“The Colonel and the Bee” by Patrick Canning

What is this book like? Well, sort of like Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes teamed up with Alan Bradley’s Flavia de Luce in a 4-storey high hybrid hot air/helium-filled balloon chasing a pair of feuding underworld families across 19th Century Europe and beyond in search of a fabulous jewel. Lara Croft, steam-punk style.
This is the sort of book that demands creativity, and Canning delivers. Every character is a Character, stretched past stereotype into archetype. Every setting is new and different and unreal to the finest detail.
The writing is true to the era, a time when demonstrating one’s education came as naturally as – well – speaking. Not a vocabulary for the unwashed masses, I’m afraid.
If I have anything to complain about, the looseness and creativity of the writing seems to invite a certain amount of coincidence in the plotline, and Canning allows himself this luxury a shade too often.
In general a polished jewel of the Steampunk genre.
5 out of 5 stars (5 / 5)

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