Brendan Connell's Lives of Notorious Cooks will be published by Chômu Press in December 2012.

Here's a description of Lives of Notorious Cooks:

When he reached the age of 767, Peng Zu was sought after by the benevolent Emperor Yao, who wished to receive advice on ruling the nation. Peng Zu made a thick soup for the emperor out of pheasant, Job’s tear seeds and plums, well salted. Eating the dish, the emperor felt as if he were sitting on air. He was filled with a deep cosmic joy in which he saw everything clearly.

“You see,” Peng Zu said, “the gravest problems of state can be resolved over a bowl of soup. The people, seeing you live frugally will not resent you. When the ruler is calm, the nation is calm.”

Learn of the outrageous and sometimes dubious lives of Peng Zu and fifty other notorious cooks from the pages of history and legend, in a picaresque dictionary of delicious and playful story-telling.


Brendan Connell definitely can't be blamed for lack of imagination and wittiness, because who else could've come up with the idea of writing a historical book about cooks. This fully fictional account of the lives of historical people is a damn good book - it's historical fantasy at its best.

As you may have already guessed by the previous sentence, I categorize this book as historical fantasy (it's also possible to categorize this book as historical speculative fiction), because certain stories contain fantastical elements.

Lives of Notorious Cooks is one of the best and most entertaining books I've read this year (I never would've thought that it would be possible to write a book like this about cooks and cooking). I think it's great that Brendan Connell can surprise his readers with books that defy categorization and are totally different from all other books on the market. He's one of those rare authors who aren't afraid to use imagination while writing new books and stories.

Lives of Notorious Cooks contains several short stories. It's almost like a different kind of Metrophilias (Metrophilias is an excellent flash fiction collection by Brendan Connell), but in this case some of the stories aren't exactly flash fiction, because they're too long to be flash fiction.

These decadent and fantastical biographies of 51 characters are fascinating stories, because Brendan Connell has a way with words and he uses witty expressions. It's interesting to read what happens to the cooks. The stories are humorous and also a bit disturbing in a playful way. You'll find yourself smiling and smirking when you read these stories.

It's fascinating to read about different kind of cooks and their foods in vivid details. The author writes about the cooks and their lives enchantingly and lets his readers see glimpses of their lives. Their lives are filled with all kinds of happenings, cooking and delicacies, which will cast an enchantment over the reader so that he/she has to keep on reading the stories.

Brendan Connell's literary prose is wonderful and sparkles with creativity and originality. His writing is so beautiful that it's difficult to find another author who is capable of writing similar kind of nuanced and witty prose. To be honest, this book is a small gem of sparkling imagination to readers of historical fiction and speculative fiction.

If you're looking for something different to read and want to read quality, you must read this book, because Brendan Connell writes beautiful prose and interesting stories. This collection can be especially recommended to readers who are interested in cooking and delicacies, but other readers will also enjoy it.

Highly recommended!

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