Thursday, 19 December 2013

Original Death by Eliot Pattison

Set in North America in 1760, Duncan McCullam and his Nipmuc Indian friend Conawago go in search of the last members of Conawago's dying tribe, his nephew and nephew's grandson. Even before they reach their destination Duncan finds a dead highland soldier in the river, and when they reach their destination they find all the residents of the small village dead and five children kidnapped. Who killed the villagers and why? Who kidnapped the children?

Duncan is arrested for the murders, and Conawago goes missing. Duncan gets entangled in greater things, in political conspiracy, a coup of sorts to get control over the lands. Duncan wants to find the kidnapped children and reunite them with their family. But it also looks like Duncan is on a mission to get captured and arrested where he goes. He manages to get captured, he manages to escape and reaches another place and gets arrested again. After a point, I  am not sure who captured him and why. The story starts with the murders, you wonder what is the role of the murders in the greater scheme of things and it is tied up nicely in the end. 

I liked the beginning and the approach, the fact that it is not portrayed as a White man's burden, the need to civilise the tribes, instead Duncan not only learns the tribal ways but also believes in them. The combination of Duncan, a Scottish Doctor and Conawago, a tribal, last of his kind, seemed an interesting choice of detectives with great potential for a unique whodunit. But the whodunit is a very minuscule part of it. This is more an adventure than a mystery, and more historical intrigue about who is supporting whom and who is fighting against whom, and very very complicated. There are too many sides fighting with and against too many sides. Parts of the story is in vein of King Solomon's Mines, adventure, treasure hunt, mysticism, witches, prophesies, half-kings, Ghost Islands, mystery and intrigue combined with history of America, how the French, British, Scots, Jesuits, and even the Vatican fought with and against the tribes to get control over the lands, a part of American history I don't know anything about. 

I found it a slow read, not something I could read at a stretch. There are too many characters and too many sides and it takes time to ease into the book again. You know how I like my twists and turns and there are some nice twists and jolts, the kind that makes you go what. The whodunit kind of gave me a jolt, the end kind of makes up for the slow pace for me. 

Disclaimer: I received an ebook from the Julia Drake Public Relations in exchange for an honest review. I was not compensated for this review and all opinions are my own.

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