Image by informationgoddess29 via Flickr****WARNING*** SPOILERS*********
Diana Gabaldon's 7th installment of her acclaimed Outlander Series, An Echo in the Bone was much anticipated and happy to hear it is not the last in the Jamie and Claire saga. And congratulations to Diana for being numero uno again on NY Times Best Seller List!!
This book is different from the others in that the amount of time that passes which is quite short as compared to her other installments. It's about a year that transpires and I find that due to the length of the book(slightly over 800 pages), I was not expecting this. I am so used to going on a lengthy journey with the couple. Diana also included at length separate stories of Roger/Brianna, Lord John Grey/William Ransom and Ian Murray. Not quite sure how I feel about this. I look forward to listening to the audio.
A startling event in the beginning devastates the Fraser's and Ian regarding the Frenchman's Gold. The repeated theme here regarding the gold reminds me that the longer and harder one pursues wealth for selfish and sinister purpose will always end in tragedy.
I was delighted to see that Fergus has a mysterious man searching for him and he must go into hiding. However, his story line does not evolve much in Echo, my hope is this will be wrapped up quite nicely(?) in the eighth installment.
Jamie's quest is to return to Scotland to retrieve his printing press, he feels he's better suited to wage war with the British(something he's done most of his adult life) with the printed word rather than the sword. He's older now and not as agile or willing, I suppose. Jamie and Claire along with Ian make the long journey to obtain passage to Scotland, but of course becomes way-layed by pirates and when they survive that tradegy they are then pressed into service by the Continental army.
Lord John Grey and his adopted son, William Ransom, Lord Elsmere who is also a British soldier are brought into the story in a large way. Lord John and William go about their spying and such which I confess I was not that into. Lord John is trying to locate his nephew who has been injured in the war and is a prisoner of the Continental Army. William learns just how wild and unsettled America is and encounters a few dangerous episodes in addition to meeting up with Ian Murray. These two met only briefly when they were both young boys at Fraser's Ridge but develop a mutual respect for one another.
In the meantime, Roger and Brianna back in the 20th century have discovered a box of letters Claire and Jamie wrote in hopes they would find them. A very nice touch so that the family could still somehow stay connected. I really enjoyed these segments especially when Diana uses the letter writing that relates to the reader of transpiring events.
A new set of characters are introduced, the Hunter's, a brother and sister who happened to be Quaker. Denzell Hunter is a doctor and his sister, Rachel accompanies him as they have no other family. Diane sets it up so that William, Jamie/Claire and Ian all meet them separately but are all rejoined in the end to save Rachel from a man of Ian's past.
Jamie is approached to transport the body of a Fraser cousin back to Scotland which is what they had intended on doing from the beginning, but Claire is needed to attend to a very sick child of Fergus and Marsali, so even though, historically, nothing ever comes good of Jamie and Claire being separated, they must. Which of course sets up a chain of events that is cataclysmic on so many levels! I was also much delighted to see Jenny brought back into the story.
And of course, it just can't be only the Fraser's who are in a ****storm(sorry, that's best I could come up with!), the MacKenzie's back in the 20th century are dealing with strange visitors and inquisitive collegues who will shape the future of both families.
An Echo in the Bone did not dissapoint, but it is not my favorite. The ending seemed too rushed and to be honest, I'm sorry, not for one minute do I believe that Claire would do what she did, it seemed totally unnatural for her especially how much in love she is with Jamie and the connection they share. However, for the sake of shock and awe, I guess Diana got our attention!
The Revolutionary War is in full swing and there are many chapters devoted to describing camp life, battles, caring for the wounded and bringing into the Fraser's experience in all this are actual historical figures, a great touch by Diana!
A true fan of Diana Gabaldon will enjoy An Echo in the Bone for it's historical content and the incredible story of Jamie and Claire, a most revered fictional couple, but one that the reader will always carry as true in their hearts and mind