On the world's first commodities exchange, fortunes are won and lost in an instant. Miguel Lienzo, a sharp-witted trader in the city's close-knit community of Portuguese Jews, knows this only too well. Once among the city's most envied merchants, Miguel has lost everything in a sudden shift in the sugar markets. Now, impoverished and humiliated, living on the charity of his petty younger brother, Miguel must find a way to restore his wealth and reputation.
Miguel enters into a partnership with a seductive Dutchwoman 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 test the limits of his commercial guile, facing not only the chaos of the markets and the greed of his competitors, but also 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.
©2003 David Liss; (P)2003 Random House, Inc. Random House Audio, a division of Random House, Inc.
"Unusual and diverting." (The New York Times Book Review)
"Masterfully plotted, brilliantly imagined, The Coffee Trader brims with intelligence, intrigue, and suspense. David Liss has written a riveting novel about commerce and faith, loyalty and greed." (Tova Mirvis, author of The Ladies Auxiliary)
This is a good story mixed with several plot lines that all wind and really payoff at the story's conclusion. With the entire story taking place in 17th century Amsterdam, the narrative blends historical intricacies of renaissance economics rather well. There are very few visuals or colorful descriptions of the time and place, which disappointed me, as all exposition is done through conversations and plot development.
However, it is a good read and you'll find yourself emerged in the dangerous game that the story's lead characted seems doomed to play.
A wonderful recreation of Amsterdam and its first taste of coffee. Also an incredible introduction to how business was conducted in the 17th Century. The narrator had the perfect tone for the tale even if each character might have been somewhat better drawn vocally.
I agree with the earlier reviewer that it is a fairly good abridgement but the book really does such a suberb portrait of the details of the time, that it would have been nice to see this one done as an unabridged recording. BUT it still works extremely well as is. I guess like any good work, it left me wanting more.
Although 'The Coffee Trader' had all the elements for a wonderful and exciting historical adventure, however it remained superficial and became predictable.
More character development was deeply needed. I never really felt for the characters. Their intertwining lives, the primary plot point of the book, lacked a sense of depth and complexity.
Graeme Malcom did a fine job.
Generally the book was anemic.
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