Friday, April 2, 2010

The Devil's Company-David Liss

The Devil's Company
David Liss
Ballantine, Apr 20 2010, $15.00
ISBN: 9780812974522

In 1722 London, wealthy Jerome Cobb hires thief-taker Benjamin Weaver to investigate the death of Absalom Pepper though not explainingwhy. The more Benjamin digs the less he finds on the victim. However, others do not appreciate his inquiry and tell him so; some with Benjamin’s fists in their faces.

Benjamin learns of his client’s enemy list and begins to wonder if Cobb is a bit crazy. Meanwhile as his uncle Miguel Lienzo complains about a lost shipment from the continent, Benjamin finds himself looking closely into the books of the influential East India Company and facing a big loss with the Cobb contract, Weaver soon learns that commercial espionage is everywhere and politicians are for sale as once again the thief-taker finds himself in the center of A Spectacle of Corruption; the pre-industrial -political-aristocratic complex does what it wants.

Loaded with plenty of detail yet filled with action, readers obtain a powerful look at finance in early eighteenth century style that parallels what has happened in the last few years. Ironically the East India Company is too big to fail yet in trouble die to corruption, bad deals, and selling of secrets in the “global economy” to rivals. The Devil’s Company is a superb complicated but timely economics historical thriller.

Harriet Klausner

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