A gripping adventure, a seaborne romance, and a twist on the tale of Scheherazade - with the best food ever served aboard a pirate's ship.
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. To appease the red-haired captain, Wedgwood gets cracking with the meager supplies on board. His first triumph at sea is actual bread, made from a sourdough starter that he leavens in a tin under his shirt throughout a roaring battle, as men are cutlassed all around him. Soon he's making tea-smoked eel and brewing pineapple-banana cider.
But Mabbot - who exerts a curious draw on the chef - is under siege. Hunted by a deadly privateer and plagued by a saboteur hidden on her ship, she pushes her crew past exhaustion in her search for the notorious Brass Fox. As Wedgwood begins to sense a method to Mabbot's madness, he must rely on the bizarre crewmembers he once feared: Mr. Apples, the fearsome giant who loves to knit; Feng and Bai, martial arts masters sworn to defend their captain; and Joshua, the deaf cabin boy who becomes the son Wedgwood never had.
Cinnamon and Gunpowder is a swashbuckling epicure's adventure simmered over a surprisingly touching love story - with a dash of the strangest, most delightful cookbook never written. Eli Brown has crafted a uniquely entertaining novel full of adventure: the Scheherazade story turned on its head, at sea, with food.
©2013 Eli Brown (P)2013 Macmillan Audio
Nice story, new ideas, kept me interested but not invested in the characters. The cooking aspect was a new twist and I liked that, the rest was fairly average.
Nothing I love more than a well-rounded character and intense plot.
Cinnamon & Gunpowder is one of those books that you think you can explain quickly. You can’t. The basic elements (wild-haired lady pirate, stuffy chef, excellently-named nemeses, and high-stakes adventure) combine into a fantastical gumbo as wonderful as the cooking described within. It all seemed simple at first, but then when attempting to describe the plot to a friend, I found myself standing on a chair, thrusting a cutlass at imaginary rivals, shouting “OH! OH! AND THEN—“; it begs exclamation and exuberance.
Though exciting on the surface, Brown is also telling a deeper story of corruption, loyalty, the benefits of moral ambiguity, and ultimately, how we make our families. I haven’t been this excited about a leading female character in a long time. Highly recommended for fans of Blood Bones & Butter, Bloody Jack, and Downton Abbey - Master and Commander fans, you’re encouraged to take note as well. If you like adventure, if you like pirates, if you like food, this book belongs in your library.
James Langton's narration is not entirely what I was expecting, but I think he did a good job of relaying the protagonist's worldview and generally stuffiness.
The chef is forced to be resourceful in many different ways.He has to shed excess baggage. The pirate captain has her ways. The crew are true pirates. I loved the creativeness and the narrator.
I am not sure - I certainly wouldn't buy one as soon as it came but would wait for reviews.
The main character wasn't very likeable - he kept making stupid moves in the course of the story by trying to escape and then 'suddenly' decided he was happy living on the boat.
I am not sure - I couldn't decide if the lack of likeability of the main character was due to the narration or not. Whenever you are listening to an audiobook and you find yourself just tired of hearing a voice - it isn't a good sign. He seemed to drone on and on but that could also be the fault of the story.
I have to say this is one of the more bizarre premises for a book, but it was so much fun. I can handle a little bit of swashbuckling and sea stories, but Horatio Hornblower and Jack Aubrey are always a little more technical than I deem to be "fun." But a story with foodie pirates? I love it. Even though one would imagine the food on ships to be somewhat lacking, I found myself getting hungry listening to the great descriptions of the meals put forth by the protagonist (minus the bread made with a starter that he wore on himself to keep warm).
I liked this book from the very beginning! The voice is very pleasant to listen to. This is the way I like an audiobook to be narrated. This is how I like my audiobooks. If you like this book, then also listen to A high wind in Jamaica by Richard Huges. It is also about pirates (and children) and also a nice story and very well read.
The cook, of course
Not yet, but I will in future!
It was hilarious at times
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