Cinnamon and Gunpowder MOBI º Cinnamon and PDF or
- 488 pages
- Cinnamon and Gunpowder
- Eli Brown
- 22 March 2019 Eli Brown
Click here to watch a video review of this book on my channel, From Beginning to Bookend Cinnamon and Gunpowder is a culinary delight served with eccentric pirates, treacherous waters, and a wild haired, fiery tempered female pirate Captain. , V This becoming woman sitting across from me was as grisly a villain as ever walked the earth, and yet I was at home in the quiet of her parlor and the comfort of a good meal than I had been since my ordeal began Taste and talk these were the privileges of the living I could refuse to make conversation and bring out the monster in her, or I could pacify and live long enough to escape.When Chef Owen Wedgwood is kidnapped by pirates, he finds himself the recipient of an odd request from the ship s captain, the dread Hannah Mabbot You will, of a Sunday, cook for me, and me alone, the finest supper You will neither repeat a dish nor serve foods that are in the slightest degree mundane In return, I will continue to keep you alive and well Should you balk in any fashion you will find yourself swimming home, whole or in pieces, depending upon the severity of my disappointment.Well Who could refuse an offer like that And the fun begins, as Wedge attempts to create pleasing culinary concoctions out of the limited stores available aboard the ship, all in an effort to satisfy the fiend, as he calls her, and save his own skin Over time, he comes to learn that his pirate captors may have integrity than his previous, much admired employer This book is pure, rollicking fun from start to finish There is plenty of bloody pirate action as the ship takes off in pursuit of the mysterious Brass Fox while at the same time being chased by a wealthy man with a grudge Here s a great combination of high seas adventure and the pleasure of watching a persnickety chef learn to grind his spices with a cannonball.Let s see YOU do that, Wolfgang Puck This book is a hilarious, whimsical novel that features two of my favorite things pirate queens and FOOD Captured by the red haired Mad Hannah Mabbot, Shark of the Indian Ocean, personal chef Owen Wedgwood must now spend his weeks cooking her feasts in a ship s galley with the barest of larders He s short on supplies and has none of the implements that a self respecting French trained chef would require, so he s forced to improvise While I was searching vainly for a rolling pin, it occurred to me to try a cannonball I have to admit it works well enough for pirate pasta.Owen narrates the novel, and his tone is pitch perfect he s a sort of swashbuckling Jeeves He s dry and sometimes unintentionally, it seems laugh out loud funny As an upstanding Christian gentleman, he thoroughly disapproves of Mad Mabbot, which makes their shared scenes the best in the book Mabbot is clever, intelligent, and ruthless, and she inspires undying loyalty in her pirate crew In short, she s a badass pirate queen, and her juxtaposition with the dour Owen makes for a great matchup.Eli Brown also than matches Brian Jacques in the fictional feast department did anyone else sometimes think about becoming a vegan woodland creature when they were younger Owen s creations sound delicious, even when he s turned a homing pigeon into braised squab The language around food and eating was equally great After only a few minutes of intoxicated burps and happy rocking, Mabbot eyed the brandied mango tart as a pugilist eyes a rival She carved herself a slice and, with the very same knife, which she wiped quickly upon a towel, reached between her shoulder blades and cut the uppermost tethers of her corset to make room Cinnamon and Gunpowder has its weaknesses Hannah Mabbot is so sympathetic a character because she s thoroughly modern, under her jade handled pistols the plot barrels along, but the book can sometimes drag in places and elements are so ridiculous that they beg disbelief Of course, that s part of the fun of the book If you re in the mood for a fun read with unforgettable characters, this is the book for you. My treat for finishing Hamlet was this 2013 swashbuckler by Eli Brown, my introduction to the Southern California author s work Brown s second novel earned a spot on my 2015 reading docket by boasting the best title, logline and cover design I ve laid eyes on in a while These were the equivalent of meeting a woman with a warm laugh, a love for books and an appetite I apologize for turning this review into an eHarmony ad Title Cinnamon and Gunpowder You have my curiosity, sir Logline The year is 1819, and the renowned chef Owen Wedgwood has been kidnapped by the ruthless pirate Mad Hannah Mabbot He will be spared, she tells him, as long as he puts exquisite food in front of her every Sunday without fail Now you have my attention.Cover design Mark Stutzman The illustrator also designed the iconic 1993 Elvis Presley stamp for the U.S Postal Service A book cover with a full background can be found at his website gallery.The novel is the diary of Owen Wedgewood, chef to Lord Ramsey, a major shareholder in the Pendelton Trading Company Wedgewood, a widower whose wife Elizabeth and newborn son passed away recently, throws himself into his work, which on August 18, 1819, takes him with his employer to the seaside town of Eastbourne No sooner than basil beef broth is served than Ramsey s dinner party is raided Entering the story is a hulk named Mr Apples, two short Chinese twins named Feng and Bai, and their leader One of Brown s gifts are his fanciful descriptions, which can be delicious Then entered a pillar of menace, a woman in an olive long coat Her red hair hung loose over her shoulders She sauntered to the middle of the room, her coat opening to reveal jade handled pistols Using a chair as a stepping stool, she walked upon the dining table to Lord Ramsey s plate and stood there looking down, as if she had just conquered Kilimanjaro No one dared tell her, apparently, that tall women confuse the eye.Even I, who know only what I read in the dailies, recognized her at once There, not twenty feet from me, was the Shark of the Indian Ocean, Mad Hannah Mabbot, Back from the Dead Red, who had been seen by a dozen credible witnesses to perish by gunshot and drowning, and yet had continued to haunt the Pendelton Trading Company routes, leaving the waters bloody in her wake,Wedgewood is bound in hemp and rowed to Mabbot s ship, the Flying Rose, anchored a mile off the coast of England while the British Royal Navy is busy searching the Indian Ocean for her Wedgewood is held for two days before receiving a letter from the captain Mabbot proposes that he prepare her a fine supper each Sunday If the cook refuses, he ll find himself swimming home, whole or in pieces, depending on Mabbot s mood.Brown makes a number of key decisions at the top that I did like Wedgewood is the furthest from Errol Flynn or a shirtless he man as he could be Sorry, ladies He reminded me of Louis C.K on occasion, or if you took five years to finish high school, maybe Seth MacFarlane He s no sea faring man but a land lubber completely out his element.While the crew are served by a prattling, scab covered cook named Conrad, Wedgewood is assisted in his gourmet assignment by a mute cabin boy named Joshua Brown fills the novel with top notch research, be it the operation of a 19th century mutineer s sailing vessel or the meals the captain s personal chef is able to improvise, some of them, to mouth watering effect Then I set myself to the main meal I mashed a cooked potato to a paste and dried it on the hot bricks of the hearth Meanwhile I prepared the rice Around my neck I wear a leather cord and a pewter locket filled with saffron, the favorite spice of my lost Elizabeth, rest her soul When the potato was dry, I powdered it further with my fist and used it to bread the filleted cod, adding black pepper and salt I sauteed onions in lard, then fried the fish quickly, until the potato crumbs were golden, finally seasoning with a squeeze of lime juice.In contrast to her traveling circus of a crew, Mabbot keeps herself clean and carries herself with nobility Wedgewood considers her to be a tyrant and criminal and plots his escape, but accepts the captain s invitation to dinner and conversation He learns that Mabbot has spent two years chasing the Brass Fox, the King of Thieves, who the crew believes knows the location of a great treasure They re hunted by a corsair ship, La Colette, captained by Alexandre Laroche, a naval engineer whose ship is loaded with innovative weapons and who holds a personal grudge against Mabbot.Brown flavors the novel with fanciful chapter titles and subtitles, a rare treat in fiction which I always enjoy, especially when they re as well written as the ones here 6 Dining with the Devil In which I earn a pillow 15 Dead Man s Stove In which we lick our wounds and Joshua tells his story 19 The Culinary Uses of a Cannonball In which trust is betrayed.There was a moment that made me laugh out loud during Wedgewood s first dinner with Mabbot in which the captain s pet rabbit, Kerfuffle, unnerves the cook by staring at him while his equilibrium is still trying to adjust to the rolling of a ship Through seven chapters, Cinnamon and Gunpowder is good hud and fun without devolving into pirate jokes or silliness Unfortunately, the novel takes a turn in Chapter 8 that it never recovers from It concerns the reveal of the villain, the Brass Fox In the first of several surprises thrust on the reader, the King of Thieves turns out to be view spoiler Mabbot s adult son, whose estranged father Lord Ramsey is murdered by Mabbot in Chapter 1 hide spoiler I need to preface this review with the statement that lady pirates are most likely my favorite all time historical subject I study and read about them, I watch TV and films with them, I even create my own lady pirate characters for stories I love them.So, the fact that this book contained a fierce red headed lady pirate captain, I was all over it, so to speak There was the fear that I may be disappointed it s not like books about lady pirates grow on trees because this book was written by a male author and told from the perspective of a man I feared, because I thought the lady pirate may be some unrealistic male fantasy Alas, no Captain Hannah Mabbot was a realistic pirate and a fully fleshed out character.The bare bones of the story is this chef Owen Wedgwood is kidnapped by Captain Hannah Mabbot after she kills his employer He gets to keep his life if he cooks one fancy meal a week for her So, Wedgwood must improvise with the ingredients found on a pirate ship And I really loved how he worked around getting the ingredients that he got He had to plan ahead and make deals, it was quite interesting to watch.But Captain Mabbot isn t just dilly dallying around eating food, she s after the elusive Brass Fox, with whom she has a mysterious score to settle.We see all the characters through the view of Wedgwood, and it was quite fascinating to read how his perspective of everyone, and of pirating in general, started to change throughout the months Of course, the best thing to watch was how his view of Mabbot changed How she went from a one dimensional ruthless pirate, to a full formed person with strengths and weakness, goals and fears.Pirating was not glossed over here, and was not seen as romantic I thought the book really captured the grittiness of pirating.I could literally sit here and write paragraphs about Mabbot, but I just have to say I was really impressed Like I said, it s not everyday a book about a lady pirate comes out, so I have to read what I can get The fact that I wasn t disappointed in the least, makes me very, very happy She s everything I love in a lady pirate the fact that she was really no different from a male pirate She was realistic, and that s all I wanted. Read This Review More Like It At Ageless Pages Reviews Cinnamon and Gunpowder is a hard book to review because it s a hard book to define Part adventure, part food writing, and part romance, this epistolary novel is as complex as the dinners Wedge creates, as beautiful as the love that grows, and as bittersweet as the ending Tears weren t expected in a story about a chef creating new meals for a group of pirates every week, but they came all the same.I was madly, head over heels in love with Hannah Mabbot from 2% into the book when she broke into a dinner party, stepped onto the dining table, and then delivered the greatest line in bookdom Tell the devil to keep my tea hot I m running late Then she fired point blank, without mercy or provocation, into Ramsey s defenseless body Done Eli Brown now owns my heart.Mabbot loots the house, taking Ramsey s chef, Wedgwood, in the pillaging She s decided a captain should have some perks over the rest of a crew, starting with a gourmet Sunday dinner This sets up a wonderful take on the traditional Scheherazade story, with Wedge tasked to cook a completely unique meal every week in exchange for his continued breathing The first quarter or so mostly revolves around Wedge s desire to escape It does a good job of setting the scene and introducing the crew, but I was left desperately longing for Mabbot Wedge is mostly alone and apart from the other crew members, though he does find himself teaching Joshua, the deaf cabin boy, to read However, after an escape attempt leaves him in worse straits than before, and yet simultaneously in the captain s confidence, he s able to start, if not accepting, acclimating to a pirate s life This is where the action really sets in and it s quite exciting Ship battles featuring solar death rays and horrific storms Flayings, a saboteur, lost limbs, explosions, women disguised as men, long lost relatives, prison breaks It really swashes the buckle Mabbot, being chased by the late Ramsey s hired hand, hoping to catch and deliver her to England before his crew realizes their money went with the dead, is on a very personal quest to catch the Brass Fox and destroy quite a lot of opium along the way The circuitous journey winding through England,West Africa, India, the South China sea, Macau, and out to the Americas brings treasure and triumph, even a stove for Wedge, along with bloodshed and loss The descriptions of the locales and locals, while not always politically correct by 21st century conventions, are not to be missed But it s the love in between the action pieces that really sets Cinnamon and Gunpowder apart The narrator describes every meal with utter reverence, somewhere between lust and religious devotion If anything, I could have done with a few meals just for the breathtaking way each layer of flavor is described, building on the last The continued ingenuity of Wedge in the kitchen was almost exciting than any pirate confrontation There s romantic love, too, and familial, that evolves and builds and feels very natural And like the love inside, the book is very bittersweet coming into the final confrontation Without spoilers, I ll say when it ended I was so happy with a great read, but I felt as if my heart was broken, too However, I don t want to leave this review on a sad note, because Cinnamon and Gunpowder is than a tearjerker It s also witty and vibrant and a little crude Instead, I would like to leave you with Owen Wedgwood Christian, widower, and overall goodly man s advice on how to extricate yourself from an uncomfortable situation There is, no doubt, a proper and Christian response to such an offer, to join a massive homosexual orgy, but I was so shocked that my only thought was to excuse myself as quickly as possible Ah yes, right Do go on without me I have a sudden case of the shits. This extremely inventive novel takes place in 1819 on the high seas, when Owen Wedgewood, chef to Lord Ramsey, is kidnapped by the notorious pirate Hannah Mabbot After killing Lord Ramsey, who was at dinner, Mabbot eats some of the food on the table and falls in love with the cooking skills of Wedgewood It is his narration we follow and a well written one it is, in short Wedgewood is a wordsmith, his prose is a wonder Mabbot promises not to kill him if he makes her a sumptuous dinner every Sunday This is a little hard to do as the provisions on a pirates ship are not exactly meant for the gourmand So what follows is a grand adventure, yes there is killing, this is a pirate ship after all but there is a purpose and reason behind Mabbot s sailing of the seas As Wedgewood cooks for her, and the details of these dinners are amazing, they talk and learn things that leads them to a tentative trust This is such a book of contrasts, we have a pirate ship with the regular salty characters of lore contrasted with Wedgewood and his impeccable speech and dry wit We have rats and bugs in the flour and other disgusting tales of food goods and then once again there is Wedgewood cooking sumptuous food that he manages to get food for I also love that the pirate is a woman and one I was willing to follow from the English Coast through the Sunda strait to China. Eli Brown s infectious romp of a novel has a thoroughly modern sensibility dressed in the garb of yore It is the early 1800 s and Owen Wedgwood is chef to Lord Ramsey, one of the chief shareholders of the Pendleton Trading Company in England which trades opium for tea, silk, silver, and spices in Asia Enter Hannah Mabbot, pirate extraordinaire, defender of the underdog, and avenger of the exploited Then entered a pillar of menace, a woman in an olive long coat Her red hair hung loose over her shoulders She sauntered to the middle of the room, her coat opening to reveal jade handled pistols Using a chair as a stepping stool she walked upon the dining table to Lord Ramsey s plate and stood there, looking down, as is she had just conquered Kilimanjaro Her boots added inches to her already long frame There was the Shark of the Indian Ocean, Mad Hannah Mabbot, Back from the dead Red Hannah kills Lord Ramsey for his greed and sins against humanity, and takes Owen captive on her pirate ship, charging him with concocting a gourmet meal for her once a week on pain of his life.Author Brown s delicious confection reminds us what we loved about stories of old, and adds that sine qua non of righteous vengeance to sustain our sensibilities It may be that readers are especially susceptible to feats of culinary desperation because we are too busy reading to shop, so finding Wedgwood creating real cuisine from weevily flour and rancid lard is positively inspiring Some sea captains for large sailing vessels in my family surprised me with the news that those aboard ship rarely partake in the obvious to me fresh seafood surrounding them, as they are not fishermen but sailors, but one of the Japanese sailors aboard the Flying Rose, Mabbot s pirate ship, always has a line dragging from the aft rail, saving Wedgwood than once in his search for a main course.This is escapist fun of the best sort, effortlessly inventive, reminiscent of childhood summers, yet with truths adults will recognize and may take to heart Once, Mabbot must throw overboard the treasure she has looted from Pendleton ships in order to speed her progress away from danger The men will be bitter for having lost their silver, though it saved their lives It is a complicated thing With money in their pockets they become lazy and contrary Heavy and slow, as does the Rose itself A small part of me is glad to be rid of it When my men are hungry, with death upon their heels, they work hard and never complain and enjoy their own company They sing every night And, on the pain one feels when a close friend or lover dies I ve had this pain To tell you it will go away would be a lie It will never go away But, if you live long enough, it will cease to torture and will instead flavor you As we rely on the bitterness of strong tea to wake us, this too will become something you can use And on the sanctity of eating the flesh of animals I thought I would take pleasure in skinning that watchful rabbit, but now that it was still, it engendered in me a tenderness for all fragile flesh I sharpened a knife until it shone, then skinned and cleaned the rabbit, trying to make each cut a gesture of respect Loathe to waste any part of the animal, I set brains and hide aside for tanning As I progressed deeper into the body I felt a mystery revealing itself to me and began to pray, not with words but with simple cooking, a prayer not for the soul of the rabbit exactly but for the generous blending of its life and Mabbot s She had fed and loved it and now its flesh would become hers and mine, and in this way I understood that all beings lived only to feed each other as even the lion lays down for the worm In the striations of the rabbit s muscle I saw eons of breath and death And finally, we have a love story It has a prudish man s restraint, told in the voice of Wedgwood, who denies for ever so long his interest in Mabbot and in being at sea with pirates But lord knows how we all love conquering the inhibitions of prudish men and how much satisfying and telling it is for the woman to be the instigator If men are permanently on for sex, their sexual proclivities have less value, as it were Barky holes of trees as John Barth The Sot Weed Factor has written, would do as well Women, discriminating perhaps, tell us by their choices.A fine choice for a summer read This book deserves to be widely enjoyed for the sheer fun it offers It is something apart from the usual, and one must always take note of derring do. This turned out to be a bit of a disappointment I think it was most likely a victim of my false expectations I was expecting a fun and hilarious historical romance romp What I actually got was a weird historical fiction with a touch of fantasy and a tiny bit of romance Mad Hannah Mabbot, the notorious pirate captain, is a terror on the high seas and a thorn in the side of the prominent Pendelton Trading Company During a raid where she kills a high ranking Pendelton official Lord Ramsey she decides to kidnap his cook That cook is Owen Wedgwood She gives Owen a simple choice, cook her a Sunday meal fit for a Queen each week or suffer the same fate as his former master My main issue with this was the lack of humor and romance It was a fairly dark read at times as the pirates were not the most moral of characters you will ever encounter It also painted a fair picture of life in the 1800s, which was pretty bleak for a lot of people I did warm a bit to both Mabbot and Owen towards the end of the story, but they were hardly the most likeable characters I ve ever read about All in all this recovered from a bad start to solidify into a fairly average read Rating 2.5 stars.Audio Note James Langton did a decent job with the audio.