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The Coffee Trader: A Novel Audio CD – Abridged, Audiobook


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Product Details

  • Audio CD
  • Publisher: Random House Audio; Abridged edition (March 4 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 073930206X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0739302064
  • Product Dimensions: 14.9 x 12.5 x 2.5 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 231 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (55 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #836,422 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

Liss's first novel, A Conspiracy of Paper, was sketched on the wide canvas of 18th-century London's multilayered society. This one, in contrast, is set in the confined world of 17th-century Amsterdam's immigrant Jewish community. Liss makes up the difference in scale with ease, establishing suspense early on. Miguel Lienzo escaped the Inquisition in Portugal and lives by his wits trading commodities. He honed his skills in deception during years of hiding his Jewish identity in Portugal, so he finds it easy to engage in the evasions and bluffs necessary for a trader on Amsterdam's stock exchange. While he wants to retain his standing in the Jewish community, he finds it increasingly difficult to abide by the draconian dictates of the Ma'amad, the ruling council. Which is all the more reason not to acknowledge his longing for his brother's wife, with whom he now lives, having lost all his money in the sugar trade. Miguel is delighted when a sexy Dutch widow enlists him as partner in a secret scheme to make a killing on "coffee fruit," an exotic bean little known to Europeans in 1659. But she may not be as altruistic as she seems. Soon Miguel is caught in a web of intricate deals, while simultaneously fending off a madman desperate for money, and an enemy who uses the Ma'amad to make Miguel an outcast. Each player in this complex thriller has a hidden agenda, and the twists and turns accelerate as motives gradually become clear. There's a central question, too: When men manipulate money for a living, are they then inevitably tempted to manipulate truth and morality?
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Library Journal

His A Conspiracy of Paper having won the 2000 Edgar Award for Best First Novel, Liss returns with another tale of historical intrigue. In 1600s Amsterdam, Portuguese Jew Miguel Lienzo ignores the strictures of his community and joins forces with a Dutchwoman to capture the coffee market.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Geertruid leaned toward him, almost brushing up against his arm. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars

Most helpful customer reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Mike Stanley on July 11 2004
Format: Paperback
I loved this book. If you're looking for a well-researched novel that you can completely become engrossed in, this is it.
To me, I base all writers on Ken Follett, the British author who first introduced me to the absolute joy of getting lost in a novel. This book measures up very well to Follett's best.
You are transported to 17th Century Europe (or thereabouts, it's been a while since I've read it), and Liss' writing style is very descriptive. It's really great fun to follow the adventures of the dashing Miguel Lienzo.
The fact that I remember the leading man's name 16 months after reading the book speaks volumes. I wholeheartedly recommend this novel to anyone who likes a great novel.
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Format: Paperback
Meet Miguel Lienzo, a Portuguese Jew charmed by a wealthy and mysterious Dutch widow, Geertruid, who offers him a business partnership in the coffee trade. On that occasion, Miguel tastes coffee for the first time, and is hooked. Amsterdam, mid 1600's. Miguel cannot share details of this trade freely, coffee is still an unknown fruit/drink and besides, he has many opponents. Senor Parido, a man scorned as Miguel's involvement with his daughter didn't do well. Miguel's brother Daniel, an insipid man married to the beautiful Hannah, a subservient woman with an unsuspected mind of her own. Annetje, her maid, always spying on her. And many other characters, including the villain Joachim; because of a business deal gone sour, he bears endless resentment and keeps threatening Miguel. The Amsterdam Trade Exchange is an integral part of this book. Some passages in this connection are a bit hard to keep up with, at least to me, however the gist of the matter is never lost. Transactions might be though! What an exciting place, full of promises and deceitfulness! Will Miguel succeed in the coffee trade?
An entertaining book with careful research into the historical details. Interesting in its genre. However it does drag on a bit, especially in connection with the various deals/trades in the Exchange. I thought some more space should have been given to other characters, there is so much about Miguel, whereas some others (the widow, her protector Hendrick, Hannah, to name a few) could have added some sparkle to the reading had they been more developed. Still, a good read. My true vote: 3 ' stars.
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Format: Paperback
This is a fascinating story set in the middle of the 17th century about a number of Portuguese-Jewish refugees from the Spanish Inquisition. On the enlightened shores of Amsterdam, they, along with others, make their living in commodities trading, and how remarkably little this activity has since changed over four centuries.
As they do now, traders gamble over the rise and fall of prices by buying and selling "puts" (an option giving one the right to sell at a later date for an artificially-high price) and "calls", (an option giving one the right to buy at a later date for an artificially-low price). Having once briefly dabbled in commodities trading, I am familiar with these strategies but never before imagined that they were anything other than 20th-century innovations.
Yet at one stage, one trader cynically advises another, "Go buy whale oil - not futures, but the thing itself. You may remember that the rest of the world still transacts business in that quaint manner."
The story specifically centers around the efforts of one trader in particular, Miguel Lienzo, who is introduced to a wondrous new fruit called "coffee" that when ground and brewed into drink imparts astonishing powers of reason and concentration and also has the power to preserve health, help digestion, and cure consumption and other maladies of the lung, as well as fluxes, jaundice and inflammation. One character in the novel naively crunches this "fruit" between her teeth before learning of its greater appeal as a brew.
Anticipating a tremendous demand for this new commodity, Miguel arrives at a plan to use his trading acumen to acquire a monopoly on it, all the while juggling business and personal affairs that threaten to undo him before his plan comes to fruition.
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Format: Hardcover
I very much enjoyed the historical part of this book. The picture of historical Amsterdam and the information about early commodities trading were fascinating. Even the characters were interesting. What kept the book from being more satisfying was that all of the characters were scammers -- not my favorite sort of person -- and that it was difficult to care what happened to any of them. First, one person would appear to be winning, and then another would trick him, and all along, it made no difference to me whether this one or that one ended up ascendant. I couldn't even say that one person was more wicked or more pathetic or more interesting than another.
Liss is a good writer who keeps the prose moving right along. The basis of the story is very interesting to me. Maybe the idea that Liss wanted to convey was that there are no honest or big-hearted businessmen. But if so, that is an unsatisfying picture of the world.
I give the novel three stars because the historical information was good enough to overcome my disappointment with the novel.
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