Hats off to Brandenburg by Graham Thomas
London, 1815 - The Roxy Playhouse is in trouble!
The Roxy Playhouse Irregulars, those libertine artists and dreamers, are up to their necks in debt - “Pay up in one month or its curtains for you all.” Dark times lead to drastic schemes and so the Irregulars decide to reinvent themselves as ‘performance thieves’, infiltrate High Society and ‘Robin Hood’ their way through it. However, getting embroiled in a dark and deadly plot to destroy the Monarchy was never part of their script. The Roxy Irregulars will have to stage the performance of their lives if they want to save the day and make it home in time for last orders.
Hats off to Brandenburg is the first book of a new series entitled The Roxy Compendium and written by Graham Thomas. It assumed that the series will run to a total off 12 books, 6 featuring a large ongoing adventure and 6 smaller spin-offs which will concentrate on several characters from the “Brandenburg” universe. When I first read the synopsis I had high hopes for the book, hopes that were more than satisfied! How Thomas transforms the story as it progresses is just marvellous and the right decision was made in not giving away too much in the blurb.
First off the setting. Hats off to Brandenburg takes place in England in the early 19th century (not an alternate England). The descriptions and scenes used throughout the book not only lived up perfectly to what I had already read in history novels, but made it far better in every way. The scenes are so vividly described it was like I was standing right there as they played out.
Then the cast. There are two characters on which Thomas primarily focusses in the story: Archibald Enflield and Benjamin Ananas. Archibald - or Archie - was for me the most enjoyable character, he is capable of being funny, witty, serious and an asshole all in the blink of an eye. Benjamin also has a lot of play, owing much to his rich history that unfolds as the story progresses. BUT it is the interactions between the two that I loved the most. The other Roxy Irregulars all play their own parts too, each with their own expertise like playwriting, rope-walking or sleight-of-hand and Thomas uses each and every character brilliantly. And what would this Robin Hood inspired story be without the rich to steal from? The High Society features several engaging characters complete their rich clothing and a snobbish outlook on life.
From the very first chapter Thomas produces the ambiance of England in the early 19th century. His descriptions of the street layouts, the actions of the characters, the Roxy Playhouse, the taverns, the love-making and leaving before the husband return jumping out of a window, was just spot on. With 12 books planned it was noticable that Thomas invested a lot off time in creating foundations in the Brandenburg universe.
Hats off to brandenburg runs to 714 pages and a third of the way in it seemed that the plot was done and dusted. However, the story was transformed into something new and it was this transformation that won me over completely. I found the first third enjoyable but the rest just blew me away - it was funny, engaging, sad at times and more than I could have ever have hoped for! The writing was crisp and well structured ( the book consists of 5 different parts) and Thomas uses the layout of the chapters to good effect.
You would expect that that the fights between the Roxy Irregulars and the bad guys would result in wins for the Irregulars. On the contrary. Although the Irregulars each have their forte they are not invincible and this becomes apparent throughout the book. I found this a big plus, with even Irregulars having “their curtains closed” (as they would have said it). It made the book much more realistic and engaging and furthermore left me guessing about might happen (I was wrong most of the time).
Hats off to Brandenburg is a stunning piece off work with a well-structured storyline and characters that are more than likable. The jump from one plot to a much bigger plot was brilliantly done. Hats off to Brandenburg is a worthy addition to anyone's bookshelf. I know it made an entry in my top 10 all time favourites! All I can say is: “Sit back, relax and enjoy the show”. I hope the Roxy Irregulars are here to stay!
This Hats off to Brandenburg book review was written by Jasper de Joode
Have you read Hats off to Brandenburg?
We've found that while readers like to know what we think of a book they find additional reader reviews a massive help in deciding if it is the right book for them. So if you have a spare moment, please tell us your thoughts by writing a reader's review. Thank you.
Hats off to Brandenburg reader reviews
9.6/10 from 1 reviews
There are currently no reader reviews for this book. Why not be the first?
Write a reader review
Thank you for taking the time to write a review on this book, it really makes a difference and helps readers to find their perfect book.
More recommended reading in this genre
Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell
Two magicians shall appear in England. The first shall fear me; the second shall long to behold me The year is 1806. England is beleaguered by the long war with Napoleon, a...
Guy Gavriel Kay
For two years Shen Tai has mourned his father, living like a hermit beyond the borders of the Kitan Empire, by a mountain lake where terrible battles have long been fought ...
The Master and Margarita
Moscow, 1929: a city that has lost its way amid corruption and fear, inhabited by people who have abandoned their morals and forsaken spirituality. But when a mysterious st...
Catherynne M Valente
Child of the revolution, maiden of myth, bride of darkness. A handsome young man arrives in St Petersburg at the house of Marya Morevna. He is Koschei, the Tsar of Life, an...
Only five still guard the borders between the worlds. Only five hold back what waits on the other side. Once the Oversight, the secret society that polices the lines betwee...
The Gamehouse is an unusual institution. Many know it as the place where fortunes can be made and lost through games of Chess, Backgammon - every game under the sun. But a ...
The Bear and the Nightingale
In a village at the edge of the wilderness of northern Russia, where the winds blow cold and the snow falls many months of the year, a stranger with piercing blue eyes pres...
Nights at the Circus
Is Sophie Fevvers, toast of Europe's capitals, part swan... or all fake? Courted by the Prince of Wales and painted by Toulouse-Lautrec, she is an aerialiste extraordin...
In the ancient city-state of Gujaareh, peace is the only law. Upon its rooftops and amongst the shadows of its cobbled streets wait the Gatherers – the keepers of thi...
The War at Troy
The people who lived in those days were closer to gods than we are, and great deeds and marvels were commoner then, which is why the stories we have from them are nobler an...
The Golem and the Djinni
Chava is a golem, a creature made of clay, brought to life by a disgraced rabbi who dabbles in dark Kabbalistic magic. When her master, the husband who commissioned her, di...
Land of Hope and Glory
It is 1852. The Indian empire of Rajthana has ruled Europe for more than a hundred years. With their vast armies, steam-and-sorcery technology and mastery of the mysterious...
One Hundred Years of Vicissitude
"First up, a disclaimer. I suspect I am a dead man. I have meagre proof, no framed- up certification, nothing to toss in a court of law as evidence of a rapid departur...
Those Poor, Poor Bastards
The year is 1868... In the Sierra Nevada, during the expansion of the Central Pacific Railroad, Nina Weaver and her pa, Lincoln, trundle into Coburn Station with a wagonful...
Looking for more suggestions? Try these pages:
Books of the Month
A selection of books - old and new alike - that were a joy to read.
Events are coming to a climax in the Banished Lands, as the war reaches new heights. King Nathair has taken control of the fortress at Drassil and three of the Seven Treasures are in his possession. And together with Calidus and his ally Queen Rhin, Nathair will do anything to obtain the remaining Treasures. With all seven under his command, he ...
For Kivrin Engle, preparing an on-site study of one of the deadliest eras in humanity's history was as simple as receiving inoculations against the diseases of the four...
The Banished Lands are engulfed in war and chaos. The cunning Queen Rhin has conquered the west and High King Nathair has the cauldron, most powerful of the seven treasures...
The Creeping Shadow
Lucy has left Lockwood & Co. A freelance operative, she is hiring herself out to other agencies – agencies that might value her ever-improving skills. But now Loc...
The Burning Page
When it's your job to save the day - where do you start? Librarian spy Irene has standards to maintain, especially while on probation. And absconding from a mission via...
The Banished Lands are torn by war as the army of High King Nathair sweeps the realm challenging all who oppose his holy crusade. Allied with the manipulative Queen Rhin of...