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The Devil's Company by David Liss

The Devil's Company - David Liss

Synopsis: 17th century London, Benjamin Weaver, ex-boxer, thieftaker and general rogue is blackmailed by a mysterious figure into investigating a plot surrounding the East India Trade Company. Conspiracies on conspiracies abound, as Weaver investigates.

 

Review: I'm a fan enough of this book that I will definitely read at least another of Liss' books, although there were some problems. Start with the good: as a historical thriller, the detail of old London is firmly on display here (although I cannot testify as to its accuracy; I am no history scholar of this period), in lush abundance. I liked Weaver as a character, he's a smooth operative, though, he doesn't come across as quite perfect. Liss also goes to pains to make him likeable, as he displays on several occasions a generosity of spirit, or in defense of the weak and helpless, that might not have been so common at the time.

 

The romance angle with Celia Glade felt a little vague and not really there. She's there, they talk, she doesn't really do anything, she's gone again. I didn't really much sense of her as a character. She's supposed to be a master of disguise, a spy, but mostly what she does is hang around and confuse Weaver about her role in the events of the book. At the end its implied he gets the girl, but there was never really much lead up to it, other than Weaver worrying that he's going to lose his will to caution around her.

 

All in all, I liked it a solid three and a half stars, maybe even four if I'm feeling generous, but it really could have benefited from the romance being a little more fleshed out. Fifteen to twenty pages spread out over the book for it perhaps would have helped.