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?
Evolved Publishing presents a globe-trotting adventure in the tradition of such greats as "Around the World in 80 Days."
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|Edition description:||First Softcover ed.|
|Product dimensions:||6.14(w) x 9.21(h) x 0.63(d)|
About the Author
EDITOR: I caught the writing bug early on in elementary school after my teacher showed me how to make my own book. Excited by this idea, I ran home and made my first picture book on notebook paper and bound with yarn. I majored in creative writing at the University of Southern California, and entered the world of editing through educational publishing while working at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. I love getting lost in a great story, whether it be literary, science fiction, or coming-of-age. In critique groups and workshops, I've had the privilege of reading works-in-progress and being a part of a great story from its inception through revisions and beyond. If I can ever help an author along in their process, then I consider that a success for both of us.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Hold onto your hats for this 19th century hot air balloon adventure hosted by a dapper detective and an escaped aerial artist! The story begins in Switzerland as Beatrix (Bee) awaits a routine beating from her boss, circus ringleader, Ziro. That is, after she wows dinner guests at a mountain mansion, on behalf of the circus. Bee and one guest, the Colonel, a tall chap in a top hat, both find themselves fleeing the evening’s gathering. Bee joins the crew aboard the Colonel’s floating home, the Ox, on a hunt for just what or whom she will have to deduce as she goes along with the Colonel’s (literal) fly-by-the-seat-of-his-pants approach. An alchemy of exquisite detail and colorful characters yields a robust plot. Bee and the Colonel build up as characters from the outside in. Bee’s scant circus attire and the stench of Colonel’s yak urine lip balm concealed by fresh flowers tucked in his suit’s crevices reflect complex inner traits. Bee’s acrobatic single-mindedness offsets the Colonel’s larger than life demeanor. The hard working Scottish couple, a scatterbrained lighthouse attendant and a host of animals also inhabiting the Ox compete with the Weasleys from Harry Potter for best supporting roles. The entourage serve each other well traveling through Europe and Northern Africa on a scavenger hunt with warring treasure seeking families. Drawings at the end of each chapter highlight the playfulness of the story. The story steers clear of moralizing. The treasure hunting families are clearly the bad guys up against a dynamic family of free spirits. But winning or losing is not the point. Set in the 1800s, the book is a refreshing break from dystopias, saving the climate, and other subjects of much current young adult fiction. Steering a floating building, training birds, planning prison raids and sewing torn envelopes are the stuff of this book’s adventures. Romantic intrigue takes a back seat to a deeper love; the book celebrates the age old virtues of friendship. A coming of age story for all generations, The Colonel and the Bee entertains and warms the heart.
The Colonel and the Bee promised much from the outset with a dramatic cover and our initial introduction to Beatrix. The story is told by her in the first person and I found myself immediately drawn into her character as a talented gymnast with feisty ambitions to make more of her life. The idea of her travelling around the world in such a magnificent machine promised a great deal. Along the way there were some exciting incidents but generally that promise was not fulfilled. The overall plot did not excite me and between the moments of action there were long periods of drudgery and attempts at comedy that mostly fell flat. That may have been because the book was almost certainly not aimed at someone with my profile. That said, I do have to wonder who it was aimed at. The story and its characters would appear suitable for young teens looking to progress from simpler magic stories but if that were true then was the Colonel’s condoned attitude towards young women suitable for such an audience? Although I was drawn in by Beatrix’s personality I was not so convinced by the other characters who were either flat or stereotypical. This, I am sorry to say, included the mysterious Colonel who had little warmth. The synopsis suggests that Patrick Canning has set The Colonel and the Bee in the 19th Century. The hot air balloon and the magic lantern would support that suggestion but many of the places visited appeared to be stuck in medieval times with some unrealistic comic touches. Nothing made me laugh out loud. Also, the Ox is remarkably manoeuvrable for a balloon powered solely by air currents in that they could steer direct courses to anywhere in the world and, with one notable exception, arrive within a day or so. The text was easy enough to read and I persisted to the end, ever hopeful of some magic moments that never quite appeared. My overall feeling is that there could be a good novel featuring Beatrix and the hot air balloon but I don’t think that The Colonel and the Bee is that novel. I have awarded three stars.
Reviewed by Charles Remington for Readers' Favorite The Colonel is a good-natured Lothario and bon viveur who inhabits an amazing four-storey home attached to a colossal balloon. The Bee is a young circus acrobat, billed as the amazing Beatrix, who is ill-treated by the ringmaster and is desperately unhappy in her role. The pair meets at a private country house performance where the Colonel defends Beatrix from further abuse, causing a heated conflagration, and together they escape into the skies in his balloon. Beatrix learns that the Colonel is a treasure hunter in search of a fabled jewel and manages to inveigle herself into the quest. But they are not alone - three treasure hunting family groups are also determined to secure the treasure and will stop at nothing, including murder, to succeed. Travelling in their astounding airborne home, hotly pursued by hordes of colourful cutthroats and villains, they traverse Europe, including England, and south across the entire African continent. Clues gleaned along the way guide them to their final destination and a dramatic climax. The Colonel and the Bee by Patrick Canning is a complex tale full of twists, turns, riddles and surprises so I will weigh my words carefully to avoid any spoilers. I must admit when I started The Colonel and the Bee, I found it a little difficult to reconcile the physics around a four-storey structure, complete with kitchens, bedrooms, staircases and storage areas, transported by a balloon which is powered by hydrogen and hot air. But as I became involved with the fast-paced narrative, my doubts were quickly overcome and the logistics of the craft took a mental back seat. Patrick Canning has penned a captivating, atmospheric tale peopled with odd but believable characters. The plot includes numerous twists and turns along with mysteries and surprises galore. Prepare yourself for a thrilling, sometimes hair-raising ride!
The Colonel & the Bee has been favorably compared to so many wonderful classic books like Around the World in 80 Days, The Wizard of Oz, Sherlock Holmes. I can certainly see aspects of each in this book. That’s not bad company to keep, Patrick Canning. The only thing young acrobat Beatrix longs for is freedom from an abusive ringmaster and her captive life in the circus. Once she makes her escape with the help of Colonel James Bacchus, she embarks on the adventure of her life. She finds her freedom while soaring to exotic locals high above the clouds in The Ox, a four-story hot air balloon. The Colonel and the Bee find adventures, dangers, excitement, and so much more on their treasure hunt. Most importantly, they learn to trust. The Colonel and the Bee is a fantastic steampunk type story. The language is exquisite and paints a glorious picture while you are reading. I feel like I watched a fabulous movie instead of reading a book. I wonder if the Colonel and Beatrix will soon soar off searching for new adventures?
Beatrix is a performer in a traveling circus. She is abused and jumps at the chance for escape when the colonel appears on the scene. After a daring escape, for both of them, they find themselves on an adventure of a lifetime chasing a treasure and trying to solve a crime. This book was awesome. It was colorful and detailed. It was heartbreaking and yet fun. It was action-packed from start to finish. Bee is a just a young girl who is in a dangerous place. She is in a harsh environment and freedom is her longing. She was a fantastic character. The colonel is a man of adventure and is full of daring. He rescues a young trapeze artist changing both of their lives. The only thing I found in this book, that wasn't bad, but more of an annoyance was the use of huge words. I spent a lot of time researching what words meant because they are just not ones that you hear or see on a regular basis. This isn't bad, because it helps with building the vocabulary, but in my opinion, it's just a bit of an annoyance and hurts the flow of the story. Other than that I enjoyed this story. It kept me reading and was a fun read.
Good read It's an interesting read and the first book I've read by Canning. His story has an interesting premise, and brings the reader on a journey. It revolves around two characters and has an interesting old-movie vibe. I enjoyed reading the story, as it's adventurous and adds a bit of excitement. There is a tone to it that doesn't really heighten or lower the story. The characters are developed but maybe need a bit more depth. I look forward to reading more work by Canning.