Inside the Beautiful Inside

A marine without his ship. A man without his liberty.

When the locks can’t hold James Norris they chain him, and when the chains won’t stay James Norris they fix him to a stake. But they still can’t take the thoughts out of his head. He is a man shackled to his own tragedies: the commission he never took; the family and friends he lost; the lover who betrayed him.

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest meets Mutiny on the Bounty – an exploration of love, sanity, suffering, and compassion. Based on the true story of James Norris, an American marine who was chained to a stake for fourteen years in Bethlem, Hospital for the Insane (1800-15).

Will James Norris find what he is hunting for? Can he ever sail free?


‘Madness, freedom, love, rebellion and compassion in C18th Bedlam, post Mutiny on the Bounty. Emily Bullock has dazzling talent.' AMANDA CRAIG

‘A turbulent and thrilling voyage on the high seas of madness.’ ANN MORGAN, Beside Myself, Crossing Over.

Inside the Beautiful Inside is published by Everything With Words on 29th October 2020. For more details please click here.

"Inside the Beautiful Inside is a rather special book, it opens a door and shines a penetrating light of awareness into the shadows of history. Highly recommended."

Liz Robinson, Love Reading review

"startling and poetic... Bullock combines horror and brutality with unexpected moments of tenderness"

Alexander Larman, The Observer review

""the voice she gives to Norris, as memories and delusions meld in his disintegrating mind, is a haunting one."

Nick Rennison, The Sunday Times

"utterly unique, unfathomably powerful, not a word wasted or a sentence spare."

Ellie Hawkes, Elspells Blog review

"This story is a powerful exploration into the mind of a man in captivity."

Book Off I'm Reading review

"A poignant and shocking novel."

Paul Burke, NB Literary Magazine review

"an utterly absorbing read."

Katherine Mezzacappa, Historical Novel Society, Editor's Choice review

"Highly impressive and a must-read."

Kev Milsom, Inkpantry review

"Emily Bullock is a wonderful writer, and in this superbly crafted novel she doesn’t waste a single word as she hurls us headlong through a swirling maze of madness that leads us to the very heart of James Norris."    

Amanda Huggins, Troutie McFish Tales review

A piece about the inspiration behind the writing of the novel on Bookanista.