Eye of the Raven. . .a mystery of colonial America

eye of the ravenNot my usual choice of library book but I certainly enjoyed this tale of American history and I can use the title as another book in my Historical Fiction Reading Challenge 2014.

From the cover:

With the aid of the Native American Shaman Conawago, Duncan McCallum has begun to heal from the massacre of his Highland clan by the British.  But his new life is shattered when he and Conawago discover a dying Virginian officer nailed to an Indian shrine tree.  The authorities arrest Conawago and schedule his hanging.  As Duncan begins a desperate search for the truth, he finds himself in a maelstrom of deception and violence.

The year is 1760, and while the British army wishes to dismiss the killing as another casualty of its war with France, Duncan discovers a pattern of ritualistic murders related to provincial treaty negotiations and the struggles between tribal factions.  Duncan understands that the real mysteries underlying his quest lie in the hearts of natives who, like his Highland Scots, have glimpsed the end of their world approaching.

I commented to my husband that the only other book I have read that had any history of the Native Americans was “The Dog Crusoe”. Eye of the Raven certainly gave me some understanding of the difficult times in which this story is set. I discovered at the end of the story the author had thoughtfully provided a timeline of actual events that occurred during the timeline of the novel. It would have helped in my understanding of the story if I had seen this timeline before I commenced reading rather than at the end.

The author states that the story is based on meticulous research of the time and because of my heritage I was interested in the Scottish connection to native Americans – the central characters of the book are a Scotsman and an Indian attempting to solve the mysteries.

“Scots adapted and integrated into cultures all over the globe – the wandering Scot was a fixture in many countries even in medieval times – but the link between the Scots and woodland Indians of America is unique in history” p. 393 ( Pattison, Eliot, Eye of the Raven, Counterpoint, Berkeley, 2009 )

An aspect of the novel which I also enjoyed was the link to Benjamin Franklin and the scientific advances that were taking place at the time. The huge difference between the European culture and the Indian culture are highlighted throughout the novel.

As well as being a wonderful look at the colonial history of North America it was a gripping mystery.  I loved it.

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