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.
"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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- Mysti van Hoose