Drums of Autumn
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Product Description

The magnificent saga continues....

It began in Scotland, at an ancient stone circle. There, a doorway, open to a select few, leads into the past--or the grave. Claire Randall survived the extraordinary passage, not once but twice. Her first trip swept her into the arms of Jamie Fraser, an eighteenth-century Scot whose love for her became legend--a tale of tragic passion that ended with her return to the present to bear his child. Her second journey, two decades later, brought them together again in frontier America. But Claire had left someone behind in the twentieth century. Their daughter, Brianna....

Now Brianna has made a disturbing discovery that sends her to the stone circle and a terrifying leap into the unknown. In search of her mother and the father she has never met, she is risking her own future to try to change history...and to save their lives. But as Brianna plunges into an uncharted wilderness, a heartbreaking encounter may strand her forever in the past...or root her in the place she should be, where her heart and soul belong....

Set in pre-Revolutionary War America, readers finally have the much awaited fourth book in what will probably become a six book series (The Outlander series). The talented Diana Gabaldon continues Claire and Jamie's romantic love affair, and introduces Brianna and Roger's story. Eight hundred pages, and several wonderful new characters later, we wonder why we were waiting for a conclusion. It'll be a long wait for book five, so I recommend you go back and reread Outlander, Dragonfly in Amber, and Voyager to keep yourself sane.

Customer Reviews:

  • Don't spend your money on this version!
    I am in the middle of Diana Gabaldon's Outlander series - I have been listening to them on CD during my daily commute. The first two books were the unabridged versions read by Davina Porter - they were phenominally good and I couldn't wait for the 3rd book. Unfortunately I couldn't seem to find the unabridged version - so I purchased the abridged version read by Geraldine ?. I only listened a few minutes and decided my money was wasted.

    The unabridged versions by Davina Porter hold your attention very easily. She reads extremely well - great modulation, completely different character voices for men and women that stay the same throughout the series, and even her accents for different parts of the world are good (except the American - she can't seem to keep her voice that blunt).

    The abridged versions by Geraldine ? were read too fast with almost no differentiation between character, accent or emotion. It all became a blur and will quickly lose your attention - especially in the car.

    The abridged versions fail to provide the rich detail that makes Diana Gabaldon's stories fascinating and engaging. Don't buy any of them.

    Go to the web site displaying Davina Porter's works - the Outlander series is extremely expensive - but you will be sure to get the quality you expect form Diana Gabaldon's books, consistancy, and want to listen to the series over and over again!...more info
  • Book #4 and still an amazing saga
    Diana's books take a long time to read. They are so rich and well developed that I like to savor each chapter. I received "The Outlandish Companion" as a gift while I was in the middle of "Drums of Autumn". It helped me immensely in understanding some of the Gaelic and other languages that are interspersed throughout the story. I only wish I had the "Companion" before I started reading the series.

    Like the first three books, this one covers a lot of territory and introduces some more notable characters. The personalities of Briana, Roger, Lord John, and Ian are better developed in this book and they will hopefully provide us with more entertaining reading in the next. I am constantly amazed at the struggles that each day presented to Frasers & company during the 18th century. The perilous ocean travel, the thieves, the devastation from illnesses such as measles, not to mention the hard life in the wilderness. (The part with the snake in the privy really got my attention!) As in the other books, Diana doesn't sugar-coat any situation or any bodily function!

    Jamie and Claire are truly partners and soul mates in every sense. I felt they became even closer in this book, if that is possible. I love Jamie's steadfastness and noble character. He becomes quickly initiated into the roll of father when he makes a truly human error in judgement pertaining to his daughter's virtue. The argument with Brianna & the estrangement that ensues seem very realistic. Claire has settled nicely into the roll of mother and country doctor. She is not as much of a firecracker as in previous books, but then again she is still remarkable for a middle-aged woman!

    There are a few slow parts to this 800+ page book, but I never found it boring. I can find no reason to give this less than the 5 stars that it deserves....more info
  • Slow Start but good book
    This book started very slow and did a lot of rambling with Brianna and Roger's relationship. Roger was a pretty uptight and too tightly strung most of the time but likeable. I found Brianna to be very immature and self centered. Rather dumb too in some respects concerning almost inviting herself to be raped. What did she think Bonnet was talking about in the tavern when it was apparent that he thought she was a prostitute? For a supposedly knowledgeable woman of the late 1960's she still goes on board his ship knowing how women were treated in the 1700's after months of research on that era. Pretty farfetched. Then she is entirely too keen on slapping, punching and generally thinking it is okay to tear into Roger, Ian or anyone else that crosses her including threatening blackmail to get her way with John Grey. This book does not put her in a very good light. She becomes more likeable and matures into an interesting woman in later books, thankfully, as she is an important character from this book forward.

    I was touched by Brianna's initial meeting with Jamie but wasn't too thrilled with his really horrible handling of her in such a rough way when he was "convincing" her in the stable that she could not have prevented her rape by fighting back. Obviously, fainting was a terrible fright in all of Gabaldon's books but manhandling a woman in early pregnancy was not a concern by Brianna's father of miscarriage? One of the few times I found Gabaldon's portrayl of Jamie a bit much.

    I did enjoy the details of the settling of Frazer's mountain and general info of early days in N. Carolina. Ian is certainly an interesting character and was glad to see him appear in subsequent books of this series.

    If you enjoy history, some romance, general mayhem and often times harrowing experience, you will enjoy this book. I find Gabaldon to have a very enjoyable sense of humor in most of the books and found myself smiling at many things I read....more info
  • A Good Read
    This book is the 4th installment in Diana Gabaldon's Outlander series. The stars of the series are Jamie and Claire Fraser, whose long, passionate love has transcended time and keeps readers coming back for more.

    Jamie and Claire are living in 18th century America during this installment. Their daughter, Brianna, is a young woman in the 20th century. But when Brianna comes across historical references to her parents' untimely death, she rushes back into the past to warn them. However, her love affair with Roger Mackenzie Wakefield complicates this endeavor.

    Had I not enjoyed the first three books of this series so thoroughly (especially Outlander, the first book) I would give Drums of Autumn at least 4 stars. I did really enjoy it, particularly after the first 300 pages or so - the story seemed to get much tighter and more exciting at that point. But this book simply doesn't live up to Gabaldon's previous work overall.

    Why? Well, for starters, Brianna and Roger occupy a non-trivial amount of the book, and they are simply not as interesting as Jamie and Claire. Gabaldon tries very hard - in some ways their relationship follows the same trajectory as Jamie and Claire's (they fight a lot despite being attracted to each other, they're both stubborn). But the "spark" just isn't there. It does not help that Brianna, despite being an MIT graduate, seems to lack maturity and common sense. And Gabaldon cannot decide if she wants to make Roger a quiet, retreating historian or a loud Scot like Jamie.

    The parts that feature Jamie and Claire are extensive, but they also disappoint sometimes. They are still wonderful and compelling characters, but they can be exasperating, too. Gabaldon never tires of reminding the reader of Claire's beauty and intelligence, and though I applaud her for featuring a "mature" female heroine, I am tired of hearing about how she looks half her age, and how every man all but falls madly in love with her on sight. Jamie, meanwhile, is still dashing and brave, but he veers into brutish violence a little too quickly and too often. In a way, this is understandable. Jamie has led a very harsh life. But in putting Jamie through so many years of hell, Gabaldon has sacraficed some of what made the young Jamie so appealing and different.

    The matter of Claire's first husband, Frank Randall, also troubles this book. Gabaldon can't seem to decide how she feels about Frank. In the previous book, Voyager, he was portrayed as an insufferable racist and philanderer. But in this installment, Gabaldon seems determined to prove that Frank was a good husband to Claire, and several plot points revolve around her continuing devotion to his memory (even though she does, and always did, love Jamie more). I had hoped all talk of Frank would cease after he passed away, but, that's clearly not the case. Gabaldon has trouble letting characters go. Even those who are long gone reappear in dialogue and memory to a frustrating degree.

    Having said all this, again, I enjoyed the book, and I will finish the rest of the series. Gabaldon's efforts are always engrossing, and no other love story I've ever read compares to that of Jamie and Claire....more info
  • a classic continuation
    Gabaldon, again, weaves a wonderful story of adventure for Jamie and Claire. Those two names evoke a feeling of such excitement. I was happy to see them settle into domestic bliss, after seveal novels of constant turmoil, peppered with calm interludes. Gabaldon is so true to Jamie and Claire, I am rarely surprised by what they do. It's a cozy familiarity. Her ability to drag up past characters creates an intimate world of criss crossed lives and intermingled plot lines. I love that Claire always finds her medical niche, with her infamous box of herbs. And Jamie has his kilt back! I'm not sure why, but the descriptions of the kilts in the earlier books was just fscinating. I loved hearing all of the uses for the wool. Symbolicly, to me it also means that everything is right in the world - Jamie in a kilt. SPOILER - I was thrilled that Jamie finally got to meet Bree. I know this is fiction, but I was stupidly happy over it. I thoroughly enjoyed the story line with Bree and Roger....more info
  • Claire's Story Gets Lost
    This book is just not as good. I loved Claire's story with Jamie. And for that reason, Outlander is still my absolute favorite in this series, and one of my all-time favorite books. Unfortunately, as the series has progressed, Claire's story has become lost.

    This book was primarily about Brianna and Roger, who are flat characters and not that interesting. The manner in which the perspectives switched from Claire's first person narration to third person with everyone else interrupted the flow of the book and was annoying.

    Furthermore, the plot was not as exciting as the other three books I have read thus far. I think I would recommend stopping at Voyager (with the caveat that I haven't read Fiery Cross or Breath of Snow and Ashes).


    ...more info
  • Favorite series ever!
    I must admit that I'm hooked on this series! I can't seem to get enough of Jamie and Claire. I felt like this book was an improvement over the last one and I'm glad. I think I can say with a fair amount of confidence that this is my favorite series ever now. That says a lot because Lord of the Rings and the Dark Tower series have kind of tied for that spot for a lot of years. I have the fifth book in the series sitting on the shelf waiting for me and I'm going to try and get my hands on the sixth book soon. I hope the series continues to be this good!...more info
  • Not at par with the previous books
    I enjoyed the Outlander series, and read the first three books in about two weeks. This fourth book is an unnecessary continuation of the series. For lovers of Claire and Jamie's story, it would have been best to end the series after Book 3.

    The newly evolving characters don't make a lot of sense, and seemed to move between centuries so easily, adapting without any trouble at all. The storyline didn't seem historical, and seemed like a modern story happening in the 18th century.

    I kept hoping it would improve towards the end, but I was disappointed. I'll keep my memories of the move to America as the start of a new life for Jamie and Claire, and read no more of this series. ...more info
  • THIS IS THE WEAKEST LINK IN THE SERIES...
    This is the fourth in a series of what has been, until now, exceptionally well written time travel, adventure/romance books by the author. There are six such books published to date in the series. Those of us who are hopelessly addicted to this series are hoping for a seventh.

    I urge the reader to start at the beginning and read each and every one in the order in which it was written. Be not afraid of the length of each book. Trust me when I say that you will end up wishing that they were each longer, so riveting is the story that the author unfolds. Ms. Gabaldon is a master storyteller without compare, employing the superlative use of actual historical events with authentic period detail to weave a three dimensional tapestry of timeless love and adventure. While the core of the story is about a love that transcends time, it is an adventure story that holds the reader in its thrall.

    The love that spans time is that which twentieth century Englishwoman, Claire Randall, has for eighteenth century Scottish highlands warrior, James Fraser. Those readers who have read the first book in the series, "Outlander", know that in 1945, Claire, a combat nurse during World War II, is reunited with her husband, Frank, after the war. While on a second honeymoon in Scotland, she visits a strange, flat topped hill, where a forbidding stone circle draws her. Touching one of the stones, she is hurled through a vortex in time and finds herself in eighteenth century Scotland, where she meets the brave and brawny, red headed Scot, James Fraser, with whom she falls head over heels in love. Finding herself thrust into the midst of clan warfare and intrigue, she and her beloved 'Jamie' have enough adventures to last a lifetime.

    The second book, "Dragonfly in Amber", is a continuation of that story, told from the perspective of the twentieth century where Claire, now a doctor, has lived for the past twenty years. Upon the death of her twentieth century husband, Frank, Claire returns to Scotland with her grown, red headed daughter, Brianna. There she discloses to Brianna the events of her secret past, as well as the truth as to who Brianna's biological father truly is and of the love that Claire bore him.

    While in Scotland, however, Claire discovers something that will change her future, as well as her past. You see, for the past twenty years Claire has mistakenly believed that her beloved 'Jamie' died in the historic battle of Culloden. It was there that the Scottish highlanders bravely fought the English in a misguided attempt to restore Charles Stuart, their bonnie Prince Charlie, to the English throne, only to be decimated on the battlefield. Those few who survived were branded as Jacobite traitors and imprisoned, and their families disenfranchised. It was this very event that Claire and 'Jamie' had conspired to change, only to fail.

    Their story transports the reader from the turmoil of the Scottish highlands to the intrigue of the French Court and regales the reader with the adventures of the two lovers, as they conspire to change the very course of history. It was this valiant attempt that ultimately brought Claire and 'Jamie' to the crossroad that would compel these star crossed lovers to part and have Brianna become a denizen of the twentieth century.

    In "Voyager", Claire, now realizing that the love of her life and soulmate survived the battle of Culloden, makes the decision to go back in time and find James Fraser, as she has not stopped loving or wanting him every waking moment for the past twenty years. Leaving her daughter, Brianna, she once more hurls herself into the vortex of time to eighteenth century Scotland to begin her search for James Fraser, inhopes of being reunited with her 'Jamie'.

    "Voyager" tells the story of what happened to Claire Randall and James Fraser in those intervening years. It tells of their ultimate reunion and rediscovery. Against a backdrop of historical events and period detail and with a cast of unforgettable characters, it regales the reader with their new adventures, as Claire returns to a still divided, turmoil ridden Scotland. Reunited with Jamie, none the worse for wear, they seek to make a life for themselves. As their love comes full circle, they take to the high seas, and their adventures continue, captivating the reader once more.

    In "Drums of Autumn", the story takes somewhat of a detour, as it begins to focus more on Brianna. Back in the twentieth century, Brianna and her boyfriend, Roger, a Scot and college history professor, as well as descendant of one of James Fraser's cousins from clan MacKenzie, each independently make a discovery that stuns them. Roger keeps it to himself, while Brianna acts upon it. The discovery involves an old news clipping which tells of Claire's and James' premature deaths in a house fire in pre-revolutionary, frontier America. Brianna makes the decision to go to the stone circle to try and go back in time to change the course of history and save her parents. She does not, however, tell Roger of her plans. Roger, discovering Brianna's deception, follows on her heels and, on that strange, flat topped hill in Scotland he, too, enters the stone circle and is himself hurled into the vortex of time.

    Brianna and Roger catch up with each other in the eighteenth century only to be parted for a time, each having their own adventures. Claire and James by now are established homesteaders in North Carolina and are enjoying, what is for them, a relatively staid life. By the time Brianna catches up with them, an event has occurred in her life which may have the impact of forcing her to stay mired in the past.

    This fourth book in the series is a bit of a disappointment, as it could have used some serious editing due to the author's self-indulgence. Moreover, the characters are not so well drawn, as they are in the first three books in the series. Unfortunately, a pivotal character, that of Brianna, is uncharismatic and comes across as somewhat vapid and stupid. Brianna definitely needs work, if she is to capture the readers' imagination, as have Claire and 'Jamie'. At the stage of development in which she is, Brianna would be unable to sustain another book. The same goes for Roger, who comes across as somewhat one dimensional, though he does have potential, as he seems to have a latent smoldering and sensual quality to his personality.

    Still, notwithstanding some of these issues, this remains a compelling time travel saga, one which the many fans of this series will, undoubtedly, enjoy....more info
  • The saga continues
    Once again I just love these recordings. More characters come to life, Brianna and Roger. The music takes you to King Louis court, you can almost smell the roses. I just wish the story could be read word for word, how many tapes would that be? I suggest you read the book first and your appreciation of the audio version will be greatly enhanced. If you do listen to the recording first I believe it will encourage you to go back and read the book for the parts that were edited out of the recording. It does help to read the books in order, but you can get the jist of the meaning individually. I love the books and the audio tapes and cannot wait for the next book in the series....more info
  • North Carolina Highlanders
    I found this book the most fascinating of the series so far. As a descendant of North Carolina Highlander Scots, I felt that the book gave me real insight into what my ancestors' lives may have been like as they settled the area, interacting with the Native Americans, and establishing a new nation. I could never before understand why they stayed in rural NC for over 200 years on their land. The story is very dramatic, fantastic and magical. I'd waited six months to read this one, but I won't wait very long to read the next one. Drums definitely made it well worth working through the thousands of pages of the first three books to get to it. Wonderful things happen. ...more info
  • Life continues in America- development of Roger & Brianna
    In this continuation of the story of Jamie Fraser and his wife, part of the story shifts to the romance of their daughter Brianna. Brianna not only looks like her father, but is also strong willed and determined, but so is Roger who loves her and follows her back in time to the 18th century colony of North Carolina. Jamie shows his flaws by his constant jumping to the wrong conclusions, violence, and mistreatment of Roger. Roger suffers not only at the hands of Jamie, but also at the hands of the Indians that Jamie sells him to. Roger stays with Brianna despite the violent arrogance of her father, Jamie, which would have discouraged most people! I also found Claire to be disappointing in this book, as she doesn't try to curb Jamie's violence and his mistreatment of Roger. I found myself angry at Jamie and unable to undertand how Claire could not stand up to him.
    This book keeps your attention to the end, and I enjoyed every minute despite the disppointments I had with the characters of Jamie and Claire. It points to the fact that all people have weaknesses, and sooner or later Jamie & Claire's were bound to erupt.
    ...more info
  • Drums of Autum
    The whole Outlander series is outstanding. This book keeps
    one on the edge of their seat with suspense, adventure, and the
    enduring love between Clare and Jamie. Gabaldon is one of the
    best writers of any genre that I have read in my lifetime of
    reading....more info
  • Fourth and keeps getting better
    The fourth in the series, after relocating to the American Colonies, frontier life in the Carolinas proves heartening, cold, and something of a pleasure at times. The accuracy is amazing, and Gabaldon is a pleasure to read....more info
  • Wonderful!
    This whole series is just delightful. Very well written, well developed storyline, well developed characters. Just absolutely great! Huge books, but you'll blow through them fast. Don't be discouraged by the size or the fact that there's a time travel aspect to it (I put off reading the series for 7 years because of these 2 things). The first one is more of a romance, the second is more historical fiction, the third and fourth are more adventure, the fifth and sixth go back to being more historical fiction, and they all have just about every since genre woven throughout. So it doesn't matter what genre you prefer to read, this series will fit into it!...more info
  • Time Travelers Extraordinaire
    This is book 4 in the series and is excellent. A long read and very meaty so don't expect to finish quickly but it's worth the effort. I loved book 1 and 2. Book 3 (Voyager) wasn't my favorite but I am back in thrall with this one. Claire and Jamie are such rich characters and now we've added daughter, Brianna and the man in her life, Roger. These latest time travelers, Brianna and Roger, introduce an exciting new dimension and add new perceptions of the 1700's as seen through the eyes of a throughly modern and well-educated couple. If you like history, if you like rich characters, if you like love stories that aren't all mush but have ups and downs just like real life, then you will love this book! ...more info
  • Twists and turns
    Gabaldon's series just keeps getting better and better. I was ENTRALLED with this book. This one had more twists and turns than the previous novels. There was a skull found by Claire that had me wondering "Who was it?" This was found out later in the book, the seperation of Brianna and Roger, and the things that happened to him in the hands of the Mohawk.

    I do admit that there were slow parts of the book, as in the previous ones but, for me, that is part of the reason that makes these books so appealing...she sets the scenes up, takes the reader to the mid-eighteenth century and makes one envision how North Carolina might have looked during that time. I've been to South Carolina and Charleston and can easitly see without much effort how the town and surrounding countryside might have looked back then.

    Gibaldon is quite discriptive so it is just as easy to imagine the scenery with my mind as it was in real life.

    Just like Jamie, although not as badly, she puts Roger through the mill as well. He is tested in his love for Brianna. I won't say whether he comes through or not, I'll let any future readers find out for themselves, but I do feel for the poor man.

    I am looking forward to starting THE FIERY CROSS now. Drums only left me wanting more. As one reviewer stated, start from the beginning. Even though each book does give you snippets of what occurs in previous books and it's possible to read them alone, it is better if you begin with Outlander and continue from there. ...more info
  • Great book in a great series!
    Loved this installment as I have loved all others in the Outlander series...more info
  • Not quite as engrossing as the first three books in the series
    About a hundred pages into Outlander, the first book of author Diana Gabaldon's unique historical romance series with a time travel twist, I was hooked. In Claire and Jamie Fraser, Gabaldon has created compelling, unique characters, and the sparks from their relationship virtually fly off the pages.

    When we last left Claire and Jamie at the end of book three, Voyager, they had survived a shipwreck which had left them in the American colonies. Drums of Autumn opens with the couple preparing to make a home for themselves in the New World. Just as the Frasers are beginning to find their place in 1767, the book flashes forward to present-day--1969, that is--and their daughter, Brianna, left alone in Boston when her mother returned to the past to reunited with her true love. Although Brianna has the support of Roger Wakefield, who is clearly besotted with her, she is still struggling to come to terms with the loss of the only father she ever knew, who she loved deeply, and another father who she has never met, a conflict that has major implications for the plot of this sequel.

    The story continues to flash between these two settings, and this is where I thought the book started to feel weighed down. I've always thought that the Outlander series was at its best when it featured Claire and Jamie; although the scenes between Brianna and Roger were interesting, they felt like a distraction after awhile. In addition, Gabaldon uses a writing technique here not employed in her other books: there are times when Claire is featured in the scene, yet the scene is NOT told from the first person perspective. Given that the reader was always given Claire's first-person point of view in the prior Outlander novels, this felt like an unnecessary gimmick to me.

    Finally, at 1070 pages, this book felt overlong to me. I don't mind long novels when they are engaging, but I definitely felt bored throughout much of the middle of this book; I think I would've enjoyed it much more if sharper editing had been employed. Still, I like these characters enough to care what happens to them next, so I am sure that I will still go on to read the next book the series. My final rating is 3 1/2 stars--just be sure to read the three preceding books in the series before attempting to tackle this one....more info
  • Drums of Autumn, Voyager Series
    We love Diana Gabaldon's Outlander series. We have the 1st four on CD now.

    It is good to actually begin to see the transition from Scotland to America and the upheaval that happened in that time prior to the American Revolution. So often we get an English Centric view of that time. So often we look at only the French and Indian War - which was actually called the 7 years war in Europe - and go no further. Diana begins to tie in events in Scotland, England, France, and the colonies, and how they flowed from events in Scotland.

    Since I have always loved time travel and science fiction, I enjoy the interplay between the present and the past, and the historical research showing what goes on in the past. I thought her loops of information were interesting too.

    Since I have done some geneological research, I am well aware of the tediousness at times, but the joy in the discovery as well. I thought she did a great job in adding this to the story.

    I love the way she brings customs of the time to the forefront, like witch trials, french court manners, travel documents, "Hand Fasting", and the gathering of the clans to name a few.

    The one thing about her books that I don't like is the one sexually explicit scene in each of the books so far that I could have done without. The Black Jack Randall interegation in the "Outlander", the visit with the French King in the "Dragon Fly in Amber", the Plantation Scene in "Voyager", and the Rape Scene in the "Drums of Autumn". These scenes actually were not just gratuitous, and they actually were critical to the story. But it certainly made it hard to listen with kids in the car.

    Dan McMillen
    ...more info
  • Drums of Autumn
    I was very disappointed at the condition in which the book was sent to me. There were several pages that were folded and torn so bad that it would have been hard to read them. I would have thought that whoever packed the book would have noticed the damage prior to packaging it.

    I was also disappointed that I was not given a choice of book covers from which to choose. When I selected that particular copy, I believed that I was getting a different cover. The cover I received was the more modern one; I would have preferred the older version - the one with the kilt and other items on it.

    If there is any way to make this suggestion: If there are more than one book covers from which to choose, allow your purchasers the option of which cover they would prefer. More than likely, the purchaser will not care as to which one they prefer; however, there are instances when a certain type of book cover is needed to complete a collection.

    Thank you....more info
  • Great story
    Gabaldon's books are always full of small details and characters that you barely take note of who then appear later to add to the story and she never disappoints.
    The addition of Roger and Brianna's stories bring some of the focus away from Jamie and Claire and cause some discord between them but all the interwoven stories are carefully and beautifully crafted.
    Take the time to enjoy these books, you won't be disappointed....more info
  • Did they read the book?
    Sometimes I wonder what book the "reviewers" here actually read. Complaints of changing diapers (one line at the end of the book) or that the series takes a turn and deals mostly with Brianna and Roger (First 500 pages is 90% in the past). What you`ve read 400 pages of this novel and feel you need to share? Save it. If you pick up the book open to the last page and see the number up top is 1070 and complain that it`s "wordy", you`re an idiot. While the first three books had a new peril every 25 pages, this tome includes the same great writing and is at a slower pace, but the banter between Jamie and Clarie is still satisfying. Claire and Jamie have this wonderful insite and a sense of mirth about their daily lives now in the New World. Brianna finally meeting James? I read that page three times. Lord John Grey is a fantastic character and comes alive on two special occasions (...to all that put major spoilers in your reviews without warning may you die twice). If your a fan of the series the Fiery Cross awaits and I for one can`t wait to start it. There is no silly Mr.Willouby or Rev. Jack the Ripper revelations only and great style of writing with deep characters and engrossing dialoge that will have you fall in love with the entire family....more info
  • THE STORY OF TIMELESS LOVE AND ADVENTURE CONTINUES...
    This is the fourth in a series of what has been, until now, exceptionally well-written time travel, adventure/romance books by the author. I urge the reader to start at the beginning and read each and every one in the order in which it was written. Be not afraid of the length of each book. Trust me when I say that you will end up wishing that they were each longer, so riveting is the story that the author unfolds. Ms. Gabaldon is a master storyteller without compare, employing the superlative use of actual historical events with authentic period detail to weave a three dimensional tapestry of timeless love and adventure. While the core of the story is about a love that transcends time, it is an adventure story that holds the reader in its thrall.

    The love that spans time is that which twentieth century Englishwoman, Claire Randall, has for eighteenth century Scottish highlands warrior, James Fraser. Those readers who have read the first book in the series, "Outlander", know that in 1945, Claire, a combat nurse during World War II, is reunited with her husband, Frank, after the war. While on a second honeymoon in Scotland, she visits a strange, flat topped hill, where a forbidding stone circle draws her. Touching one of the stones, she is hurled through a vortex in time and finds herself in eighteenth century Scotland, where she meets the brave and brawny, red headed Scot, James Fraser, with whom she falls head over heels in love. Finding herself thrust into the midst of clan warfare and intrigue, she and her beloved 'Jamie' have enough adventures to last a lifetime.

    The second book, "Dragonfly in Amber", is a continuation of that story, told from the perspective of the twentieth century where Claire, now a doctor, has lived for the past twenty years. Upon the death of her twentieth century husband, Frank, Claire returns to Scotland with her grown, red headed daughter, Brianna. There she discloses to Brianna the events of her secret past, as well as the truth as to who Brianna's biological father truly is and of the love that Claire bore him.

    While in Scotland, however, Claire discovers something that will change her future, as well as her past. You see, for the past twenty years Claire has mistakenly believed that her beloved 'Jamie' died in the historic battle of Culloden. It was there that the Scottish highlanders bravely fought the English in a misguided attempt to restore Charles Stuart, their bonnie Prince Charlie, to the English throne, only to be decimated on the battlefield. Those few who survived were branded as Jacobite traitors and imprisoned, and their families disenfranchised. It was this very event that Claire and 'Jamie' had conspired to change, only to fail.

    Their story transports the reader from the turmoil of the Scottish highlands to the intrigue of the French Court and regales the reader with the adventures of the two lovers, as they conspire to change the very course of history. It was this valiant attempt that ultimately brought Claire and 'Jamie' to the crossroad that would compel these star crossed lovers to part and have Brianna become a denizen of the twentieth century.

    In "Voyager", Claire, now realizing that the love of her life and soulmate survived the battle of Culloden, makes the decision to go back in time and find James Fraser, as she has not stopped loving or wanting him every waking moment for the past twenty years. Leaving her daughter, Brianna, she once more hurls herself into the vortex of time to eighteenth century Scotland to begin her search for James Fraser, in hopes of being reunited with her 'Jamie'.

    "Voyager" tells the story of what happened to Claire Randall and James Fraser in those intervening years. It tells of their ultimate reunion and rediscovery. Against a backdrop of historical events and period detail and with a cast of unforgettable characters, it regales the reader with their new adventures, as Claire returns to a still divided, turmoil ridden Scotland. Reunited with Jamie, none the worse for wear,they seek to make a life for themselves. As their love comes full circle, they take to the high seas, and their adventures continue, captivating the reader once more.

    In "Drums of Autumn", the story takes somewhat of a detour, as it begins to focus more on Brianna. Back in the twentieth century, Brianna and her boyfriend, Roger, a Scot and college history professor, as well as descendant of one of James Fraser's cousins from clan MacKenzie, each independently make a discovery that stuns them. Roger keeps it to himself, while Brianna acts upon it. The discovery involves an old news clipping which tells of Claire's and James' premature deaths in a house fire in pre-revolutionary, frontier America. Brianna makes the decision to go to the stone circle to try and go back in time to change the course of history and save her parents. She does not, however, tell Roger of her plans. Roger, discovering Brianna's deception, follows on her heels and, on that strange, flat topped hill in Scotland he, too, enters the stone circle and is himself hurled into the vortex of time.

    Brianna and Roger catch up with each other in the eighteenth century only to be parted for a time, each having their own adventures. Claire and James by now are established homesteaders in North Carolina and are enjoying, what is for them, a relatively staid life. By the time Brianna catches up with them, an event has occurred in her life which may have the impact of forcing her to stay mired in the past.

    This fourth book in the series is a bit of a disappointment, as it could have used some serious editing due to the author's self indulgence. Moreover, the characters are not so well drawn, as they are in the first three books in the series. Unfortunately, a pivotal character, that of Brianna, is uncharismatic and comes across as somewhat vapid and stupid. Brianna definitely needs work, if she is to capture the readers' imagination as have Claire and 'Jamie'. At the stage of development in which she is, Brianna would be unable to sustain another book. The same goes for Roger, who comes across as somewhat one dimensional, though he does have potential, as he seems to have a latent smoldering and sensual quality to his personality.

    Still, notwithstanding some of these issues, this remains a compelling time travel saga, and my thirst for reading the fifth and sixth volumes in this series remains undiminished. I only hope that the lengthy time span between the fourth and the fifth volumes means that the author has worked out some of the kinks in this new and developing direction that this series seems to be taking. ...more info
  • The Death of Romance
    Last night, the inner romantic in me was frog-marched outside with a burlap sack over his head, kicked into a kneeling position above a ditch full of running sewage, then shot in the back of the head before being pushed into the flotsam. The trigger was pulled by none other than Diana Gabaldon.

    This is a novel for die-hard fans of this series, or for those who have very strong masochistic streaks (and stronger stomachs), as there is nothing remotely interesting or exciting that occurs. We're introduced to two new characters to either love or wish a hellish demise on (depending on your point of view). This is just another fat, flabby, nearly thousand-page exercise on Gabaldon's part in her neverending series about the least likable couple since Adolf and Eva. This is bad enough on its own, but we're now subjected to Claire's daugher as a major character (who I maintain is an adult version of Rosemary's Baby), paired with yet another blithering idiot of a male for a husband to make this novel Hell's delight.

    The bulk of this exercise takes place in the Carolinas in the 18th Century, occasionally shifting to late 1960s Scotland and Massachusetts, so if you find clearing land and building shacks to be the most fascinating activity at the highest pitch of excitement yet devised by mankind, then you'll absolutely love this novel. There are other tangents that are offered as a way of fleshing out the story, (A bear attack that didn't provoke excitement, but elicited a huge eye-roll on my part as it fell flatter than my grandfather's cardiogram. Jamie and Claire spending a night outside in the middle of winter under a lean-to made of Hemlock branches that annoyed me so much that I wish they'd been stupid enough to make tea out of the Hemlock. Also there's Gabaldon's never-ending humbug about the time-travel circles being drawn out with yet more jargon to pad out a story that should have been told in 50 pages. I swear she gets paid by the word), but they're as interesting as trying to see if there really are 2000 flushes in a 2000 Flush toilet tablet.

    With the adventure having flat-lined in this story, Gabaldon's writing about the undying devotion and slop between Jamie and Claire elicited yawns on my part as well. Apart from one egregiously bad bout of Jamie and Claire coupling like stoats in the wilds (I defy anybody to defend a line like this: "Christ, your mouth is as slick and salty as your qu*m" and say that the passage that it's from is worthy of anything other than having dog's abuse hurled at it), Gabaldon manages to keep her passages regarding Jamie and Claire's dancing the mattress two-step to within the acceptable limits of bad taste (apart from Gabaldon's never-ending nipple fixation) that made them merely boring instead of maddening. But........

    Gabaldon came out of nowhere and landed a right hook on me with Roger and Brianna's first time they thundered the night away like King Hal on honeymoon for its hopelessly risible qualities. Whether it's Brianna's mumphing "Mi oing i' i'?" (translation: "Am I doing it right?") as she takes aboard a consignment of British sausage for the first time, or a description which goes "Another minute, and he was going off like a waterspout", I couldn't help but be amused. Laugh? Why, I laughed so hard that I cried.

    Even though Gabaldon wrote that above passage which I think is the biggest farce since Chuckles the clown retired, it's still not enough to redeem an abysmally bland and hopelessly adrift book. Calling this the worst book of the series is a rather perplexing problem for me, as trying to pick which of Gabaldon's books is the worst is like trying to decide which manure pile smells the worst. Approach this book only if you're armed with a crucifix, garlic, holy water, and a wooden stake. Even then, you'll still suffer....more info