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#204 ~ The Devil’s Company

Cover of The Devil's Company

The Devil’s Company by David Liss

The Devil’s Company is the third in David Liss’ Benjamin Weaver series.  Weaver is a thief-take and former boxer of some repute in 18th century London.  In this installment, which was my first, we find Weaver at a loss when he discovers himself in a great deal of debt to one of his customers.  Not only did this customer, one Mr. Cobb, purposefully create this scenario to keep Weaver in his debt, he bought up the debts of Weaver’s beloved uncle, good friend, and acquaintance.  While Weaver did nothing to create this situation, he feels morally responsible for the detrimental financial impact this situation has caused.  He is forced, then, to accept an assignment he had previously turned down – to break into the highly guarded offices of the East India Company and steal documentation for an upcoming meeting.  Unfortunately, this isn’t the last of what Mr. Cobb requires and he keeps Weaver in the dark on his ultimate purposes.  In order to free himself and his friends and loved ones from Mr. Cobb’s grip, Weaver has to fight to keep Mr. Cobb happy while working behind the scenes to discover what he really wants and seek his revenge.

18th_cent_londonThis novel was a breath of fresh air for me for this period of London’s history.  Other novels set in this same time and place, most recently The Brothers Boswell, have been dry and quite slow.  Liss’ story is not only fast paced and continually interesting, but the dialog, most specifically the banter between Weaver and his good friend, Elias, made this novel so enjoyable.  The style of speech and the relative formality of personal interactions felt authentic to the time period, but I had no difficulty putting myself in the same room or following along with the characters as they walked down the road.  While I can’t say that I would have wanted to live during that time, I feel as though I visited there.

The Devil’s Company is more than just a mystery with a scrappy hero.  It delves into the connections between big business and governmental power.  While the East India Company is a huge giant carrying a big stick doing what it can to keep its market share and put down any type of government interference, this novel discussed the relationship between a governments need for power and security and the wealth and stability of big multi-national companies.  It is interesting to think that you can bring down a world power by attacking its wealthiest private companies.  If those companies in turn treat the people as disposable waste, where should you hold your loyalty?

Having never read any of David Liss’ previous work, I wasn’t sure what to expect.  He is a talented writer who has created memorable and, most importantly, realistic characters.  I previously bought a copy of his novel The Coffee Trader as it takes place in Amsterdam.  I am eager to read it now because of the author.  I also want to read A Conspiracy of Paper and A Spectacle of Corruption, the first two novels in this series Benjamin Weaver is such a great character I want to read his complete back story.  With The Devil’s Company, I have found a new historical novelist that I love to explore.  What a gem is that?

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earlyreviewersSpecial thanks to LibraryThing and Random House for providing me a copy of this book.  I was lucky enough to snag it  through LibraryThing’s Early Reviewer program.

Access to the Early Reviewers program is just one of the many reasons why I use LibraryThing to catalog my books online.  You should check it out.

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This is my second review for the R.I.P. Challenge.

rip4300

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To buy this novel, click here.

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13 Comments

  • At 2009.10.09 21:00, Belle said:

    This sounds like such a good read. I don’t really read a lot of historical fiction, but I really love historical mysteries.

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    • At 2009.10.09 21:25, Nicole said:

      I see this one every time that I go to the book store so I am glad to hear that it’s worth checking out. I have been on a historical fiction kick lately. A friend asked me for some recommendations today and it was a hard time for me to tell her anything contemporary.

      • At 2009.10.09 21:57, softdrink said:

        Fast paced, huh? I read The Coffee Trader a few years ago and found it slow and ummmm, well, boring. But that’s just me! You’re more of a historical fiction fan, so I’m wondering what you’ll think of it.

        • At 2009.10.10 07:55, lilly said:

          I have never read any of his books but it sounds like a fun historical mystery and I am always ready for those, especially if they are part of a series.

          • At 2009.10.10 08:29, Jennifer said:

            Belle, I thought this was an interesting historical mystery. I’m hoping to read the first one in this series in the next couple of months.

            Nicole, I go through phases with historical fiction, too. I generally like it a lot and read it a lot and can’t think of much else.

            Softdrink, Oh no!!! Don’t say that you didn’t like The Coffee Trader. I did read somewhere that someone else liked his Benjamin Weaver series better than his stand alone books. I’ll have to read The Coffee Trader – which is about my people (a.k.a. the Dutch) and see what I think.

            Lilly, I would definitely suggest this historical mystery series based on this third book. I can’t wait to read the first two.

            • At 2009.10.11 05:11, Marg said:

              I have been meaning to read this author for ages! I think I have even had one of the books out from the library but had to return it unread. I am pretty sure I would enjoy it if I ever got to it!

              • At 2009.10.11 08:42, Elisabet V said:

                Jennifer,
                I just wanted to thank you for the book I just received and I do enjoy the bookmarks.
                Elisabet

                • At 2009.10.11 21:10, Fyrefly said:

                  This sounded really good, but I didn’t realize it was part of a series… I really like historical fiction set in 1800s and early 1900s London, so this series sounds like it would be a good match.

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                  • At 2009.10.12 14:03, Jen - Devourer of Books said:

                    I really liked the one David Liss I read, The Whiskey Rebels, so I should be on the lookout for this one as well.

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                    • At 2009.10.12 14:41, carol said:

                      This is another one that’s sitting on my shelf just waiting for me to read it.

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                      • At 2009.10.13 05:10, Veens said:

                        I haven’t read anything about this era in London’s History! I must read something, as the great East India Company was that came to India and conquered and ruled Indians for many years.

                        Well I will surely try and get this book!

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                        • At 2009.10.16 13:43, Serena (Savvy Verse & Wit) said:

                          Sounds like a good book and fast-paced…cool.

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                          • At 2009.11.27 17:39, readerbuzz said:

                            I’ve never won anything from LibraryThing. Nothing.

                            Perhaps I should try again….

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