Title: Hats Off to Brandenburg (The Roxy Playhouse #1)
Author: Graham Thomas
Publisher: The Never Press
Release date: Out now!
Hats Off to Brandenburg is the first book in Graham Thomas’ excellent new series, The Roxy Compendium, in which we are introduced to a variety of wonderful new characters, all from different backgrounds and with very different personalities.
The year is 1815, and we are at the Roxy Playhouse Theatre in London, home to the Roxy Playhouse Irregulars (or RPI’s as I like to call the gang). Life in the playhouse would be perfect if not for one small issue; they are more than a little in debt, and it seems they are on their way to loosing their beloved playhouse if they don’t come up with something quick.
The only solution seems to be to pull off the impossible; put on the best performance of their lives, but with one major difference – they must perform within London’s high society without anyone discovering them, so they can steal expensive jewels and silver, replacing them with identical objects made by prop’s designer, Tobias.
To pull this off convincingly, they all have a part. The main character that the play depends upon is the haunted Benjamin Ananas, who must transform himself into the wonderful Count Brandenburg and become loved by the society Benjamin shuns.
The main plot of the story is introduced about a quarter of the way through, in the form of a mysterious movement called ‘The Black Arm’ causing trouble and threatening the RPI’s plan. They are a large army of unsavoury characters that can only spell trouble for our heroes. Will they be able to defeat them? And if so, at what cost?
Usually, a book with so many characters and as much action that the pages of Hats Off to Brandenburg contains is hard for me to keep track of. However, once again, I am pleased to say that Graham’s writing has surpassed my bugbears and I was hooked from the beginning until the very end.
My favourite was easily Benjamin Ananas, a man who, after loosing his parents and the love of his life, Abigail Hardwoode, must transform himself into the very man he could have once become. He has a lot of heart and his troubled past was subtly dealt with, so he wasn’t moping around as much as you might imagine.
Another stand out character is Archie, the comedian of the group who is also something if a womanizer. His story was left on a cliff-hanger and hopefully Graham will devote more time to him in another installment., I think he will easily become the readers most favored character.
The Roxy Irregulars work well as a whole; the group’s dynamic is easy to understand from the beginning. Although almost all of Graham’s work involves romance in one subtle way or another, I feel there as more of a romantic element in this series with a few of the character pairing up in some way or another over the course of the novel. My favourite has to be Srdjan and Alexia, who have a brilliant love between them. I would love to see Graham do a book, or short story, about how they met and events that happened before the start of this novel.
I could go on and say something about each character, but there are many and I don’t want to spoil the novel for anyone. Discovering each character for yourself is part of the reading experience with this book, and what an excellent book it is!
Word on the book blogging grapevine has it that Graham plans to expand this series with many more books, so get hooked now and stay ahead of the crowd. Hats Off to Brandenburg is certainly another gem from a brilliant author. A big thanks once again to the amazing publishers that are The Never Press, and to Graham who signed my copy. Thanks, guys!
The eBook version is currently available on Amazon for less than £1! Grab it now!