A hapless Scottish hero caught in the middle of the bloody French and Indian Wars unravels an intricate murder plot.
Unfairly imprisoned in 1759 as an indentured servant on a British convict ship approaching the New World, young Duncan McCallum goes from depression to deathly despair upon the death of Adam Monroe, his only close friend on board. Adam’s is only the latest of a spate of murders or suicides aboard the ship. The tense atmosphere is further exacerbated by the odd appearance of a nearly drowned young woman named Flora. Others consider her a Pandora, but Duncan finds himself drawn to the eerily fragile beauty. Because he’s had a couple of years of medical school, Duncan is enlisted by crusty Lieutenant Woolford to probe the unexpected deaths even as he’s haunted by the dying Adam’s prescient words about conspiracy. The shipmates are sucked into the maelstrom of the ongoing colonial wars, where murky allegiances add another layer of danger and the “savages” have spawned a menacing mythology. As Duncan makes more discoveries (and finds unexpected romance with a fellow Scot, spirited Sarah), Woolford reluctantly reveals additional keys to the nefarious mystery’s solution.
The densely plotted historical adventure from Edgar-winning Pattison (Prayer of the Dragon, 2007, etc.) provides just enough whodunit to keep the hero and the reader on the frontier trail.