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Publisher's Summary

Benjamin Weaver, the quick-witted pugilist turned private investigator, who was first introduced in the Edgar Award-winning novel, The Conspiracy of Paper, returns.While inquiring into some threatening notes sent to a Church of England priest, Weaver is arrested for the murder of a dockworker. After his conviction, engineered by a crooked judge who has blatantly instructed the jury to disregard the truth, Weaver escapes from prison, intent upon proving his innocence.Meanwhile, Great Britain is reeling from a financial scandal that has sent the economy into a downward spiral; it is also preparing for a general parliamentary election - an event that happens only every seven years. Not generally someone to get caught up in politics, Benjamin Weaver finds himself caught in the crossfire of election trickery as he attempts to clear his name.The question remains, however: What good is proving his innocence, again, when having done so once only resulted in conviction? Instead, he is determined to work against his enemies and learn their secrets to try to discover why he has been singled out for this prosecution. The most likely engineer of his ruin is Dennis Dogmill, a tobacco importer and the election agent of the Whig candidate for the Westminster Parliamentary seat. Dogmill's opponent, and Weaver's unlikely ally, is Griffin Melbury, the Tory candidate and the husband of his cousin's widow, Miriam, whom Weaver once sought to marry.To discover the truth about the plot against him, Weaver disguises himself as a newly returned West Indian plantation owner. He must integrate himself with London society and political manipulators in order to learn the truth.
©2004 David Liss; (P)2004 Brilliance Audio, Inc.
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
3 out of 5 stars
By Harley on 06-19-12


This story just didn't hold my attention, Even when I replayed the recording when I realized my mind had wandered I just could not stay with the story. Benjamin Weaver just seems to be excessively tooting his own horn in every adventure he relates. How he treats his friends makes my wonder why he has any friends. There was something there because I am going to listen to the second book of the series.

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2 of 2 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Frank on 05-27-11

Very Good Story, Read by an Extraordinary Narrator

This is my second David Liss novel -- the first was the equally impressive "The Coffee Trader," whose main character is also a Jew living among Gentiles -- in that case, a former Portuguese commodities broker living among the Dutch, while the protagonist here is Benjamin Weaver, a "thief taker" (someone who hires himself out to retrieve stolen property from the thief -- shades of Travis McGee in the John D. MacDonald series!) living in 1620s London, who finds himself first wrongfully accused and then wrongfully convicted of murder. (Weaver may be a distant relative of the protagonist in "The Coffee Trader," as Liss drops a hint that they both share the same family name from their Portuguese roots.)

Liss does an excellent job recreating the historical period in which this story is set, and weaves an engrossing story despite the somewhat obscure political hijinks that give rise to the main character's difficulties. Despite choosing such unfamiliar terrain -- a scheme involving "Whigs," "Jacobites," and "Tories" -- the book's introduction gives a helpful "road map" to the main historical intrigues, so that they become part of the background of the story, which can thereafter be followed with relative ease. Weaver himself is not the most admirable of main characters, but it's in keeping with the fairly rough profession he's in.

Still, the real prize here is the extraordinary talent of Michael Page, who's as good as having a full cast performance. Page is like the Mel Blanc of narrators, effortlessly sliding between patrician, plebian, Londoner, Irishman, Scotsman, and a host of other voices. Each character's voice is distinctive and memorable, which also helps you to keep your place in the complicated narrative. It's a shame this is the only one of Liss' novels that's he's read, because Page could make the phone book sound interesting. If you like historical fiction, this is a good bet, and you can never go wrong with this narrator.

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2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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