I received a free copy of this book to review from NetGalley, on behalf of the publisher. It will be released June 4, 2013.
Eli Brown’s Cinnamon and Gunpowder combines two of my favorite things: food and pirates (the Pirates of the Caribbean kind, not the historically accurate kind). I had a blast reading it, and I wished that this book was longer so that I could hang out with Mad Hannah Mabbot and her crew just that much longer.
The book opens with Owen Wedgwood explaining how he got captured by pirates. Mabbot and her crew invaded the London home of a Pendelton Trading Company leader, killed him, and then absconded with Owen. He is allowed to keep breathing as long as he prepares exquisite meals for Mabbot every Sunday. Owen tries to escape every chance he gets, but something always goes wrong. As he spends more time with the pirates, learning more about what lay behind Pendleton’s commercial success (trading in slavery and opium) and learning about Mabbot’s motivations in destroying the company’s assets, Owen finds that he might be more sympathetic to the pirates than to his former employer’s company.
While he’s busy having his worldview adjusted, Owen is also kept fairly busy dodging bullets and cannonballs, fighting with locals, trying to not drown, and work out how to cook feasts with stolen foodstuffs in a broken oven. There are no slow parts in this book. And it all leads up to an astounding ending that I was not prepared for. But saying more would ruin it. This book is an incredible read.
Now I’m off to see if I can get my hands on anything else Brown has written.