AN ECHO IN THE BONE
Outlander, Book 7
by Diana Gabaldon
Narrated by: Davina Porter
Length: 45 hrs and 58 mins
Recorded Books/Clipper Audio
Also available from Bantam Dell/Random House in these formats:
Hardcover (832 pages), Mass Market Paperback(864 pages), Trade Paperback (1200 pages)
Purchased by the blogger. No remuneration was exchanged and all opinions presented herein are my own unless noted.
The seventh–but NOT the last!–novel in the OUTLANDER series, An Echo In The Bone, has four main storylines:
- Jamie and Claire Fraser, are now in the midst of the American Revolution;
- Their daughter Brianna, her husband Roger MacKenzie, and their two children, settled at Lallybroch in the 1970′s (finding their feet after their return from the past—but are unaware that that past is just about to leap out at them again);
- Lord John Grey and his step-son William (Jamie’s unacknowledged illegitimate son), are embroiled in the Revolution on the British side with William in the army and Lord John on the clandestine side of intelligence; and
- Jamie’s nephew Young Ian: his troubled love-life is about to take another sharp left turn
Jamie Fraser knows from his time-traveling wife Claire that, no matter how unlikely it seems, America will win the Revolutionary War. But that truth offers little solace, since Jamie realizes he might find himself pointing a weapon directly at his own son – a young officer in the British army.
And Jamie isn’t the only one with a tormented soul – for Claire may know who wins the conflict, but she certainly doesn’t know whether or not her beloved Jamie survives.
Epic in scope and featuring a colorful cast that includes many legendary figures – including hero-turned-traitor Benedict Arnold and bawdy statesman Benjamin Franklin – An Echo in the Bone is a thrill from start to finish.©2009 Diana Gabaldon; (P)2009 Recorded Books, LLC
Jamie Fraser is an eighteenth-century Highlander, an ex-Jacobite traitor, and a reluctant rebel in the American Revolution. His wife, Claire Randall Fraser, is a surgeon—from the twentieth century. What she knows of the future compels him to fight. What she doesn’t know may kill them both.
With one foot in America and one foot in Scotland, Jamie and Claire’s adventure spans the Revolution, from sea battles to printshops, as their paths cross with historical figures from Benjamin Franklin to Benedict Arnold.
Meanwhile, in the relative safety of the twentieth century, their daughter, Brianna, and her husband experience the unfolding drama of the Revolutionary War through Claire’s letters. But the letters can’t warn them of the threat that’s rising out of the past to overshadow their family.
Diana Gabaldon’s sweeping Outlander saga reaches new heights in An Echo in the Bone.
My only real issue with this book is the implausible travel distances for young Ian and his dog Rollo from upstate New York to the Great Dismal Swamp, over 600 miles between between events at Fort Ticonderoga in July and the Battle of Saratoga in October. Other than that the four storylines are attractive in that they are well-defined, hold up alone but also intertwine quite nicely. Sometimes I would think “Wow! What an unlikely coincidence that her brother and his sister are in love and able to track each other down so quickly in the middle of a revolution!”
Davina Porter is again a goddess of audiobook narration. I read a bit about her and she has recorded over 100 audiobooks. I am always impressed by her narration and may have become addicted to her voice.
I feel a personal connection to the story as parts occur in upstate New York quite near where I grew up and I remember a date with my husband at the beginning of our relationship to the National Park at Saratoga. That personal connection really sucked me into the story. In the header above, the picture on the right is a depiction of Daniel Morgan’s Riflemen which is part of Claire and Jamie’s story. On the left is the surrender of Burgoyne with Daniel Morgan in the white buckskins (see below for a full description from Wikimedia). Clair tells us about both events. It’s always amazing to me that people on opposing sides in a war can be civil to each other off the battlefield.
Diana’s research is so extensive that while she can be a little pedantic in her delivery of information she also brings places to life with detail. I am pretty confident in her research but some of the medical information and inventing is confusing me as I look into it for tomorrow’s post.
Diana uses a couple of words so much that I have noticed the tendency: alacrity and demur. But most of the time she avoids cliches. In fact I had to search quite a while to find two for the Cliche Klatch challenge.
This story has a couple of madcap adventures and worrisome events for these characters I feel a lot for. I don’t often feel a connection characters and often forget their names from one page to the nextAfter all, I have spent oodles of time with them since I started this audiobook journey last summer with the publication of WRITTEN IN MY OWN HEART’S BLOOD. It’s truly suspenseful in all the story lines. And teary, this is a bring out your handkerchief kind of story. There are small instances of grief and a few major events. And there is also a bit of shock in the story as someone who seems like a good old boy seems to be a bit of a villain as well. And there’s a weird, if nice, surprise.
I love the relationship between siblings/relatives in this story. There are several: Jemmy and Mandy, Brianna and William (though unaware for some), Dotty and William and Rachel and Denny. It is important to the way Gabaldon weaves the various plots together, but it is also a reminder of the precarious nature of life, always, but especially then, as people delight in seeing each other.
While I am currently confused about some of her inventing history I enjoy how Claire brings more modern inventions to light earlier than we imagine in the series — ideas like hygiene, ether and penicillin. I have a post going up on tomorrow, February 10, discussing medical advancements inspired by this character.
This book ranges far and wide in time an location and there were several times I felt it was disjointed. Be that as it may, I also loved it and listened to the whole thing in less than a week. You would be amazed what I will do around the house to listen to Davina Porter read these books!
If you read the Outlander series, this is, of course, a must read. If you haven’t read the series yet I strongly recommend it; it is a treat for the imagination. The characters are fabulous, real and, even so, larger than life. And the action and events in history are well described. You’ll want to eat buttered porridge and have a wee dram. It is a series I think you should read but you should read it in order!
Check out my post on Tuesday 2/10/15 on invention.
Picture in Gallery: John Neilson House, Bemis Heights, Stillwater, Saratoga County, NY. (see below) Situated within the American entrenchments on the Saratoga battlefield, it served as the headquarters for the Generals Enoch Poor and Benedict Arnold during the Saratoga campaign. As a building it is representative of the early frontier settlements of the upper Hudson valley. Print from Benson Lossing’s Pictorial Field Book of the Revolution, 1851, p. 48, shows plan of battlefield and views of John Neilson’s House from south, east and inside. http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:John_Neilson_House,_Bemis_Heights,_Stillwater,_Saratoga_County,_NY.jpg
Surrender of General Burgoyne (in Header):
The scene of the surrender of the British General John Burgoyne at Saratoga, on October 17, 1777, was a turning point in the American Revolutionary War that prevented the British from dividing New England from the rest of the colonies. The central figure is the American General Horatio Gates, who refused to take the sword offered by General Burgoyne, and, treating him as a gentleman, invites him into his tent. All of the figures in the scene are portraits of specific officers. Trumbull planned this outdoor scene to contrast with the Declaration of Independence beside it.
John Trumbull (1756–1843) was born in Connecticut, the son of the governor. After graduating from Harvard University, he served in the Continental Army under General Washington. He studied painting with Benjamin West in London and focused on history painting.
Major figures in the painting (from left to right, beginning with mounted officer):
American Captain Seymour of Connecticut (mounted)
American Colonel Scammel of New Hampshire (in blue)
British Major General William Phillips (British Army officer) (in red)
British Lieutenant General John Burgoyne (in red)
American Major General Horatio Gates (in blue)
American Colonel Daniel Morgan (in white)http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Surrender_of_General_Burgoyne.jpgFor a full key to the painting: http://www.americanrevolution.org/burgkey.php