Original Death: A Mystery of Colonial America

Original Death: A Mystery of Colonial America

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by Eliot Pattison
     
 

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Despite the raging war between French and British, Scottish exile Duncan McCallum has begun to settle into a new life on the fringes of colonial America, traveling the woodlands with his companion Conawago, even joining the old Indian on his quest to find the last surviving members of his tribe. But the joy they feel on reaching the little settlement of Christian…  See more details below

Overview

Despite the raging war between French and British, Scottish exile Duncan McCallum has begun to settle into a new life on the fringes of colonial America, traveling the woodlands with his companion Conawago, even joining the old Indian on his quest to find the last surviving members of his tribe. But the joy they feel on reaching the little settlement of Christian Indians is shattered when they find its residents ritually murdered. As terrible as the deaths may be, Conawago perceives something even darker and more alarming: he is convinced they are a sign of a terrible crisis in the spiritworld which he must resolve.

Trying to make sense of the murders, Duncan is accused by the British army of the crime. Escaping prison to follow the trail of evidence, he finds himself hounded by vengeful soldiers and stalked by Scottish rebels who are mysteriously trying to manipulate the war to their advantage. As he pieces together the puzzle of violence and deception he gradually realizes that it may not only be the lives of Duncan and his friends that hang in the balance, but the very survival of the native tribes. When he finally discovers the terrible truth, Duncan is forced to make a fateful choice between his beloved Highland clans and the woodland natives who have embraced and protected him.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Edgar-winner Pattison combines action, period details, and a whodunit with ease in his impressive third mystery set in Colonial America (after 2010’s Eye of the Raven). The French and Indian War is in its sixth year in 1760, and the American wilderness is full of armed men “lusting to soak the land in blood for the sake of distant kings.” Against this backdrop and the continued encroachment of the white man on the traditions and lands of the American Indian, Scottish exile Duncan McCallum is trying to help his Nipmuc friend, Conawago—who’s given up hope of ever seeing another member of his tribe—reunite with a previously unknown relative. The quest gets off to an ominous start with McCallum’s discovery of a dead soldier tied to a wheel at the bottom of a lake. As the bodies pile up, Pattison pays tribute to the conventions of the murder mystery without sacrificing excitement or a nuanced look at the final stage of the war between the British and the French for control of North America. Agent: Natasha Kern, Natasha Kern Literary Agency. (Aug.)
Kirkus Reviews
The French and Indian War provides a backdrop for a complex tale of clashing cultures and mass murder. In the summer of 1760, Scotsman Duncan McCallum accompanies his Indian mate, Conawago, on a journey to reconnect with the remainder of his tribe, Christians all. A massacre they find at Bethel Church sends Conawago into deep grief. There are soldiers all around. Madame Pritchard, a Frenchwoman who feigns deafness so that the English don't imprison her or worse, reports that the raiders took the children of the community with them. With the help of a Mohawk named Sagatchie, they begin their slow pursuit, which is full of obstacles and hardships. A few letters they discover fill in some of the details surrounding the mass murder. Falsely arresting Duncan for the killing of a corporal, sadistic British Col. Cameron takes perverse pleasure in putting him into "the iron hole." Conawago, meanwhile, is tortured by his captors. Duncan and Conawago's escape makes them objects of a manhunt as they try to untangle the story of the brutal crime. A pair of quirky adventurers--Ishmael, who's highly attuned to the spirit world, and Macauley, who's left his regiment in disgust--enliven their party and their story. Reminiscence and conjecture among the adventurers fill the quiet moments between episodes. Hetty, a notorious witch, members of several different tribes and the discovery of a thrilling library are highlights of their odyssey. Duncan's third mystery (Eye of the Raven, 2010, etc.), rich in period detail, is often somber and unblinking in its portrayal of a dark period in history.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781619022508
Publisher:
Counterpoint Press
Publication date:
08/01/2013
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
352
Sales rank:
189,307
File size:
565 KB

Meet the Author

Eliot Pattison is the author of The Skull Mantra, winner of an Edgar Award and finalist for the Gold Dagger, Water Touching Stone, Bone Mountain, Beautiful Ghosts, Prayer of the Dragon, Bone Rattler, The Lord of Death and most recently Eye of the Raven. Pattison resides in rural Pennsylvania with his wife, three children, two horses, and two dogs on a colonial-era farm.

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