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The Bedlam Stacks

4.01  ·  Rating details ·  7,320 ratings  ·  1,247 reviews
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 d
Hardcover, 336 pages
Published August 1st 2017 by Bloomsbury USA (first published July 13th 2017)
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Abigail Pankau No. Bedlam Stacks takes place before Watchmaker. There are a couple characters from Watchmaker that do have cameos, but not knowing who they are will …moreNo. Bedlam Stacks takes place before Watchmaker. There are a couple characters from Watchmaker that do have cameos, but not knowing who they are will not change your reading/understanding of Bedlam Stacks.(less)
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Average rating 4.01  · 
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This is a multi-genre crossing novel that caught me by surprise and I felt as if I had to acclimatise myself to this strange beast of a book. I began by reading fast but kept on having to go back to make sure I had understood what was happening until I accepted this was going to be a slowly savoured read. It is beautifully written historical fiction, with elements of the supernatural and the probing of mysteries and expert world building underpinned with whimsy. Merrick Tremayne has been cripple ...more
you know that bit in Pride and Prejudice (2005) with the hand flex? and then the deleted end scene where he calls her Mrs Darcy and they kiss? THAT’S HOW THIS BOOK MAKES ME FEEL
Feb 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Somewhere in the first third of The Bedlam Stacks I remember remarking to a friend that if it went any slower it would stop. Not that it was a bad book. On the contrary it was beautifully written and had a lot of promise - but it was so slow.....

And here I am at the end of the same book giving it five heartfelt stars. What happened? Well firstly I fell in love with the main character Merrick Tremayne. He was just so nice and so irrepressible and the narrator of the audio version made him sound l
Nicole Jarvis
Oct 27, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: sff, bloomsbury
Everyone who knows me knows how much I loved Watchmaker, and it's clear that Natasha Pulley is only going to keep growing as a writer! Fans of Watchmaker will enjoy certain cameos, but the new characters are all fantastic, and this mystical, complex Peruvian landscape is irresistible!

Disclaimer: I work for the publisher. (Double disclaimer: I took this job because of how much I loved Watchmaker.)
You know, when I read a book as tedious as this, I do tend to question why on earth I don't just abandon it, but the problem is, I just can't. I feel like I'm obliged to finish it. I am hugely disappointed with this one. I mean, it was mind numbingly boring and it dragged like hell. After reading mostly good reviews, reading the rather interesting plot and just soaking in the beauty of that gorgeous book cover, I really thought I was in for a treat. I was wrong.

First off, I dislike Pulley's styl
Feb 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing
"He could have hurt you."

I nodded. He could have. But it felt good to have stood in front of him without flinching and, however stupid it was, I wanted to do it again.

If you read The Watchmaker of Filigree Street then you may already know this, but first time readers need to understand going into this book: it requires some patience. I wouldn't describe it as slow because changing the pace would be changing the feeling of the book itself, I would much rather describe it as peaceful and lovingly
Lucy Banks
Jun 29, 2017 rated it liked it
I received a copy of this book from Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review.

Beautiful imagery, highly creative, but no real drive to it.

The cover alone made me desperate to get hold of this book, not to mention the description. Exploding trees? Strange events in Peru? Sign me up now, please!

The premise is an excellent one. A mission to travel to Peru's dark underbelly, to seize quinine (necessary for the treatment of malaria) - beset by threat, magical events, and plenty of mystery - who is
Elle Maruska
[Disclaimer: I received a free e-copy ARC of this book from NetGalley. Thank you to the publishers!]

This book leaves me feeling...conflicted.

Conflicted in almost every way. Its pace, its subject matter, its characters--all of these facets have both lots of positive points in their favor but yet almost as many strikes against them. The writing is very good; descriptive without being exhausting, beautiful without turning purple. I enjoyed the writing on its own very much. But the story.

It's at on
Katie Lumsden
May 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Beautifully written, with a rich setting, wonderful twists, a dramatic plot and fantastic characterisation. I can't recommend it enough. Natasha Pulley is fast becoming one of my favourite authors. ...more
Jan 16, 2017 rated it really liked it
*** I received this ARC from Netgalley for my honest review***

The term slow burn was created for this novel.
At first, I was thinking that the story was rather slow...wondering if I would get into it. Then next thing I know, I can't get this book out of my head. Again...its not a thriller in any way and yet you get to care so much about the characters as well as the culture of this book that you find yourself yearning to find out what happens next. There were times I wasn't even sure what I WANTE
anna (½ of readsrainbow)
rep: mlm physically disabled mc, Peruvian mlm li

edit: reading this for the second time???? not my brightest idea :<<<<

this is such a slow, rich, delicate, magical story!! it's not slow in the uneventful kind of way tho but rather: the beautiful, old-fashioned writing causes u to slow down, to notice & properly appreciate every little detail. this glacial pace makes perfect sense for a plot like this one as well... & yes, it takes a while before u get accustomed to that rhythm but oh! once u do!!
Trigger warnings: death of a friend, discussion of miscarriage. I think that's all??

I'm gonna be perfectly honest here: I bought this book based solely on the cover. Well. Not SOLELY on the cover. I picked it up based solely on the cover, strongly thinking about buying it. Then I read the blurb and knew I 100% had to buy it. So I did.

Basically, Merrick Tremayne, an expert at getting plants out of exotic locations and planting them in British colonies, is recovering from a leg injury when his b
Feb 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
I don’t know how to classify this book! Historical fiction, yes, but strange magical, paranormal influences too. The story is I suppose about the search for quinine to prevent and treat malaria, the monopoly of which was held by Peru. Merrick, the main character is a kind of horticultural spy sent to poach some cuttings of the chinoah tree. He has an advantage though, as he already has connections through his grandfather who traveled there before him. I loved the fictional elements of this centr ...more
Aug 01, 2018 rated it liked it
Fantasy filled and with a lot of warmth, but not as tight as the debut of Pulley
I realised he wasn’t crude work but the ruins of something fine - Merrick Treymane thinking about Rafael

General and world building
I can’t really review this book without keeping the The Watchmaker of Filigree Street, Natasha Pulley’s debut, in mind and I apologies in advance for multiple comparisons between both books which I will be making.

The story of The Bedlam Stacks focuses on Merrick Treymane, an ex employee of
Viv JM
I listened to the audiobook which was, I must say, exceptionally well narrated by David Thorpe. The story was a mash up of historical fiction and fantasy/magical realism - reasonably diverting and entertaining, but I don't think I'll remember much about it in a month or two. ...more
Jul 28, 2017 rated it really liked it
“What's gone before you, and what will come after,' I said instead.
'Beg pardon?'
'The past ahead. Time is like a river and you float with the current. Your ancestors set off before you did, so they're far ahead. Your descendants will sail it after.”

After having enjoyed The Watchmaker of Filigree Street, I couldn’t wait to see what Pulley would offer us next. Once more the trope of Time is omnipresent but dealt in a very different way. We are introduced to Merrick Tremayne, a Cornish young
Jul 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
oooooops I was enjoying this but my copy expired, I'll have to pick up a new copy soon!


buddy read with my name twin <3

hoping we both enjoy this!
Dec 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A wondrous and fun read! What is it about British women who write fantasy-type novels? Something special, that is for sure.

Merrick Treymayne has been an intrepid agent for the East India Company but now he is laid up in the family home with a bum leg. (Thanks to Shadow of the Moon I was grooved in on the circumstances of that august company in 1859.) His former boss at the India Office recalls him for an expedition to fetch quinine from the Amazonian region of Peru.

Clem Markham, based on a his
Apr 07, 2018 added it
DNF @ 25%
This sounded so interesting so I wanted to give it a go. However I felt like the characters were forever talking about going to do what they were gonna do - go to Peru to try and obtain some tree cuttings to farm quinine and never actually got there. It just dragged for anything to happen.
This sounded like it was going to have a lot of magical elements to it, but there really wasn’t much going on in this sense and it really wasn’t very interesting. I didn’t care for the characters too
First of all, I'd like to thank Netgalley and the publisher for providing me with an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Ever since I finished The Watchmaker of Filigree Street last July, this is the book I’ve been more excited to read than any other. Back before even the title had been announced, when all I knew about it was that Natasha Pulley was writing another book, this time about a priest and a gardener in Peru, featuring exploding ducks at some point – and even that much wa
Aug 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I received an ARC of this novel from Bloomsbury Publishing in exchange for an honest review – all thoughts are my own.

The Bedlam Stacks is the first historical fiction novel I have read, and it did not disappoint. This is also the first novel I have read by Pulley and I can easily say I will be going right ahead and purchasing her first novel, The Watchmaker of Filigree Street, ASAP. Pulley’s writing is absolutely magical; I found myself caught up in her world.

The characters in this novel we
In the mid-nineteenth-century, a disabled English botanist, formerly in the employ of the East India Company, travels to Peru in order to find a supply of cinchona trees: the sole source of the medically vital quinine, and carefully guarded by the local population. As Tremayne and his companion climb higher into the Andes, they encounter places not on any western map, and people who don't fit into any European understanding of the world.

As with Natasha Pulley's first novel, The Watchmaker of Fil
Dec 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017
I just loved this. Wonderful writing, great humour, excellent blend of history and fantasy. An odd but delightful story.
Aug 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I was smitten when I read Natasha Pulley’s first book, ‘The Watchmaker of Filigree Street’ a year or two ago, and so when I saw that a second book was being sent out into the world I knew that I had to rush out and buy a copy.

I’m so glad that I did. It was a lovely mixture of the familiar from the first book and the completely different and utterly right for this book; and it was set in the same slightly fanciful but utterly natural past that I wished could have been but that I know probably was
Aug 02, 2017 rated it it was ok
The best thing I can say about The Bedlam Stacks is it'll make a good movie.

Merrick Tremayne, late of the East India Company, is nursing a bad leg in a crumbling estate (are there any estates in Britain not crumbling, I wonder?) when old Navy pal Clem asks him to join a mission to steal quinine from the Peruvian government. Clem has anger issues and occasionally slaps Merrick around but we're supposed to accept they're good buds. There's also Clem's wife Minna, who is really only there to get p
Nov 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a difficult book for me to review. In many ways it's excellent, and I enjoyed it a great deal, but I feel like I only understand its flaws and am at a loss with regards to how Pulley makes the successful parts succeed.

And it is mostly successful as indicated by my 5 star rating. Most of it is probably indeed better than Pulley's Watchmaker of Filigree Street, but I would say I found the ending of Watchmaker much more satisfying. I do feel there are echos of Watchmaker in the structure an
Dayle (the literary llama)
Jul 14, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: historical
RATING: ★★★★☆ / 4 Thrilling and Dreamlike Stars

REVIEW: I received this book from Bloomsbury Publishing in exchange for an honest review.

I love how Natasha Pulley's books just bust out of those typical genre walls. After reading the author's first book, THE WATCHMAKER OF FILIGREE STREET, I was enamored with her unique writing style and her blending of so many different genres. And THE BEDLAM STACKS has officially made me a lifelong fan because it's clear Natasha Pulley is only going to get better
Auntie Terror
Dec 25, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobooks
This was really enjoyable, and it has a tie to the next book by the author. Love that! (Prtf)
Dec 16, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.5 stars. Beautiful writing, very slow plot concerning getting cuttings from quinine trees in Peru for the use of the East India company (lovely respecters of other cultures that they were....) Actually, the plot's not really all that important. The relationship that develops between Merrick Tremayne and Raphael, his guide, is lovely and respectful and kind. That's what made this book an enjoyable story. And there are mysterious moving stone statues. ...more
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Natasha Pulley is a British author, best known for her debut novel, The Watchmaker of Filigree Street , which won a Betty Trask Award. ...more

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“What's gone before you, and what will come after,' I said instead.
'Beg pardon?'
'The past ahead. Time is like a river and you float with the current. Your ancestors set off before you did, so they're far ahead. Your descendants will sail it after.”
More quotes…