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The King's Beast: A Mystery of the American Revolution    by Eliot Pattison order for
King's Beast
by Eliot Pattison
Order:  USA  Can
Counterpoint, 2020 (2020)
Hardcover, e-Book
* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

The King's Beast is the sixth entry (following Savage Liberty) in Eliot Pattison's Bone Rattler series that takes a tribal (Highland and Native American) perspective on the American Revolution. Readers follow the exploits of Duncan McCallum, brought to the New World as a convict and indentured to ambitious Lord Ramsey, the prime villain of the piece.

Duncan, who had studied medicine in Edinburgh, tutored Ramsey's daughter Sarah (raised by the tribes since childhood). He befriended elderly Indian shaman, Nipmuc Conawago, whose tribe had been annihilated. The tribes have named Duncan Deathspeaker for his forensic skills. The last episode saw Duncan and Sarah (who plan to marry soon) fully committed to the Sons of Liberty and their cause.

As The King's Beast opens, Duncan is on a mission initiated by Benjamin Franklin to extract some extraordinary fossils from Kentucky, to be delivered to Franklin in London. Franklin would use this American Incognitum to get close to King George and turn his mind from war in America. Though Duncan succeeds in acquiring and transporting the gigantic bones, others work against him at every step, a trail of murder in their wake.

Though he had had no intention of traveling to London himself, Duncan ends up following Sarah there, just as as she had followed their beloved Conawago. In England, he faces many challenges - keeping Franklin free and safe; extracting Conawago from his drugged imprisonment in Bedlam; and surviving the attacks of his arch enemy himself for long enough to succeed.

This sixth in the series is one of the very best episodes and ends on quite the cliffhanger, with all that Duncan cares for at stake. I'm anxious for more.

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