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The Whiskey Rebels by David Liss
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The Whiskey Rebels (2008)

by David Liss

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This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
If you enjoy well researched historical novels, this one is for you. The storyline centers around the real life events of the 1790s and features historical figures such as Washington, Hamilton and Burr. The plot contains many intricate twists and turns that are rewarding for the reader. Highly recommend. ( )
  ficmuse | Mar 19, 2014 |
Joan Maycott's story begins in the summer of 1781 and Ethan Saunders story begins in 1792. In 1791 their stories begin to collide and these two people, both of whom love their country, find themselves on opposite sides in a struggle for the country as Alexander Hamilton seeks to establish a firm banking system.

There is lots (over 500 pages worth) of love, betrayal, suspense and even murder.

David Liss has written four other books that I have enjoyed and this one makes the fifth. He has a wonderful way of making a historical novel seem as if you were there. ( )
  mysterymax | Jan 5, 2014 |
I was thoroughly enjoying this book and then the ending left me flat. Too much violence and a sense of futility. ( )
  Your_local_coyote | Dec 29, 2013 |
I had a hard time getting into this one, but after I did, I enjoyed the main characters. Ethan and Joan are fully-developed people with complex motivations and consistent traits who nonetheless evolve in some surprising ways. Their gradual transformations throughout the book were my favorite parts.

I found the discussions of economics and finance tedious and confusing. There were so many complex plots and double agents, some of whom only appeared occasionally, that I had a hard time keeping track. I also didn't really like the way the western frontier was portrayed, though I may be biased as a loyal Pittsburgher who doesn't like to see my homeland disparaged. I expected the book to follow the adventures of the frontiersmen making the whiskey and carving out a living in the woods, not the trades of speculators sitting in Philadelphia coffeehouses.

Still, a detailed and lively portrayal of the early days of our nation, complete with strong main characters and an adequate supporting cast. ( )
  readrunandrepeat | Apr 3, 2013 |
The book started off slow for me, but it ended up with a really nice plot and had very interesting characters. I listened to this one on audiotape, but it probably would have been better to read because it skips around in time and alternates chapters between characters. That type of book is usually easier in hard copy than on audio tape. ( )
  dgmlrhodes | Oct 9, 2011 |
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For Elinor and Simon.
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It was rainy and cold outside, miserable weather, and though I had not left my boardinghouse determined to die, things were now different.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Book description
David Liss’s bestselling historical thrillers, including A Conspiracy of Paper and The Coffee Trader, have been called remarkable and rousing: the perfect combination of scrupulous research and breathless excitement. Now Liss delivers his best novel yet in an entirely new setting–America in the years after the Revolution, an unstable nation where desperate schemers vie for wealth, power, and a chance to shape a country’s destiny.

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 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.
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Ethan Saunders, a former spy for George Washington, is recruited by Alexander Hamilton to find his ex-fiancee's missing husband. Meanwhile, Joan Maycott and her veteran husband, amid hardship and deprivation on the western Pennsylvania frontier, find unlikely friendship and a chance for prosperity with a new method of distilling whiskey. The Maycotts' success however 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.… (more)

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