The Whiskey Rebels

  • by David Liss
  • Narrated by Christopher Lane
  • 18 hrs and 29 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Ethan Saunders, once among General Washington's most valued spies, now lives in disgrace, haunting the taverns of Philadelphia. An accusation of treason has long since cost him his reputation and his beloved fiancée, Cynthia Pearson, but at his most desperate moment he is recruited for an unlikely task: finding Cynthia's missing husband.To help her, Saunders must serve his old enemy, Treasury Secretary Alexander Hamilton, who is engaged in a bitter power struggle with political rival Thomas Jefferson over the creation of the fragile young nation's first real financial institution: the Bank of the United States.Meanwhile, Joan Maycott is a young woman married to another Revolutionary War veteran. With the new states unable to support their ex-soldiers, the Maycotts make a desperate gamble: trade the chance of future payment for the hope of a better life on the western Pennsylvania frontier.There, amid hardship and deprivation, they find unlikely friendship and a chance for prosperity with a new method of distilling whiskey. But on an isolated frontier, whiskey is more than a drink; it is currency and power, and the Maycotts' success attracts the brutal attention of men in Hamilton's orbit, men who threaten to destroy all Joan holds dear.As their causes intertwine, Joan and Saunders - both patriots in their own way - find themselves on opposing sides of a daring scheme that will forever change their lives and their new country.The Whiskey Rebels is a superb rendering of a perilous age and a nation nearly torn apart - and David Liss's most powerful novel yet.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

In My Top 10 - Maybe Top 5 At Audible

I've bought way too many books at Audible through the years. Some were unreadable. Some nearly so. A good many we're entertaining, or educational, or thought provoking. Every once in a while though I've lucked out. Not just a good book. A great book. And not just a good narrator. But the perfect narrator for this tale.

This is historical fiction at its best. Before I read this book I was vaguely aware of the Whiskey Rebellion. I knew it was tied to the first US banking system. Knew Alexander Hamilton played a roll and assumed if Hamilton was involved Burr was probably close by. Reading this novel gave me enough facts, names and dates that I was easily able to find out far more about this important moment in history with relatively little work.

But the best attribute of this book wasn't its foundation of real events and real people. It was the master story telling. Liss weaves an incredibly intriguing and entertaining yarn. The main character was an erudite wastrel who was drummed out of Washington's army on fabricated espionage accusations. He looses everything that gives his life meaning, becomes a drunk and an embarrassment, is so desperate to keep the one friend he has, his slave, he avoids admitting he'd freed him, in order to keep him close by. He tries to seduce the wife of the only other person who befriends him and under his friends roof. But he has a wonderful sense of humor, is clearly brilliant and an amazing escape artist. Most amazing though is the process of redemption the author leads him through in the course of the book. You have to love this guy.

The other narrator, a woman is brilliant as well. Attractive, cunning and a master manipulator - a role often left to men in novels, which is shame because she shows how entertaining it can be to watch a woman fool so many smart men as she pulls all the strings and choreographs every step everyone takes while they are oblivious to her total control. She is not redeemed. But she takes such joy in her love of revenge and devising the most complicated plans to achieving that revenge that redemption would be anticlimactic and somewhat disappointing.

The secondary characters were all well defined, all colorful and all helped move the plot along.

You don't have to be an expert in 18th century economics to follow the plot. I never understood the six and four preventers but this never affected my enjoyment of the book or understanding of where the plot was going. As the story unfolds, through each twist and
turn of the plot I stopped worrying about what I didn't understand. Since I could never guess what would happen next, understanding the technical details was of little use.

The narrator was great. Not someone I was families with. But his was the perfect voice for this book. I will seek out other books he narrates.

I heartily recommend this book.
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- Lulu "I ignore genre labels. Some of my favorite books are outside my genre comfort zone. Listening to audiobooks is still reading. Not theater."

Engaging

I bought this on a whim and I am glad I did. Good characters. I enjoyed ol' Captain Ethan Saunders. His comments on his own faults and views on women were humorous. He is truly a scoundrel, but oh so lovable. I realize this is a mix of fact and fiction but it makes me want to look into the era a little deeper to understand the facts of the day. This is a part of history I had never really thought about, but now want to know more. This is what I like in a book, to be enthralled, wish it never ends and want more when it is done. Good writing, good narration.
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- Tamara

Book Details

  • Release Date: 09-30-2008
  • Publisher: Brilliance Audio