Review: THE WHISKEY REBELS by David Liss

Set during the 1700’s, not long after the signing of United States Constitution, The Whiskey Rebels follows Ethan Saunders and Joan Maycott as they navigate the brutal atmosphere of their struggling new country. Ethan and Joan are treated separately in the book until about the midpoint when their individual causes collide head on.

Joan is a surprisingly strong female character given the situation of women in 18th century North America. She follows a path that takes her from rough western Pennsylvania farmland to the drawing rooms of the upper crust of Philadelphia and New York, looking for a way to deal with unjust taxes levied on poor Americans. Captain Ethan Saunders, (who reminds me of George MacDonald Fraser’s uncouth but lovable character Flashman), meets Joan while investigating the financial dealings of an unscrupulous financier. Both engage in a dangerous game of spying and manipulation, relying on a network of friends and acquaintances to help them towards their respective goals. Both apply the adage of ‘follow the money’ to fulfil their missions.

As a side note, the description of how stocks were first traded, bought and sold is quite enlightening. From all accounts it seems only the location of trading has changed (from taverns to stock exchanges) - certainly not the influence of confidence.

Full of intrigue, suspense and humor, The Whiskey Rebels will not disappoint anyone who loves historical adventures set in the old west.


Staci on December 24, 2008 at 1:28 PM said...

glad to see that you enjoyed this. The whole premise intrigued me so this is on my TBR list for 2009.

btw...found your blog from


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