I have received a free e-copy of the book The Colonel and the Bee by Patrick Canning to review. For more information on the author, you may see his website.
Here is the book blurb.
A peculiar explorer and downtrodden acrobat span the globe on a building-sized hot air balloon, in search of a precious artifact and the murderous treasure hunter who seeks it.
Beatrix, a spirited but abused acrobat in a traveling circus, seeks more than her prison-like employment offers. More than anything, she wants to know her place in the world of the halcyon 19th century, a time when the last dark corners of the map were being sketched out and travel still possessed a kind of magic.
One night in Switzerland, the mysterious Colonel James Bacchus attends Beatrix’s show. This larger-than-life English gentleman, reputed to have a voracious appetite for female conquests, is most notable for traveling the world in a four-story hot air balloon called The Ox.
Beatrix flees that night to join the Colonel, and the two of them make a narrow escape—Beatrix from her abusive ringleader, the Colonel from a freshly-made cuckold. Beatrix, feeling the Colonel may have the answers to her problems, pledges to help him catch the criminal he seeks in exchange for passage on his magnificent balloon.
The criminal seeks a precious figurine, The Blue Star Sphinx, but he’s not alone. The Sphinx’s immense value has also drawn the attention of the world’s most deadly treasure hunters. A murder in Antwerp begins a path of mystery that leads all the way to the most isolated island on Earth.
What dangers await the Colonel and the acrobat?
Well this is certainly a unique storyline like no other. The book starts in 19th century Switzerland where “The Amazing Beatrix” is an acrobat in Ziro’s touring circus. After the performance in the Big Top, Ziro takes her to perform at a private dinner at Chartish Manor. Here she meets the Colonel James Bacchus, a jolly character with flowers in his hat, who travels the world in a multi-storey hot air balloon. My mind boggled at how many rooms were under this colossal balloon.
Beatrix makes up her mind to escape the circus from Ziro’s whippings and flees with the Colonel in his balloon, who is also running from an enraged Lord Chartish, having just slept with his wife. But he only permits her to stay one night, as he is on a mission to find a dangerous criminal. Bee persuades him that she can help.
From Switzerland, they follow a lead to Antwerp, where they meet the Colonel’s friends, Thelma and George, but too late. They find a murdered man and a clue. The trail leads through Spain, Gibraltar, Britain, Africa and on and on, meeting friends, foes and treasure hunters along the way. What will the outcome be?
I salute this author for his inspired creativity with this storyline. So far-fetched that this book stands in a genre of its own. I wasn’t sure what to think when I first read the blurb, but I definitely liked it.
The Colonel and the Bee is available on Amazon, currently priced at £12.95 in paperback or £3.99 in Kindle format. A fantastical adventure.
Disclosure. This post is a review of an e-book I was sent for free. All opinions are my own.