The Whiskey Rebels by David Liss
A Novel

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David Liss’s bestselling historical thrillers, including A Conspiracy of Paper and The Coffee Trader, have been called remarkable and rousing: the perfect combination of scrupulous research and breathless excitement. Now Liss delivers his best novel yet in an entirely new setting–America in the years after the Revolution, an unstable nation where desperate schemers vie for wealth, power, and a chance to shape a country’s destiny.

Ethan Saunders, once among General Washington’s most valued spies, now lives in disgrace, haunting the taverns of Philadelphia. An accusation of treason has long since cost him his reputation and his beloved fiancée, Cynthia Pearson, but at his most desperate moment he is recruited for an unlikely task–finding Cynthia’s missing husband. To help her, Saunders must serve his old enemy, Treasury Secretary Alexander Hamilton, who is engaged in a bitter power struggle with political rival Thomas Jefferson over the fragile young nation’s first real financial institution: the Bank of the United States.

Meanwhile, Joan Maycott is a young woman married to another Revolutionary War veteran. With the new states unable to support their ex-soldiers, the Maycotts make a desperate gamble: trade the chance of future payment for the hope of a better life on the western Pennsylvania frontier. There, amid hardship and deprivation, they find unlikely friendship and a chance for prosperity with a new method of distilling whiskey. But on an isolated frontier, whiskey is more than a drink; it is currency and power, and the Maycotts’ success attracts the brutal attention of men in Hamilton’s orbit, men who threaten to destroy all Joan holds dear.

As their causes intertwine, Joan and Saunders–both patriots in their own way–find themselves on opposing sides of a daring scheme that will forever change their lives and their new country. The Whiskey Rebels is a superb rendering of a perilous age and a nation nearly torn apart–and David Liss’s most powerful novel yet.

From the Hardcover edition.

About David Liss

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David Liss is the author of The Devil's Company, The Whiskey Rebels, The Ethical Assassin, A Spectacle of Corruption, The Coffee Trader, and A Conspiracy of Paper, winner of the Edgar Award for Best First Novel. He lives in San Antonio with his wife and children.From the Hardcover edition.
Published September 27, 2008 by Random House. 546 pages
Genres: History, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for The Whiskey Rebels

Kirkus Reviews

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Hamilton’s threat to the young republic’s integrity and his widely loathed tax on whiskey set speculators against patriots and slowly—achingly slowly—connect Joan Maycott’s progress from sturdy pioneer to wronged woman to prosperous whiskey merchant to relentless avenger with Saunders’ cloak-and-...

Sep 01 2008 | Read Full Review of The Whiskey Rebels: A Novel

The New York Times

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If you like the idea of “sin” taxes as a way for the government to raise revenue, be aware that Alexander Hamilton got there first.

Feb 06 2009 | Read Full Review of The Whiskey Rebels: A Novel

Book Reporter

After writing his first contemporary novel, THE ETHICAL ASSASSIN, Edgar Award winner David Liss is back on more comfortable ground with another exceptional piece of historical fiction, THE WHISKEY REBELS.

Jan 24 2011 | Read Full Review of The Whiskey Rebels: A Novel

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USA Today

The story focuses on Ethan Saunders, a disgraced spy who once worked for George Washington, and Joan Maycott, a plucky would-be female novelist turned whiskey rebel.

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The many characters in the book, most of whom were actual people from that period of history, are intertwined throughout the book, making you sometimes wonder who were the “good guys” and who were the “bad guys” and which were helping the United States government and which were against it.

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Review (Barnes & Noble)

David Liss's new novel, set in an America where financial collapse is imminent, teems with double crosses, political intrigue, concealed identities, blackmail, spies, and sex scandals.

Oct 22 2008 | Read Full Review of The Whiskey Rebels: A Novel

Huntington News

Set in the early 1790s, "The Whiskey Rebels" explores the events leading to the financial panic of 1792 and the Whiskey Rebellion of 1794, with two well drawn fictional characters, Ethan Saunders and Joan Maycott, interacting with real figures from American history, including Treasury Secretary A...

Oct 30 2008 | Read Full Review of The Whiskey Rebels: A Novel

Bookmarks Magazine

Clay Reynolds Critical Summary David Liss has found his niche as a historical novelist, and The Whiskey Rebels is an entertaining, if slightly uneven, slice of Americana.

Sep 28 2008 | Read Full Review of The Whiskey Rebels: A Novel

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