Title: The Colonel and the Bee by Patrick Canning
Genre: Currently #4792 on Amazon Best Sellers Rank in Kindle eBooks, Literature & Fiction, Literary Fiction, Action & Adventure
Publisher: Evolved Publishing LLC
Publication Date: June 1, 2018
Source: Direct author request
Title and Cover: The Colonel and the Bee-Love that cover
Hoo-boy is this one a douzy! This novel was so much fun I couldn’t keep it to myself and shared with the C.E., whose review will follow mine. The novel hit all my buttons: unique, intriguing, adventurous, historical, surprisingly sharp (and young) female protagonist coupled with the swash-buckling theatrics of a male co-protagonist and absolute non-stop action. First, wrap your head around a four-story house-sized balloon, and if that doesn’t set your imagination reeling, nothing will. (Think steampunk!)
Beatrix is a barely teenaged female acrobat in a 19th-century European traveling circus held captive owing her age by an abusive ringleader. The dashing and mysterious English Colonel James Bacchus attends the same private showing where she performs and she contrives to join him in a getaway following his ellicit treatise with the wife of their exclusive estate’s host. With the Oxford Starladder (the Ox) the colonel is in pursuit of a heinous criminal as he drifts across the continent in search of a precious jewel, the Blue Star Sphinx, which value in turn has attracted the warring factions of two families. (Think Hatfields and McCoys)
With every additional description of the Ox, I badly wanted to climb aboard and explore each and every crevice, descend the spiral stars, partake of the gourmet meals presented by the colonel, and peak into the horticultural room where the fresh vegetables were grown. What a delightful imaginative fantasy–but one that seemed within grasp it was made so real. The rich nineteenth-century dialogue, $50 words, and formal English prose was a delight but I was many times grateful for the built-in dictionary of my Kindle.
“The Colonel’s enigmatic nature was a tease to me, a faucet kept at a deliberate drip.”
Intelligently written, well-plotted story with fully developed characters who came alive on the page so that it wasn’t difficult to become fully invested in each. The (scoundrel) colonel loved his women (often reminding me of the projected persona of Errol Flynn).
“I’ve nothing against a fast woman, provided she’s slow enough to be caught.”
Bee, such an accomplished acrobat, often found her experiences from the circus of great advantage in the adventures as the Ox slipped from one country to another across the globe, in keen pursuit of the ultimate goal. A fully developed sense of humor, innuendo, and puns dotted the colorfully painted landscape and often brought a LOL moment as well as a wry and knowing smile, along with the profuse use of quotes and wise sayings.
“I sought my soul, but my soul I could not see. I sought my God, but my God eluded me. I sought my brother, and found all three.”
I found this book such a delight! If I had any complaint, it would be that the adventure ended, and on a slightly weak note. We received this ebook download from the author and greatly appreciated the opportunity to read and review. More than heartily recommended, this is a must read for any who enjoy a clean, wickedly imaginative book.
The C.E.’s Review
This is a tale set in another time. The book utilizes a whimsical traveling balloon and a host of characters intent on getting rich as international treasure hunters. Patrick Canning spins the tale utilizing vocabulary more reminiscent of a thesaurus lover’s crossword puzzle. I would have given the read a five except for the time spent looking up words including nouns and verbs not usually encountered in today’s lexicon.
The primary characters including a colorful colonel and a circus performer make for an interesting duo. Add a pair of “newly-weds” that accompany the pair along with a myriad of other characters and villains and you have a fantastic world adventure more typical of late 19th-century writing. The action is fast paced and entertaining. Some of the cities in Europe are fraught with underworld foes intent on getting to the prized treasures before our heroes.
The balloon itself is incredibly diverse with all manner of rooms for sleeping, horticulture, viticulture and assorted agricultural projects. Meals are generally cooked by the Colonel or Thelma, one of the newly-weds. The Bee is Beatrix, an escaped trapeze artist who has been severely mistreated by a circus scoundrel. Her abilities and the Colonel’s inventions make for a very interesting twist to the saga.
Cities and countries are colorfully depicted with complex descriptions of the odors of the area. (Reminded me of my time in Taiwan and the smells that would permeate the early morning dew.) The action brings you into the intrigue and suspense with corresponding smells and tastes. Danger is abundant at every turn and the ending is surprising. Get into a comfortable chair and enjoy this masterfully written piece. 4.5 stars
Rosepoint Publishing: Four point Five of Five Stars
Patrick Canning was born in Wisconsin, grew up in Illinois, and now lives in California with his dog, Hank.
He is primarily focused on turning coffee into words, words into money, money back into coffee. Find Mr. Canning here.
©2018 V Williams