Descartes identified only six primitive passions: wonder, love, hatred, desire, joy, and sadness. All six could be found in abundance in 17th-century New York.
SEAN O’CATHAIL experiences the passions when he and DICK FIELDING discover two shipmates, under the direction of the third mate, stealing from the crew. A fight ensues. The officer and one of the thieves are killed, but the second thief, JEREMY COX, escapes. Afraid that they will be hung for killing an officer, Sean and Dick desert. Once ashore, they are chased by a squad of marines through the streets of Manhattan but escape. A priest, BRENDAN O’BOYNE, helps them find shelter with one of his parishioners, MEGAN REILLY. When Megan tells Sean that her employer’s father, AERNOUT VIELE, is a successful fur trader in Albany, Sean determines to go to Albany to seek his fortune. He and Dick part company.
In Albany, Sean and Aernout Viele enter into an agreement under which Sean will learn the fur trade. Three years later, Sean has become Viele’s partner and is fluent in Iroquois and Dutch. He is having a passionate affair with KAI, a Mohawk woman. However, his life becomes complicated when he falls in love with LAURENTJE VAN REUYTER.
But, Albany’s fur trade is in jeopardy. The Iroquois are trapping fewer beavers, and traders from William Penn’s colony want to divert the trade away from Albany. To achieve this, Penn proposes to buy land from the Iroquois. This would ruin Albany and have dire economic consequences for the entire colony. To stop the sale, Sean convinces the Iroquois to give the land to New York. His accomplishment is recognized by GOVERNOR THOMAS DONGAN.
Sean’s success is dampened when Megan disappears after proclaiming her love for him. While Sean is searching for her, his old shipmate, Cox, reappears. Cox tries twice to kill Sean but fails and, instead, blackmails him, threatening to expose Sean as a deserter.
Meanwhile, the governor of New France, SIEUR DE LA BARRE, has mounted an invasion of Iroquois territory to punish the Seneca and Oswego for attacking Canadian traders and stealing their goods. In response, Governor Dongan commissions Sean to keep the Iroquois allied with England while thwarting French plans to divide and conquer the Five Iroquois Nations.
Sean, accompanied by Kai, warns the Seneca of the impending invasion, but Kai is captured by hostile Hurons and disappears. Bereaved, Sean heads home. Along the way, he learns that sachems from the Onondaga, Oswego and Oneida nations plan to ally themselves with the French. He hurries to stop them. Upon reaching the French encampment, however, he finds that the Iroquois no longer fear the French because the entire invasion force is sick with fever and must return to Montreal. The sachems tell Governor La Barre that the Iroquois are a free people and will go their own way. Sean returns to Albany and asks Laurentje to marry him. She agrees. They will confront the primitive passions of the savage frontier together.
Praise for Primitive Passions:
Historical Novel Society: “’Surely, though, it must have been an exciting life!’ a character exclaims to Sean O’Cathail at one point in Primitive Passions, the first volume in John Cahill’s Boschloper Saga. Right from the start of the novel, it certainly proves true…”
Midwest Book Review Small Press Bookwatch: “Exceptionally well written and a thoroughly entertaining read from beginning to end, Primitive Passions is the first volume of author John M. Cahill’s The Boschloper Saga and will leave his readers looking eagerly toward the next novel in what will prove to be an extraordinary historical fiction series. Very highly recommended for community library Historical Fiction collections…”
Patrica Hopper Patteson, Author of Kilmara: “Cahill drew me in with his knowledge about early American history and kept me absorbed in this tale until the end.”
Primitive Passions is available in paperback and ebook formats from all online booksellers.
1687: The Colony of New York is in dire financial straits. The flow of beaver pelts, the life’s blood of the colony, has slowed to a trickle. GOVERNOR THOMAS DONGAN licenses traders from Albany to go to Michilimackinac at the juncture of lakes Huron, Michigan and Superior to trade with the Ottawar and other Far Indians.
Although only recently married, SEAN O’CATHAIL, joins the small group of adventurers who have the courage to face the savage wilderness. The new governor of New France, the MARQUIS DE DENONVILLE, however, is under orders from King Louis XIV to destroy the Seneca. The English and Dutch traders will have to try to avoid detection and capture by the vastly superior French force of professional soldiers, Canadian militia, coureurs-des-bois and their Indian allies. Optimistic that they can avoid the French, Sean and his fellow boschlopers enter French territory and begin to cross the Great Lakes. When Sean and his comrades are surrounded and captured by a vastly superior force of French and Indians, they must use all means at their disposal to survive and Sean learns that his adventure has only just begun. Eventually, the prisoners are taken to Montreal. There, Sean manages to escape. But, while trying to reach Albany, he is recaptured by Indians allied with the French and tortured. It is only with the help of KAI, the Mohawk woman who is his former lover, that he is able to survive, escape and return to his young bride.
Praise for Savage Wilderness:
Mid-Atlantic Book Reviewers: “Outstanding historical fiction.”
The Trail of a Traitor (work in progress)
When Parliament overthrows King James II and invites William of Orange to take the English throne, King Louis of France declares war on England and the French, with their Indian allies, undertake the conquest of New York. Meanwhile, the Parliament’s Glorious Revolution results in administrative chaos in the colonies. Into the void in New York steps an obscure Manhattan merchant who proclaims himself governor of the Colony. Jacob Leisler intimidates the citizenry and tries to purge New York of all Catholics instead of reacting to the French and Indian invaders who have massacred the inhabitants of Schenectady. In The Trail of a Traitor, Sean O’Cathail must decide which enemy he will fight first.
Beyond the Frontier (to come)
The Shawnee, who occupy territory in what is now Kentucky, are eager to trade furs with the Albany Dutch. In Beyond the Frontier, Sean O’Cathail leads a two-year expedition fraught with danger and high drama that establishes trade routes to the “Far” Indians and opens the interior of North America to English settlers.