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THE COFFEE TRADER LARGE PRINT Hardcover – January 1, 2003

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Hardcover, January 1, 2003

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Product Details

  • Hardcover
  • Publisher: CLIPPER LARGE PRINT (January 1, 2003)
  • ISBN-10: 1841976024
  • ISBN-13: 978-1841976020
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (206 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #6,640,068 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Well written and well crafted plot, but the well-developed characters have deep flaws.
While at a library book sale, one of the local bookstore owners that I had befriended asked me if I was buying to sell or to read.
Or like hearing someone try to tell a joke, but they never quite get to the punch line.
Jamie McCants

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Edgar Award-winning author Edward Liss returns with "The Coffee Trader," another elegantly written historical suspense thriller. In 1659 the bustling port town of Amsterdam was filled with refugees from the Spanish Inquisition, as well as schemers and rogues from all over Europe looking to make some gulden (guilder). The Dutch, after defeating the Spanish, turned their small country into a major economic power in Europe. Amsterdam became the most financially dynamic city in the world, thanks to the robust commercial activity of their commodities exchange, the world's first.

Miguel Lienzo, a Portuguese Jew, escaped the Inquisition on the Iberian peninsula and moved to the much more tolerant Netherlands. He created a home within the city's close-knit Sephardic Jewish community. Sharp-witted, and a bit of a rogue himself, Miguel thrives on the exhilaration of the Dutch bourse, but his trades of late have not gone well. On the brink of financial ruin due to sudden shifts in the sugar market, he enters into a partnership with a seductive, entrepreneurial Dutch widow with an eye for business, Geertruid Damuis. Together they concoct a daring plot to corner the market on a new commodity - coffee. Lienzo's plan has him going up against a powerful enemy, Solomon Parido, who sits on the Ma'amad, the Jewish self-governing body which controls all aspects of community life. Miguel had been betrothed to Parido's daughter, until his unfortunate lack of discretion caused the relationship to end, earning him Parido's lasting enmity. If Lienzo fails, he will not only be ruined but exiled as well...and nothing would please Parido more.

Liss meticulously recreates the 17th century Dutch city.
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53 of 57 people found the following review helpful By Bookreporter on April 5, 2003
Format: Hardcover
If Starbucks Coffee was smart, they'd start selling David Liss's new novel THE COFFEE TRADER right alongside all their other caffeinated laced beverages. After winning the 2000 Edgar Award for Best First Novel for A CONSPIRACY OF PAPER, Liss has created another masterpiece relating to the historical fiction genre.
His second novel takes place in 17th-century Amsterdam in 1659 during the Golden Age. The book's main character is a Portuguese Jew named Miguel Lienzo, who has recently lost a bundle after the sugar market crash and is now trying to resurrect himself by searching for investors who would consider a new product called "coffee".
Broke and busted, Miguel must take shelter in the basement of his brother's house. Daniel, who also works at the booming commodities exchange, tells his brother not to waste his time vying for a lucrative fortune in the coffee trade. But after learning about the possible financial windfall from the provocative Dutchwoman Geertrud Damhuis, Miguel is utterly convinced that coffee will become a worthwhile investment.
However, being Jewish in Amsterdam during the Golden Age was extremely difficult for any promising entrepreneur. For instance, Miguel must be careful not to scorn the Ma'amad, the restrictive and mysterious governing body of the Jewish community. He must also be wary not to conduct business with anyone who is not Jewish, something extremely forbidden during the mid-1650s. Miguel also has to deal with his bothersome brother Daniel and his mousy wife Hannah, who seems to be falling in love with Miguel. On top of that, he has to deal with Hendrick, a man seething with anti-Semitism and a close associate to his business partner, Geertrud. Throughout the book, Hendrick refers to Miguel as "Jew Man.
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30 of 31 people found the following review helpful By Falco Gingrich on March 17, 2003
Format: Hardcover
I loved Liss�s first book, A Conspiracy of Paper, but I have to say I think I love The Coffee Trader even more. This one is set in 17th century Amsterdam and concerns a trader�s efforts to get a monopoly on coffee just as coffee is first emerging in Europe. This novel moves and feels like a thriller, and I kept turning pages late into the night to find out what happens next, but Liss doesn�t rely on tricks used by cheap thrillers � no piles of bodies or burning buildings, etc. His protagonist�s anxiety about debt, ruin and humiliation make this novel moving and real and very, very compelling.
Liss tackles a number of tough topics here: commodities speculation in the 1600s, the insularity and paranoia of the Amsterdam Jewish population, the corrupting nature of trade, and so on. He clearly knows his stuff, and I walked away from the book feeling like I had received a great history lesson, but the book never gets bogged down with details. Probably because the characters are so believable and compelling. Every character has some kind of secret agenda, but it is never what you think, and the novel�s conclusion is risky, but very, very satisfying.
This is the best historical novel I�ve read in years. It is suspenseful, funny and addictive. Even people who don�t like historicals should check it out.
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24 of 26 people found the following review helpful By C. D. Reynolds on March 8, 2004
Format: Paperback
An intriguing tale that winds through the financial center of old Amsterdam. Miguel Lienzo, a Portuguese Jew escaping persecution from the Inquisition of 1660, finds himself embarrassed for funds owing to a swindle that wiped out his fortune. He joins forces with a trading partner, and together they plot to corner the market on coffee, a beverage largely unknown and ignored at the time.
Lienzo's story is occasionally interrupted with passages from Alonzo Alferonda diary. Alferondo, a cunning trader of some wealth and power, has his own designs which unfold as the book progresses.
What's good: The story of coffee's emergence as the drink of high finance is marvelous and well-told. Liss also has a strong sense of setting, and it's easy to imagine old Amsterdam's streets, shops, and trading center. And there's no lack of intrigue here. Lots of twists.
What's bad: Too many twists. Hardly anybody is exactly who he claims to be. That might be fun in smaller doses, but it left me scratching my head as I tried to follow the ever-twisting plot.
Yes, The Coffee Trader is worth reading, but I wasn't fully engaged because I had to keep stopping to figure out the latest intrigue.
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More About the Author

David Liss is the author six novels, most recently The Devil's Company. He has five previous bestselling novel: A Conspiracy of Paper, winner of the 2000 Edgar Award for Best First Novel, The Coffee Trader, A Spectacle of Corruption, The Ethical Assassin and The Whiskey Rebels. In 2008, at the United Nations Convention against Corruption in Bali, Indonesia, he was named an Artist for Integrity by the UN Office on Drugs and Crime. No one is really sure why he should receive this honor or what it means, but it very possibly makes him the Bono of historical fiction. David Liss's novels have been translated into more than two dozen languages. He lives in San Antonio with his wife and children. Visist his web site at

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