THE JEWEL TRADER OF PEGU by Jeffrey Hantover
Publisher Wm. Morrow/Harper, January 2008
Adventure, treasure, and forbidden love are interwoven in this beautiful
and original debut novel set in the lush land of 16th-century Southeast Asia
In the fall of 1598, Abraham, a young Jewish jewel trader, leaves behind the
comforts and familiarity of Venice to live half a world away in the lush
Burmese kingdom of Pegu. Far from the safety of kin and community, as well
as the memory of his long-dead wife, Abraham must overcome his fear of these
strangers with the odd customs and superstitious ways.
Abraham slowly discovers a new world overpowering in its sensuality and
freedom. Taking residence in a house previously occupied by another Italian
trader, he soon learns a shocking truth: the Italian indulged in a native
sexual ritual involving young brides Ė a duty Abraham, too, is expected to
fulfill if he wants his familyís business to succeed. Though it means going
against his moral beliefs, Abraham succumbs. To his surprise, instead of the
guilt and suffering he expects, acquiescence offers something far more
Yet Abrahamís newfound joy is soon overshadowed by political turmoil that
threatens the entire Peguan empire. Surrounded by danger, torn between the
demands of his God and the yearnings of his heart, he must make a fateful
choice that will change his life forever and affect all he holds dear.
Dreamy and lyrical, steeped in the customs and atmosphere of a world
long lost, The Jewel Trader of Pegu takes the reader on a deep
emotional journey through the meanings of what is precious.
-- Liza Dalby, author of The Tale of Murasaki: A Novel and
The Jewel Trader Of Pegu is a fine thinking readerís tale with all the
trappings of an exotic historical romance.
-- Debra Dean author of The Madonnas Of Leningrad