AUTHOR: David Liss
This book is a prequel of sorts to the author's first book, A Conspiracy of Paper. The main character, Miguel Lienzo, having escaped Spain and the Inquisition, is the trader of the title and an ancestor of the protagonist in the aforementioned first book. Living in Amsterdam, in 1659, with other displaced Jews, he is now able to practice his religion. To ply his trade, he often crosses lines set by the Ma'amad, the group of elected leaders in the Jewish community who set lifestyle rules and protect the community from anyone wishing to do them harm.
Having lost his funds and ruined his reputation in a deal gone wrong, Miguel is forced to live in his brother's flood-prone basement, a bad situation made worse by the enmity between the brothers and by Miguel's growing affection for his brother's wife. So, when a Dutch widow he's befriended wants to partner with him in a scheme to make a fortune in trading the new drink made from coffee berries, Miguel agrees, setting in motion a twisty endeavor full of intrigue and betrayal.
I haven't really read historical fiction set in this time period, so it made for an interesting read. And Lisss's pacing and plot twists kept me turning pages.