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The Devil's Company    by David Liss order for
Devil's Company
by David Liss
Order:  USA  Can
Random House, 2010 (2009)
Hardcover, Softcover, e-Book

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* * *   Reviewed by Mary Ann Smyth

David Liss, author of the bestsellers A Conspiracy of Paper and The Whiskey Rebels, now presents his readers with another historical thriller, The Devil's Company. And what a thriller it is!

Benjamin Weaver, an 18th century thieftaker, reluctantly becomes an employee of the mysterious Jerome Cobb. Weaver is to act as a security man at British East India Company's headquarters in London. In reality, Cobb has coerced him to take this job to find out anything he can about a man named Absalom Pepper, who has apparently drowned and left at least three widows! Cobb has procured loans outstanding against Weaver's uncle and two friends to keep his attentions in the right place.

Eighteenth century London is fascinating. I know some of it might not be appreciated by the fastidious 21st century reader, but what a thrill it is to stroll the streets of old London and see it as it was yesterday. The East India Company held great sway at that time how much I never realized. The history of the company proved enthralling. And simply underlines the fact that corruption is not a modern day invention.

A convoluted plot ties all together at the ending. Suspense oozes from every page and action then takes over to keep the reader guessing at every turn. Who can the bad guys be? Is Weaver, in his position of employee of the East India Company, putting himself and others in jeopardy? Who is the young woman who speaks in the patois of the streets and then becomes a more commanding figure using the King's English? All in all, Liss's latest is a thrilling tome that's not to be missed.

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