The Tibetans are terrified, the notorious Public Security Bureau wants nothing to do with the murders, and the army seems determined to just bury the dead again and Shan with them. No one wants to pursue the truth–except Shan, who finds himself in a violent collision between a heartbreaking, clandestine effort to reunite refugees from Tibet separated for decades and a covert corruption investigation that reaches to the top levels of the government in Beijing, China. The terrible secret Shan uncovers changes his town and his life forever.
The year is 1765, at the beginning of the Stamp Tax dissent, the first organized resistance to English rule. Duncan McCallum is drawn into the mystery of a series of murders and kidnappings that are strangely connected to the theft of an Iroquois artifact. In following the trail, he uncovers a network of secret runners supporting the nascent “committees of correspondence,” engaged in the first organized political dissent across colonial borders. When he is captured and thrown into slavery with the kidnapped runners, Duncan encounters a powerful conspiracy of highly placed English aristocrats who are bent on crushing all dissent. Inspired by an aged Native American slave and new African friends, Duncan decides not just to escape but to turn their own intrigue against the London lords.
The fourth entry in the Bone Rattler series moves ever closer to the beginning of the American Revolution. Included in the novel’s cast of characters are figures who will have their destinies to fulfill in the next decade: Benjamin Franklin, Samuel Adams, the early Pennsylvania rebel James Smith, and Dr. Benjamin Rush. Blood of the Oak takes a fresh view on the birth of the new American nation, suggesting that the “freedom” that became the centerpiece of the Revolution was uniquely American, rising not only from unprecedented political discourse but also from the extraordinary bond with the natural world experienced by frontier settlers and native tribes.
Aboard a British convict ship bound for the New World, protagonist Duncan McCallum witnesses a series of murders and apparent suicides among his fellow Scottish prisoners. A strange trail of clues leads Duncan into the New World and eventually thrusts him into the bloody maw of the French and Indian War. Duncan is indentured to the British Lord Ramsey, whose estate in the uncharted New York woodlands is a Heart of Darkness where multiple warring factions are engaged in physical, psychological, and spiritual battle.
Exploring a frontier world shrouded in danger and defying death in a wilderness populated by European settlers, Indian shamans, and mysterious scalping parties, Duncan, the exiled chief of his near-extinct Scottish clan, finds that sometimes justice cannot be reached unless the cultures and spirits of those involved are appeased.
Trying to make sense of the murders, Duncan is accused by the British army of the crime. Escaping prison to follow the trail of evidence, he finds himself hounded by vengeful soldiers and stalked by Scottish rebels who are mysteriously trying to manipulate the war to their advantage. As he pieces together the puzzle of violence and deception he gradually realizes that it may not only be the lives of Duncan and his friends that hang in the balance, but the very survival of the native tribes. When he finally discovers the terrible truth, Duncan is forced to make a fateful choice between his beloved Highland clans and the woodland natives who have embraced and protected him.
In an earlier time, Shan Tao Yun was an Inspector stationed in Beijing. But he lost his position, his family and his freedom when he ran afoul of a powerful figure high in the Chinese government. Released unofficially from the work camp to which he'd been sentenced, Shan has been living in remote mountains of Tibet with a group of outlawed Buddhist monks. Without status, official identity, or the freedom to return to his former home in Beijing, Shan has just begun to settle into his menial job as an inspector of irrigation and sewer ditches in a remote Tibetan township when he encounters a wrenching crime scene. Strewn across the grounds of an old Buddhist temple undergoing restoration are the bodies of two unidentified men and a Tibetan nun. Shan quickly realizes that the murders pose a riddle the Chinese police might in fact be trying to cover up. When he discovers that a nearby village has been converted into a new internment camp for Tibetan dissidents arrested in Beijing's latest pacification campaign, Shan recognizes the dangerous landscape he has entered. To find justice for the victims and to protect an American woman who witnessed the murders, Shan must navigate through the treacherous worlds of the internment camp, the local criminal gang, and the government's rabid pacification teams, while coping with his growing doubts about his own identity and role in Tibet.
Embittered survivor Hadrian Boone—once a revered colony founder—has been hounded by despair and the ghosts of his past into a life of drunkenness and frequent imprisonment for challenging the governor’s tyranny. But when a gentle old man, the colony’s leading scientist, is murdered, Hadrian glimpses chilling secrets behind the killing that could destroy the colony. Realizing that he may be the only one able to expose the truth, Hadrian begins a desperate quest through the underbelly of the colony into the wrenching camps of the outcasts, escorted by a young policewoman who struggles to cope with the physical and emotional remnants of the prior world. Ultimately Hadrian’s journey becomes one of self-discovery, and to find justice his greatest challenge is navigating the tortuous path of the human spirit in a world that has been forever fractured.