“Not destined to be great literature, but a fun story to read never-the-less. Liss's work allegedly accurately portrays the early days of market trading invented by my friends in the Netherlands. Paranoia abounds, and gives one reason to pause about the schemes being hatched and who you can...”see full review » see other reviews »
Didn’t Like It
“2.5 stars! About 200 pages into this novel, I was ready to quit. This did not hold my attention ... a bit confusing with all the main characters swindling each other. Also, I would have liked to learn more about the history of coffee being introduced into Europe. This was touched on too briefly....”see full review » see other reviews »
“I have begun reading this book with difficulty. I find it hard to follow the main characters movements, as the past, present, and another characters view is intertwined. I feel that often the main point is often sidetracked with past information. The book is not really catching my interest like “The Blood of flowers.” Their is mention of spies, and other malpractices, but much of it seems very dull, and mundane. The cultural point of the book is lost on me, it does mention quiet a bit about the Jewish people, and how they fit into the society/culture. ”Katherine T wrote this review 2 weeks ago. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“Amazing story of Amsterdam trading and culture .”Layla Domino wrote this review Friday, September 27, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“it was that entertaining like his Benjamin Weaver stories but i liked the history of the stock market info.”kdf_333 wrote this review Monday, August 26, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“Not destined to be great literature, but a fun story to read never-the-less. Liss's work allegedly accurately portrays the early days of market trading invented by my friends in the Netherlands. Paranoia abounds, and gives one reason to pause about the schemes being hatched and who you can really trust. They didn't have the Internet back in the 17th Century...”Bill Taylor wrote this review Monday, June 10, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“2.5 stars! About 200 pages into this novel, I was ready to quit. This did not hold my attention ... a bit confusing with all the main characters swindling each other. Also, I would have liked to learn more about the history of coffee being introduced into Europe. This was touched on too briefly. A good look into the commodities trades in Amsterdam in late 1690's. The author did lots of research. Unfortunately, the book was not for me.
Another reviewer said this would make a good movie and I concur. Jeez ... never thought I would say a movie might be better than the book!”
“Shallow account of historical facts especially as it deals with finance and jewish histories. Suitable for the novice. Satisfactory accounts can be found at The Origins of Value and A History of Corporate Finance.”Gustavo Grebler wrote this review Friday, February 15, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“I want to read more of his work. ”Thomas Dale wrote this review Monday, January 21, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“Very interesting and thrilling book of the genre Historical noir, set in the 17th century in Amsterdam.”Hadewych wrote this review Tuesday, September 25, 2012. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“Since I love coffee, this book intrigued me, and I found more intrigue inside than I anticipated. It takes place in late 17th c. Amsterdam, a tolerant city that offered sanctuary to oppressed Jews from other countries. The main character, Miguel Lienzo, is a Portuguese Jew from a family of conversos. He's a commodities trader at The Exchange, formerly prosperous, but deeply in debt as the book opens. A Dutchwoman, Gertruid Damhuis, suggests that he invest in a new commodity: coffee. Miguel hatches a scheme to corner the market, unaware that he is being manipulated by others, including two fellow Jews who despise each other.
I liked Miguel, even though he's not the most honest guy. Apparently, lying is a business tool in commodities trading, at least as it existed then. He does have a core of integrity and a streak of chivalry where women are concerned, esp. his rother's wife, Hannah. But what a nest of thieves and liars! Everyone seems to have an agenda and multiple secrets. Who should Miguel trust, if anyone?
I found the historical setting detailed and fascinating. The Coffee Trader is well-written, with complex characters and more intrigue than I could keep track of. Recommended for fans of historical fiction.”
“I never intended to return to David Liss so soon. No doubt, A Conspiracy of Paper was phenomenal -- but I have two Bernard Cornwell novels just awaiting to be read! There's something compelling about Liss' genre, though: I've never encountered a thriller set in the business world before, let alone one steeped in the exciting history of Age of Discovery-era Europe. The Coffee Trader is another contribution to that setting, though here Liss moves to Amsterdam, where young Miguel Lienzo -- the uncle of Conspiracy's main character Ben -- is facing bankruptcy. But a spirited, ambitious, and altogether attractive widow has an idea for waking Europe to the wonders of coffee...and if Miguel is fleet-footed enough, he may yet rise from ruins to riches.
Schemes carry the day here. Miguel is only one of five duplicitous characters playing the exchange, and each have their own private desires and hidden plans. Some, like Miguel and the woman, are allies; others, like Solomon Parido, a leader of the Jewish community, count themselves as Miguel's rivals. Their schemes all interact with one another, like wheels within wheels, but no one can truly say in which direction the wheels are spinning..or what ends they may accomplish. Although The Coffee Trader isn't used by Liss to comment on an issue (unlike Conspiracy and Ethical Assassin), the mystery stands on its own. The setting is fascinating Lienzo is a Portuguese exile, a refugee from the Inquisition, and he and many other Jews have taken refuge in Amsterdam. Determined to avoid outside persecution, faithful Jews voluntarily submit to the authority of the Ma'amad, a somewhat heavy-handed council with the power to discipline members. Among many other things, it forbids Jews from doing business with 'Gentiles'. Parido sits on this council, and Miguel secretly defies it by allying himself with the widow. Parido has his own secrets to hide from the council, and the two of them play a kind of chess match throughout, attempting to out-maneuver the other both outwardly (using the threat of the Ma'amad's power) and subtly, through playing with the markets Eventually all comes to head in the Exchange itself, though by this point it's clear there's more going on than either man is aware of.
All in all, The Coffee Trader was quite well done, one to savor. My library doesn't have any more Liss books, other than a fantasy he's written, so I'll be looking for them online in the coming months.”