We will be discussing 'The Bedlam Stacks' by Natasha Pulley at our February book group meeting. 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 Merrick Tremayne is still grappling with the strange occurrences at his family's ruined estate which lies deep in the Cornish landscape amidst the fabled Lost Gardens of Heligan. It is then he finds himself under orders to bring back cinchona cuttings at any cost and dispatched, against his own better judgement, to Bedlam. There he meets Raphael, a priest around whom the villagers spin unsettlingly familiar stories of impossible disappearances and living stone.
Gradually, he 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.
The meeting will take place in the shop and is open to anyone who wishes to come along. There will be plenty of cake, coffee and tea as well!