Stop looking at it as an impossible thing and start looking at it as a thing that must be done.
In 1859, ex-East India Company smuggler Merrick Tremayne is trapped at home in Cornwall after sustaining an injury that almost cost him his leg and something is wrong; a statue moves, his grandfather’s pines explode, and his brother accuses him of madness.
When the India Office recruits Merrick 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 desperate to escape everything at home, so he sets off, against his better judgment, for a tiny mission colony on the edge of the Amazon where a salt line on the ground separates town from forest. Anyone who crosses is killed by something that watches from the trees, but somewhere beyond the salt are the quinine woods, and the way around is blocked.
Surrounded by local stories of lost time, cursed woods, and living rock, Merrick must separate truth from fairytale and find out what befell the last expeditions; why the villagers are forbidden to go into the forest; and what is happening to Raphael, the young priest who seems to have known Merrick’s grandfather, who visited Peru many decades before. The Bedlam Stacks is the story of a profound friendship that grows in a place that seems just this side of magical.
As a fan of Natasha Pulley’s other historical fiction book, The Watchmaker of Filigree Street, I was so ready for another magical read! When absorbing Pulley’s words you really have to slow down and take it all in, no rushing with these books. They require your utmost attention and open imagination. Before I go on I really want to repeat the fact that I love her writing and craved for more.
Sadly, I did not love The Bedlam Stacks. I’m not sure what happened I just found myself losing myself in the plot. Perhaps it was the location of the story? Or it may have been my inability to connect with the main character. It just wasn’t a hit for me. I still enjoyed the writing but the storyline did not capture me.
I do highly recommend this book for all historical fiction fans! I am only a slight fan when it comes to this genre and while The Watchmaker of Filigree Street hooked me, this one missed its mark on my very thin historical fiction line. Please give this one a try I truly believe you’ll love it if you’re a fan of magical realism, adventure and history.
**Thank you Bloomsbury for providing me a copy of the book.**