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A Spectacle of Corruption

Tekijä: David Liss

Sarjat: Benjamin Weaver (2)

JäseniäKirja-arvostelujaSuosituimmuussijaKeskimääräinen arvioMaininnat
9521822,597 (3.84)39
Fiction. Suspense. Thriller. Historical Fiction. HTML:Benjamin Weaver, the quick-witted pugilist turned private investigator, returns in David Lisss sequel to the Edgar Awardwinning novel, A Conspiracy of Paper.
[A] wonderful book . . . every bit as good as [Lisss] remarkable debut . . . easily one of the years best.The Boston Globe
Moments after his conviction for a murder he did not commit, at a trial presided over by a judge determined to find him guilty, Benjamin Weaver is accosted by a stranger who cunningly slips a lockpick and a file into his hands. In an instant he understands two things: Someone wants him to hangand another equally mysterious agent is determined to see him free. After a daring escape from eighteenth-century Londons most notorious prison, Weaver must face another challenge: to prove himself innocent when the corrupt courts have shown they care nothing for justice. Unable to show his face in public, Weaver pursues his inquiry disguised as a wealthy merchant seeking to involve himself in the contentious world of politics. Desperately navigating a labyrinth of schemers, crime lords, assassins, and spies, Weaver learns that in an election year, little is what it seems and the truth comes at a staggeringly high cost.
Praise for A Spectacle of Corruption
[A] rousing sequel of historical, intellectual suspense. San Antonio Express-News 
Liss is a superb writer who evokes the squalor of London with Hogarthian gusto.People
In Benjamin Weaver, Mr. Liss has created a multifaceted character and a wonderful narrator.The New York Sun.
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englanti (16)  espanja (2)  Kaikki kielet (18)
Näyttää 1-5 (yhteensä 18) (seuraava | näytä kaikki)
Londres, 1720. Harto de la notoriedad que le persigue por un crimen que no había cometido, Benjamin Weaver, judío, ex boxeador, de extracción humilde y cazarrecompensas, decide contar su historia, exponer en un libro qué hechos lo llevaron a ser condenado a muerte y cómo consiguió huir de la prisión y convertirse en investigador privado de su propio caso. Weaver, que había sido injustamente condenado por la muerte de un estibador del puerto de Londres, huye antes de ser ejecutado y decide adoptar la personalidad de un rico negociante para poder investigar el misterio que se esconde tras su condena. Sus pesquisas y las singulares situaciones que provocan le llevan a pensar que tal vez lo que le ha pasado no sea más que un insignificante eslabón de una conspiración de altos vuelos. Una vez más, el aclamado autor David Liss combina su conocimiento de la historia con la intriga, atractivas caracterizaciones y un cautivador sentido de la ironía, que le permite sumergir al lector en una vívida recreación del Londres de la época y componer un colorido tapiz de las intrigas políticas, los contrastes sociales y la picaresca reinante.
  Natt90 | Dec 18, 2022 |
Ceuta - Septiembre/2005
  MOTORRINO | Dec 11, 2020 |
In the mood for time travel to the 18th century, and remembered that the first book in this series (Conspiracy of Paper) was a pleasant, comfort food kind of read, so I was hoping to feel the same about the second. Abandoned by page 30 - just not compelling. Other comments mention that the Jewish perspective wasn't in this one, and that's what was so interesting about the first book
  badube | Mar 6, 2019 |
Rating: 4* of five

The Publisher Says: Moments after his conviction for a murder he did not commit, at a trial presided over by a judge determined to find him guilty, Benjamin Weaver is accosted by a stranger who cunningly slips a lockpick and a file into his hands. In an instant he understands two things: Someone had gone to a great deal of trouble to see him condemned to hang--and another equally mysterious agent is determined to see him free.

So begins A Spectacle of Corruption, which heralds the return of Benjamin Weaver, the hero of A Conspiracy of Paper. After a daring escape from eighteenth-century London's most notorious prison, Weaver must face another challenge: how to prove himself innocent of a crime when the corrupt courts have already shown they want only to see him hang. To discover the truth and clear his name, he will have to understand the motivations behind a secret scheme to extort a priest, uncover double-dealings in the unrest among London's dockworkers, and expose the conspiracy that links the plot against him to the looming national election--an election with the potential to spark a revolution and topple the monarchy.

Unable to show his face in public, Weaver pursues his inquiry in the guise of a wealthy merchant who seeks to involve himself in the political scene. But he soon finds that the world of polite society and politics is filled with schemers and plotters, men who pursue riches and power--and those who seek to return the son of the deposed king to the throne. Desperately navigating a labyrinth of politicians, crime lords, assassins, and spies, Weaver learns that, in an election year, little is what it seems and the truth comes at a staggeringly high cost.

Once again, acclaimed author David Liss combines historical erudition with mystery, complex characterization, and a captivating sense of humor. A Spectacle of Corruption offers insight into our own world of political scheming, and it firmly establishes David Liss as one of the best writers of intellectual suspense at work today.

My Review: Last time we saw the Lion of Judah, aka Benjamin Weaver (né Lienzo), he had brought a species of justice to some victims of the South Sea Bubble. Now he's standing in the dock, convicted of a murder he didn't commit and facing the death penalty.

Well, there's nothing like making the stakes obvious from the get-go: Fail to solve the crime you've been convicted of and die; solve the crime and bring the political system of your homeland to its knees. Drama for *days*!

And well-done drama, if a bit crowded. Inevitably, setting stakes this high means that some smaller areas of interest (eg, the "romance") don't come to satisfying fruition. But there is more than enough good stuff here to make the less successful moments less important than the overall tale's pleasures. It's very satisfying to see a man of honor operating in that cesspit of dishonor that has always been, and seems as if it will always be, political action.

What I enjoy most about Liss's historical fiction is that it is obvious to me that he roots the action in fact while still making a cracking good yarn. He sees history as "his story," as the college-freshman joke went. And that's how I got interested in history, and it's why I find satisfaction in reading David Liss's books. ( )
3 ääni richardderus | Aug 9, 2014 |
The second book in David Liss's excellent Benjamin Weaver series, "A Spectacle of Corruption" is surprisingly different from the first book in the series, "A Conspiracy of Paper." This book features some extremely far-fetched elements, but Liss is an outstanding writer and I managed to suspend disbelief. I love the character of Benjamin Weaver. He represents a definite type in mystery writing -- the handsome, charming, flawed detective. Weaver is the 18th century version of Philip Marlowe. He makes mistakes and follows red herrings, but he's smart, honest, and reliable.

"A Spectacle of Corruption" deals with an election that make our political process seem tame by comparision. The title of the book describes the nature of the election -- "A spectacle of corruption" (page 173): "Who has more villains? Whose villains are stronger? Who has prettier girls to kiss the voters?" Citizens of London vote early and vote often. The reader again has the benefit of Liss's meticulous research and thorough knowledge of 18th century London. His use of 18th century-like language -- complete with words that send me to the dictionary -- is readable and evocative. Liss does an excellent job of explaining the poliical complexities of 1722, which I confess I've read about before and never fully understood. Whigs, Tories, and Jacobites all share the stage. A fascinating aspect of the book is the concept of 'misdirection' -- upon which most magin tricks depend -- and the idea of 'hiding in plain sight,' Benajamin Weaver is convicted of murder early in the book, but soon escapes from prison. His sidekick Elias convinces him that he should create a persona and a disguise that are entirely unexpected. "No one is looking for you, so they will not see you. They will see what they expect to see" (page 154). Weaver accepts the arguments and spends the rest of the book in disguise, hiding in plain sight. Thus, he proceeds to solve the mystery of his conviction and, even more astonishing, his escape and the events surrounding the entire situation. The end of the book seemed a little abrupt, but the plot resolution was satisfying and completely unexpected.

One element that I missed from "A Conspiracy of Paper" was a portrayal of Jewish life in 18th century London. This book does not feature Weaver's uncle and one of the Jewish characters from that book has married and become Christian. I'm fascinated by Jewish life, so I'm hoping that Liss explores this world more fully in the next book. We'll see. ( )
  krbrancolini | Dec 3, 2011 |
Näyttää 1-5 (yhteensä 18) (seuraava | näytä kaikki)
When the Scottish writer Sir Walter Scott invented the modern historical novel in 1814, he knew what he was doing. In Waverley, which is set in the Jacobite uprising in Scotland of 1745, Scott applied to the crude manners and political antagonisms of 70 years earlier the moral insight and sentimental refinement of the Scotland of his own age. The result was unhistorical, but, in the rage for Waverley and its successors, from A Tale of Two Cities to War and Peace, who cared?

Writers of genre fiction also took to history to give novelty and prestige to literary formulas. Who has not read a police procedural at the court of Charlemagne or an erotic thriller set in Minoan Crete? Benjamin Weaver, the hero of A Spectacle of Corruption, soon turns out to be the hard-outside, soft-inside private investigator of the noir thrillers inserted into 1720s London: Philip Marlowe done up in a wig and buckles.

A Jewish ex-prizefighter turned professional "thieftaker," Weaver appeared in Liss's first novel, A Conspiracy of Paper. Liss took as his model Jonathan Wild, a Georgian gangster who worked both sides of the law until his execution in 1725, but gave him a modern mind and heart among the dead dogs and banknotes. In his next book, The Coffee Trader, Liss invented a great-uncle for Weaver among Sephardic merchants in the Amsterdam of the 1650s. He now returns to both Weaver and 1720s London.

The story unfolds during the election of 1722 in London's Westminster where, unusually for 18th-century England, the franchise was democratic. Amid the intrigues of Whigs and Tories, Hanoverians and Jacobites, the bribes and political violence, Weaver finds himself implicated for a murder he did not commit. All sorts of terrific things happen. Weaver is tried before an outrageously partisan judge, escapes from Newgate prison, holds an informer's head in a chamber pot, finds the love of his life turned Christian and married to a Tory politician, takes part in election riots. Yet few will prefer Spectacle to novels one and two.

The chief problem is that Liss is much less interested in ancient politics than in the revolutions in finance and commerce that formed the historical backdrops to the first two novels. Nothing dates like party antagonism, and to say that Liss doesn't really understand the primordial cleavage in English politics between Whig and Tory is no insult: Only a handful of today's Britishers do. As Jew and outsider, Weaver has the privilege of asking elementary political questions that Liss takes little trouble in answering.

Liss compensates not with his strengths, which are in character, especially women, and action, but as Raymond Chandler does, with yet another twist of plot. The unraveling of the plot requires a lot of talk, usually just one character to another. Many novelists can't write dialogue for more than two characters at a time, but Liss can, and it is a mystery why he doesn't.

The elaborate plot also requires acres of back story, which is not recommended in a book where the main narrative is already in the distant past. At one point, Weaver blurts out: "So the Tories kill him, and make it look like the Whigs killed him in an effort to harm the Tories. That is a mighty deep game." Not deep at all. Those are sentences of a kind every novelist knows and fears, and they mean: Your plot is out of your control. You must start again.

Even his London has lost some of its oddity. Liss has abandoned his Jewish milieux, and the beautiful Miriam has become the beautiful Mary. The social décor tends to the commonplace or anachronistic. Gin, tobacco smoking, labor combinations, prize fighting and cricket bats became widespread a generation or even two generations posterior to Weaver's story. Liss also uses words that originated long after the 18th century was over: echelon, perambulator, upcoming, attendee, visit with, communist, semantics. The effect is to break the spell of the book, like a stage actor dropping out of character. The question is whether Liss has settled into a sort of Weaver franchise, in which plots become more complex, action more brutal, language and morals less authentic and characters more simple, or whether he sets off again in search of the only thing a novel cannot do without, which is novelty.
lisäsi Bookmarque | muokkaaWashington Post, James Buchan (Jan 1, 2004)
 

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Full title (2004): A spectacle of corruption : a novel / David Liss; 2006 Italian translation has title: La fiera dei corrotti
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Englanninkielinen Wikipedia (1)

Fiction. Suspense. Thriller. Historical Fiction. HTML:Benjamin Weaver, the quick-witted pugilist turned private investigator, returns in David Lisss sequel to the Edgar Awardwinning novel, A Conspiracy of Paper.
[A] wonderful book . . . every bit as good as [Lisss] remarkable debut . . . easily one of the years best.The Boston Globe
Moments after his conviction for a murder he did not commit, at a trial presided over by a judge determined to find him guilty, Benjamin Weaver is accosted by a stranger who cunningly slips a lockpick and a file into his hands. In an instant he understands two things: Someone wants him to hangand another equally mysterious agent is determined to see him free. After a daring escape from eighteenth-century Londons most notorious prison, Weaver must face another challenge: to prove himself innocent when the corrupt courts have shown they care nothing for justice. Unable to show his face in public, Weaver pursues his inquiry disguised as a wealthy merchant seeking to involve himself in the contentious world of politics. Desperately navigating a labyrinth of schemers, crime lords, assassins, and spies, Weaver learns that in an election year, little is what it seems and the truth comes at a staggeringly high cost.
Praise for A Spectacle of Corruption
[A] rousing sequel of historical, intellectual suspense. San Antonio Express-News 
Liss is a superb writer who evokes the squalor of London with Hogarthian gusto.People
In Benjamin Weaver, Mr. Liss has created a multifaceted character and a wonderful narrator.The New York Sun.

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