Natasha Pulley is one of my favorite new writers. I fell in love with The Clockmaker of Filigree Street. So, I eagerly purchased this book. The Bedlam Stacks didn’t disappoint.
Pulley revisits the theme of friendship, and the story centers on a trip to Peru. Malaria is keeping British interests in India from thriving. Therefore, it’s imperative to get viable cuttings from the cinchona tree. The bark is used to treat malaria.
Merrick Tremayne is recruited to make the expedition a success. His family connections and expertise in botany make him the top choice, despite a debilitating injury.
If you enjoyed She by H. Rider Haggard or Erewhon by Samuel Butler, you’ll be delighted with this tale of a grand expedition.
An Adventure to Peru
From a realistic start, the story evolves into the more mystical and magical. The town of Bedlam is quite fantastic: glass cliffs; pollen that is bioluminescent; trees that can float on air; and stone statues that move. It’s a town I’d love to visit. If only it existed!
The Bedlam Stacks is a thoroughly enjoyable escape. I will definitely add Pulley’s third book to my next book run.
In 1859, ex–East India Company smuggler Merrick Tremayne is trapped at home in Cornwall with an injury that almost cost him his leg. When the India Office recruits him for an expedition to fetch quinine–essential for the treatment of malaria–from deep within Peru, he knows it’s a terrible idea; nearly every able-bodied expeditionary who’s made the attempt has died, and he can barely walk. But Merrick is eager to escape the strange events plaguing his family’s crumbling estate, so he sets off, against his better judgment, for the edge of the Amazon.
There he meets Raphael, a priest around whom the villagers spin unsettling stories of impossible disappearances, cursed woods, and living stone. Merrick must separate truth from fairy tale, and gradually he realizes that Raphael is the key to a legacy left by generations of Tremayne explorers before him, one which will prove more valuable than quinine, and far more dangerous.