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Episode #17: Savage Liberty: Interview with Bestselling Author Eliot Pattison, the Importance of Historical Fiction, and Making Civics Education Great Again

Popular and bestselling historical fiction author, Eliot Pattison, discusses his new book, Savage Liberty: A Mystery of Revolutionary America, the importance of historical fiction, and how we can bring back functional civics education in our schools.


  • 4:00 Pattison didn’t just want to write a fun book – America is facing a crisis of national identity, and Savage Liberty reminds us of our roots and what America is all about.
  • 5:02 Learn about how history books are failing America, and why historical fiction connects us with the characters of our past.
  • 9:20 Did you know Pattison visits every single place he writes about? Learn about his painstaking historical research that enriches Savage Liberty with amazing and accurate historical details.
  • 12:12 Pattison’s cast includes everyone from African slaves and Iroquois matriarchs to Irish laborers, English aristocrats, and German missionaries – all to show how America creates a unity out of diversity.
  • 13:51 What happens when Americans forget our history? We lose our national identity, says Pattison.

OUR GUEST AUTHOR – Eliot Pattison

  • A writer of faraway mysteries, Eliot Pattison’s travels and interests span a million miles of global tracking. He has visited 6 continents plus Antarctica!
  • Pattison is an an international lawyer by training, and early in his career began writing on legal and business topics, producing several books and dozens of articles published on three continents.
  • He received the Art of Freedom Award for bringing his social and cultural concerns to his fiction.
  • A former resident of Boston and Washington, Pattison resides on an 18th century farm in Pennsylvania with his wife, three children, and an ever-expanding menagerie of animals. Check out his website for more details on his writings!

BOOK OVERVIEW – Savage Liberty

  • Savage Liberty is the fifth entry in Eliot Pattison’s Bone Rattler series and follows the exiled Scotsman Duncan McCallum along a tortuous path that will lead him to the American Revolution.
  • When a ship arriving from London explodes in Boston Harbor, both the peace of the colonial city and Duncan McCallum’s life are shattered. Summoned by his new friend John Hancock to a beach awash with the bodies of the victims, Duncan discovers that the ship was deliberately sabotaged, apparently to cover the theft by French agents provocateurs of a secret document being carried to the Sons of Liberty. Hancock refuses to let him take his evidence to the authorities, for this is 1768 and relations with the government are so sour that officials are being hanged in effigy.
  • Fearing that the intrigues of Hancock and the Sons might set the colonies ablaze, Duncan relentlessly pursues the truth, only to be falsely charged with treason and murder. To escape the hangman’s noose and restore his honor, Duncan has no choice but to follow a northbound trail of violence and deception while being relentlessly hounded by bountymen and vengeful soldiers. With the help of unexpected new friends, including Ethan Allen, aged natives, and outlawed Jesuits, he survives scalp hunters, imprisonment, and his own spiritual crisis, only to realize he cannot resolve the terrible crimes until he first understands the emerging truths about freedom in the American colonies.


  • Get your own copy of Savage Liberty!
  • Read about Eliot Pattison HERE!
  • Check out one of Pattison’s favorite books: Gorky Park by Martin Cruz Smith!


NPR says:

The excellent prose narrative goes right to the matter in question the state of the- pre-colonial human heart.

Entertainment Weekly says that Savage Liberty is:

The Last of the Mohicans meets Braveheart, with a curious dash of CSI.

Publishers Weekly says:

Pattison does a brilliant job of showing how political events at this time paved the way for the start of the Revolutionary War.


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