Truly perfect. Impeccable researched period piece, well executed with multiple intrigues.
This book fascinated me, giving me insight into a portion of Jewish history which was unknown to me (always wonderful, as a Jew)--but more than that, it was filled with intrigue; double-crosses at every turn! The business world hasn't changed much since the 1600's, apparently.
Once again David Liss delivers. Like most of his books "The Coffee Trader" takes some time before it hooks the reader. As always Liss brings the past alive. It was fun to read about Miguel Lienzo's beginnings and explore an amazing city like Amsterdam. Reading and learning about coffe made me increase my intake rather considerbly. The financial markets and intrigue make for a very entertaining good time.
nice historical novel and will no doubt cause a bit of regular reflection whilst standing in line for your coffee order...
A truly excellent book; I found it very hard to get started (reading it), and kept putting it down in favor of other books, but when I finally got into it, found it brought to life the ambiance of the historical period, as well as how the Jews fit into society at that period of time. Worth hanging in there for!!
I found this book to be facinating! Definating slow going at first, don't worry it picks up. Once you get into it, is is amazing! The period, the setting, the plot. There is so much in this book. I usually only read fiction, but I learned so much information reading this book. About the history of trade, what life was like for the Jewish men in Amsterdam in the 1600's, what life was like for women, and so much more. I also found it intriguing that Liss had almost wrote about chocolate instead of coffee,(he talks about it at the end of the book in the notes) but am SO glad he didn't. The pairing of the finacial trade market and coffee could not be any more perfect.
Excellant historical fiction about the beginnings of stock market in 17th century Amsterdam. Amsterdam was the haven of Spanish and Portuguese Jews who fled the inquisition. This book shows their survival by honing their mercantile skills. I'm not too knowledgeable about how the stock market works, but I found this book fascinating.
Imagine Wall street in the 1800's with all the deal making that goes with it. Now add the plight of being Jewish with all the restrictions and problems of the times. Ever wonder how coffee in the morning got started, this gives a good idea along with a good story of what family life was at the same time.
For those who loved the girl with the pearl earring, this details lots about the Netherlands in the 1600's. The beginning of the stock market is explained through the story line and I thoroughly enjoyed the plot, too.
A very good historical novel set in 1659 Amsterdam.
I wrote on Twitter that I'm not sure if I really liked this book or if I just haven't been reading enough. Perhaps it tried a bit too much to be tricky? But, I enjoyed learning about the coffee trade and the bibliography has led me to several fiction books on coffee.
Good read that kept a fast pace with detail.
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?
Amsterdam, 1659: On the world's first commodities exchange, fortunes are won and lost in an instant. Miguel Lienzo, a sharp-witted trader in a close-knit community of Portuguese Jews, knows this only too well. Once among the city's most envied merchants, Miguel has suddenly lost everything.
From the back cover:
Amsterdam, 1659. On the world's first commodities exchange fortunes are won and lost in an instant. Miguel Lienzo, a sharp-witted trader in a 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 basemet. Miguel must find a way to restore his wealth and reputation.
Miguel enters into a partnership with a seductive Dutch woman 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.