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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: #1,925,246 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)


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Geertruid leaned toward him, almost brushing up against his arm. Read the first page
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By Tim on July 8 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I don't drink coffee and wasn't sure I was going to like a book about coffee, especially since I don't read a lot of fiction. To my surprise I liked it and learned a lot about the 1600's and the customs. History has never been in my interests, but if we can learn history like this, I'm all for it. Great story intertwined with the realities of the times.
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Format: Paperback
When I first started listening to The Coffee Trader, I didn't think I was going to like it. Perhaps it's just me, but Graeme Malcolm's reading grated on my nerves. I decided that reading the book myself might make it better. It did.

Though it got off to a slow start it brewed into a nice deep aroma. While the characters and story were good, I especially enjoyed the history of the Amsterdam commodities exchange. One of the world's first commodities exchange. You get a real feel for the place, people, and time period. There's a little bit of something for everyone in this novel mystery, suspense, romance, and betrayal.

I recommend you curl up with this book and a good cup of coffee.
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By Jennifer Cameron-Smith TOP 50 REVIEWER on April 25 2007
Format: Paperback
I picked up this novel purely by chance as I'd been discussing the coffee trade elsewhere.

What an intriguing novel: set in Amsterdam in 1659 and based on commodities exchange, we follow the fortunes of Miguel Lienzo who is one of the traders. Lienzo has lost everything due to a sudden collapse in the sugar market. Can he change his fortunes with success in trading coffee?

At the same time, there is tension within the community of Portugese Jews to which Lienzo belongs and between Lienzo and just about everyone he comes into contact with.

As in all trading, knowledge is power. David Liss brings life to the world of what was, apparently, the world's first commodities exchange. Few of the characters are intrinsically likeable and yet they are perfect for the story.

Highly recommended to those who like suspense in their historical fiction.

Jennifer Cameron-Smith
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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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Format: Hardcover
David Liss historically recreates Amsterdam in 1659 in his intriguing novel The Coffee Trader. The Netherlands in the mid 1600's has become a haven for Inquisition persecuted Jews who have fled their Iberian roots. In Amsterdam under the direction of the Ma'amad, the law giving Jewish ruling council, Jews were permitted to openly practice their religion.
The story revolves around Miguel Lienzo, a transplanted Portuguese Jew who is a trader of some note on the Dutch commodities exchange. Lienzo has seen his fortunes take a tumble in the sugar market. He is in debt and in forced to take up residence with his scornful brother Daniel and his pregnant wife Hannah.
Lienzo has been recruited by an attractive Dutch widow, Geertruid Damhuis to be a broker in a coffee buying deal in which he will be an equal partner. Coffee at this time in Europe is a very speculative commodity and not as of yet popular as a beverage. The potential for the deal to be extremely profitable strongly exists if Lienzo can bring it all together.
The story proceeds to document the hardships Lienzo encounters while endeavoring to make the deal happen. The most difficult stumbling block is one Solomon Parido, a wealthy merchant and parnass or powerful member of the Ma'amad. Parido believes he has been slighted by Lienzo in an impending arranged marriage between Parido's daughter and Miguel. Parido is using all his power to try to destroy the coffee deal and seek revenge on Lienzo.
Davis Liss is a gifted wordsmith as he paints a wonderfully descriptive picture of Amsterdam in the 1650's. His story expertly navigates it's way through the highs and lows encountered by Lienzo in his dealings to consumate the coffee deal.
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