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The Coffee Trader: A Novel by [Liss, David]
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The Coffee Trader: A Novel Kindle Edition

3.9 out of 5 stars 266 customer reviews

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Length: 432 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Editorial Reviews

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.

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.

Product Details

  • File Size: 952 KB
  • Print Length: 432 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0375508546
  • Publisher: Random House; 1st edition (March 4, 2003)
  • Publication Date: March 4, 2003
  • Sold by: Random House LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B000FBFN0G
  • Text-to-Speech: Not enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #67,645 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Jana L.Perskie HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on August 8, 2005
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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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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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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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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