ABOUT THE BOOK
Publisher: Counterpoint (January 1, 2010)
With the aid of the Indian Shaman Conawago, Duncan McCallum has begun to heal from the massacre of his Highland clan by the British. But his new life is shattered when he and Conawago discover a dying Virginian officer nailed to an Indian shrine tree. To their horror, the authorities arrest Conawago and schedule his hanging. As Duncan begins a desperate search for the truth, he finds himself in a maelstrom of deception and violence. The year is 1760, and while the British army wishes to dismiss the killing as another casualty of its war with France, Duncan discovers a pattern of ritualistic murders that have less to do with the war than with provincial treaty negotiations and struggles between tribal factions. Ultimately he realizes that to find justice, he must brave the sprawling colonial capital of Philadelphia. There the answers are to be found in a tangle of Quakers, Christian Indians, and a scientist obsessed with the electrical experiments of the celebrated Dr. Franklin. With the tragic resolution in sight, Duncan understands the real mysteries underlying his quest lie in the hearts of natives who, like his Highland Scots, have glimpsed the end of their world approaching.
“In the second installment of his colonial mystery series, Edgar Award winner Pattison provides an absorbing tale firmly and effectively grounded in the history of early America. Traveling a wilderness road with his Indian comrade and mentor Conawago, Scots medic Duncan McCallum comes upon a grisly murder scene. Not only is the victim-a land surveyor-nailed to a tree, his heart has been replaced by a metal gear. Together the Scotsman and the Indian strive to solve the mystery of this and other identical murders that connect Virginia planters, a mulatto slave family seeking freedom, a French-born former Jesuit, Quakers, and Philadelphia grandees eager to expand their holdings in the Pennsylvania Territory.” —Margaret Barr, Historical Novel Society “Editor’s Choice”
“With a keen eye and calmly rendered detail, Pattison deftly pulls the reader into the American Colonies through the investigation of Scottish Highlander Duncan McCallum after several surveyors disappear while recording boundaries for the expansion of the colonies. Accompanied by his Native American mentor, Conawago, Duncan seeks to uncover a serial murderer while avoiding his own capture as a fugitive from a powerful man who claims him as an indentured servant.”– New Mystery Reader
“Few writers can combine history and mystery as well as Edgar-winner Pattison, as shown in the sequel to 2007’s Bone Rattler, which introduced Duncan McCallum, a Scot who becomes an unlikely detective in 18th-century North America. In 1760, McCallum and his close friend, Conawago, a Jesuit-trained member of the Nipmuc tribe, stumble into a case with potentially far-reaching repercussions for a peace treaty between the Iroquois and the British. When the pair find a prominent Virginia militia commander, Winston Burke, nailed to a tree with a gear wheel stuck in his chest, Conawago becomes a suspect in the man’s murder. Burke turns out to be but the latest victim of a killer who’s targeted surveyors sent to map the Pennsylvania wilderness. While Burke’s vengeful friends are eager for swift frontier justice, McCallum works frantically to uncover the truth. Evocative language, tight plotting, and memorable characters make this a standout.” –Publishers Weekly
“The pleasures of Eliot Pattison’s books–and Eye of the Raven is another smashing example–are threefold: high adventure in perilous landscapes, a hero stubbornly seeking the truth, and the haunting mysteries of ancient cultures.”
–Otto Penzler, editor of The Vampire Archives