This was the story of a Scot named Duncan McCallum who has been sent to the Colonies as a prisoner of the English. His clan was decimated at Culloden while he was away at school and he and his younger brother Jamie are the only surviving members of Clan McCallum. Jamie is a soldier in the English army and already in America. Duncan plans to meet up with his at some point in the future and hopes to start over in America after his prison sentence is over. Things change radically for Duncan while aboard the ship that will take him to his new home. The new tutor for Lord Ramsey's children is murdered and one of the fellow prisoners, Adam, commits suicide by throwing himself overboard. Then the entire crew is terrified when the remains of a Native American ritual are found in the naviagtion room aboard ship. Duncan has medical traiing and is asked to investigate the deaths in order to present a proper report to Lord Ramsey, the patron of this ship, once they arrive in America.
I am having a hard time relating the gist of the story because it was extremely disjointed with only a brief explanation of why Duncan is even there and who the characters are on the ship. When they got to America I had a very hard time relating to Duncan, who at times seemed to be such a wimp and at other times was brave beyond his calling. There was way too much going on, the setting didn't match the mood in some places and there were some events that were left unexplained. In spite of all this messiness, I did like the story once we got the REAL story, of how Sarah was "rescued" and the English plot to get more land back from the settlers. The Indian involvement with the war between the English and the French was very interesting. I will probably try another Pattison and see if it's any smoother.