The Bedlam Stacks

The Bedlam Stacks

Book - 2017
Average Rating:
Rate this:
A tale of impossible quests in nineteenth-century Peru follows former East India Company smuggler Merrick Tremayne, who reluctantly accepts a treacherous mission to fetch quinine from a tiny mission colony on the edge of the Amazon.
Publisher: New York : Bloomsbury, 2017
Edition: First U. S. edition
ISBN: 9781620409671
Characteristics: 337 pages :,map ;,24 cm


From Library Staff

SPL_Robyn Oct 16, 2017

Reviewed in the Stratford Gazette, October 2017. See Summary.

From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment

SPL_Robyn Oct 16, 2017

Reviewed in the Stratford Gazette, October 2017. See Summary.

Marlowe Oct 05, 2017

Such an amazing story! I have not felt this exhilarated and excited to read in a long time. Pulley is a wonderfully imaginative author, who transports the reader to another time and place, specifically 1860's Peru. Two young men are on a quest for cinchona trees, and we travel through snow, and forests, over mountains, and to mystical landscapes with mysterious characters and events. This book is full of lush landscapes and descriptions. You will become connected to the main characters.


Add a Summary

SPL_Robyn Oct 16, 2017

Merrick Tremayne, wounded from his smuggling days in the Far East and biding time at his decrepit family estate, should have known something extraordinary was going to happen. The distinct and ancient white-wooded tree, brought back from Peru by his Grandfather, fell onto the roof and exploded. The eroded, smiling statue outside his beloved greenhouse seemed to shift position of its own accord. Among his grandfather’s papers he finds a strange and disturbing sketch that he vaguely recognizes. So when a former army colleague shows up and invites him to Peru to smuggle out valuable cinchona trees – the source of much needed quinine for the British Empire – Merrick figures he has nothing keeping him in Cornwall and decides to go, even though with his wounded leg it will be a hard journey indeed.

Saying they are in Peru for coffee, Merrick and his partner meet their guide, Raphael, a priest of undetermined race and background. Though reluctant to help the British foreigners, he leads them to the hidden village of Bedlam, high in the mountains. It is slow going, and by turns freezing and hot, and between bouts of altitude sickness Merrick begins to realize the strangeness of his new surroundings… the is village separated from the forest by a line of salt and bone, and luminous pollen powers clockwork lamps and leaves trails in the woods where someone, or something, travels. There are more of the statues which do indeed move, perhaps of their own accord, and perhaps are far more important than mere decorative markers. While the deadline to acquire the cinchona trees looms, Merrick begins to understand the mysterious and taciturn Raphael, and in turn learns more of his own family’s connection to this area of deepest Peru – and that means he must make a nearly impossible choice before he loses what is most important to him in the world.

Natasha Pulley’s second novel is as evocative and beguiling as her first (The Watchmaker of Filigree Street), containing lush description and elements of steampunk, history, swashbuckling and magic – perfect for any armchair adventure-seeker.

Age Suitability

Add Age Suitability

There are no age suitabilities for this title yet.


Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.


Add a Quote

There are no quotes for this title yet.

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number

Subject Headings


Find it at WPPL

To Top