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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!