"Benjamin Weaver is an 18th century London Jew making his way in a complex Christian society, and an equally arcane criminal underworld. After turning his back on family and religion, he has made his living as a boxer, a highwayman, and a thief, until he found the less dangerous occupation of thief-taker. Now drawn back into the world of London's Sephardic Jews by a client who raises questions about Weaver's own father's death, Benjamin is surprised to find himself comforted by the traditions and family he thought he had rejected.
This is one of those books that plop you right in the middle of a fascinating world completely unknown to you. Author David Liss creates the richly textured world of 18th century London Jewry, their traditions, their aspirations, played out against the famous stock speculation by the South Sea Company. Early stock brokers funded much of the 18th century's wars and economic growth from their tables in coffeehouses across London. Of course, there were also disasters, and the Jews, as the only stockbrokers, often took the blame for all sorts of economic downturns, as Weaver finds out.
The characters in "A Conspiracy of Paper" are unusual and engaging. So many books have been set in 18th century London that it seems to be a landscape readers know well. One of the treats of this book is finding a different world in a place we thought we had down pat."
A very interesting and historically accurate thriller. The depiction of the Jews living in this time period was fascinating. I was less interested in the in depth explanation of the finances of England and the beginning of the stock market. The author was doing his dissertation on this subject, so I can see why it was such an important piece of the book. That said, the explanations and plot revolving so heavily around finance made it slow going for me at first. About half way through I felt the book really picked up and I couldn't put it down. I'm looking forward to the next book.
While certainly an interesting story, and although I enjoy several mystery series placed in 18th century London, there was just something about this novel that made me decide not to go on and read the two sequels.
For whatever reason, I just couldn't identify with the main protagonist.
I enjoyed this tale about a Jewish man living in 18th century London with all the intrigue of murder, clandestine meetings, brawls, and dark alley mysteries of life. Leaving his family behind, Benjamin Weaver has played many roles and the latest finds him searching for answers to questions about his father's rather sudden death. It is a client who asks the first questions and is paying him to find answers, one of the many aristocratic men who hire him to track down felons and debtors. He finds himself in the strange world of English stock-jobbers where he moves from coffeehouses and gaming places to drawing rooms and bordellos. As uncovers more and more about the murder, he begins to wonder if his own is in the future. I quite liked this historical fiction mystery read.
This is not a fast read. Repeat: 'This is not a fast read'. I found it very intriguing. The history of the Exchange was essential to the story. I usually do not like to be educated, but the story really relates to the present day stock market. I will admit that some of it went over my head, but I hung in there. I had a hard time visualizing Benjamin during that time period. I usually read in the Regency Era so this was a stretch for me. The mystery was intricate as with any conspiracy. The 'historical notes' and the Q&A with the author were also interesting. I recommend if you are interested in the stock exchange and intrigue in London during the early 1700's.
BEnjamin Weaver, a Jew and an ex-boxer, is an outsider in eighteenth century London, tracking down debtors and felons for aaristocratic clients. When he is asked to investrigate his father's sudden death, he descernds into the deceptive world of the English stock-jobbers, gliding between coffeehouses and gaming houses, drawing rooms and bordellos. The more he uncovers, the darker the truth becomes. An enthralling historical thriller.