Scottish Prisoner

Thursday, October 15, 2009

An Echo in the Bone-Review

An Echo in the BoneImage 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

21 comments:

  1. I was looking forward to reading Echo and finally have been able to do so. I am not finished, but am getting close to the end. I have to say, that I had to push myself to read the first 3/4 of it. For some reason, I just couldn't get into Lord John's story and often was bored with William's. What got me through, were Brianna/Roger, Ian, and of course Claire and Jamie. Now that I'm close to the end, I feel the ax about to fall. I've read spoilers (I know I shouldn't but I do) and know what is coming and dread it. But, the last 1/4 of the book is effecting me the same way all the others did. I can't bear to put it down, and I dread picking it up. The whole series revs my emotions up like no other books ever have.

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  2. I totally agree with the review the whole heart of the book occurs in less then 100 pages at the end and it was too rushed! Several aspects of the book were wonderful but I feel alot of the book esp. john & williams espinoge sects were boring! I totally agree with the unnatural feel of Claire's transegence with John it didnt seenm natural at ALL it was almost unbelievable even the part about her passing messages as a spy seemed careless of her especailly when she is always so level, I dont know how I feel about this book??? I mean I so love this story so I was entertained but it wasnt of the caliber of past works for sure?????

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  3. Ugh - I just finished the book and have been ranting to my husband ever since. Blink, and you may have missed any dozen of the multitude of events in the last 100 pages. (Was Gabaldon rushed to turn it in?) And Claire's whirl-wind faux-mance... plain creepy. I kept thinking Jaime should have at least snuck in (looking for a safe place to hide) and found them in bed together - at least his reaction would have been stronger/funnier than, "Oh, why?"

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    1. I have to agree, as much as I enjoy all the other books, I got the same feeling, the author was being rushed! Not sure what happen and of course, 1 out of 7 I'll give it to her but it was not a "pleasure" reading as it was with the proceeding novels. I just hope MOBY will prove to be back to par.

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  4. I also just finished Echo and enjoyed this book immensely! Until the last handful of pages! I agree with the prior comments. Was Diana rushed to wrap up the book?! You're kidding me...Claire is told Jamie is dead and within a page she's married to Lord John and not just on paper?! How ridiculous! I had to re-read that part a few times thinking I must have missed the mental breakdown that Claire should have had, the denial and demanding to see his body before believing it! She doesn't write home to tell his family? And yes, Jamie's reaction? Are you kidding me? Not to mention the cliffhanger left with Jemmy! I had a feeling something was up with Rob.

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    1. I was SO HAPPY someone else felt as I did about this horrific botch of 'reactions' to the suppose death of Jamie! (and other parts in this book that were so unlike the others) Totally ruined for me how I saw all 3 characters up to this stage. You're so right, either the author "meant" to put in more depth of how Claire could have jump so quickly into bed with a man that had been lusting after her husband.......with what....Jamie would have been missing a few months at the most????? That whole part of the story, along with Arch Bug showing up in all the craziest places.... who was he the child of Superman and the Invisible Man? I have really enjoyed all these books and happily only discovered them in 2013, so I didn't have to wait to find out what happen next. I would have hated to wait 3 yrs for ECHO only to have gotten this story of events. It's hard being an author and I don't dish her, just hope she's able to bring it all back in her future books.

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  5. I finished the book in November last and still can't get over the ending - left me hanging! Really hope the next installment comes out soon - without Diana feeling rushed as she obviously was with this one. Skip Lord John - read those installments separately - and more about Brianna/Roger and Jamie/Claire. What on earth happened to Roger? And Jemmy? Left in oblivion till ... ?

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  6. Very disappointed with book. It was so disjointed and 800+ pages for a 2 year period! I felt really cheated with the stupid ending and so many loose ends. This series could have ended several books ago and I feel that all Gabaldon is doing is writing money spinners!

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  7. I've long been a fan of these books, but languishing on page 477 still waiting for something to happen in this book. From the looks of things, I just need to skip to the last 100 pages. Perhaps Diana needed a better editor.

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  8. I thought the part about Ian's illness and death and Jenny's mourning was very good, but I found Claire's role as Lord John's wife totally inconvincing. Grief-stricken and desperate as she is when she learns of Jamie's death, would she really go to bed with him? And why would Claire - a woman of sense - consider siucide when she's got her beloved daughter ("that she misses so much") on the other side of the time-line? I'm sure Jamie would want her to go back to Bree in such a case....and moreover, Claire wouldn't give up so quickly, she never did, she'd try to get evidence of his death, she'd hope against all odds.John Grey also behaves strangely in the end - he doesn't seem to be much concerned about William's distress on learning about his true parentage.
    William is an interesting character- what was he up to when he wrote to his father that he was in love with Dottie? Was that a good strategy to get Dottie and Denny together?

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  9. Of all the books in this series, this last one was a big disappointment. Why did the author cram so many stories and innumerable new characters into what could have been, should have been two books rather than one? It was most confusing and disjointed, hopping back and forth between story lines, making it impossible to remember many of the new characters that were introduced, and difficult to identify them in preceding chapters because they were shrouded in secrecy.

    At the very end of the book, in fact, on the seventh to the last page, I felt like Lord John: "His thoughts buzzed like a swarm of hiving bees, crawling over one another in a seething mass; impossible to focus on one for more than in instant before it was lost in the deafening hum. Denys Randall-Isaacs (still haven't nailed his character), Richardson (what did he really have to do with all of it?)... Henry and his Negro lover... Dottie and her Quaker... Hal,... Percy. Oh, Jesus, Percy."

    Unlike with the other books, I can't say that I will wait with bated breath to continue this saga.

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  10. I quite agree that this book was not of the same quality as her former books. I was bored with Lord John's story line and found it difficult to get through. The ending was disappointing. The book had too many loose ends that left me feeling like the publisher must have missed the last few chapters. What happened to Roger? What about Jemmy? Clare and Jamie are not quite reunited. Does Ian marry? What about Jenny? Too many storylines unfinished so that a next book is needed not just possible!

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  11. I hate to jump on the bandwagon but...I LOVE the series but didn't like the book. I have read the Lord John series so some of the characters the emerged as new characters in this book aren't actually new (i.e. Percy). I so didn't care for the jumping around and the last 100 pages or so that I didn't purchase this book, as I had planned, for my many friends to whom I have introduced the series (and in one case who introduced the series to me long ago). The editing needs to improve significantly for the next book AND Ms. Gabaldon needs to slow down and focus on the main series that has been her bread and butter for lo these 19 years rather than act like my ADHD students who can't focus on any one thing for a long period of time. Hopefully, the next book will be better - we have three or four years to wait for that one to come out.

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  12. I liked the book but agree with everyone that the beginning was a little bit difficult to get through. I had a hard time keeping track of who was who and who went together. But I also believe that it explained who Fergus was or where he came from and it also begins to explain the family line of Claire. Remember she does not have a whole lot of family memories except her uncle Lamb. Maybe she is setting the stage for a family history that Claire has longed for. I believe that Diana is great at mystery and they way she keeps you guessing at all turns is intriguing. I would have thought that Claire would be more distraught after learning about the death of Jamie. Should she have questioned it more? Well it did come from Lord John whom she felt was an extremely reliable source. Why did she marry Lord John, I feel she did it because she could not go back to Brianna~it would have killed her and she knew that. She also felt that Lord John was just at grief stricken as her and that is why they even shared the marriage bed. Plus if Jamie was really gone, she knew Lord John would care for her in memory of Jamie. Plus it gave Lord John another link or reminder of Jamie (which he so loved to have~~WIlliam). In the book it does explain that they both were making love to a ghost. I am happy with the book. I can hardly wait for the next. I have to say that the only book out of the saga that was really difficult was the Fiery Cross. It got better later in the book but the one day at the family gathering lasted forever!!!
    Love the whole entire thing, some are going to be better than others. She is still a fabulous writer! It blows me away how she continues to come up with something new to write about.
    Re-read them again. I am getting ready to re-read #4 and am amazed at how something will pop that I did not realize the first time through. LOVE IT ALL!!!!!

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  13. I truly love this series, and must say that though I love all the different stories, at times it left me confused; so much so at times that I had to retreat several paragraphs/pages in order to clarify where I was, or who I was at the moment. The ending I did feel was rushed, it seemed that most of the story happened in the last 100-so pages. I didn't expect Claire to do what she did with such quickness, not even pausing to give it thought. I did, however, LOVE Brianna/Roger's story, and am very glad that she kept up with them, because at times their's was the only story that made sense. All in all, while it wasn't my favorite, it is still a good addition to the Series.

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  14. I have just finished Echo and I'm very disappointed and frustrated, I couldn't get on with the war story, I found it so boring and nearly didn't carry on reading it. I just wanted to know more about the time travelling and Brianna and Roger and their children, and Jamie and Claire. Why did it take them so long to go to Scotland, did we really need to go through all the details of the battle on the sea?? Also, I'm surprised that Claire believed that Jamie was dead, it didn't make sense for her to get married so fast. Do we really have to wait 3 years before the next book? I hope the next one will focus mainly on Jamie, Claire, Brianna and Roger and family and that we will get some closure!! But all in all, I have loved the series, it's a great time-travelling story, come on Diana, bring on the next and hopefully final chapter!

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  15. Well, in the unlikelihood that Claire would participate in Revolutionary spy activities, leading to the possibility that she could be captured, imprisoned, and put to death, I suppose she could be easily talked into marrying a homosexual family friend in order to preserve her life and safety. But I really don't believe the happy, party, hair-bob demeanor. Gabaldon is so good at switching perspectives, I wonder that, at Claire's hearing news of Jamie's supposed drowning, she (Gabaldon) would not have stopped the first person of Claire, and written from another's perspective, one who would observe Claire -- in her sorrow. No, the thing in Lord John's bed is more than a little ridiculous, certainly unbelievable. Can't help thinking of the Bob Newhart show ending where he and Suzanne Pleshette awake from a crazy dream. Time to invoke the time-tested dream sequence to explain Claire's idiocy.

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  16. Does anyone know where an active blog for this book can be found? I just finished it and I have questions!! And comments....lol
    Gina

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  17. I would just like to explain a few things to people...
    first: claire married Lord john so she wouldnt get arrested for being a spy, she didnt really have a choice.
    second: she didnt really sleep with lord john, she was heavily inebriated and so was lord john, they were both.. making love to Jamie, not eachother.
    and dont skip pages! i had wanted to some times but kept reading and was very glad that i did! maybe you would understand more if you read it all... :)

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  18. People are saying that William's and John Grey's storylines are tiresome, however I would suggest that they lend tragedy to the ending of the novel. William is now going to suffer an identity crisis, and even though we weren't presented with John's feelings about the revelation we were enabled to imagine them. I'm sure he will be really upset as soon as he has the time. I didn't really understand Jamie's reaction to John's confession that he had "carnal knowledge" of his wife. What does he mean " oh, why?"
    perhaps it was frustrating miscommunication between the pair, could '├žarnal knowledge' be understood any other way??
    It is certainly a tragic ending in many senses, even though Ian and Rachel come to terms. There is so much drama and trouble when either Jamie or Claire sleep with anyone outside of marriage. I dread to read about how they come to deal with the event in the next novel!!
    Extremely well put together of course, my favourite twist was when Arch Bug came to avenge!

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  19. Loved all the Outlander books so much that I broke my own rule about buying a hardcover cover book (they are just too big and expensive) and splashed out and bought the hardcover... Now i wish I waited for the paperback... This is the weakest book in the series. I love the Jamie & Clair storyline and there was just so little of this in the book. I am fed up with Lord John - wish he would go far away and stay there.

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