MYSTERY

The King’s Beast: A Mystery of the American Revolution

Counterpoint. (Bone Rattler). Apr. 2020. 432p. ISBN 9781640093188. pap. $17.95. M
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The latest installment in Pattison’s excellent “Bone Rattler” series (after Savage Liberty) combines solid historical research with superb storytelling. The year is 1769, and stakes are high. Unless the king intervenes, his war council plans to garrison Boston and New York with troops to put an end to the grumblings of the Sons of Liberty and close down an unidentified agent who’s stealing English manufacturing secrets and smuggling them into America. It’s not time yet for full-out rebellion. The colonists want for their complaints to be aired, but their enemies in England have already branded them as traitors. Duncan McCallum—exiled from Scotland as a Jacobite, indentured in the colonies, whipped at the post alongside slaves, accepted by the Iroquois as truth-seeker—sets out for London to deliver the bones of giant prehistoric animals to Benjamin Franklin, who hopes to use them to secure a private meeting with the king. But London is perilous for Duncan and his friends and allies, some of whom are incarcerated in Bedlam, and Duncan’s worst enemy is getting closer.
VERDICT Satisfying as both action thriller and as history, this exciting mystery should also appeal to lovers of historical fiction.

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