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Historical Fiction Review – Cinnamon and Gunpowder

Cinnamon and Gunpowder by Eli Brown 

Review by Cheryl G. (Poncer) 

While not a fan of most pirate books because of their violent nature, this book intrigued me because of the mention of cinnamon in the title. I had recently watched a documentary about the history and current production of the spice in Sri Lanka (formerly Ceylon). I am very glad I read this book, even the violent parts. Luckily the narrator was nearly as squeamish as I about violence, so while the book did contain violent scenes, they were over quickly and handled with some sympathy. 

Tossed in to this pirate novel is a charming love story and some recipes to make if you are ever stuck on the high seas with limited ingredients. Or even at home with some seaworthy goodies.

This book takes part during a few months in 1819 and though written in the early 20-teens, it seems very relevant to the discussions taking place since the death of Queen Elizabeth II and the impact of British imperialism around the world. Funny that the history we were taught in school, and the actual ways westerners affected other peoples of the world, are often very different. While this is definitely a work of historical fiction, I did learn some facts about spice trading, privateers and pirates of those days.

One of the best parts of this book was the humor. Some parts were actually laugh-out-loud funny. Along with the human reactions of the main characters, it made the book very readable. The characters were all developed well and all, even the most grizzled old lascar garnered my sympathy in some way as the story progressed. 


I highly recommend this book, and not only to fans of pirate stories. Four stars. 








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