. Still brilliantly written, but at times hard to separate fact from fiction. Much more exploration of Daniel and Eliza's characters, which was welcome. These books really require a keen historical perspective to follow easily, and are not quick reads by any means.

  • Andrew
    2019-06-24 10:41

    Why do I keep reading these?If I could just have a few hundred pages of Neal Stephenson talking about the history of science and currency without these characters I would be thrilled. Likewise if he could tell me a story about these characters in which I actually believe they have some agency, rather than just being pulled along by historical events that already happened.

  • Joe Labriola
    2019-05-28 08:37

    While lacking the entertaining swashbuckling from the previous book, Neal Stephenson's "Odalisque" is a fitting final installment in volume one of "The Baroque Cycle" series - a story of courtly and political intrigue by characters (some publically and some secretly) who helped to instigate England's Glorious Revolution.

  • Charlie
    2019-06-24 07:31

    Good enough - the plot thickens to the point of involving a large number of historical figures, which is a risky proposition and lends some inevitability to the proceedings. Otherwise, though, a reasonably engaging narrative.

  • Dale
    2019-06-07 15:25

    A continuation of the story begun in Quicksilver and King of the Vagabonds; this book brings together the fortunes of Eliza, Jack, and Daniel and sets the stage for System of the World.

  • Naomi
    2019-06-17 14:44

    Enjoyable, although the epistolary format of a significant part of the book isn't my favorite mode (it is certainly period-appropriate, though). Not a stand-alone, this one requires readers to have completed the first two volumes to comprehend the characters and action.