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A Conspiracy Of Paper (Benjamin Weaver #1)

3.87  ·  Rating details ·  9,118 Ratings  ·  744 Reviews
A fool and his money are soon parted--and nowhere so quickly as in the stock market, it would seem. In David Liss's ambitious first novel, A Conspiracy of Paper, the year is 1719 and the place London, where human greed, apparently, operated then in much the same manner as it does today. Liss focuses his intricate tale of murder, money, and conspiracy on Benjamin Weaver, ex ...more
Paperback, 506 pages
Published October 5th 2000 by Little Brown (first published 2000)
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Paul Iain Pears An instance of the fingerpost. Also his art history mysteries, although the latter are not too similar to Davis Liss.
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Jul 01, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A well researched and well written historical fiction mystery set in 1719 in Britain. I learned a lot about the early stock exchange and the scheming and conniving that you may imagine accompanied it. This was a complicated tale where our main character Benjamin Weaver is tossed on the seas of economic intrigue, caught between the Bank of England, the South Seas company and the machinations of the London underworld.
Definitely looking forward to reading the rest of the series.
Allie Riley
Feb 24, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The level of scholarship in this highly entertaining and very well written historical murder mystery is, in my view, on a par with that master of the historical genre, Peter Ackroyd. Given the potential dryness of the subject matter (the birth of the stock exchange as we know it and the first crash - the so-called South Sea Bubble) it is extraordinarily enjoyable.

Benjamin Weaver (ne Lienzo) is a Londoner with a colourful past who now earns his living as a thief-taker in 18th century London (in t
Richard Derus
Aug 08, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Rating: 3.9* of five

The Publisher Says: Benjamin Weaver is an outsider in eighteenth-century London: a Jew among Christians; a ruffian among aristocrats; a retired pugilist who, hired by London's gentry, travels through the criminal underworld in pursuit of debtors and thieves.

In A Conspiracy of Paper, Weaver investigates a crime of the most personal sort: the mysterious death of his estranged father, a notorious stockjobber. To find the answers, Weaver must contend with a desperate prostitute w
Feb 17, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
David Liss is an elegant and witty writer (which is how I like my authors). The Whiskey Rebels is one of my favorite books. Because I didn't love this one quite as much, it gets 4 stars instead of 5.

That being said....I absolutely adored the protagonist in this book (former pugilist Benjamin Weaver) who was, of course, smart, brawny and witty which is how I love my men.

I learned a lot about stockjobbery and Exchange Alley ('Change Alley) in 1719 London. I had never thought about how confusing i
Feb 27, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: mystery/thriller fans
Recommended to Jeri by: book club
As Benjamin Weaver investigates the suspicious death of a local gentleman, he discoveries that the mystery has far too many ties to his own past. Weaver struggles to learn the intricacies of the "stock-jobber" system while confronted with a possibly-murdered father of his own, an estranged family, an interfering crime-boss and a beautiful young widow.

The protagonist, Ben Weaver, is just my kind of hero. He's tough and masculine without being a brute and manages to show some sensitivity and brain
Mar 10, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: book-club
I think I loved everything about this book - the time period, the main character, the history, the scandal, the mystery. So it's about a boxer turned thief turned thief taker who is trying to uncover the mystery behind his father's not so accidental death. Much of the story revolves around financial issues, which I really enjoyed. I love finance and economics and put together with a mystery?!? Brilliant.

I thought the author did a great job unraveling the whole mystery. Most of the time I felt Be
Apr 07, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Excellent historical fiction - the writer has extensive knowledge, but does not forget the plot or character development, and does not drown you in unnecessary details. It has some scenes I would've cut out were I its editor, and some repetitive moments, and could've been tighter, but it is quite unputdownable and very enjoyable, and I've learned a lot about an economic crisis I had no previous knowledge about.
Apr 10, 2009 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
It was a good-enough read, but it didn't immediately pull me in. I felt like the author kept trying to over-stress certain aspects of the story just in case the reader didn't take note of them, which evoked my response as: "Okay, I get it, can we move on now?" What I learned about the beginnings of the stock market and paper money was interesting, though.

One major thorn that kept preventing me from enjoying this story more fully was how sometimes I would reason a conclusion from what I thought t
Tempo de Ler
Benjamin Weaver, judeu de ascendência portuguesa, ex-pugilista, conta-nos como, em 1719, se viu a braços com a investigação do (possível) assassinato do próprio pai. Pouco estudioso e sem interesse algum nos negócios do pai, há muito que Weaver virou as costas à família e aos rituais do seu povo... até agora. Apesar de o mundo do crime fazer parte do seu curioso meio de subsistência, Weaver não estava preparado para a complexidade desta investigação. 

Com as suas pesquisas Weaver acaba por expor
Well, I would have failed miserably (but gladly) if I had wished to start 2013 with a drier read!

This book held promise, especially at the start, but then it went on and on and on like the Energizer bunny walking in ultra slow motion without a slightest indication of stopping in any discernible future. The last 50-60 pages were good, but the only thing that I felt when I turned the last page was of profound relief.

I was planning to read his other book, The Whiskey Rebels as soon as possible, b
Benjamin Weaver is a man with a curious trade. Having left the family business years ago, in his early days he earned acclaim for his skills as a boxer, introducing a 'scientific' approach to the sport and retiring only after breaking his leg. Now he uses his intelligence and strength to different ends, serving as a quasi-detective and bill collector, sorting through mysteries, hunting down thieves, and flushing out debtors. Now Balfour, a jumped-up merchantman with delusions of nobility, is dem ...more
Dec 13, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Miss Karen Jean Martinson
I'm on a kick here with people who write really amazing books while doing other really amazing things. At least Liss was completing a PhD in English while writing a piece of literature - mind you, I couldn't write a piece of fiction while finishing my PhD (I had enough with finishing the PhD, and don't even get me started on these final revisions...) - but, like, books and English PhDs go together at least.

Anyhoo, I read the Spectacle of Corruption first, so I'm totally out of order, but both bo
Sep 29, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
One of the rich rewards of reading well written historical fiction is that, if it achieves the proper balance, it not only entertains but is painlessly edifying. This novel fits the bill. Set in early 18th century London we are introduced to Benjamin Lienzo, a Sephardic Jew who has changed his name to Benjamin Weaver and gained notoriety as a pugilist. After sustaining an injury that chronically compromised his athletic skill he has become a “thief-taker”, a profession somewhat akin to a modern ...more
Jenny Vaughan
Oct 11, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the book that introduced me to Benjamin Weaver, who stars in all my favorite books by David Liss. Full of exciting intrigue and adventure, Liss also paints what I think it is a pretty historically accurate picture of London in…well, whenever this book is set (Liss seems to be fairly respected as a historian, or at least as a writer of historical fiction). Liss builds a believable world, detailed and socially complex. The story is told in the first person by a really likeable protagonist ...more
Let me start by saying that I never in my wildest dreams thought I would give anything "historical fiction" five stars. With that said, I absolutely loved this book after I set aside my prejudices against the genre and got past the first 75 pages or so. It was a difficult read for me in many ways, no fault of the author. I'm just not used to reading historical books that contain a lot of events the reader needs to keep up with. I learned a lot of new words and got a lot of practice following a b ...more
Feb 26, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2008
What a surprising book! A bit mystery financial thriller and a bit historical fiction that starts a little slow but once the plot is set up, really moves with twists and turns galore. It really kept me guessing and I love it when that happens. The protagonist is one of my favorites of all time I think. One thing that was embarrassing for me: I have lived in Portugal and England and prided myself for knowing a little more than the average American about their histories so I was really embarrassed ...more
Apr 25, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2010, 2014
Long as it was, this was a uniformly satisfying read--a deeply imagined historial novel that is also a mystery that teaches you something about the roots of modern finance. I'd read two of Liss's other novels before this one, which was his debut, but I actually thought this one was was the best.

Liss's 1720 London is a colorful environment. I think the description stands out in part because so many historical novels are written about women or in the voice of women; the settings are mostly in hom
May 24, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It took me quite a long time to read this book, but I'm glad I stuck with it. I wasn't able to concentrate well when I first began it; so I just read a chapter or so at a time. But as I got into the later chapters, I became more interested. First, one of the reasons I read and like historical fiction is to learn about life I other eras. Liss is eminently qualified to write about England in the 1700s. One thing, I learned is that life in London was dangerous, filthy, and corrupt. Then, I learned ...more
In England in the early 1700's Benjamin Weaver is a retired Boxer, whose new profession is to retrieve stolen goods for people. His father has recently died, and a man comes to him, whose own father has recently died, and says that he believes that both of their fathers were murdered because they were trying to uncover information about the South Seas company, who wants to replace The Bank of England.

Benjamin Weaver tries to investigate, but is instantly in over his head.

Man oh man. If you like
Mar 18, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: No one
Recommended to Kristine by: Book club
In one word, disappointing. The book itself, I feel was well-written, but this was such a disappointment as a mystery. Not only did it not keep me interested, but the ending left everything to be desired. I think what upset me the most is that the character that I believed to be the villian at the beginning of the novel turned out to be the villian at the end of the me, I'm not that bright. However, if this book is viewed as Historical Fiction, then I would give it a much higher ...more
David Liss is one of my favorite historical fiction authors, and A Conspiracy of Paper, his first novel, did not disappoint. Taking place in 18th century London, Benjamin Weaver, a Jew and former boxer, is asked to investigate his own father's death. The novel takes us to the heart of the early London Stock Market, to Jonathan's Coffee House - where stock jobbers engage in the business of the day. This wonderful book gives an incredible insight to the social and business consequences of early tr ...more
Feb 18, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I wasn't a huge fan of this book. There was nothing necessarily wrong with the novel other than I felt it was forgettable. This was supposed to be a suspense book filled with mystery and murder but I was not at all invested in the characters or the story. I found myself putting the book down for long periods of time and not having an urge to pick it up and find out who did it. The reading itself was enjoyable enough but I just felt like there was alot of back and forth and not enough progression ...more
Cindy Friend
I give it 2.5 stars. It was just okay for me. I will admit that several times I started to write a review and kept coming up short. I found the myriad connections between characters confusing and the details of stock forgery boring. I could not get into the story; my mind kept wandering because the book failed to hold my interest. On the upside, I did like the protagonist Ben Weaver and his best friend Elias Gordon. The rest of the characters were interchangeable (in my opinion). I wanted to lik ...more
Roberta Frontini (Blogue FLAMES)
Talvez tenha sido o romance histórico mais divertido que li nos últimos tempos, e nos últimos capítulos é impossível conseguirmos pousá-lo! Aconselho vivamente!
First things first. I was fortunate enough to meet David Liss following a panel discussion at the 2013 San Antonio Book Festival. He was cordial, friendly, but almost the textbook academic nerd. Expected, I suppose, but meeting authors whom seem like they would much rather be locked away in the library always puts a smile on my face...

A great book based on historical fact concerning the beginning of the stock market. I am not typically especially interested in historical fiction. Unless the aut
Jo Anne B
Aug 20, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Wow, this was a long book! But it was such a well done and researched historical fiction novel you couldn't help being drawn into its pages. David Liss is an excellent writer. I loved the atmosphere he recreated of London in the the 1700s. I felt like I know the main charcter Ben Weaver intimately now having spent so much time reading about him trying to solve a mystery.

I was so surprised at the subject matter that this book was about. Banks, stocks, and bonds. Sounds boring. But then there were
Dec 25, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
That this book grew out of Liss' research for for his post-graduate thesis pays off in his attention to detail in how he portrays early 18th Century London and its society. In Benjamin weaver he gives the reader the beginnings of investigator who might actually reach three dimensions.

The above is not quite the slight to Liss' work as it might seem. This is the author's first novel, and there is quite a bit to be covered in this tale. I presume in the following tome's we continue to see Weaver's
Paul Gaya Ochieng Simeon Juma
It is a very interesting book. I enjoyed my time and never regretted a word or a minute of my time I spent with the book. My copy is a Ballantine publication. Ever since I read the 'Garden of the Finzi Continnis' which was from the same publishing house I had this misconception that every other book from there will be wonderful. This one was never a disappointment.

Benjamin Weaver is the main character. The novel is placed in England. It is a crime novel except that the one trying to catch the b
This is a novel that captured my interest and entertained me with the history of London in 1719. The setting was so well developed that I felt I could see the raveges of disease in the prisoners at Newgate Prison and hear the crowd jeer as they taunted a prisoner for being a Jacobite.

Underneath the story, there are lessons for today with the news of political unrest in Egypt and Lybia. This is a time when England was in fear of the French for their support of the deposed King James.

Benjamin Weav
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Casual Readers: A Conspiracy of Paper 102 46 Sep 26, 2013 10:27PM  
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I am a novelist living in San Antonio, Texas, though, for the record, I am not from Texas. I just live here. I have four novels published: A Conspiracy of Paper (which won the Edgar Award for Best First Novel) and A Spectacle of Corruption were both national bestsellers. They are set in 18th century London and feature Benjamin Weaver, a Jewish former pugilist, thief-taker for hire. Weaver will be ...more
More about David Liss...

Other Books in the Series

Benjamin Weaver (4 books)
  • A Spectacle of Corruption (Benjamin Weaver, #2)
  • The Devil's Company (Benjamin Weaver #3)
  • The Day of Atonement

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“Proximity, I have learned, is often as effective as violence.” 2 likes
“I mean no disrespect to the gentlemen of the bench, but it is no secret that our system of justice, praised throughout Europe for its severity and its swiftness, is a terrible and fearful thing, and no man, guilty or innocent, wishes to stand before it.” 1 likes
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