Cover image for The trade mission : a novel
The trade mission : a novel
Pyper, Andrew.
Personal Author:
First Scribner edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Scribner, 2003.

Physical Description:
293 pages ; 24 cm
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On the heels of his acclaimed bestselling debut "Lost Girls," Andrew Pyper brings his darkly musical language, chilling suspense, and psychological complexity to a story of survival in the Amazon jungle.

On the delirious eve of the new millennium, Marcus Wallace and Jonathon Bates, two twenty-four-year-old overnight dot-com millionaires, are on a trade mission in Brazil. Their product is Hypothesys, a virtual "morality machine" that promises to help people "make the best decisions of their lives." But when the decision is made to take an ecotour up the Rmo Negro deep into the Amazon jungle, the Hypothesys team members are forced to make choices for themselves -- choices that carry fatal consequences.

In the dead of night, their boat is boarded by paramilitaries who kill the Brazilian crew and kidnap Wallace and Bates, their two older colleagues, and their enigmatic interpreter, Crossman. Blindfolded and thrown into a pit for a prison, they must fight to find the will to survive. But when the increasingly unstable Wallace engineers a violent escape, their own natures emerge as a threat potentially more dangerous than the b

Author Notes

Andrew Pyper was born in Stratford, Ontario, in 1968. He received a B.A. and an M.A. in English Literature from McGill University in Montreal, as well as a law degree from the University of Toronto, although he has never practiced.

Kiss Me, his first book of short stories, was published to in 1996. Pyper the went on to the position of Writer-in-Residence at Berton House, Dawson City, Yukon, as well as at Champlain College, Trent University.

His first novel, Lost Girls, was a national bestseller in Canada and a Globe and Mail Notable Book selection in 1999 as well as a Notable Book selection in the New York Times Book Review and the London Evening Standard in 2000. Lost Girls won the Arthur Ellis Award for Best First Novel. Pyper's second novel, The Trade Mission, was published in 2002, and was selected by The Toronto Star as one of the Best Books of the Year.

Outside of fiction writing, Pyper is a regular contributor of essays and criticism to Canadian magazines and newspapers, including The Globe and Mail, Ottawa Citizen, Quill & Quire and Saturday Night. He is also a Contributing Editor for Gear magazine.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

Deliverance comes to the Amazonian rain forest in this verbose suspense tale from the author of Lost Girls (2000). Elizabeth Crossman has been retained as a translator for two 24-year-old dot-com millionaires, Wallace and Bates, who have come to Brazil to hawk their new Internet service. While on a tourist cruise up the Rio Negro, they are abducted by sadistic paramilitary pirates and brutally tortured--with all the gruesome details graphically described. The resourceful (and increasingly unstable) Wallace leads them in a violent escape from their captors, but they end up lost in the jungle without food or water--and relentlessly pursued by the savage criminals. Those looking for a gripping survival yarn will be disappointed in this dialogue-dense opus with literary aspirations, but readers who like erudite description and philosophical discussion will find this an accommodating choice. Recommended only for large fiction collections. --Michael Gannon

Publisher's Weekly Review

The ad copy on the back of the proofs for Pyper's second novel (after Lost Girls) points out just what's right, and what's wrong, with the book: "The Trade Mission is a gripping, ingeniously plotted thriller with an underlying literary interest in social criticism...." The novel does grip, and while its plot-two young North American software entrepreneurs and their colleagues visiting Brazil are kidnapped by extortionists in the jungle, then escape for a chase-isn't quite ingenious, it's clever enough; so far so good. The problem is the "underlying literary interest in social criticism." One supposes the copywriter mentioned "literary" as a pointer to Pyper's prose, which is lush and suffused with psychological insight, but which too often draws attention to itself at the expense of the story. The "social criticism" is relayed through character studies-the kidnapped are extremely complex creations, as is their Canadian translator, a woman rapidly approaching middle age, who narrates; her probings into the differences rendered by wealth, class and age among the kidnapped, and between them and their captors, are perceptive and fresh. The novel takes a serious wrong turn, though, when the kidnapped are harbored by a tribe of Yanomami Indians. While giving the narrator plenty of chance to comment on the degradation of the rain forest and its peoples by industrial interests, this turn feels contrived; it leads to the kidnapped ingesting a native hallucinogen, which exacerbates the murkiness of the narrator's perceptions and results in a storytelling muddle that Pyper straightens out only through further contrivances. Pyper is a talented stylist and a masterful psychological portraitist, but his new novel is a slog. (Feb.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved