Original Death: Eliot Pattison
Duncan McCallum finds himself within the confines of a prison that he never expected. Hoping to help his friend reconnect with his past, his family and heritage would bring sorrow, tragedy and sorrow. Duncan McCallum wants to help his Nipmuc friend, Conawago reconnect with his tribe and a young man named Hickory John. But, what happens will alert readers from the start that hidden dangers await these two friends and finding a dead soldier bound to the wheel in the bottom of a lake, start their travels off on a sinister or hostile note. Not wanting to take this as a final deterrent nor thinking that more evil awaits them they forge ahead and what they find will shatter their hopes, create fear within both of their hearts and set off a chain of events that will rock their world. Entering the village they hope to find the settlers of the Christian Indian Settlement at prayer. What they do find is startling, horrific and tragic. Entering the church they find all of the residents within it murdered. Throughout the village and entering the individual homes they find more bodies. Someone decided to ritually murder each of the people in this village as a warning to one man. Hoping to find the reason for the murders what happens next is quite the opposite of what Duncan expected. The British army arrives and seeing him covered in blood instead of questioning him they assume he is guilty of the murders. Conawago was hurt on the way by snipers and has been hidden by a woman that the British thinks is mute. But, the end is far from near and Conawago sees this as just the start of more evil to come. What has awakened the spirit world and he feels it is in trouble and he must find a way to resolve it. How can Duncan find out what happened if he is imprisoned and beaten.
Duncan is relentless and finds his way to a village where he meets a woman named Hetty Eldridge, thought to be a witch. Manipulated, thrown in prison and on the trail of the soldiers who tortured and beat him, McCallum learns more about his close friend, where the missing young boy might be. But not everything turns out the way he hopes and although he enlists the help of two men in the army who seem to have his back you might say, the tables are turned, the evidence stacked and he is thrown in what some refer to the Iron Pile. One woman who seems to instill fear in everyone she meets and the information she gives him will more than surprise the reader. When Duncan finally reunites with Hetty and Ishmael the author shares with readers the history behind the message imparted to Conawago, where he is headed and whom he is seeking. Considered a ghostwalker or a witch, Hetty was in her past life an amazing seamstress but what she imparts to Duncan explains her attachment to the spirits, why Hickory John was killed and what he revealed before they executed him and why. Added in Duncan questions Hetty as to why Ishmael’s grandfather and the others in Bethel Church would rather die to protect the old gods and questions why the old gods would need the king’s coins? His goal is to find the children and his friend but where? Who is the white sachem and how will that help to find him? Arriving in a village they learn about the people, the Highlanders and find some solace in their kindness and hospitality. Meeting in a neutral place and learning that one army officer lurked in the distance to harm Duncan, they all learn that this settlement will not tolerate it and what happens to the Sergeant that tries to kill Duncan will make you want to stand up and applaud. But, some wars go far beyond and Duncan is accused of being a Highland Outlaw and a choice has to be made between his clan and his friend. But, along with another Indian and a woman named Kass they find their way to the half-king only to be taken prisoner once more. The tortures inflicted are grave, the end result of so many deaths. Entering the domain of the half-king we hear the voice of a sadist whose violence towards the prisoners seems to bring him joy. The British of a crime and the half-king or the revelator falsely accuse Duncan as he is referred to have a plan that would help him win the war against the British and force the French to join with him. But, what happens will surprise even the revelator as Hetty’s words, her power of his men change everything as we learn more about the oracles, the truths behind his plot and the manipulations of the Scottish rebels trying to win the war and turn the tide in their direction. With the lives of his friends, his own and many others in danger, the survival of the tribes in question just how will this all turn out and will anyone believe in his innocence? Truths, lies, deceits, betrayals and on man who will be forced to make a life altering decision.
While Duncan reflects on all that happens the author brilliantly summarizes through him the events that occurred staring with the Dead Mohawks at Bethel Church, then the captive children taken north and killed but why and the missing treasure of the British King. The witch that decide to seek out the half-king and the search for the missing school children and their teacher. Some of the children belong to the families at the settlement and were killed but what about the rest? Moving ahead we hear the voices of the council, learn more about one member of their group who betrayed him from the start and what the truth is behind why Macaulay was placed in the iron hole with him, what was his real motive and the end result is revealed when the council meets. The history revealed is quite interesting as we learn more about the time period, the superstitions and beliefs of the Indians and the end remains to unfold.
When facing the Revelator and learning his true identity many other deceits come to light and what happens next will change everything. What was the original plan and what did this half-king hope to gain? What about the children? When things seem to go his way Duncan learns the fate of the Highlanders and a decision has to be made? What about Hetty and Ishmael? Lives are lost some are forced to cross over while others have plotted for so long. How can one man get away with stealing, killing, torturing and maiming and feel justified doing it? What happens at the end will definitely surprise the reader as Duncan finds out his fate. Will he be forced to trade his life for the five children? What about Kass? What about his friend? How many more lives will be lost and what will the final count be?
The half-king claimed not to charge anyone or blame them for he death of one of his own yet in the end his father gave them a reprieve but his actions speak volumes for his lack of respect for anyone but himself and his wants. While he parades himself in what some might say all of his glory we hear the voice of this man who promised to return the children and then would get his money. But, if anyone thought he could be taken at his word they would be quite naïve. But, there is much more as one symbol presented to Duncan changes it all and the half king’s demands you just won’t believe. As Captain Wooford learns the hidden truth behind more than just his men’s deaths, the evil that lurks within the heart of so many and the end result is still in question. As the ending becomes the beginning and the final ritual is repeated and one man rises to the top of the scaffold, what will the final ending bring? What about those that betrayed both sides? An ending so powerful and so unexpected and a group of people that will either unite or will forever try and understand the spirit world and the spirit war. Once again author Elliot Pattison raises the bar historical fiction authors whose novels are based on fact and whose research is extensive enlightening readers to the time period and including a timeline of events for the Colonial Period at the end. This is definitely a must read and learn just why some realized the true meaning of Original Death. Where will McCallum find himself next?
Fran Lewis: Reviewer