The Jewel Trader of Pegu is an odd book. It tells the story of a sixteenth century jeweler from Venice. Abraham is sent to Pegu (now known as Bago, a city in Myanmar) to purchase precious stones for the family business. Abraham is Jewish, and the customs of the Buddhists of Pegu are baffling to him.
Abraham hires Win, a local broker, to help him navigate the markets of Pegu. It has taken Abraham a year to travel to Pegu, and he will spend a year there before journeying back to Venice. Win also helps Abraham navigate the strange world of daily life in Pegu.
Jeffrey Hantover seems to have invented a very strange and unbelievable world in The Jewel Trader of Pegu. I really did not care much for this book. I did finish it because it was a selection for my book club, but I’m glad I borrowed it from the library and I don’t recommend it.
Published in hardcover-Harper Collins-2007
Softcover Edition-Harper Perennial-2008