I am extremely fond of historical fiction and I love a bit of travel, so it gives me very great pleasure to welcome Patrick Canning to Linda’s Book Bag today to tell me about one of his books.
Staying in with Patrick Canning
Hi Patrick. Welcome to Linda’s Book Bag. Thank you for agreeing to stay in with me.
Thanks for having me! I’m glad whatever better plans you had fell through.
You’re more than welcome! Tell me, which of your books have you brought along to share this evening and why have you chosen it?
The Colonel and the Bee, a coming of age/adventure story that takes place in the Victorian Age. I would consider it escapist entertainment in a lot of ways, which I think people need right now given how stressful things seem to be. So many current events and the ensuing news coverage is overwhelmingly negative, I think sometimes it’s okay to check out for an hour or two. This book has some dramatic and emotional moments, but a lot of the time it’s a fun adventure, and I hope it genuinely makes people feel better as some books have done for me in the past.
(Brilliant philosophy Patrick. I agree that fiction can be the perfect escapism.)
What can we expect from an evening in with The Colonel and the Bee?
The story is very playful. Sometimes when we hear Victorian Age/1800s, we think of a stuffy society, but the characters in The Colonel and the Bee are always raring to explore and escape danger, using great Victorian slang along the way like “enthuzimuzzy” (making a big deal out of nothing) and “butter upon bacon!” (excessive extravagance). If I did my job right, an evening with this book will make you laugh, worry for the characters, and maybe even enliven your wanderlust with its menagerie of fantastic destinations (better make sure your passport is up to date before reading, just in case).
(Sounds perfect for me. I already have itchy feet and am always looking for my next adventure.)
What else have you brought along and why?
I have brought the Oxford Starladder, it’s just outside killing the grass on your lawn. The four-story house attached to a hot air balloon is full of trinkets from a thousand destinations, complex navigational equipment, a nursery of exotic flowers, and a packrat named Jasper who steals anything that isn’t nailed down. We’d better get going as the wind is picking up…
Oh! I’m not terribly keen on heights. You won’t mind if I shut my eyes whilst we take off will you. Don’t worry about the grass. It’s been so hot here of late it’s dead anyway!
Thanks so much for staying in with me to tell me all about The Colonel and the Bee Patrick – and for this trip in the Oxford Starladder!
The Colonel and the Bee
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?
The Colonel and the Bee is available for purchase through these links.
About Patrick Canning
Patrick Canning lives in Los Angeles where he spends a lot of time stressing out over proper sentence structure. His greatest achievement is beating a dog in a hamburger eating contest, and he aspires to one day be on Jeopardy.