The Tower, the Zoo and the Tortoise by Julia Stuart

The Tower, the Zoo and the Tortoise

byJulia Stuart

Kobo ebook | August 10, 2010

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Brimming with charm, sparkling prose and undeniably unique characters, this hilarious novel set in the Tower of London has the transportive qualities and delightful magic of the contemporary classics Chocolat and Amelie.

Balthazar Jones has lived in the Tower of London with his loving wife, Hebe, and his pet, the oldest living tortoise, for the past eight years. That's right, he is a Beefeater. It's no easy job navigating the trials and tribulations that come with living and working in the largest tourist attraction in London. The once white-hot flame of Hebe and Balthazar's love has been snuffed in the few years since their son Milo died, a death for which Balthazar blames himself.

When Balthazar is tasked with setting up an elaborate menagerie within the Tower walls to house the many exotic animals gifted to the Queen by foreign dignitaries, life at the Tower gets all the more interesting. Penguins escape, a bearded pig goes missing, giraffes are stolen, the komodo dragon sends innocent people running for their lives, and canaries suffer fainting fits. As he attempts to cope with this four-legged invasion and his marriage continues to crumble, Balthazar must confront the secret he has been harbouring about his son's death, if he wants to save his marriage and his sanity.

CAST OF CHARACTERS

Balthazar Jones: Beefeater, overseer of the Tower's royal menagerie, father to Milo, and collector of rain
 
Hebe Jones: Balthazar's wife who works at London Underground's Lost Property Office
 
Mrs. Cook: Balthazar and Hebe's 180 + year-old tortoise - the oldest tortoise in the world
 
Arthur Catnip: London Underground ticket inspector of limited height
 
Rev. Septimus Drew: Tower chaplain who writes forbidden prose and pines for one of the residents
 
Ruby Dore: Barmaid at the Tower's Rack & Ruin pub who has a secret
 
Valerie Jennings: Hebe's eccentric colleague who falls for someone of limited height
 
The Ravenmaster: Philandering Beefeater who looks after the Tower's ravens
 
Sir Walter Raleigh: Former Tower prisoner and its most troublesome ghost
 
Chief Yeoman Warder: Suspicious head Beefeater
 
Oswin Fielding: Equerry to The Queen
 
Samuel Crapper: Lost Property Office's most frequent customer
 
Yeoman Gaoler: Deputy to the Chief Yeoman Warder who is terrorized by ghostly poetry at night

From the Hardcover edition.

Title:The Tower, the Zoo and the TortoiseFormat:Kobo ebookPublished:August 10, 2010Publisher:Doubleday CanadaLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0385669690

ISBN - 13:9780385669696

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Reviews

Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great book club title Compelling contemporary story of a group of beefeaters and their families who live at the Tower of London. Interspersed with facts about the tower and the history, the descriptions of the quirky characters were riveting. When the Queen decides to send her animal gifts to the Tower to raise visitation stats, Warder Jones is chosen to be the zoo keeper. This decision leads the beefeaters and their families to make changes, welcome or not, to their lives.
Date published: 2013-06-23