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Die Papierverschwörung

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Die Papierverschwörung PDF, ePub eBook Benjamin Weaver, a Jew and an ex-boxer, is an outsider in eighteenth-century London, tracking down debtors and felons for aristocratic clients. The son of a wealthy stock trader, he lives estranged from his family—until he is asked to investigate his father’s sudden death. Thus Weaver descends into the deceptive world of the English stock jobbers, gliding between coffee ho Benjamin Weaver, a Jew and an ex-boxer, is an outsider in eighteenth-century London, tracking down debtors and felons for aristocratic clients. The son of a wealthy stock trader, he lives estranged from his family—until he is asked to investigate his father’s sudden death. Thus Weaver descends into the deceptive world of the English stock jobbers, gliding between coffee houses and gaming houses, drawing rooms and bordellos. The more Weaver uncovers, the darker the truth becomes, until he realizes that he is following too closely in his father’s footsteps—and they just might lead him to his own grave. An enthralling historical thriller, A Conspiracy of Paper will leave readers wondering just how much has changed in the stock market in the last three hundred years. . . .

30 review for Die Papierverschwörung

  1. 5 out of 5

    Emma

    A well researched and well written historical fiction mystery set in 1719 in Britain. I learned a lot about the early stock exchange and the scheming and conniving that you may imagine accompanied it. This was a complicated tale where our main character Benjamin Weaver is tossed on the seas of economic intrigue, caught between the Bank of England, the South Seas company and the machinations of the London underworld. Definitely looking forward to reading the rest of the series.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Allie Riley

    The level of scholarship in this highly entertaining and very well written historical murder mystery is, in my view, on a par with that master of the historical genre, Peter Ackroyd. Given the potential dryness of the subject matter (the birth of the stock exchange as we know it and the first crash - the so-called South Sea Bubble) it is extraordinarily enjoyable. Benjamin Weaver (ne Lienzo) is a Londoner with a colourful past who now earns his living as a thief-taker in 18th century London (in t The level of scholarship in this highly entertaining and very well written historical murder mystery is, in my view, on a par with that master of the historical genre, Peter Ackroyd. Given the potential dryness of the subject matter (the birth of the stock exchange as we know it and the first crash - the so-called South Sea Bubble) it is extraordinarily enjoyable. Benjamin Weaver (ne Lienzo) is a Londoner with a colourful past who now earns his living as a thief-taker in 18th century London (in those days there was not yet an established police force). His services are engaged by one William Balfour who believes that his father's so-called self-murder was nothing of the sort and that, moreover, it was closely connected with the death of Weaver's own father, also suspected to be down to foul play. Although Weaver has been estranged from his family for the better part of a decade, he is nonetheless persuaded to conduct an investigation into the matter with little more to go on other than that the two deceased gentlemen's estates were far smaller than they ought to have been and the close timing of their respective deaths. Given the current global financial travails and their intimate relationship with banks and the stock market, the issues which arise from this work are highly relevant. What or whom we should believe and how much of our financial dealings are fiction are suspicions which the ordinary person has been wondering about ever since the crash and so-called credit crunch. The wheeler-dealing, bluffs and double bluffs, intrigue and so on of today's stockmarket was evidently there from its murky beginnings in Change Alley outlined in this brilliantly writen novel. The South Sea Company and the Bank of England were at the time vying for the chance to broker Government loans and thus earn themselves a great deal of business and profit. It emerges that forgeries of South Sea stocks have been created, a fact discovered by Weaver's father which is what had cost him his life. These forgeries are somehow connected to the elusive and mysterious Martin Rochester. But who is he really and how might they be connected to the murders? Adroitly plotted, beautifully written and with a cast of fabulously colourful characters, A Conspiracy of Paper is a superb novel. It is difficult to believe it was Liss's first and I look forward to discovering the rest of his work.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Richard Derus

    Rating: 3.9* of five The Publisher Says: Benjamin Weaver is an outsider in eighteenth-century London: a Jew among Christians; a ruffian among aristocrats; a retired pugilist who, hired by London's gentry, travels through the criminal underworld in pursuit of debtors and thieves. In A Conspiracy of Paper, Weaver investigates a crime of the most personal sort: the mysterious death of his estranged father, a notorious stockjobber. To find the answers, Weaver must contend with a desperate prostitute w Rating: 3.9* of five The Publisher Says: Benjamin Weaver is an outsider in eighteenth-century London: a Jew among Christians; a ruffian among aristocrats; a retired pugilist who, hired by London's gentry, travels through the criminal underworld in pursuit of debtors and thieves. In A Conspiracy of Paper, Weaver investigates a crime of the most personal sort: the mysterious death of his estranged father, a notorious stockjobber. To find the answers, Weaver must contend with a desperate prostitute who knows too much about his past, relatives who remind him of his alienation from the Jewish faith, and a cabal of powerful men in the world of British finance who have hidden their business dealings behind an intricate web of deception and violence. Relying on brains and brawn, Weaver uncovers the beginnings of a strange new economic order based on stock speculation--a way of life that poses great risk for investors but real danger for Weaver and his family. In the tradition of The Alienist and written with scholarly attention to period detail, A Conspiracy of Paper is one of the wittiest and most suspenseful historical novels in recent memory, as well as a perceptive and beguiling depiction of the origin of today's financial markets. In Benjamin Weaver, author David Liss has created an irresistibly appealing protagonist, one who parlays his knowledge of the emerging stock market into a new kind of detective work. My Review: An honorable man sets out to right a wrong that he cares relatively little about. His quest leads him to wrongs he didn't know were possible, and that he cares a lot about righting. He can't fix it...nobody could then, and nobody can now...because it's all to do with human greed and viciousness. David Liss came to my attention with this top-notch thriller. He takes the abstruse and impersonal concept put forth by (then-newly minted) economic scientists called "economist"s Hand of the Market, squeezes that bastard tight, and shakes out of it the economists' worst nightmare: The human cost of their depersonalized, accountability-free rent-reaping mills. What makes Weaver a compelling character is his almost unbelievable level of alienation from every sector of London's social web. A Jew estranged from his family by disobedience. A Jew in the Christian London that persecutes Catholics, allegedly fellow Christians. An educated man who fought with his fists for money. An absolute outsider. It makes for the best fictional characters, this does, and even better for a sleuth in a mystery. He has access to but not membership in many groups. He can ask questions because he's Different, and he can't be bought off by assimilation--too far outside the pale of anyone's social-group tolerance--nor can he be threatened by exclusion (from what that he isn't excluded from already?). A successful thriller combines plausible action in service of believable stakes by a character with a definite and powerful moral compass. Delivered here in trumps. It's a pleasure to read a book that makes it clear that markets, all markets always and everywhere, must be controlled, damped down, and regulated to prevent the vile and contemptible from abusing the greedy and gullible. It is, in the end, the rest of us who pay the bill. It was ever thus. It will ever be thus, world without end. Until we're no longer human beings, that is. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Kelsey

    I think I loved everything about this book - the time period, the main character, the history, the scandal, the mystery. So it's about a boxer turned thief turned thief taker who is trying to uncover the mystery behind his father's not so accidental death. Much of the story revolves around financial issues, which I really enjoyed. I love finance and economics and put together with a mystery?!? Brilliant. I thought the author did a great job unraveling the whole mystery. Most of the time I felt Be I think I loved everything about this book - the time period, the main character, the history, the scandal, the mystery. So it's about a boxer turned thief turned thief taker who is trying to uncover the mystery behind his father's not so accidental death. Much of the story revolves around financial issues, which I really enjoyed. I love finance and economics and put together with a mystery?!? Brilliant. I thought the author did a great job unraveling the whole mystery. Most of the time I felt Benjamin's (the main character) exasperation - nothing seemed to make sense, just a lot of seemingly unrelated information. I enjoyed working through the clues along with Benjamin. I too was so wrapped up in the conspiracy that I couldn't really guess who would end up behind the murder and scandal. Every time I thought I had figured it out, something would happen to throw me off. I suppose I knew at least one person who was involved... Another thing I really enjoyed was the main character's task to learn the nuances of the financial market/economics. At one point he is trying to understand about paper currency being backed up by silver, an aspect of the economy I still don't fully understand. If everyone thinks $1 is worth $1, isn't that good enough? I get that there has to be value, but...it's confusing. Several times I found myself having similar thoughts or agreeing with Benjamin's philosophies about certain things. I would definitely recommend this book!

  5. 4 out of 5

    Mary Ann

    This is the first David Liss I've read, and I have already downloaded two more. Economics has never been my strong suit, but I found myself completely fascinated by the story of the South Sea Company and the world of finance in early 18th century England, the background of this thoroughly engaging and enjoyable whodunit.

  6. 4 out of 5

    BAM The Bibliomaniac

    The denouement is so convoluted that it's almost an anticlimax due to all of the explaining needed. I've read about the South Sea Bubble, but not with a focus on the selling population. Loved the Elias character, he's adorable. Enjoyed it enough that I'm interested in volume #2

  7. 5 out of 5

    Kelly

    David Liss is an elegant and witty writer (which is how I like my authors). The Whiskey Rebels is one of my favorite books. Because I didn't love this one quite as much, it gets 4 stars instead of 5. That being said....I absolutely adored the protagonist in this book (former pugilist Benjamin Weaver) who was, of course, smart, brawny and witty which is how I love my men. I learned a lot about stockjobbery and Exchange Alley ('Change Alley) in 1719 London. I had never thought about how confusing i David Liss is an elegant and witty writer (which is how I like my authors). The Whiskey Rebels is one of my favorite books. Because I didn't love this one quite as much, it gets 4 stars instead of 5. That being said....I absolutely adored the protagonist in this book (former pugilist Benjamin Weaver) who was, of course, smart, brawny and witty which is how I love my men. I learned a lot about stockjobbery and Exchange Alley ('Change Alley) in 1719 London. I had never thought about how confusing it would be to be the first populace (in English speaking world) to try out holding wealth in a piece of paper and how precarious that would feel. We are all used to it now. I had never heard of the the battle between the South Sea Company and The Bank of England for the funding of the national debt. And I'd never heard of the South Sea Bubble which was the first stock market crash in the English speaking world in 1720. This is the villainy of which I have warned you. Our very enemy is constructed of paper. The crime is paper and the criminal is paper. Only the victims are real. There is a sense, you see, that finance is but a game, the rules and the outcome of which have been preset by men operating in secret. Back to the way Liss writes...a quote from the "Historical Note" at the back: I have, in the language of this novel, tried to suggest the rhythms of eighteenth-century prose, although I have made many modifications in the interest of readability. My intention was to invoke the feel of contemporaneous speech without burdening readers with idiosyncrasies that often seem inhospitable or circuitous by today's standards. This is one of the reasons why I love the way he writes an historical novel! Some of my favorite bits and pieces (the self-indulgent part of my review): Benjamin Weaver (Jewish) talking of his non-Jewish friend Elias: Elias complained that he should risk his foreskin every time he came to pay me a visit, but to the best of my knowledge, he died with it still attached. I hope my reader recognizes that I had no desire to harm this woman, for I never choose to inflict violence upon that sex. I have, however, few scruples about the threat of violence, and with the more delicate sensibilities of the female constitution, threats are generally all that I require. We had been reduced to two men, deprived of rank and station, matching our strength in a contest of rage. And it is no idle boast, reader, that, in a contest of this order--of fist and brawn and willingness to take punishment--a lazy, well-fed baronet stood not a chance against me. She was beautiful, yes, but so are many women. She had a quick wit, but women of intelligence are not so rare as some unkind authors tell us. Proximity, I have learned, is often as effective as violence. I suppose by the time I had my fourth mug of ale, all on an empty stomach, I had turned from dejected to morose. [He] agreed with surprising obsequiousness. I had once seen him covertly administer a triple dose of laxative to a gentlemen who had made the mistake of calling him an Irishman, but for a man of Bloathwait's wealth, Elias bore up under what he perceived as an insult. Thank you for that impassioned speech, which I assure you has affected me not at all. Like many men who thought themselves more blessed by the gods of wit than those of money, Elias would often sleep away whole days at a time that he might avoid the consciousness of his own hunger and poverty. I therefore tossed off Mr. Balfour's insults as a bear tosses off the dogs sent to bait it in Hockley-in-the-Hole. On a side note I learned a new word! "Peruke" And one more side note...appalled as ever at the treatment of Jewish people! I will never understand how the human race decided religion and race were a good reason to vilify each other. After writing such a long review maybe I should've rated it 5 stars :-)

  8. 5 out of 5

    Jeri

    As Benjamin Weaver investigates the suspicious death of a local gentleman, he discoveries that the mystery has far too many ties to his own past. Weaver struggles to learn the intricacies of the "stock-jobber" system while confronted with a possibly-murdered father of his own, an estranged family, an interfering crime-boss and a beautiful young widow. The protagonist, Ben Weaver, is just my kind of hero. He's tough and masculine without being a brute and manages to show some sensitivity and brain As Benjamin Weaver investigates the suspicious death of a local gentleman, he discoveries that the mystery has far too many ties to his own past. Weaver struggles to learn the intricacies of the "stock-jobber" system while confronted with a possibly-murdered father of his own, an estranged family, an interfering crime-boss and a beautiful young widow. The protagonist, Ben Weaver, is just my kind of hero. He's tough and masculine without being a brute and manages to show some sensitivity and brains without turning into a wimp or a loser (I'm talking to you Robert Langdon). I really enjoyed delving into his thought-process as he explores the "modern" notion of scientific reasoning. I also liked that he is straight-forward and blunt in his dealings with others. This saves a lot of tedious speculation, inner dialog and boredom for the reader. Instead of formulating a theory and then traipsing around spying and gathering mis-information, he just asks what he wants to know. I love it! The supporting characters are engaging, well-written and have enough depth to add suspense and drama to the story. The author provides great descriptions of the characters as well as a lot of humor at their expense. My favorite was the drinking, womanizing, financially challenged best friend, Elias Gordon. I enjoyed learning about 17th-century finance, stock-jobbers and the lawless streets of London. The author does a great job of blending true history and complete fiction. The plot moves along at a good pace with sufficient twists and turns to be exciting. The author manages to present a considerable amount of information and a wide cast of characters without dragging along, boring the reader or becoming confusingly complex. I admit that I didn't predict the ending at all, yet it was quite satisfying. This is one of the best books I've read in quite some time and certainly way more interesting than you think a "historical finance thriller" could be. For a first novel this was remarkably well-written and engaging and the one-chapter sneak peek into his next book leads me to believe his success wasn't a one-time fluke. I look forward to more from David Liss.

  9. 5 out of 5

    AdiTurbo

    Excellent historical fiction - the writer has extensive knowledge, but does not forget the plot or character development, and does not drown you in unnecessary details. It has some scenes I would've cut out were I its editor, and some repetitive moments, and could've been tighter, but it is quite unputdownable and very enjoyable, and I've learned a lot about an economic crisis I had no previous knowledge about.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Jaki

    It was a good-enough read, but it didn't immediately pull me in. I felt like the author kept trying to over-stress certain aspects of the story just in case the reader didn't take note of them, which evoked my response as: "Okay, I get it, can we move on now?" What I learned about the beginnings of the stock market and paper money was interesting, though. One major thorn that kept preventing me from enjoying this story more fully was how sometimes I would reason a conclusion from what I thought t It was a good-enough read, but it didn't immediately pull me in. I felt like the author kept trying to over-stress certain aspects of the story just in case the reader didn't take note of them, which evoked my response as: "Okay, I get it, can we move on now?" What I learned about the beginnings of the stock market and paper money was interesting, though. One major thorn that kept preventing me from enjoying this story more fully was how sometimes I would reason a conclusion from what I thought to be obvious clues that took the protagonist and narrator, Benjamin Weaver, longer to puzzle out. (Somewhere in the back of the book, after the story ends, the author mentions something about the differences between detective work of the time and the sort of reasoning we are used to today, which might play a role in that issue.) But anyway, if you're looking for a bit of a puzzle with a nice historical feel to it, then this book is perfectly fine--not extraordinary, but a decent read. However, if you are in pursuit of something that will draw you in for reasons other than intellectual challenge or its historical setting, this is not the book for you.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Veeral

    Well, I would have failed miserably (but gladly) if I had wished to start 2013 with a drier read! This book held promise, especially at the start, but then it went on and on and on like the Energizer bunny walking in ultra slow motion without a slightest indication of stopping in any discernible future. The last 50-60 pages were good, but the only thing that I felt when I turned the last page was of profound relief. I was planning to read his other book, The Whiskey Rebels as soon as possible, b Well, I would have failed miserably (but gladly) if I had wished to start 2013 with a drier read! This book held promise, especially at the start, but then it went on and on and on like the Energizer bunny walking in ultra slow motion without a slightest indication of stopping in any discernible future. The last 50-60 pages were good, but the only thing that I felt when I turned the last page was of profound relief. I was planning to read his other book, The Whiskey Rebels as soon as possible, but now, I first would have to forget that I read A Conspiracy of Paper (aptly named as it sure has a paper-thin plot) before I try any further books written by David Liss.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Andy

    Another book which has been on my radar for a few years now which I finally got around too. Benjamin Weaver we learn is Jewish but he is not a typical Jew of the era & somewhat of an outcast from his community as he tries to fit in more as an Englishman then be labelled as Jewish. He seems to be caught between both worlds but he comes across as an honourable man & many (as I) warm to him with their dealings with him. We spend much of the early chapters learning about his life, past & Another book which has been on my radar for a few years now which I finally got around too. Benjamin Weaver we learn is Jewish but he is not a typical Jew of the era & somewhat of an outcast from his community as he tries to fit in more as an Englishman then be labelled as Jewish. He seems to be caught between both worlds but he comes across as an honourable man & many (as I) warm to him with their dealings with him. We spend much of the early chapters learning about his life, past & present through his musings or interactions with family where I found myself pulled in to the story as the character/background of Weaver evolves alongside the main plot. His job? The modern vernacular would be PI or even debt collector I believe but he comes across as someone who’ll do many things for the rent money & advancement. His reputation? Is mostly built on his (late) boxing career where he was famed for his art defeating many an opponent & he is remembered by many for his prominence in the ring. The story is set C 1719 & revolves around a case involving his late father’s death & that of a colleague’s father, both classified as accidents. We’re taken into the world of the stock exchange (South Seas company) or at least it’s early foundation years (prior to the South Sea Bubble for you Historians out there) & it’s rivalry with the bank of England. We learn of the Jewish community & it’s standing within London as well as it’s interactions with various establishments. London itself is vividly portrayed where the author does a good job of painting a picture of the era. Its an engaging story whose MC I really enjoyed following. It’s retold in the form of his memoirs. At journeys end it’s perhaps a tad long weighing in at jus over 500 pages as we do meander around a fair bit with 150 pages to go & you do wonder where is all this going........ BUT, a series I shall continue forward with. 3.5 stars jus rounded down to a 3 which was going to hit in at 3.75 for a while but the overlong read did have an effect on the eventual ending.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Stephen

    Benjamin Weaver is a man with a curious trade. Having left the family business years ago, in his early days he earned acclaim for his skills as a boxer, introducing a 'scientific' approach to the sport and retiring only after breaking his leg. Now he uses his intelligence and strength to different ends, serving as a quasi-detective and bill collector, sorting through mysteries, hunting down thieves, and flushing out debtors. Now Balfour, a jumped-up merchantman with delusions of nobility, is dem Benjamin Weaver is a man with a curious trade. Having left the family business years ago, in his early days he earned acclaim for his skills as a boxer, introducing a 'scientific' approach to the sport and retiring only after breaking his leg. Now he uses his intelligence and strength to different ends, serving as a quasi-detective and bill collector, sorting through mysteries, hunting down thieves, and flushing out debtors. Now Balfour, a jumped-up merchantman with delusions of nobility, is demanding Weaver's services, albeit reluctantly. However much he might disdain Weaver for being a common Jew, Balfour believes his and Weaver's father were both in the same business, dabbling in high finance -- and that their deaths, far from being accidental, were murders. Although Weaver is dubious at first, initial probings confirm that Balfour's claims may have merit. And so he takes up the challenge of finding out who killed his father and why, in the process crossing paths with London's most notorious gangster and stumbling into the emerging world of high finance, where greedy men and powerful banks vie for the nation's coffers. The result is a captivating mystery, an absolutely stunning piece of historical fiction that rivals even Bernard Cornwell for the richness of its details. I've read David Liss before, as he penned one of my favorite novels from last year, The Ethical Assassin. This and Assassin seem worlds apart, and not only for their disparate settings. Liss adopts a voice in Conspiracy of Paper which is meant to evoke the style of 18th century literature and prose, with some modifications for readability. The voice is a triumph; from the first page the elegance of it entranced me. There are books so artfully written that the mere sound of the words is a pleasure to experience, and this is one them. To this Liss adds a truly labyrinthian mystery. The setting is that of the 18th century, when paper currency is gaining popularity in the form of bank notes, and governments are beginning to finance their wars and large-scale commercial projects through the issuance of bonds, or loans. Commercial enterprises like the South Sea Company reliance on selling stock to finance themselves as well, and in London people are beginning to trade bonds for stocks, moving further away from simple specie-based transactions. Money is becoming increasingly complex, and those who understand the subtleties of finance can make a killing by taking advantage of those who don't. Weaver has never journeyed into this world before, even though his father and uncle are both tradesmen who were involved the markets. To unravel the mystery he must first understand what his father's business was, and Liss accomplishes this by having various characters, including a comical surgeon who doubles as Weaver's best friend and confidant, teach him the new economics. There are few souls in London in whom Weaver can place complete trust; he is exploring a labyrinth, and there are many who wish him to fail. Some take direct action against him, and others are content with subtle misdirection. The entanglements only increase as Weaver progresses further in. Having few facts to go on, he must instead rely on probabilities and instinct, guessing where the next few turns might take him...and sometimes, forcing his way through the maze's walls to simplify things, relieving the tension with drama. What I like most about The Ethical Assassin, beyond its quirky humor, was the thoughtful discussion Liss' characters mull through. Assassin's themes were veganism and anarchism, though here Liss is a bit more subdued, his target that of paper money. As the promises of payment -- banknotes -- supplant actual payment, and paper replaces precious metals, the imaginary seems to have triumphed over the real. Money becomes a matter of belief, not fact, and Weaver would find it difficult to take seriously were it not for the fact that seemingly harmless actions, mere crimes of paper, keep manifesting themselves in the real world, in murders, robberies, and burned homes. And however much he might find the new finances absurd, there are those who believe that the fate of the nation hinges on Weaver leaving well enough alone. A Conspiracy of Paper is quite a feat; delightful and fascinating. Considering what I've read so far, Liss is rapidly becoming a favorite author. Related: Gallows Thief, Bernard Cornwell The Ascent of Money, Niall Ferguson The Ethical Assassin, David Liss

  14. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. a conspiracy of paper by david liss. good fucking book. the book was really good, and unfortunately becuase of the billion things i've had going on, it took me over a month to read it in bits and pieces. but it was GOOD. london, late 18th century. the start of the stock market. murders. conspiracy. jews. it's all good. it was well written, and though it got the feel of the language of the day, it didn't use the language of the day, which i think is good. liss would have lost readers if he tried a conspiracy of paper by david liss. good fucking book. the book was really good, and unfortunately becuase of the billion things i've had going on, it took me over a month to read it in bits and pieces. but it was GOOD. london, late 18th century. the start of the stock market. murders. conspiracy. jews. it's all good. it was well written, and though it got the feel of the language of the day, it didn't use the language of the day, which i think is good. liss would have lost readers if he tried to use the language of the late 18th century--having read things written in that tongue, i know it's fucking hard, and i hated it. so i certainly wouldn't want to do it while reading for pleasure. but at the same time, he didn't use completely today's lingo. i mean, he used a more formal language than we would use. it was an accessible period piece, if that makes sense. so anyway. i'm being distracted by dinner and can't really finish this the way i wanted to. but it was a good book, it was interesting, attention grabbing and holding, and the twists weren't completely obvious. check it out if you have a chance.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Karen Jean Martinson

    I'm on a kick here with people who write really amazing books while doing other really amazing things. At least Liss was completing a PhD in English while writing a piece of literature - mind you, I couldn't write a piece of fiction while finishing my PhD (I had enough with finishing the PhD, and don't even get me started on these final revisions...) - but, like, books and English PhDs go together at least. Anyhoo, I read the Spectacle of Corruption first, so I'm totally out of order, but both bo I'm on a kick here with people who write really amazing books while doing other really amazing things. At least Liss was completing a PhD in English while writing a piece of literature - mind you, I couldn't write a piece of fiction while finishing my PhD (I had enough with finishing the PhD, and don't even get me started on these final revisions...) - but, like, books and English PhDs go together at least. Anyhoo, I read the Spectacle of Corruption first, so I'm totally out of order, but both books are really great and gripping reads. Benjamin Weaver is a great character, an outsider first because he is Jewish and second because he is a thief-taker, and all the more intelligent and aware of the hypocrisies of society because of it. Having read Spectacle frst, I know more about the Jacobites than I ever have before. Now I've learned a great deal about stock-jobbery and the South Sea Company. Oh, and that London had no police force in the early 18C.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Bill

    I had previously read David Liss's The Coffee Trader, set in 17th Century Holland. A Conspiracy of Paper is Liss's first novel and also, as it happens the first book in his Benjamin Weaver historical series. This one is set in 18th Century London, with a focus on the stock traders and the mystery of the death / murder of Weaver's father. Weaver is an interesting character, a Jewish resident of London, during a time when Jews were tolerated, sometimes mistreated, not permitted to own property in E I had previously read David Liss's The Coffee Trader, set in 17th Century Holland. A Conspiracy of Paper is Liss's first novel and also, as it happens the first book in his Benjamin Weaver historical series. This one is set in 18th Century London, with a focus on the stock traders and the mystery of the death / murder of Weaver's father. Weaver is an interesting character, a Jewish resident of London, during a time when Jews were tolerated, sometimes mistreated, not permitted to own property in England, but still vital residents, as stock traders, merchants, etc. Weaver's family originated in Portugal, then moved to Holland and ultimately settled in London. Benjamin's father was what is called a stock jobber, buying and selling shares in various projects to willing participants. At an early age, Benjamin runs from home, becoming firstly The Lion of Judah, a successful boxer. When injury terminates this career, he becomes a highwayman, then later on, in his present occupation, a thief taker and sort of detective who helps people with debts, return of stolen items, etc. The story starts with two of Benjamin's investigations, one to obtain the return of stolen correspondence of an embarrassing nature to a wealthy Londoner and the other to investigate the death, presumed by suicide of another London resident who believes his father was murdered. Balfour also believes the murder is related to the death of Benjamin's father, who was run down by a coach. Was it also murder? Thus begins a winding tale as Benjamin begins both investigations. He tours London's underworld, has dealings, sometimes of a dangerous nature, with the biggest gang lord of London, one Jonathan Wild, who both threatens and encourages Benjamin. He finds himself becoming immersed in the world of finance, of stock traders, of the Bank of England of the mysterious South Sea Trading Company. What was his father's involvement? What is the document that his father tried to publish, the Conspiracy of Paper, and is that what had him killed. With the help of good friend, somewhat drunken, philanderer, Scottish doctor and wannabe playwright, Elias Gordon, he finds many suspects, many people who want to do him injury or worse, as he tracks down clues to discover who killed his father. It's definitely a meandering story, but it's an interesting view of the life and times on London in the early 1700s. We meet Benjamin's family, a family that he had estranged himself from. We also meet Miriam, his cousin's widow, a beautiful woman who Benjamin develops feelings for. All in all it's an entertaining story, with probably a few too many suspects, but it all adds to the action and drama. Enjoyable story and I will try the next book of Weaver's adventures. (3.5 stars)

  17. 5 out of 5

    Keith

    One of the rich rewards of reading well written historical fiction is that, if it achieves the proper balance, it not only entertains but is painlessly edifying. This novel fits the bill. Set in early 18th century London we are introduced to Benjamin Lienzo, a Sephardic Jew who has changed his name to Benjamin Weaver and gained notoriety as a pugilist. After sustaining an injury that chronically compromised his athletic skill he has become a “thief-taker”, a profession somewhat akin to a modern One of the rich rewards of reading well written historical fiction is that, if it achieves the proper balance, it not only entertains but is painlessly edifying. This novel fits the bill. Set in early 18th century London we are introduced to Benjamin Lienzo, a Sephardic Jew who has changed his name to Benjamin Weaver and gained notoriety as a pugilist. After sustaining an injury that chronically compromised his athletic skill he has become a “thief-taker”, a profession somewhat akin to a modern day bounty hunter, and one that makes him a social outcast in the Jewish community. This begins to change however, after he discovers that his estranged father was murdered. He becomes determined to get to the bottom of this mysterious death in spite of a convoluted conspiracy that tests his competence as a detective. David Liss’ exposition of a lawless London, class distinction and the evolution of monetary change in Europe, as paper money and corporate stocks begin to be adopted, is intriguing. One can’t help but see the piquant parallels in our present day transition from paper currency to the abstraction of electronic transactions. I enjoyed it, thanks for the recommendation Trudy.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Jenny Vaughan

    This is the book that introduced me to Benjamin Weaver, who stars in all my favorite books by David Liss. Full of exciting intrigue and adventure, Liss also paints what I think it is a pretty historically accurate picture of London in…well, whenever this book is set (Liss seems to be fairly respected as a historian, or at least as a writer of historical fiction). Liss builds a believable world, detailed and socially complex. The story is told in the first person by a really likeable protagonist This is the book that introduced me to Benjamin Weaver, who stars in all my favorite books by David Liss. Full of exciting intrigue and adventure, Liss also paints what I think it is a pretty historically accurate picture of London in…well, whenever this book is set (Liss seems to be fairly respected as a historian, or at least as a writer of historical fiction). Liss builds a believable world, detailed and socially complex. The story is told in the first person by a really likeable protagonist (Benjamin Weaver), who is something of a sleuth, very clever, but not above using his fists when the situation calls for it, which is often. The most peculiar thing about the book, actually, is that you don’t even notice how dark it is. The narrator is remarkably un-angsty in the face of events that would produce deep cynicism in a character more inclined toward rumination. He’s a man of action and just deals with things as they come, not spending too much time agonizing over the evil deeds of others…or of his own.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Cindy

    Let me start by saying that I never in my wildest dreams thought I would give anything "historical fiction" five stars. With that said, I absolutely loved this book after I set aside my prejudices against the genre and got past the first 75 pages or so. It was a difficult read for me in many ways, no fault of the author. I'm just not used to reading historical books that contain a lot of events the reader needs to keep up with. I learned a lot of new words and got a lot of practice following a b Let me start by saying that I never in my wildest dreams thought I would give anything "historical fiction" five stars. With that said, I absolutely loved this book after I set aside my prejudices against the genre and got past the first 75 pages or so. It was a difficult read for me in many ways, no fault of the author. I'm just not used to reading historical books that contain a lot of events the reader needs to keep up with. I learned a lot of new words and got a lot of practice following a bit of a complicated plot (for me anyway). This book took "fiction" to a whole new level for me. Although it was classified as fiction, many of the "events" were based upon true occurrences. I am a business major, so this book tied in really well with my investments class. I believe that I learned more about the stock market and the key players from this book than I did in class. I would recommend this book to about anyone.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Bethany

    What a surprising book! A bit mystery financial thriller and a bit historical fiction that starts a little slow but once the plot is set up, really moves with twists and turns galore. It really kept me guessing and I love it when that happens. The protagonist is one of my favorites of all time I think. One thing that was embarrassing for me: I have lived in Portugal and England and prided myself for knowing a little more than the average American about their histories so I was really embarrassed What a surprising book! A bit mystery financial thriller and a bit historical fiction that starts a little slow but once the plot is set up, really moves with twists and turns galore. It really kept me guessing and I love it when that happens. The protagonist is one of my favorites of all time I think. One thing that was embarrassing for me: I have lived in Portugal and England and prided myself for knowing a little more than the average American about their histories so I was really embarrassed not to have known one thing about the migration of Iberian Jews and the Jewish population in Britain... I was glad to learn of it here. Great, fun book.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Lauren

    David Liss has created a new genre of fiction: Historical financial fiction... Very engrossing and very smart. Liss delves into the history of Eighteenth-century London and talks of the economy and the trade, as well as the culture, religion, and politics of the people.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Judy

    It took me quite a long time to read this book, but I'm glad I stuck with it. I wasn't able to concentrate well when I first began it; so I just read a chapter or so at a time. But as I got into the later chapters, I became more interested. First, one of the reasons I read and like historical fiction is to learn about life I other eras. Liss is eminently qualified to write about England in the 1700s. One thing, I learned is that life in London was dangerous, filthy, and corrupt. Then, I learned It took me quite a long time to read this book, but I'm glad I stuck with it. I wasn't able to concentrate well when I first began it; so I just read a chapter or so at a time. But as I got into the later chapters, I became more interested. First, one of the reasons I read and like historical fiction is to learn about life I other eras. Liss is eminently qualified to write about England in the 1700s. One thing, I learned is that life in London was dangerous, filthy, and corrupt. Then, I learned about how Jewish people lived and worked in the society. I wasn't surprised that they were separated geographically, but was surprised to learn that the Jews had been driven out of England entirely several decade before. This is still not an easy book to read, but I tried not to get too bogged down in the info about English currency. My thoughts at finishing the book were that there are similarities between the turmoil in the financial circumstances to those in the U.S. today. Liss mentions this in his closing thoughts, too. I'm undecided as to whether I'll read the second book featuring Benjamin Weaver, but may because I've got his interest in mind now. Recommend for dedicated historical fiction readers.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Bonnie

    In England in the early 1700's Benjamin Weaver is a retired Boxer, whose new profession is to retrieve stolen goods for people. His father has recently died, and a man comes to him, whose own father has recently died, and says that he believes that both of their fathers were murdered because they were trying to uncover information about the South Seas company, who wants to replace The Bank of England. Benjamin Weaver tries to investigate, but is instantly in over his head. Man oh man. If you like In England in the early 1700's Benjamin Weaver is a retired Boxer, whose new profession is to retrieve stolen goods for people. His father has recently died, and a man comes to him, whose own father has recently died, and says that he believes that both of their fathers were murdered because they were trying to uncover information about the South Seas company, who wants to replace The Bank of England. Benjamin Weaver tries to investigate, but is instantly in over his head. Man oh man. If you like twisty plots, this book is for you. There are about 15 surprising plot twists that keep you guessing and on your toes. It was a very well-crafted and engrossing mystery, but not a quick read, as there is a lot of historical information contained within. I learned about Stock Jobbers, how Jews were treated in England at the time, the change from gold to paper money, and more. This is actually the first in a series, and I think I'll check out the next book.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Kristine

    In one word, disappointing. The book itself, I feel was well-written, but this was such a disappointment as a mystery. Not only did it not keep me interested, but the ending left everything to be desired. I think what upset me the most is that the character that I believed to be the villian at the beginning of the novel turned out to be the villian at the end of the novel......trust me, I'm not that bright. However, if this book is viewed as Historical Fiction, then I would give it a much higher In one word, disappointing. The book itself, I feel was well-written, but this was such a disappointment as a mystery. Not only did it not keep me interested, but the ending left everything to be desired. I think what upset me the most is that the character that I believed to be the villian at the beginning of the novel turned out to be the villian at the end of the novel......trust me, I'm not that bright. However, if this book is viewed as Historical Fiction, then I would give it a much higher rating. Again, I felt the story was well-written, and I enjoyed the main character/protagonist, until the very end, when I thought he was much more principled than what his actions turned out to be. I don't think I would recommend this book to anyone. I found it interesting that the author added at the end that this novel was based on true events.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Suzanne

    David Liss is one of my favorite historical fiction authors, and A Conspiracy of Paper, his first novel, did not disappoint. Taking place in 18th century London, Benjamin Weaver, a Jew and former boxer, is asked to investigate his own father's death. The novel takes us to the heart of the early London Stock Market, to Jonathan's Coffee House - where stock jobbers engage in the business of the day. This wonderful book gives an incredible insight to the social and business consequences of early tr David Liss is one of my favorite historical fiction authors, and A Conspiracy of Paper, his first novel, did not disappoint. Taking place in 18th century London, Benjamin Weaver, a Jew and former boxer, is asked to investigate his own father's death. The novel takes us to the heart of the early London Stock Market, to Jonathan's Coffee House - where stock jobbers engage in the business of the day. This wonderful book gives an incredible insight to the social and business consequences of early trading - including the notorious South Sea Company insider trading scandal that eventually brought down the British economy. Liss is truly a master of historical fiction, and this mystery deserves every one of the five stars I give to it.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Dannelle

    I wasn't a huge fan of this book. There was nothing necessarily wrong with the novel other than I felt it was forgettable. This was supposed to be a suspense book filled with mystery and murder but I was not at all invested in the characters or the story. I found myself putting the book down for long periods of time and not having an urge to pick it up and find out who did it. The reading itself was enjoyable enough but I just felt like there was alot of back and forth and not enough progression I wasn't a huge fan of this book. There was nothing necessarily wrong with the novel other than I felt it was forgettable. This was supposed to be a suspense book filled with mystery and murder but I was not at all invested in the characters or the story. I found myself putting the book down for long periods of time and not having an urge to pick it up and find out who did it. The reading itself was enjoyable enough but I just felt like there was alot of back and forth and not enough progression throughout the 400 pages. I wouldn't read it again. Probably won't recommend it to others. In all honesty I will probably forget in a few months that I even read this book at all.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Cindy Friend

    I give it 2.5 stars. It was just okay for me. I will admit that several times I started to write a review and kept coming up short. I found the myriad connections between characters confusing and the details of stock forgery boring. I could not get into the story; my mind kept wandering because the book failed to hold my interest. On the upside, I did like the protagonist Ben Weaver and his best friend Elias Gordon. The rest of the characters were interchangeable (in my opinion). I wanted to lik I give it 2.5 stars. It was just okay for me. I will admit that several times I started to write a review and kept coming up short. I found the myriad connections between characters confusing and the details of stock forgery boring. I could not get into the story; my mind kept wandering because the book failed to hold my interest. On the upside, I did like the protagonist Ben Weaver and his best friend Elias Gordon. The rest of the characters were interchangeable (in my opinion). I wanted to like this book but just couldn't get there. Note: I am not a big fan of books set in 18th century London. I simply don't care for the pre-Victorian style of dress and communication.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Waverly Fitzgerald

    I was thrilled to discover this series of historical mysteries by David Liss because he writes the sort of rich, immersive historical fiction I love. The story is set in 18th century London and told by Benjamin Weaver, a Jew who has also been a professional fighter and is now a thief-taker. He writes about his adventures in first person, and the language has the quality of the time. Weaver is like a PI, in that people come to him for help, and these requests trigger his actions. In this novel, w I was thrilled to discover this series of historical mysteries by David Liss because he writes the sort of rich, immersive historical fiction I love. The story is set in 18th century London and told by Benjamin Weaver, a Jew who has also been a professional fighter and is now a thief-taker. He writes about his adventures in first person, and the language has the quality of the time. Weaver is like a PI, in that people come to him for help, and these requests trigger his actions. In this novel, which is the first in the series, he is looking into the alleged murders of his father and his father's partner. Liss was studying 18th century finance, particularly the South Sea Bubble, in graduate school and he uses this novel to explore what it was like to live in a world where stock-trading, bonds and lotteries were new and the uncertainty and speculation they encouraged. We have scenes set in the South Sea Company offices and at the Bank of England as well as frenzied stock trading going on in a coffee shop on 'Change Alley. The novel features a lovely widow, a corrupt nobleman, forgeries, murders, trials, bribery, violence and the mastermind of all criminal enterprise in London: Jonathan Wild. If I had any objections, it would be that the book is long and there were times when I was impatient because Weaver was not interviewing the characters I found most interesting: the women. Some notes for my own writing of historical fiction: Balfour's mother had a jointure of separate property settled upon her so she did not have problems when her husband died penniless [a way for a woman to be independent of her husband] A description of the home of a Jewish trader, Weaver's uncle: blues and reds of the Persian rug, the ornate woodwork of the stairs, the austere portraits of grandparents upon the walls. His aunt wears thin black woolen, high in the neck and n long in the sleeve and her hair was piled up, pointing to a small white bonnet upon her crown, like the women in Dutch paintings his cousin, Miriam had a Jewess's coloring--olive skin, black hair, which she let dangle down in ringlets like a fashionable London lady, and rich green eyes. She wears a gown of sea-green with yellow petticoats [Such simple descriptions of clothing, but so effective] I also learned the word millionaire had just been coined, by the French.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Sarah Booth

    While not a huge fan of historical fiction, I found I couldn’t put the book down. Liss writes quite a brilliant bit of intrigue and characters that keep you guessing as to their motivations. Ben Weaver is a fascinating protagonist that is a mix of actions from honest morals and a display of flying meat hooks. It was a very captivating read which leaves you guessing until the end, but also teaches you a little something about the basics of stock exchange finance and what actually happened in hist While not a huge fan of historical fiction, I found I couldn’t put the book down. Liss writes quite a brilliant bit of intrigue and characters that keep you guessing as to their motivations. Ben Weaver is a fascinating protagonist that is a mix of actions from honest morals and a display of flying meat hooks. It was a very captivating read which leaves you guessing until the end, but also teaches you a little something about the basics of stock exchange finance and what actually happened in history with South Sea and how their bubble burst.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Karl

    This is the first David Liss book I have read and it won't be the last...A complicated historical thriller, full of adventure and intrigue. It is about the birth of the stock exchange in a colorful London, England setting in the early 1700's and the conniving, deceit and corruption of its players. The writer pays much attention to historical details and uses a flavored eighteenth-century prose writing style. I love everything about this book; the history, the believable characters and the myster This is the first David Liss book I have read and it won't be the last...A complicated historical thriller, full of adventure and intrigue. It is about the birth of the stock exchange in a colorful London, England setting in the early 1700's and the conniving, deceit and corruption of its players. The writer pays much attention to historical details and uses a flavored eighteenth-century prose writing style. I love everything about this book; the history, the believable characters and the mystery. Apparently, not much has changed in today's world of economics and finance.... My rating is 4.5 stars.

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