I’ll admit that I was a bit reluctant to start this book even though I was intrigued enough to request it from the LT ER program (especially when I have such amazing reading material coming out of my ears at the moment), but once I did, I was completely charmed by the devil-may-care attitude of Ethan and the raw determination and clever machinations of Joan. I found their fictional stories, intertwined with real historical events and personalities, compelling reading. Author David Liss has an impressive talent for making history, even something as potentially boring as 18th century finance, really come alive. Joan sets out to write a novel, but she ends up living one – and a very good one at that.
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
It’s difficult to distill everything that’s going on in this novel into a short summary, but I’ll try. Basically, it follows two plotlines which merge in the later part of the novel. One is narrated by the disgraced (and drunk) former Revolutionary War spy Ethan Saunders as he seeks to aid a former sweetheart and gets involved in trying to stop a plot against the US Treasury. The other is narrated by Joan Maycott who together with her husband, also a war veteran, try to improve their lot on the frontier by coming up with a new whisky recipe (which proves so popular that the government decides to tax it to raise funds).