I recently finished Cinnamon and Gunpowder: A Novel by Eli Brown. I highly recommend it, although I doubt everyone would enjoy it.
Snatched at gunpoint from England by pirates (after they murder his employer), Owen Wedgwood is forced to cook every Sunday for the pirates’ swashbuckling female leader, or forfeit his life. Producing mouthwatering meals with very few supplies, Owen hates the pirates and their leader with a passion. But as time goes on, he learns that they are actually trying to break the slave trade and the opium trade with which Britain enchains China. The pirates gradually gain his sympathy, and Owen finds himself helping them rather than trying to escape. Eventually Owen learns that true heroes come in unexpected packages, and good does not follow money.
I really enjoyed this fast-paced book, but if you do not like suspending your disbelief about the way the world ought to be (in science, history, and perhaps philosophically) then this is not the book for you. There are fantastical scientific inventions, and impossible events wound throughout true events and historical happenings. A modern Jules Verne, Eli Brown is definitely an author to watch.
Five out of five stars.