Descartes observed that there are only six primitive passions: wonder, love, hatred, desire, joy, and sadness. All six could be found in abundance in 17th-century New York. Dutch and Canadian fur traders competed to control access to the Indians; their English and French masters used diplomacy, subterfuge and force to suppress the Indians; and, the Indians employed any and all means at their disposal to protect their lifestyle and even their very lives.
After deserting the Royal Navy by jumping ship in New York Harbor in 1681, young Sean O’Cathail find his way to Albany where he becomes one of the boschlopers (runners-in-the-woods). Once there, Sean learns the languages and cultures of the natives and the value of diplomacy. It is this art that earns Sean an appointment as the colonial governor’s special envoy to the Iroquois. He faces adversity, danger and intrigue while securing the English-Iroquois alliance and thwarting the efforts of the French to divide and conquer the Five Iroquois Nations. Even the women who love him – his Mohawk lover, Kai, and the Dutch bond servant, Laurentje van Reuyter – are eventually swept up in the primitive passions of the savage frontier.
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I was born and raised in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, in the history-rich Berkshire Hills. I earned a B.A. degree in journalism and political science from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. After graduation I moved to New York’s Capital District where, for 34 years, I enjoyed a successful and rewarding career in public relations and social marketing with New York State government. While living in New York’s Mohawk Valley, I took an interest in the Dutch and English fur traders and their relations with their Iroquois neighbors and their French adversaries. I now live in Vienna, Austria.