Book Reviews

The Colonel and the Bee by Patrick Canning


Released: May 2018
Publisher: Evolved Publishing
Pages: 304
Rating: 4/5

A young acrobat named Bee escapes from her abusive traveling circus to become part of a treasure hunting crew aboard a hot air balloon.

From Goodreads/Amazon:

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.

Young Beatrix (“Bee”) works as an acrobat in a 19th century circus, with no home or family to speak of. After her daring escape from her abusive ringleader, Bee crosses paths with the daring adventurer Colonel James Bacchus. The unlikely pair team up, fly to safety aboard the Colonel’s miraculous four-story hot air balloon, and begin a grand quest to find the most precious gem in the world, The Blue Star Sphinx. 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.

If the heroes can outmaneuver the deadly treasure hunters, escaped convicts, and double-crosses that await them, they may win the treasure they seek- or better yet, a sense of true belonging.


This was a thoroughly delightful and creative story. It was short, but packed with mystery, intrigue, humour, and heart. And I love the cover so much!

The massive steampunk hot air balloon, where most of the tale takes place, was really unique (if not very plausible). The Ox was essentially its own floating city, with gardens, a library, countless corridors, and several endearing characters. Much like Bee, I instantly took to The Ox as it flew around Europe and Africa.

From the opening pages, our eccentric crew is hit with one trial after another as they not only try to beat their dangerous foes to the legendary treasure, but try to stay alive- and afloat- as well. It was non-stop action for these characters, putting their resolve and relationships constantly to the test.

The stars of the show were the Newlyweds, a long married couple who earned that nickname because of how obviously in love with each other they still are. They took Bee in under their wings and helped her start to feel like she actually belonged somewhere.

The Colonel, while amusing and intriguing at first, became a bit ingratiating as the book unfolded, especially with his obsession with bedding women in every port of call. He also waffled on a lot, a trait I find often with books about 19th century explorers. Men, amirite? He almost redeemed himself a few times throughout the book, particularly toward the end, but his behaviour and monologues did get a bit tedious.

The Colonel is really the only criticism I have of the book. All together, it was a fun, daring, and very charming book that I greatly enjoyed reading. I definitely recommend it for anyone who wants to read something light, quirky, and entertaining.

The Colonel and The Bee is a wonderful bit of escapism (no pun intended), perfect for readers who want a bit of light fun and adventure. The author has stated that it is Around the World in 80 Days meets The Wizard of Oz, which is a perfect description of the book. Especially because while seeming like an omnipotent leader, The Colonel is just a flawed human underneath it all- much like The Wizard.

I’m not entirely sure what age range this is aimed for as there are some pretty heavy and adult themes throughout the book. I would imagine it’s best suited for those in their late teens like Bee, but either way as an adult I certainly enjoyed reading this fantastical tale.

Thank you so much to the author for sending me a copy of this in exchange for an honest review.

Buy on

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