Synopses & Reviews
The year is 1819, and the renowned chef Owen Wedgwood has been kidnapped by a beautiful yet ruthless pirate. He will be spared, Mad Hannah Mabbot tells him, as long as he can conjure an exquisite meal every Sunday from the ships meager supplies. While Wedgwood attempts to satisfy his captor with feats such as tea-smoked eel and pineapple-banana cider, he realizes that Mabbot herself is under siege. Hunted by a deadly privateer and plagued by a saboteur, she pushes her crew past exhaustion in her search for the notorious Brass Fox. But there is a method to Mabbots madness, and as the Flying Rose
races across the ocean, Wedgwood learns to rely on the bizarre crew members he once feared: a formidable giant who loves to knit; a pair of stoic martial arts masters, sworn to defend their captain; and the ships deaf cabin boy, who becomes the son he never had.
An anarchic tale of love and appetite, Eli Brown's Cinnamon and Gunpowder is a wildly original feat of the imagination, deep and startling as the sea itself.
“You'll savor every bite.” Petra Mayer, NPR
“A great beach read that doesn't sacrifice beautiful writing....Oh, Hannah! What a character she is — sexy, hilarious, tough, and with such heart.” Julie Powell, author of Julie and Julia
“Original and exquisite....Salty, smart, and sensuous. Eli Brown unfurls a pirate story that's also an eloquent disquisition on human appetite and the mysteries of taste.” Carolyn Cooke, author of Daughters of the Revolution
“A swashbuckler of a cookbook, and a romance, too.” Bon Appétit.com
Eli Brown's Cinnamon and Gunpowder is a gripping adventure, a seaborne romance, and a twist on the tale of Scheherazade--with the best food ever served aboard a pirate's ship
The year is 1819, and the renowned chef Owen Wedgwood has been kidnapped by the ruthless pirate Mad Hannah Mabbot. He will be spared, she tells him, as long as he puts exquisite food in front of her every Sunday without fail.
To appease the red-haired captain, Wedgwood gets cracking with the meager supplies on board. His first triumph at sea is actual bread, made from a sourdough starter that he leavens in a tin under his shirt throughout a roaring battle, as men are cutlassed all around him. Soon he's making tea-smoked eel and brewing pineapple-banana cider.
But Mabbot--who exerts a curious draw on the chef--is under siege. Hunted by a deadly privateer and plagued by a saboteur hidden on her ship, she pushes her crew past exhaustion in her search for the notorious Brass Fox. As Wedgwood begins to sense a method to Mabbot's madness, he must rely on the bizarre crewmembers he once feared: Mr. Apples, the fearsome giant who loves to knit; Feng and Bai, martial arts masters sworn to defend their captain; and Joshua, the deaf cabin boy who becomes the son Wedgwood never had.
Cinnamon and Gunpowder is a swashbuckling epicure's adventure simmered over a surprisingly touching love story--with a dash of the strangest, most delightful cookbook never written. Eli Brown has crafted a uniquely entertaining novel full of adventure: the Scheherazade story turned on its head, at sea, with food.
An NPR Best Book of the Year (2013)
About the Author
Eli Brown lives on an experimental urban farm in Alameda, California. His writing has appeared in The Cortland Review and Homewrecker: An Adultery Reader. His first novel, The Great Days, won the Fabri Literary Prize.