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Blood of the Oak
Cover of Blood of the Oak
Blood of the Oak
A Mystery
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A Publishers Weekly Best Book of 2016
The year is 1765, at the beginning of the Stamp Tax dissent, the first organized resistance to English rule. Duncan McCallum is drawn into the mystery of a series of murders and kidnappings that are strangely connected to the theft of an Iroquois artifact. In following the trail, he uncovers a network of secret runners supporting the nascent "committees of correspondence," engaged in the first organized political dissent across colonial borders. When he is captured and thrown into slavery with the kidnapped runners, Duncan encounters a powerful conspiracy of highly placed English aristocrats who are bent on crushing all dissent. Inspired by an aged Native American slave and new African friends, Duncan decides not just to escape but to turn their own intrigue against the London lords.
The fourth entry in the Bone Rattler series moves ever closer to the beginning of the American Revolution. Included in the novel's cast of characters are figures who will have their destinies to fulfill in the next decade: Benjamin Franklin, Samuel Adams, the early Pennsylvania rebel James Smith, and Dr. Benjamin Rush. Blood of the Oak takes a fresh view on the birth of the new American nation, suggesting that the "freedom" that became the centerpiece of the Revolution was uniquely American, rising not only from unprecedented political discourse but also from the extraordinary bond with the natural world experienced by frontier settlers and native tribes.
A Publishers Weekly Best Book of 2016
The year is 1765, at the beginning of the Stamp Tax dissent, the first organized resistance to English rule. Duncan McCallum is drawn into the mystery of a series of murders and kidnappings that are strangely connected to the theft of an Iroquois artifact. In following the trail, he uncovers a network of secret runners supporting the nascent "committees of correspondence," engaged in the first organized political dissent across colonial borders. When he is captured and thrown into slavery with the kidnapped runners, Duncan encounters a powerful conspiracy of highly placed English aristocrats who are bent on crushing all dissent. Inspired by an aged Native American slave and new African friends, Duncan decides not just to escape but to turn their own intrigue against the London lords.
The fourth entry in the Bone Rattler series moves ever closer to the beginning of the American Revolution. Included in the novel's cast of characters are figures who will have their destinies to fulfill in the next decade: Benjamin Franklin, Samuel Adams, the early Pennsylvania rebel James Smith, and Dr. Benjamin Rush. Blood of the Oak takes a fresh view on the birth of the new American nation, suggesting that the "freedom" that became the centerpiece of the Revolution was uniquely American, rising not only from unprecedented political discourse but also from the extraordinary bond with the natural world experienced by frontier settlers and native tribes.
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About 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, Eye of the Raven and most recentlyOriginal Death. Pattison resides in rural Pennsylvania with his wife, three children, two horses, and two dogs on a colonial-era farm.

Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    Starred review from January 11, 2016
    In 1765, the French and Indian War is over, but the American colonies are not at peace, as shown in Edgar-winner Pattison’s superior fourth mystery featuring Scottish ex-pat Duncan McCallum (after 2013’s Original Death). The Native Americans who inhabit the forests of New York have dubbed McCallum the Death Speaker for his ability to use his medical training to determine how people died. That skill is all too useful when Red Jacob, an Oneida who served with English frontier rangers, is murdered by someone who almost claimed the life of his superior, Duncan’s friend, Capt. Patrick Woolford. Theirs is not the last blood shed. Duncan soon finds himself on the trail of ruthless killers who are targeting messengers working for some secret committees in different cities, whose leaders include Benjamin Franklin. Pattison does a brilliant job of showing how political events at this time paved the way for the start of the Revolutionary War. Agent: Natasha Kern, Natasha Kern Literary Agency.

  • Kirkus

    In Colonial America, a Scottish exile stumbles onto a conspiracy of killers in a most unlikely place. In the spring of 1765, Duncan McCallum is enjoying a beautiful day and looking forward to returning home and seeing his beloved Sarah when he's summoned by Iroquois elder mother Adanahoe, who's on her deathbed. She warns of a vision she's had of Duncan and his Nipmuc Indian friend Conawago suffering grave wounds and asks his help in finding the mysterious man who kidnapped and killed her grandson Siyenca. Sadly, Duncan soon encounters another victim, the Iroquois Red Jacob, whose arm seems to have been eaten away. When he shares the story with Sarah and Conawago, his friend supports Duncan's choice to investigate after some much needed sleep. There turn out to be many more deaths or disappearances, a contagion to which the Iroquois apply a spiritual meaning. Duncan learns that there are political implications as well. He examines the bullets used to kill Red Jacob and finds them pure and advanced, not from frontier weapons. An inflammatory speech he reads in a newspaper leads to an attempt to rescue some captured Iroquois, hearing more accounts of barbarous torture, and learning of a horrible plot involving British opponents of the nascent American independence movement. The fourth installment in Pattison's Bone Rattler series (Original Death, 2013, etc.) is another complexly plotted historical mystery written in a baroque style highly suggestive of the period and unblinking in its portrayal of American history's dark lessons. COPYRIGHT(1) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • Library Journal

    February 15, 2016

    Duncan McCallum, a displaced Jacobite from Scotland and part-time healer, lands in another tension-filled morass of bizarre murders, kidnappings, stolen artifacts, and cryptic codes. By 1765 the seeds of the upcoming American Rebellion are beginning to sprout. The Stamp Tax dissent is gaining momentum, and the fallout from the recent French and Indian Wars fuels a palpable anxiety throughout the colonies and the neighboring Native American tribes. All the while, British troops and ships are becoming more prevalent and the English presence feels more like an occupation. Something has to give. VERDICT Pattison's fourth installment of his "Bone Rattler" series (after Original Death) features Benjamin Franklin, George Washington, Samuel Adams, and a young Benjamin Rush making cameo appearances. The detailed handling of the times is accurate; however, often the pace slows to a slog and some of the characters feel a bit pedestrian.--Russell Miller, Prescott P.L., AZ

    Copyright 2016 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

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