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Original Death

A Mystery of Colonial America

List Price: $15.95

July 15, 2014 | Paperback | 6 x 9, 352 Pages | ISBN 9781619023239
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"If this were a movie, we'd marvel at the set decoration that splendidly evokes the period. The excellent prose narrative goes right to the matter in question, the state of the (pre-Colonial) human heart." —Chicago Tribune

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.

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. For more information, visit www.eliotpattison.com.

Praise

“Edgar-winner Pattison combines action, period details, and a whodunit with ease in his impressive third mystery set in Colonial America. 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… 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.” —Publishers Weekly Starred Review

“Pattison twists a skein of plotlines and weaves Indian mysticism into a time-capsule portrait of America at a crossroads: a time of endings for some and the beginning of a revolution played out by cruel, compelling, and sometimes powerful people with warring visions. Themes of disillusionment and a vanishing way of life make this series in some ways similar to Cooper’s Leatherstocking Tales, though Pattison adds an element of psychological suspense comparable to Jean Zimmerman’s The Orphanmaster (2012) and a degree of human complexity that suggests Sarah Donati’s Wilderness novels.” —Booklist Starred Review

“If this were a movie, we’d marvel at the set decoration that splendidly evokes the period. The excellent prose narrative goes right to the matter in question, the state of the (pre-Colonial) human heart.” —Chicago Tribune

“This is the kind of historical fiction that makes for breathtaking reading. Pattison has done an admirable job of researching a little known incident in the history of the Lehigh Valley in Pennsylania where the Moravians had several missions and transferred that story to upstate New York. In doing so he turned that historical incident into both a thrilling entertainment and a modern day look at the intolerance and brutality of the military. One cannot help but draw parallels to the violence of US military perpetrated against Islamic civilians whether aggressive and intentional or accidental victims of ‘friendly fire’ in Afghanistan and Iraq.” —Pretty Sinister Books

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