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Savage Liberty: A Mystery of Revolutionary America    by Eliot Pattison order for
Savage Liberty
by Eliot Pattison
Order:  USA  Can
Counterpoint, 2018 (2018)
Hardcover, e-Book
* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Savage Liberty follows Blood of the Oak as the fifth entry in Eliot Pattison's Revolutionary America mysteries that began with Bone Rattler. After his Highland clan was massacred, Duncan McCallum was brought to the New World as a convict, and indentured to ambitious Lord Ramsey.

Duncan tutored Ramsey's daughter Sarah who had been taken by the tribes as a child and had an affinity for them. He befriended elderly Indian shaman, Nipmuc Conawago, whose tribe had been eradicated. Duncan and Sarah love each other and had planned to marry when his indenture ended, which it should have already done. However, Ramsey found a way to extend it for another seven years!

As Savage Liberty opens in 1768 Boston, merchant John Hancock and Samuel Adams (prominent members of the Sons of Liberty) and Duncan's friend Conawago ask him to apply his Deathspeaker (forensic) skills to a corpse. The man had been on a ship, the Arcturus, that exploded in the harbor, killing almost forty. He carried something vital to the Sons and had been stabbed.

Soon, Duncan and associates head across the harbor to investigate what's left of the Arcturus, and find a survivor, the ship's boy, Will. What he has to say is very disturbing. They also find evidence of an Abenaki killer, war chief Mogephra, on a quest for vengeance. These events send Duncan on another quest of his own, despite Sarah's strong objections - and with a warrant out for his arrest.

Duncan worries about Conawago and his friends, living in 'a world in which their bloodlines and their rich, centuries-old tribal cultures were being extinguished.' There are captures and escapes, unexpected betrayals as well as unexpected aid, and constant action as Duncan heads north. And there are clues, including 'a gold coin bearing the image of King Louis of France' and a 'dream of Saguenay'.

This episode ends with Duncan fully committed to the Sons of Liberty and with 'perilous times ahead'. I look forward to what comes next in this fascinating series, that takes a tribal (Highland and Native American) perspective on the American Revolution.

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