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?
I received this book from the author for the purpose of this review. All comments and opinions are entirely my own.
Described by the author as Around the World in 80 Days meets The Wizard of Oz, The Colonel and The Bee is a story, I would deem, worth being remembered as a classic.
Written in the style properly given to it’s setting, everything about this novel is quite perfect. It’s characters are flawed but we love them despite that; and they make mistakes that alter their courses for the worst, yet we easily forgive them and root for them still.
The Colonel is an eccentric, unpredictable character. He is odd, intelligent, not one to share feelings, and unnaturally adores supper and flora. Bee is equally intelligent and alluring, but her troubled past causes her to be immensely cautious of trusting others, a bit hasty in her decisions, and sometimes a bit dramatic in how she handles a situation. Together, they make a pair as dynamic and memorable as Sherlock Holmes and Dr.Watson.
Their adventures are filled with mystery, riddles, humor, surprising twists, and a stupendous amount of quotes that put my Kindle highlighter to use! My personal favorite being said by the Colonel in Chapter 20:
“I try to not just get by in the world, but to live in it with aggressively applied compassion, the greatest quantity of cunning I can muster, and the occasional tactical insertion of currency.”
This is a book well deserving of a fanbase and I recommend it very highly to those who love classic stories filled with action, morale, and a new adventure awaiting around every turn. I give it a solid 5 out of 5 stars*! And for my fellow coffee lovers, this quote:
“Why Bee! Tea is for the indecisive, hard pressed to take a position on which way to comb their hair in the morning. A more apathetic beverage is hard to come across. Coffee begs you to take it somewhere new. A welcome traveling partner, an astute mind sharpener, and a trustworthy enema you can set your watch to!”
*Note: There are many mentions of womanizing from the Colonel, as he is quite known for his wooing of women, however there are no scenes that show this. There are also some dark rituals encountered that may disturb some readers in addition to infrequent, but very strong cursing (including “gd” multiple times).
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About Patrick Canning
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.