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Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Coming soon! - The Bedlam Stacks by Natasha Pulley - release date 8/1/17


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.

Publication Date: August 1st, 2017
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA
Age Group: General Fiction (Adult)
Received from: NetGally in exchange for honest feedback
My Rating: 5/5

I loved this book, there is so much here, magic and mystery, an intriguing landscape and historical elements both in the 1800's and ancient Peru. It really grabbed my Anthropology loving heart, and my need for character's that I can care about.

The Bedlam Stacks starts off with the feel of a historical fiction with a few odd elements that are mentioned in the description above.  It slowly transforms into a more and more magical story, but retains that feel of historical truth.  It seriously had me just about to start looking up flora of Peru to see if what was described really existed!  After all, it mostly takes place in darkest Peru and strange and surprising things are continually found in South America!

The main characters are well developed and complex, and the growing relationship between them is interesting and also makes you wonder what their underlying motivation is.  I liked both Merrick and Raphael very much, as well as the host of side characters that bolstered them.

If I have a criticism it's that I don't think it should be marketed as General Fiction, because when it does turn to the more fantastical elements of the story, it really turns, and it might be more than I think General Fiction can stretch to accommodate.  Devotees of historical fiction might feel mislead, I'll admit I wasn't expecting as much of a change to fantasy as I got, but being already a fan of the genre, I'm fine with it and loved the whole thing.

I will definitely go back and read The Watchmaker of Filigree Street, and look forward to future work by Natasha Pulley!

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