by Diana Gabaldom
On Sale: August 07, 2001
Pages: 912 | ISBN: 978-0-385-33599-7
On Sale: October 01, 1994
Pages: 1104 | ISBN: 978-0-440-21756-5
On Sale: December 01, 1993
Pages: 880 | ISBN: 978-0-385-30232-6
Also available as in E-book formats
Duration 43:15 | Narrated by Davina Porter | Published by Recorded Books | January 24, 2007
Blogger Purchase, no remuneration was exchanged and all opinions presented herein are my own except as noted.
“He was dead. However, his nose throbbed painfully, which he thought odd in the circumstances.”
Thus begins the third book in the OUTLANDER series, in which we learn that–despite his best efforts–Jamie Fraser did not die on the battlefield at Culloden. He isn’t pleased. Back in the 20th century, Claire is equally shocked by the revelation of Jamie’s survival–but much more pleased about it. We hear Jamie’s story as he moves forward, trying to forge a life from the bits of his soul and his country that are left, and hear Claire’s brief recounting of the twenty years since she left him at Culloden, while Roger MacKenzie and Brianna (Claire and Jamie’s daughter) draw close to each other as they sleuth through the clues of the past, in an urgent hunt for Jamie Fraser. Can they find him? And if they do, will Claire go back to him? And if she does…what will happen then?
To be honest, it would be easier to describe what doesn’t happen than what does. The story moves from the ghosts of Samhain in the Scottish Highlands to the streets and brothels of Edinburgh, to the turbulent open sea and the adventures of the West Indies. Printing presses, sedition, murder, voodoo, Chinese foot-fetishism, kidnapping, turtle soup, and a number of other things. Behind them all, though, is Jamie’s question:
“Will ye take me, Sassenach? And risk the man I am, for the sake of the man I was?”
(There are several excerpts at Diana’s Website ).
Twenty years go by and you think you remember a book.
I cannot remember when I read each of these books, but I know one thing, I remember the general gist and plot, but I forgot more than I recall. In listening to this, the third and Dragonfly in Amber, the second, what I recall, and what is actually in the text has been very interesting to watch. It’s one more chance for me to learn that I only know that I know nothing.
This is the third book in the Outlander series. It does follow a natural progression, westward towards the Americas, but not taking the path most people took to get there. There are some very strange parts of this story and a lot of head hopping as we are told the story in Claire’s voice but at times, like the first sentence in the block quote above, the activity, memory and words are Jamie’s with Claire not in attendance, or in that time period. While I wasn’t confused as to who and where we were at the time, I was sort of confused on technical grounds as most of the story is in the first person.
Herein we get more of the back story of Frank and Claire’s life after she return to the 20th century. I had thought most of that had happened in DRAGONFLY IN AMBER but that is more about what happened in the time between the end of Outlander and Culloden and explaining it all to Briana and Roger. To some degree the theory of time travel through the stones is developed then as well.
But it is also explored in detail in Voyager. We learn that some people can travel and others cannot. We also learn that some kind of power has to be exchanged. While the information is given in one section of the book, at the end, I just felt I knew it in a natural way and not as if it had been dumped on me.
I do recall in my first meeting that Jamie and Claire were older, and I found that disappointing back then. I was thirty-three then. Now, feeling that far too much erotica and romance focuses on people in their twenties, I really liked it.
With this being a time travel book, I guess it is interesting that Diana paints connections to her life in the eighteenth century and the twentieth century. She meets an escaped slave who she believes, somewhat casually, to be an ancestor to a friend she knew in Boston.
At this point in the series a lot seems to depend on coincidence and happenstance. But Gabaldon is such an engaging story teller I got entirely caught up in it.
I love how Diana describes coming to the the Americas, starting in the Caribbean. Whether it is accurate or not, I felt all the wonder one might have seeing it all for the first time, not at a resort or on a cruise, but fighting your way through a mangrove swamp after a big storm.
Many people like the series less after the first book. I recall being disappointed that it wasn’t the young and passionate couple from OUTLANDER but, time passes, even for time travelers. I enjoy each story on its own and as a continuation of the series I also like that the series and this book in particular is about the nature of love and marriage both through the love between Jamie and Claire and with a young couple who fall in love. I also like Diana’s writing for the most part. I think she uses a more literary vocabulary than I remember. There is a character in the form of a Chinese man that lends weird contrast to every other character.
I also really enjoy Davina Porter’s narration. She is the consummate reader; and has been the reader of the three books I have listened to, so she is also the only reader I have heard in this series. This book is about 45 hours long so it is a commitment. Imagine how long it must take to record it!
I highly recommend the series, and I think it is a great listen.
Author’s Website At Publisher