The latest epic volume in the multi-million-copy best-selling Outlander series. It is June 1778, and the world seems to be turning upside down. The British Army is withdrawing from Philadelphia, with George Washington in pursuit, and for the first time, it looks as if the rebels might actually win. But for Claire Fraser and her family, there are even more tumultuous revolutions that have to be accommodated. Her former husband, Jamie, has returned from the dead, demanding to know why in his absence she married his best friend, Lord John Grey. Lord John's son, the ninth Earl of Ellesmere, is no less shocked to discover that his real father is actually the newly resurrected Jamie Fraser, and Jamie's nephew Ian Murray discovers that his new-found cousin has an eye for the woman who has just agreed to marry him. And while Claire is terrified that one of her husbands may be about to murder the other, in the 20th century her descendants face even more desperate turns of events. Her daughter Brianna is trying to protect her son from a vicious criminal with murder on his mind, while her husband, Roger, has disappeared into the past....
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Not quite here and not quite there but somewhere..
..in between. The story, of course, follows the life and times of James Fraser, his wife Claire and her family. They are all there: Ian, Brianna, Roger, Janet... It is somewhat difficult to cover anything thematically without spoilering something else due to context. The book is absolutely worthwhile to be listened to, Davina Porter as divine in her narration as always. Really, I can't imagine someone else telling the story. All in all: the story does evolve, we get to know many answers to unsolved aspects of previous books, Diana Gabaldon is a master in word-choosing and in weaving atmospheric and vivid scenery.
Only three stars then, why?
After scattering her main characters all over the place at the end of her last book (the worst possible cliff-hangers!) I was quite anxiously awaiting how the different story-lines would be joined again. Unfortunately, and this is one of my big issues with this book, I had the impression that - after flinging Roger, Jem, William, John Grey and Ian to who knows where - D.G. had difficulty in picking them up again and uniting them in one arc. For much too long the different time-lines are completely broken apart, and while there is a lot going on, the story itself gets lost in all the conundrum. Military expertise is a fine thing to read about, but not the point (my point!) in this series.
The "rejoining"-moments then are done without further description, somewhat abrupt and strange / inconsistent. Without spoiling: What was a really, really big step in previous books is now sometimes excruciatingly difficult and sometimes as easy as if it was a walk in the park. These are maybe small aspects, but somehow they matter here, and I felt that they disturbed the "reality" of the story.
Although all characters show up, they weren't depicted as the shining, living, breathing personas you are expecting them to be when reading D.G. This is only my personal opinion, of course, but I'd have liked to have more links between the different people during the story. It all seemed to be quite disjointed, with seemingly important persons suddenly vanishing from view, popping up completely out of context and without logical explanation and then vanishing again. Some of them refuse verbally to say where they are headed to - and then they are gone. Poof. it was as if they were, in fact, too much to be handled for the author, and so the characters literally fell off her plate, only to be picked up from the floor several chapters laters, slightly the worse for wear and a bit disoriented.
Some of the main characters have changed in vital aspects of their being - so much that it was hard to reconcile them with what they were before. And that, in all honesty, was bugging me a lot sometimes. Of course a person's being will evolve, but usually, the won't change so much - and not in such a sad, lamentable way as in this book.
Listen to this book, enjoy it, it's worth it if you have enjoyed the previous books, and join me in waiting four or five years for the next installment. Sigh.
Having read all the books in 'The Outlander' series, I was waiting with baited breath for this last title. According to Diana Gabaldon's web site, it was due for release in March, so the delay until June was unbearable! But it was worth the wait reader - believe me.
Firstly, Thank you, thank you, thank you, for giving the narration of this book back to Davina Porter. She IS the characters - they are back to being the people I remember them as.
I will not spoil your entertainment by telling you anything about the story, if you have listened to the series all I will say is that you will not be disappointed.
If you are looking at this book as a stand alone and have never read Diana Gabaldon before, can I suggest that you start at the first one and work your way through? That way you will enjoy all of the twists, understand the history of the characters and arrive where I am now, desparate to know if this is it, or if there is some more to come.
I understand that this month (August 2014), the Outlander series will screen in the US as a 16 episode series - now THAT would be a box set to watch on a duvet day and no mistake!