June 2011 (1st read) While the first 70 pages or so of this book may not be the most interesting, they're definitely important to the story that unfold...moreJune 2011 (1st read) While the first 70 pages or so of this book may not be the most interesting, they're definitely important to the story that unfolds... After that, you'll be swept into Claire & Jamie's love story for the ages -- sweet, funny, steamy, touching, and to-die-for.
Diana G provides us with a cast of well-developed characters, who remain true to themselves through-out the story. Not always a pleasant story, but one that peels back time and shows a glimpse of 1740s Scotland in the Jacobite era. When Claire is accidentally whisked back in time from post-WW2 Scotland (1945) into 1743, we feel her bewilderment and shock. Along with the history, we're also reminded just how different the customs, culture, and daily activities were from now and then -- remembering that "now" is 1945.
A few slight complaints, such as Claire's attitude about women is probably a bit more feminist than most 1940s gals, especially in England. But this story and these characters definitely stay with you, and you *want* more... luckily there are a few more books in the series! ----------- Jan 2012 No matter how many times I re-read this book, I'm always captured completely by it! IMO, no other fictional characters can touch JAMIE FRASER & CLAIRE BEAUCHAMP RANDALL FRASER!!! Their lives, their love, their story... *sigh*(less)
1st reading: June 12, 2011 Current reading: Jan 31, 2012
Much more history in this follow-up to "Outlander"... Starting the book in 1968 was...more4-4.5 Stars
1st reading: June 12, 2011 Current reading: Jan 31, 2012
Much more history in this follow-up to "Outlander"... Starting the book in 1968 was unexpected and a bit frustrating, at first, until I understood how that "present" time fit into the overall story that the author intended to tell - the continuation of Jamie & Claire Fraser.
We left them in France, at an abbey where Jamie's uncle was the Abbot. Jamie was still recovering from his injuries, both physical and emotional/mental, that he sustained at Black Jack Randall's hands while in Wentworth Prison. Claire & Jamie had just decided that they wanted to try to change the "future" in 1744 - either prevent Bonnie Prince Charles Stuart and his co-horts from attempting the Rise in 1745 and the horrible defeat at Culloden, or ensure Charles' victory.
In this book, we start with Roger (MacKenzie) Wakefield, Claire Beauchamp Randall, and Brianna Randall. Claire is asking Roger, an historian with Oxford College, to take on a task for her: research the fates of a list of names of men from 1745, after Culloden. The last time Claire saw Roger was in 1945, when she and Frank Randall were in the Rev. Wakefield's home, and Frank was reviewing his ancestry and the two men were discussing the Jacobite rebellion of 1745. Roger was about five at the time, adopted by Rev. Wakefield (really his great-uncle) when Roger's parents were both killed as result of WW2.
As Roger researches the list of names, he becomes more and more fascinated by the task - and WHY Claire Randall wants to know. Roger, Claire, and Brianna travel to an old churchyard to see some of the old tombstones, none new for the past century or so. While there, Claire stumbles over two important headstones: 1. Jonathan Wolverton Randall (Black Jack) and 2. James Alexander Malcom MacKenzie Fraser. This sets in motion Claire revealing her story to both Roger and Brianna - a tale that not only includes the "Outlander" story, but also tells the story of Jamie & Claire in France and then Scotland, doing what they can to change history. Or at least to save or shield Lallybroch and its inhabitants in whatever way possible from the coming storm after Charles Stuart's defeat.
We meet many new characters in France: Jamie's cousin Jared, Mother Hildegaard, Master Raymond, Fergus (Claudel), Mary Hawkins, Alexander Randall, the Comte de Germain, King Louis, Prince Charles Stuart, and the retinue of Jacobite supporters and the French court at the time. And we see again "old friends" Jennie & Ian Murray, Murtagh, the Duke of Sandringham, Column MacKenzie, Dougal MacKenzie, Geilis Duncan, and more.
We experience love, loss, joy, birth, death, sorrow, agony, revenge, and war. We hear and see the echoes of Jamie & Claire's past, as Claire takes us on an incredible journey through her past, and we discover WHY Claire is in 1968 (and no longer with Jamie), and WHO Brianna Randall is.
And we end with Roger MacKenzie Wakefield's ancestry... witness another traveler step through the standing stones at Craig na Dun, and shiver in excitement and unbelief as Roger tells Claire that it seems as if Jamie Fraser survived Culloden!(less)
I can't believe I didn't write a review of this book, but it looks as if I didn't!
This is my 2nd favorite...more1st read: June 16, 2011 ?th read: Feb, 5 2012
I can't believe I didn't write a review of this book, but it looks as if I didn't!
This is my 2nd favorite book in the series, just after the 1st book Outlander. I really enjoy learning about Jamie's history after Claire left him in Dragonfly in Amber. I wasn't even irritated that the story bounced back and forth for awhile, between Bree-Roger-Claire and Jamie. In fact, I enjoyed the "hunt" and the tidbits of information that Roger, Bree, and Claire picked up which led into Jamie's story. I was completely taken up with what was going on and hoping against hope that they'd find Jamie alive.
But when Claire travels back, again, to Jamie - I was as excited and happy at their reunion as Claire was! And I truly appreciated that the author was able to take us through that from Claire's eyes - AND that Claire was able to pull back enough to see that she had been preparing for months for this event, but that Jamie had no preparation at all.
And all the hullaballo that happens when Claire does return! In the space of a month's time, too. I was wondering, with Jamie, if perhaps Jamie couldn't have his "life" and Claire, too. If there was something about the two of them together, being out of time and place, that forced impossible events to occur. But I held fast and kept reading!
I must say, the whole China man scenario was convenient and out-of-place. But when I'd finished the book, I could see that the author did a good job of pulling it all together, and making Mr. Willoughby an integral part of the story. How else would Jamie be able to make such a ship voyage without acupuncture?
And Lord John Gray... Voyager marks the start of LJG's tales - with and without Jamie. I can say that each time I read his conversation with Claire, I feel the bitterness in my throat, just as Claire does, winding her way through the story of Jamie and LJG. I feel her twinges of doubt as to what this relationship between the two is all about - what happened and which emotions are engaged on Jamie's part? It's a tough pill to swallow. In so many ways, I feel as if Lord John Gray is the *biggest* threat to Jamie & Claire's relationship... and that all started with this book. However, I must say in all fairness, that I've come to appreciate LJG, and even to like him, for his own sake; I just don't want him around Jamie & Claire - LOL!
The story with the younger Ian... breaks my heart. But such an adventure! Jamie has two "foster" sons now, Fergus and Ian. He was definitely meant to be a father!
The return to Lallybroch... Claire reuniting with Ian and Jenny. It seemed so idyllic, until... Leoghaire! I wasn't expecting that at all, and I was as angry as Claire was, at the beginning. I was angry at Jamie for keeping it from Claire. I experienced all that Claire did, and I was glad that we both (LOL) came to the same conclusions at about the same time. And we managed to continue.
I was amazed at how the Frenchman's Gold story was so interwoven with the treasure, Ian's capture, the voyage to rescue him... and then Geillis! What a horrifying treat!
Voyage just keeps on giving. Every time I thought that finally Jamie & Claire might just have a breath or a break, something else would come into the picture: the mess in Edinburgh, Jenny and then Leoghaire, young Ian's capture, the Porpoise and her ill crew, Fergus and Marsali, Lord John Gray, Geillis, Mr. Willoughby, Rev. Campbell, and even Lawrence Stern! There is more adventure and danger and excitement in this book than most people have in an entire lifetime! And all were woven together in an intricate and wonderful tale. I didn't want the adventure to end!
I laughed, cried, gasped, was terrified, spit nails, sighed, was romanced... the entire gambit of emotions! Truly a great book!(less)
1st read June 17, 2011 Current read: July 24, 2012
Latest review - July 2012 OK, so I gained an entirely new p...more**spoiler alert** Changed rating to 4 stars
1st read June 17, 2011 Current read: July 24, 2012
Latest review - July 2012 OK, so I gained an entirely new perspective on this book this read. DoA still is among my least favorite of the series books, mostly because it's so dark - hangings, robberies, rapes, beatings, misunderstanding that lead to selling innocent men to the Mohawk... But somehow, this time, I was able to stop thinking ahead or remembering what I thought the last time I read the book. I was able to approach the book as a new read and appreciate it for its own merits.
Which means that I saw my previous objections against Jamie's behavior in this book differently. Yes, he allowed Stephen Bonnet to escape; and yes, many paid for this "mistake", including his own family again and again. But Jamie never expected Bonnet to rob them. I still wonder why Jamie, Duncan, Fergus, and Young Ian didn't set out after Bonnet immediately or put the word out about him soon as they arrived in Cross Creek. I'd have thought Jamie would at least try to get back part of what he lost. I guess he was so rattled by it, and then so absorbed in life at Cross Creek and this new world?
I also see that Jamie's reactions to Bree are based on her being his daughter - PROTECTION of what is his. We know that Jamie is fierce where family is concerned. Again, I wonder that with his doubts, Jamie didn't take "Wakefield" up to confront Bree and ask her what she wanted to do with him; but, I suppose that Jamie thought he was protecting her by simply taking care of the problem. Hindsight is 20/20.
The relationship between Bree & Jamie was rough, but I "got it" this time. I saw that Jamie's way is to SHOW, not just to tell - esp. with someone like Bree, who he recognizes has that stubborn Fraser streak. I saw this time that his actions in the barn were focused on showing her she couldn't have overpowered her rapist; he goaded her into sufficient anger to give it her all. I mistook the goading for Jamie's doubts - the ones he mentions later.
IMO, Bree still carries a heavy weight. She gets angry with Roger about not telling her about the newspaper article, and yet she doesn't tell him about her trip to Jamaica or finding that same article. She *assumes* it's OK for her to time travel and then return home; because she fears he wouldn't agree with her, she hides it from him. But then she comes apart at the seams at him for following her and keeping his motives from her. Very double standard.
Also, not telling Claire & Jamie about handfasting with Roger. OK, OK - I see where, after the rape, she wouldn't want to obligate Roger to her without choice; and she'd have learned quickly that Jamie would see it as obligation. (He did. And he held them both to it, despite it all.) But still... even if Bree had mentioned to Lizzy about the handfasting!
Roger still gets the majority of my sympathies. And while it's a sacrifice for Young Ian to be adopted into the Mohawk tribe, since he had such a fascination with Emily, he might have done it of his own free will anyway. And I doubt the Mohawk would have changed their "rules" about him not speaking any other language or identifying with his previous heritage just because he choose it without coercion.
For all the heartache, there are so many tender scenes in this book: * Jamie & Claire finding Fraser's Ridge, including the bear scenes, but especially the strawberry scene * Lord John and William's arrival - my first read, I wasn't a LJ fan at all. I truly resented his presence in this book at all, and I was angry that he brought Willie, even tho it benefited Jamie. I did lighten up a bit when he helped Bree. This time, I enjoyed him and took him at face value. * Roger & Bree - while I still see why so many dislike Bree, there are so many times when we see their love. IMO, Roger is more in love with Bree in this book, but it might only be because he allows himself to be, where she's still holding back.
One complaint is that, while there are "love scenes" between Claire & Jamie, most are simply alluded to - not the usual feeling of "you are there". That seems to be passed on to Roger & Bree. I'm not complaining about the Roger-Bree scenes, I just missed sharing the intimacy of true love scenes with Jamie & Claire.
Voyager, the book just before Drums of Autumn is my 2nd favorite in this series, so admitted DOA (LOL - just realized the acronymn!) has a lot to live up to.
And for me, the book just starts off on the wrong tone. A hanging, an escaped prisoner whom Jamie allows to go free, a burial, and then a robbery. And that's just the beginning of the book! Life in the 1760s and 1770s in America is tough, no doubt. But gee, welcome to the land of the free, Jamie & Claire!
Roger's and Bree's story doesn't grab me as it's done before. I get irritated with Bree for being so... secretive with Roger. I grew up in a loving 2-parent home, and both my parents are still living, so perhaps it's tougher for me to relate to her confusion about marriage. I can understand her caution with Roger - her wanting to know that his feelings for her aren't about the excitement they went through finding Jamie for Claire and going through the experiences of Gillian Edgars (aka Geillis Duncan) and Claire's return. I can understand her feeling orphaned and alone.
But I *don't* understand her not confiding in Roger about her trip to Jamaica and her intent to see Jamie & Claire. She could have saved everyone a LOT of trouble if she'd only been upfront with Roger. And Roger... this poor man. It's almost as if those who would love the Randall women must prove their love by the ultimate trial of betrayal, slavery, beating, and threat of death. Is this supposed to convince us that Roger truly does love Bree? If so, then why his hesitation at the end of the book? Shouldn't he have already decided? Or is it that Roger must decide to stay in the past?
Jamie... we see aspects of Jamie's personality that are somewhat shocking and very uncomfortable.
First we see him allow Stephen Bonnet, a convicted thief, escape justice: Bonnet is one of three men slated for hanging, along with Garvin Hayes, a man Jamie knew from Ardsmuir prison. There's a bit of a ruckus, and in the fray, Bonnet runs from his captors. Later, when burying Hayes' body, Jamie, Fergus, Duncan, Ian, and Claire discover that Bonnet has stowed away in their wagon. While Jamie believes that Bonnet is likely guilty, he still allows Bonnet to escape - going so far as to get Bonnet through more than one line of lawmen looking for Bonnet.
This act comes back to bite Jamie in the butt more than once... and brings horrible consequences to him and his family. Bonnet returns the favor by robbing Jamie & Claire and their party of the jewels that Jamie took from Geillis in the cave at Abandawe. Those jewels were the only security that Jamie & Claire had. In addition, Claire's gold wedding ring from Frank is stolen; one wonders if it had been Jamie's ring, if Jamie would have pursued Bonnet? Because uncharacteristically, Jamie and company do *not* go after Bonnet and his robber friends. Hmmm... Nope, they continue on to Cross Creek to meet Jamie's Aunt Jocasta Cameron, sister to his mother Ellen and his uncles Column and Dougal MacKenzie.
Secondly, and probably most horrible to me, Jamie and Ian lay in wait for Roger. Because Roger has decided to go by MacKenzie in this time instead of Wakefield, and because of Bree's indentured servant Lizzy's confusion over what happened between Bree and Roger, Roger is mistaken as the man who raped Bree. In truth, that man is Stephen Bonnet. Except that Bree hasn't told her parents that she and Roger were handfast and so "legally" had sex on their wedding night. And much too late, Bree shares with Claire that she (Bree) saw Claire's wedding ring and so visited Bonnet on his ship - the scene of the rape. In Bonnet's eyes, a transaction. Bree tells Claire this at about the same time that Jamie and Roger are fighting tooth-and-nail.
We're supposed to believe that only because Jamie has doubts about whether Bree was truly raped or not does he decide not to kill Roger outright. IMO, it would have been a blessing for Roger to die, but no - DG isn't done with Roger yet, by any means. Nope. Jamie decides to "save" Roger's life by allowing Ian to take him to the Indians and essentially give Roger away as a slave. All without Jamie spending any time talking to Roger, trying to get his side of the story. Nope - all on the word of Lizzy and the little that Jamie knows from Bree.
It's easy to see how many readers dislike Bree. If she'd told her parents more about Roger and what happened... Claire knows what Roger looks like, but Jamie and Ian don't. Why didn't Bree draw a picture of him earlier?
After all Jamie's been through, to almost kill a man and then sell him without asking questions - without even seeking the truth.... It's tough to swallow. Yes, Jamie is acting on behalf of his family, and we know he's fierce when it comes to them. Yes, he's the father protecting his daughter. But because Jamie has so many doubts, it seems almost out of character for him to take so drastic an action. I would expect him to beat Roger up - disable him - and then take him to Bree to confirm the story. IF this was the man who raped her, then either hang him or take him to the Indians. Why the rush? You see, the doubts that he had, and the fear that perhaps Claire would talk him out of these actions verifies that Jamie knows he's wrong. Which makes it all that much worse when Jamie and Ian discover their mistake. We only believe the mistake can be rectified *because* it's Jamie... we know him to be a man of honor; but somehow, his actions towards Roger seem to be anything but honorable until he seeks to rescue him from a hell that he (Jamie) caused.
Thirdly, Jamie's and Bree's relationship. While the scene when Jamie and Bree meet is touching, and the scene where Claire and Bree reunite brings tears, the uneasy relationship between Bree and Jamie is just... strange. It seems logical that the two would have to get to know one another; but there is so much distrust on each side.
Especially difficult is when Jamie proves his point to Bree about how she couldn't have fought off Bonnet. Jamie comes off... cruel and unfeeling. But this does give insight to Jamie's own growing up. We see that stubbornness that the Fraser's are known for, and perhaps, get a glimpse of why Jamie received so many whippings in his time from his own Da, Brian.
Yes, I can see that the dynamics have changed by introducing Bree in-between Claire and Jamie. Whenever a child comes into parents' lives, that child disrupts the normal flow of that relationship. And with all the tension and mistrust, it's easy to see how Claire is in the middle; one can almost forgive her for staying there for so long.
So many pay the price for one act of "mercy" from Jamie to Stephen Bonnet - a mercy that Jamie didn't even consider showing to Roger. Jamie must pay the ultimate price - the damage to his relationship with Bree, the loss of Young Ian who is Jamie's foster-son and who Jamie had to pursue to the West Indies to recover, and even a bought of discomfort with Claire.
To some, it was necessary for Roger to be "seasoned". Some readers think he needed to mature a bit... to be more cognizant of how the 18th century really was and not be such an historian. I don't agree. Roger learned a lot on his voyage from Scotland to America, and he showed every sign of being willing and able to learn the harsh lessons of that time without being beaten and given away as a slave. And then, Roger has to endure the thought that the son Bree bears isn't his own. All because Roger was trying to ensure Bree's and his safe return to their own time - by stealing jewels from Stephen Bonnet... the same jewels Bonnet stole from Jamie and Claire.
For those reasons, this is one of my least favorite books in the series. There's much to enjoy and love in this book... but Jamie's departure from his character -- or perhaps seeing another side to Jamie's character, Bree's strange behavior, and the cruelties that Roger must bear... these things make the book almost unbearable to me.(less)
I finally read the entire book this time! And I realized that I'd missed a lot in my rush to find out what happened to Ja...moreFeb 2012: 4+ stars (2nd read)
I finally read the entire book this time! And I realized that I'd missed a lot in my rush to find out what happened to Jamie & Claire and how in the world we got to the situation at the end of this book with Lord John!
I have a greater appreciation for the history enmeshed in the book this time. It seems strange that for all I know about the Revolutionary War, I find that I know so little. Places like Ticonderoga were just names to me before reading this book (thoroughly this time). And through DG's words, I smelled the smoke, felt the panic and fear... and I felt as if I lived the aftermath as one of the straggling Revolutionaries (rebels), as they made their way back to safety.
First time through, I wasn't so sure about William Ransome's part in this book. This read, though, I saw him as the young man aching to be a real man - to make his own name as a soldier and not just parlay his father's name (Lord John, his step-father) or his uncle's name (Hal, LJ's brother). He's still a bit spoiled, but he's grown up with so much security... so many resources... taken so much for granted. Through his experience in this book and especially his battle experiences, William is just starting to learn the cost of war and bravery; the cost of life. And it's hard to fault him when he's in love with someone who's always out of reach; how frustrating!
Young Ian Murray, like William, is searching for love. He's been empty since he was turned away from the Mohawk and lost his wife and several children to stillbirth or miscarriage. With Bree, Ian was able to recapture some of his sanity; but Bree's no longer there. And with Claire's reassurances about the likelihood that it was the Rh factor that caused the pregnancy issues with "Works With Her Hands" (Emily), Ian has a bit of hope. But as with all great men in this saga, Ian has to endure a lot of heartache and pain before finally seeing the possibility of life and love again.
We cover so much ground in this book, it's no wonder its length!
While I'm still not a fan of the major cliffhangers at the end of this book, I now understand them better. Diana Gabaldon said in a recent online "chat" that too many folks thought that "A Breath Of Snow And Ashes" was the end of the series because it wrapped up so nicely; so she wanted to make it *clear* to her readers that "An Echo In The Bone" is *not* the last book! We're not even sure that "Written In My Own Heart's Blood" (aka MOBY) will be the last book - and we'll have to wait until probably mid-to-end of 2013 when it's published to find out!
But I better appreciated the "modern" storyline with Bree, Roger, Jem, and Mandy this read. And after reading several of DG's short stories and novellas (especially "A Leaf in the Hallows"), I find so much satisfaction in the rich, deep story and characters that continue in "Echo". And the links back to previous bits that we've been told, but filed away at the time, not realizing that they might be important later.
The truth is that if you're a fan of the series, you can't *not* read this book! (Double-negative acknowledged.) It might break your heart, leave you spitting nails, or make you tear your hair out, but this book is part of the journey that's not finished yet...
August 2011: 2.5-4.5 stars (1st read) Overall, I liked this book. Yes, it was overly over-long, even for Diana G. Yes, it was chalk-full of history - overly so, even for Diana G.
Many readers didn't like all the cliff-hangers that she left at the end of the book. While I wasn't particularly happy about having so many cliff-hangers, I could have lived without ONE particular cliff-hanger: the one involving Jamie & Claire. WHY Diana G thought she needed to introduce a very bizarre love-triangle so late in the book is beyond me. The wonderful characters that we have grown to know and love suddenly behave completely out of character? NO!
The William storyline... hmmmm... well, let's just say that I've had a difficult time believing that William didn't recognize his birth father for some time now. You could argue many reasons why he doesn't, but the revelation (again, almost on the last pages) doesn't shock. It almost disappoints.
So much to love... and so much to abhor. After reading it the first time, if would have thrown the book across the room if it hadn't been on my Kindle! I re-read the book to give it another try, and I found it much more to my liking. But I have to say that I CANNOT recommend this book to fans of the series. And I'm seriously concerned about where Jamie & Claire will go from here. They're THE REASON I love this series, and it's going to be difficult to wait another 2-3 years for the next book. And believe me, I won't be buying it until I read it first!!!(less)
**spoiler alert** 1st read: June 2011 Current read: Feb 2012
So much happens in this book! I still feel for poor Roger... his life has been torn apart s...more**spoiler alert** 1st read: June 2011 Current read: Feb 2012
So much happens in this book! I still feel for poor Roger... his life has been torn apart since almost the day he "arrived" in 1769. And certainly since he set foot in North Carolina! I don't quite know why Roger has to endure so much. My thoughts turn again to what it cost to love a Randall woman; does Roger have to prove himself to Bree, Jamie, Claire, and himself? It's just so sad to me that Roger loses his beautiful voice.(less)
1st read: June-July 2011 2nd read: Feb 2012 3rd read: Dec 2012-Jan 2013
3rd read thoughts:
YIKES! I'd forgotten just HOW MUCH takes place in this book! It...more1st read: June-July 2011 2nd read: Feb 2012 3rd read: Dec 2012-Jan 2013
3rd read thoughts:
YIKES! I'd forgotten just HOW MUCH takes place in this book! It wears me out just thinking about it.
Not only do we have all the history stuff, but we've got so much personal drama... and frankly, some of it seems to go on and on. The stuff with Malva and then the whole "bring Claire and/or Jamie to justice" thing seems to take MONTHS. Yet, in reality, it's only a month or two. Almost unbearable, all the little details stuffed in there... all the events.
This book makes me cry so many times in so many places...
Yes, I get that this book is a turning point for Jamie and his stand for liberty in the Revolutionary War. I get that there needs to be a lot of the historical events leading up to that war, but... while I find all that happened in North Carolina fascinating (and I do - I had no idea how much happened there because we're always so focused on Boston and Philadelphia), there is almost too much to absorb.
And bringing Stephen Bonnet, Lord John, and William back in brings both a sense of completion and a sense of leaving many things hanging. But the LJ and William stuff is, obviously, a set up for the next book, where both play larger roles than they have in the Outlander series yet.
While I'm sad that there aren't more love scenes between Claire & Jamie, there are many times that their love-making is referred to - but only as almost an afterthought in a sentence. THEY are the primary reason for these books, despite the many other characters and pairings (like Roger & Bree) who are now entrenched in our hearts.
Dunno if this is DG's way of trying to show a more "mature" love by showing us more of their thoughts about the other and their conversations. But Jamie & Claire are TOUCH people; they need TOUCH to feel connected, and that's why, IMO, many fans feel that this book lets us down. We're used to Jamie & Claire needing to be and feel connected by physically connecting to one another; and we love to read about those joinings, because they're so... Jamie & Claire.
The Malva-Tom-Allan Christie story arc is... maddening, heart-breaking, and so, so sad. It's interesting how we must see and hear things every day, and yet our own impressions of what those things really mean are often so wrong - as in the case of this family. We see the events through Jamie's, Claire's, and Roger's eyes... and yet, could even I, one who is almost never fooled and can put the pieces together to make the right picture at the end, didn't predict what the eventual outcome of this story would be. Fascinating!
And the Wendigo Donner stuff... YIKES! Who'd have known?
The storyline involving Jocasta-Duncan-Ulysses-Phaedre... another big YIKES!
The Bugs... well, it wasn't completely unexpected. My issue is more with what happens in Echo In The Bone with the Bugs. But it's still so sad....
And Major Donald MacDonald... until this re-read (probably my 3rd, at least), I didn't pick up on his demise until this time. I think that there are so many details in these books, that I often focus only on Claire & Jamie and the main characters, thus losing the fine points. And Major MacDonald is a fine-point in this book. It's fitting, based on his last visit to Fraser's Ridge... and then it seems almost cruel.
Another thing that I "lost in translation" so to speak was the significance of Murtagh's "reappearance" and how that battle seemed to settle Jamie's mind and spirit with regard to BJR, Murtagh, and Culloden. I'm hoping that bodes well for Jamie, since we've seen him lay Dougal to rest... and in Daily Lines from book 8 (MOBY), we see that Ian seems to be visiting Jamie; sure hope that means good things, too.
This book was almost exhausting! I found myself putting it down so many times, simply because I knew what was coming next, and I couldn't bear it. Or because of all the "devil in the details" that seemed to muddy up the main story. Sometimes, it seems as if DG puts her characters into situations SIMPLY to force her readers along with her, as she reveals some neato history facts she's discovered... or to put us into the "You Are Here" mind frame. And sometimes, those very devices back-fire and make me want to put the book down and keep it down.
But alas, DG is such a fantastic writer... and Jamie & Claire are so much ingrained into me, that I can't leave them for long.(less)