Cinnamon and Gunpowder
By Eli Brown
The year is 1819 and Mad Hannah Mabbot is the terror of the seven seas. On her ship, the Flying Rose, she sails a bloody path from port to port, leaving sunken vessels and wrecks of men in her wake. After she kills his former employer, she kidnaps Owen Wedgwood, a chef and loyal British subject. Wedgwood finds himself living on a pirate ship, surrounded by ruffians and forced to cook for his life. Each Sunday he must provide Mabbot with a gourmet meal that meets her approval. If she enjoys it, he lives. If not, well, he can only imagine.
The story is told from Wedgwood's perspective. Every time he sees a chance he attempts escape, but even when he does manage it his situation only seems to get worse. At the same time he is gathering ingredients for the meals that may save his life. He quickly discovers that a pirate ship's galley is not nearly as well equipped as the kitchens he's used to. After resorting to using a cannonball instead of a rolling pin, he declares, "I have to admit it works well enough for pirate pasta."
Distressingly for pious, loyal Wedgwood, the longer he spends with the pirates the more things he finds to admire about their lifestyle. Not the murder, of course, nor the thievery. But these are not the devils he took them for. And even Mabbot, with her flaming red hair and bloodthirsty demeanor, can sit down and have a civilized meal once a week. It may be that Owen Wedgwood has a little of the pirate in himself as well.
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Review by Danny Hanbery