24 June 2010

Book Banter -- The Whiskey Rebels

Title: The Whiskey Rebels
Author: David Liss
Genre: Historical fiction
Length: ~500 pages
Where Word Nerd's Copy Came From: Her personal collection

Plot Basics: Late 1780s America -- the Revolutionary War has been one, the country is expanding and an investment craze is underway as the new Bank of the United States is formed. Unconcerned with banks, Ethan Saunders a spy during the war, would be content to drink his days away, disgraced now as a supposed traitor. But when the woman he would have married asks for his help, Ethan stumbles into a plot that he can't let go. Someone, it seems, would sink the Bank before it gets off the ground, financially ruining his young country. Ethan puts the spy craft he knows so well to work to unravel the conspiracy.

Banter Points: Word Nerd heard Liss on a panel at Bouchercon 2009 and put this book on her TBR list. She's getting more into historical fiction and the Revolutionary War period and shortly thereafter has always been a time that interested her. While she vaguely remembers reading about the Whiskey Rebellion during AP American History in high school, not remembering the details didn't hurt this story at all. What makes this book is how amazingly modern the plot is -- it's about stock market and people betting against investment futures... the same kind of scheme that's got guys on trial today. Ethan is a great voice for telling this story as he is not a man of means or power, but doesn't want to see money sink his country.

Bummer Points: Word Nerd took this book as her airplane book on vacation and it's not really a good airplane book. The plot is fascinating, but sometimes Liss descends into long explanatory passages that don't do much to make the time go by when feeling stuck in a window seat at 30,000 feet.

Word Nerd Recommendation: If you like historical fiction (of the non-romantic kind) this is a good read. Also, an interesting mystery-style book all built around greed, not murder.

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