The Tower, the Zoo, and the Tortoise
Published by Doubleday
I purchased this book at Chaucer’s in Santa Barbara, which needs to move to Morro Bay. I promise I could make it worth their while.
This is a cute novel, in keeping with the adorable cover. The sketches continue throughout the book, too, as each chapter ends with a little picture of an animal.
The animals also come darn close to stealing the show in the book, too.
Balthazar Jones is a Yeoman Warder (popularly called Beefeaters) at the Tower of London. His performance on the job has suffered, however, since the death of his young son. His marriage is floundering, also. The only thing that brings him any happiness is rain.
Balthazar lives in the Tower, with the other Yeoman Warders and their families, as well as a few other individuals. There’s Ruby, who runs the on-site pub, and Reverend Septimus Drew, who hates rats and has a secret life. There are also a few ghosts running around. It’s a big, not-so-happy family.
When the Queen decides to reinstate the Royal Menagerie at the Tower, everyone’s lives are shaken up. And poor Balthazar is put in charge of the exotic animals, which include disappearing penguins, vicious lovebirds, and a stinky glutton.
This was a fun read, despite Balthazar’s initial bleakness. My only advice to you, should you decide to read the book, is to skip the description on the front and back flaps, as it darn near tells the whole story!