The Coffee Trader: A Novel Audio CD – Abridged, Audiobook
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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.
Top Customer Reviews
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.
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.
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.Read more ›
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.
Most recent customer reviews
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. Read morePublished on July 8 2013 by Tim
I bought this copy for my Dad as I had already read a copy of it from my local library. I loved the book - I love the historical information and the setting is described so... Read morePublished on Aug. 15 2010 by G Saxe
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. Read morePublished on July 2 2007 by Teddy
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... Read more
I really enjoyed reading "The Coffee Trader" as a nice little story of duplicity and intrigue in the business capital of 17th century Europe -- Amsterdam. Read morePublished on May 24 2004 by Scott Schiefelbein
Fans of Conspiracy of Paper, the first book by David Liss, will find much the same intrigue and imagination in this, his second book. Read morePublished on May 13 2004 by Matthew Krichman
liss does a masterful job of transporting the reader to a time and place that are so distant (yet not so...) from our modern world. Read morePublished on May 13 2004 by David Levine
I have to be honest, I dont read for leisure as much as I would like to. As a college student, if I can find time for fiction, I should be using that time to read textbooks. Read morePublished on May 9 2004 by Matt Wildrick
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