|To-go||Sit and Savor|
The Bedlam Stacks by Natasha Pulley is an imaginative leap back to colonial British and Peruvian times. She brings together believable historical fiction, with just a small element of magic, to once again create a world with just a little extra wonder.
Fans of The Watchmaker of Filigree Street will not be disappointed in this other work by Pulley. The story follows Merrick Tremayne, a man with a lifelong injury from a sordid, adventurous past, who has been recruited by the British to go on an expedition to Peru to steal quinine trees (a treatment of malaria).
Merrick reluctantly agrees to the adventure, but not without a few strange things happen before he leaves: is a statue moving? Did that tree explode practically on its own?
While on his adventure he meets new people, stumbles into mystic lands, and finds himself on an adventure he never realized that he’d set out to be on. And suddenly moving statues and exploding trees become a not-so-surprising element of the story.
For this reviewer, the story was a delightful trip back to the northern South American landscape. It captured my imagination the way that the Andies had the first time I traveled through them, with the soaring peaks and lush landscapes. It also takes a hard, fair look at colonialism, the egotism of the white ‘explorers’ and the effects the Europeans had on the people who lived in these lands.
Would I Recommend It?
It’s a quick, delightful read. For those who like historical fiction with a little whimsy, this would be a good fit.
FHR tip: The cover on this is just as delightful as Watchmaker’s. If you’re going to buy, buy the hardcover.