The Pickle Index
Bargain Book Copy
Zloty Kornblatt is the hapless ringmaster of an even more hapless circus troupe. But one fateful night, Zloty makes a mistake: he accidentally makes his audience laugh. Here on the outskirts of Burford - where both the cuisine and the economy, such as they are, are highly dependent on pickled vegetables - laughter is a rare occasion. It draws the immediate attention of the local bureaucracy, and by morning Zloty has been branded an instigator, conspirator, and fomentor sentenced to death or worse.
His only hope lies with his dysfunctional troupe - a morose contortionist, a strongman who’d rather be miming, a lion tamer paired with an elderly dog - a ragged band of misfits and failures who must somehow spring Zloty from his cell at the top of the Confinement Needle. Their arcane skills become strangely useful, and unlikely success follows unlikely success. Until, suddenly, the successes end - leaving only Flora Bialy, Zloty’s understudy and our shy narrator, to save the day.
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