Outlander, Book 9
From the publisher:
#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • Diana Gabaldon returns with the newest novel in the epic Outlander series.
The past may seem the safest place to be . . . but it is the most dangerous time to be alive. . . .
Jamie Fraser and Claire Randall were torn apart by the Jacobite Rising in 1746, and it took them twenty years to find each other again. Now the American Revolution threatens to do the same.
It is 1779 and Claire and Jamie are at last reunited with their daughter, Brianna, her husband, Roger, and their children on Fraser’s Ridge. Having the family together is a dream the Frasers had thought impossible.
Yet even in the North Carolina backcountry, the effects of war are being felt. Tensions in the Colonies are great and local feelings run hot enough to boil Hell’s teakettle. Jamie knows loyalties among his tenants are split and it won’t be long until the war is on his doorstep.
Brianna and Roger have their own worry: that the dangers that provoked their escape from the twentieth century might catch up to them. Sometimes they question whether risking the perils of the 1700s—among them disease, starvation, and an impending war—was indeed the safer choice for their family.
Not so far away, young William Ransom is still coming to terms with the discovery of his true father’s identity—and thus his own—and Lord John Grey has reconciliations to make, and dangers to meet . . . on his son’s behalf, and his own.
Meanwhile, the Revolutionary War creeps ever closer to Fraser’s Ridge. And with the family finally together, Jamie and Claire have more at stake than ever before.https://amzn.to/33bF2Jm
It’s been a long wait – seven years – for the ninth book in this series, and Gabaldon has said she will end it with the tenth book. I hope it’s not another seven years! Because it has been that long, I feel the need to discuss the series in general, in addition to this new book.
Gabaldon’s educational background: Gabaldon holds three degrees in science: Zoology, Marine Biology, and a PhD in Quantitative Behavioral Ecology, (plus an honorary degree as Doctor of Humane Letters). I’ve met her a few times and heard her speak several times. I mention this because she was primarily a researcher in science, so when she decided to write a novel, she figured the best/easiest way for her to do that was to utilize her research skills. I think she also, if not directly then subconsciously, also sought to write the book she would want to read.
This series defies categorization and genre. When I worked for Borders, it was shelved in the Romance section. Another big bookstore chain had it shelved in Sci-Fi/Fantasy, and Amazon classifies it that way as well. I believe it was Barnes & Noble who just had it in the General Fiction section, and honestly, that is where it should be. The books are also very long, and getting the first book published was not easy. Publishers like to put everything in a slot, and they couldn’t do that with Outlander. It was over 600 pages, another no-no. But the right editor found it, and the rest, as they say, is history.
Speaking of history, to me this series is basically historical fiction with a time travel element and romance. The time travel is done very well. The main character, Claire, was a nurse during WWII. After the war, she and her husband go on vacation to Scotland. There are standing stones, like Stonehenge, there, and Claire falls through the stones to the 1700s. There she meets and marries Jamie, and theirs is a romance of the ages, still going strong 20+ years later. The time travel isn’t a constant thing at all. Claire does go back to her own time for a while, but that’s all I will say about it – I don’t want to spoil anything.
The history is well researched and presented in a way that feels very personal, and that I think, more than anything else, is Gabaldon’s gift. I may have learned about the battle at Culloden in school, but she put me there, in the battlefield, along with everything that led up to it and everything that followed. Eventually, Jamie and Claire make their way to America, prior to the Revolutionary War, and again, we get to live it. We can see what life was like, what they ate, how they lived.
This newest book takes place in 1779 in North Carolina, with forays to Savannah and Charles Town (Charleston) and even Philadelphia. While George Washington doesn’t make an appearance, his and some other famous names are dropped.
Instead of focusing primarily on Jamie and Claire, the story is spread between them, their daughter Brianna and Roger and their family, Jamie’s son William, and to a lesser extent, Jamie’s nephew Ian and his family. There are skirmishes on Fraser’s Ridge between Tory loyalists and those, like Jamie, with allegiance to the new country, and it ultimately ends on a battlefield at King’s Mountain with its aftereffects. There is love, war, and mostly what life was like in the 18th century in America.
Bottom line? Gabaldon’s latest was worth the wait. While not the strongest book in the series, it is definitely a good read.
If you haven’t read them, I envy you the chance to do so. This is the series that I wish I could read again for the first time. These are the books I would want to have with me if I was stranded on a desert island. I’ve read them all at least twice, and I’ve listened to the audiobooks of all of them but this one…yet.
This series truly must be read in order:
- Dragonfly in Amber
- Drums of Autumn
- The Fiery Cross
- A Breath of Snow and Ashes
- An Echo in the Bone
- Written in My Own Heart’s Blood
- Go Tell the Bees That I Am Gone
There is a TV series based on the books, “Outlander” on the Starz network. Each season follows one book, but it does veer away from the source material now and then. The casting is fantastic, and Gabaldon herself pops up now and then! You can also purchase individual episodes or seasons on Amazon Prime, or stream the entire series on Starz.
1/2022 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch
GO TELL THE BEES THAT I AM GONE by Diana Gabaldon. Delacorte Press; First Edition (November 23, 2021). ISBN: 978-1101885680. 928 pages.