The Bedlam Stacks

  • by Natasha Pulley
  • Narrated by David Thorpe
  • 13 hrs and 26 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

An astonishing historical novel set in the shadowy, magical forests of South America, which draws on the captivating world of the international best seller The Watchmaker of Filigree Street.
Deep in uncharted Peru, the holy town of Bedlam stands at the edge of a forest. The shrine statues move, and anyone who crosses the border dies. But somewhere inside are cinchona trees, whose bark yields quinine: the only known treatment for malaria.
On the other side of the Pacific, it is 1859, and India is ravaged by the disease. The hunt for a reliable source of quinine is critical, and in its desperation the India Office searches out its last qualified expeditionary. Struggling with a terrible injury from his last mission and the strange occurrences at his family's ruined estate, Merrick Tremayne finds himself under orders to bring back cinchona cuttings at any cost and dispatched, against his own better judgment, to Bedlam.
There he meets Raphael, a priest around whom the villagers spin unsettlingly familiar stories of impossible disappearances and living stone. Gradually Tremayne realises that Raphael is the key to a legacy left by two generations of Tremayne explorers before him, one which will prove more dangerous and valuable than the India Office could ever have imagined.

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What the Critics Say

"Assured and absorbing...immensely pleasurable reading. Pulley's prose is strong and energetic, with a wry edge, and even the most minor characters are drawn precisely.... Intricate, charming and altogether surprising." (The New York Times book review on The Watchmaker of Filigree Street)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Intriguingly enchanting

Any additional comments?

This book is a historical yet spellbinding journey about a group of smugglers sent on a journey to obtain the purest form of malaria antidote-medicine from the 18th century Peruvian quinine trees found deep within the mountains.

I was excited and enthralled when I learned that the reason a small group of highly skilled smugglers are needed to obtain the quinine, was due to the quinine trees being guarded and protected by cartel-like criminals. In this regard, the story reminded me of many SAS operations I've read about, whereby soldiers covertly penetrated such factions that were guarding drug factories hidden deep within the jungles of South America.

The difference here of course, there is nothing covert about this storyline. As the story unfolds we learn that there is indeed an ulterior motive and far more sinister developments are underway. Oh and something else the SAS didn't have to deal with: sorcery.

The leading character is a priest with a good heart but has a thirst for adventure anda longing to find out the truth behind these sinister goings on. Is it really magic, or just a trick to protect the valuable merchandise?

The book is beautifully written and expertly told by one of my favourite narrators. Allow yourself to succumb to the magic of this storyline and you are sure to be swept away with as much delight as I was!

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- Mikey

An excellent second novel

Natasha Pulley has an idiosyncratic writing style which sometimes borders on the staccato in the way sentences and utterances are presented. It takes a bit of getting used to but I for one have grown to like it.
This is Natasha's second novel and is a strange but totally absorbing tale, set mainly in South America, which definitely requires the reader to suspend disbelief in order to take in glowing pollen, moving statues, columns of glass and a village with unusual customs and taboos.
Best of all was the appearance, as a somewhat minor character this time, of a young Keita Mori who will be familiar to those who have read this author's previous novel 'The Watchmaker of Filigree Street'. I for one would be very pleased if a third novel were to concern itself with more about Mori, who I must say I find most endearing.
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- A. E. Wright

Book Details

  • Release Date: 13-07-2017
  • Publisher: Audible Studios