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The Coffee Trader (Ballantine Reader's Circle)by David Liss
What grabbed me was the combination of historical atmosphere (Amsterdam during the time of Rembrandt) and a subtle sense of tension and intrigue in the plot line. The world's first commodities exchange and our present day Wall Street have much akin to each other.
Synopses & Reviews
Amsterdam, 1659: On the world's first commodities exchange, fortunes are won and lost in an instant. Miguel Lienzo, a sharp-witted trader in the city's close-knit community of Portuguese Jews, knows this only too well. Once among the city's most envied merchants, Miguel has suddenly lost everything. Now, impoverished and humiliated, living in his younger brother's canal-flooded basement, Miguel must find a way to restore his wealth and reputation.
Miguel enters into a partnership with a seductive Dutchwoman who offers him one last chance at success — a daring plot to corner the market of an astonishing new commodity called "coffee." To succeed, Miguel must risk everything he values and face a powerful enemy who will stop at nothing to see him ruined. Miguel will learn that among Amsterdam's ruthless businessmen, betrayal lurks everywhere, and even friends hide secret agendas.
"In his second novel, David Liss creates his own genre: the historical noir. The seventeenth-century Amsterdam he depicts is a wonderfully dark city of secrets, roiling with deceitful maneuverings and caffeine-fueled perils. The Coffee Trader is vivid, utterly absorbing, and more than a little relevant to our current age of financial skulduggery." Gary Krist, author of Extravagance
"Good to the last drop . . . Chock full of intrigue, suspense, and financial shenanigans . . . Liss transports the reader back in time . . . handl[ing] the seventeenth century and all the nuances of Dutch culture with utter ease. Whether it's his portrayal of the Maamad, the restrictive governing body of Miguel's Jewish community, or the complex characters appearing throughout the novel, The Coffee Trader is an excellent example of historical fiction in its finest form." The MetroWest Daily News
"[A] transporting tale of financial intrigue...[Liss?s] writing is smooth and elegant — like a good cup of coffee." The Boston Globe
"David Liss has cornered a very narrow niche of the literary market — historical financial thrillers. And it must be said: He's quite good at it. . . . Lienzo's world comes to life in great (and frequently grimy) detail, and the workings of the Amsterdam bourse are eerily similar to modern commodities markets. . . . [The book is] more latte than espresso, and all the more enjoyable as a result." San Francisco Chronicle
"The premise and setting of The Coffee Trader is unique, with smaller-scale historical detail as richly rewarding as Liss's remarkable first work, A Conspiracy of Paper." The San Diego Union-Tribune
"[A] TRANSPORTING TALE OF FINANCIAL INTRIGUE . . . [Liss's] writing is smooth and elegant — like a good cup of coffee." The Boston Globe
"Although The Coffee Trader lacks the narrative punch of Liss's previous novel, it will appeal to those interested in finance and sophisticated readers of historical fiction." Library Journal
"The best moments of The Coffee Trader create a powerful sense of vertigo that's something like the vertigo of finance capitalism, where is there no end to the trading and no firm foundation, just an ever-receding spiral of value." The Washington Post
Includes bibliographical references (p. -389).
About the Author
David Liss is the author of A Conspiracy of Paper, winner of the 2000 Edgar Award for Best First Novel. He has a graduate degree in English literature from Columbia University, as well as an M.A. from Georgia State University and a B.S. from Syracuse University. He lives in San Antonio with his wife and daughter, and can be reached via his website, www.davidliss.com.
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