The year is 1772, and on the eve of the American Revolution, the long fuse of rebellion has already been lit. Men lie dead in the streets of Boston, and in the backwoods of North Carolina, isolated cabins burn in the forest.
With chaos brewing, the governor calls upon Jamie Fraser to unite the backcountry and safeguard the colony for King and Crown. But from his wife Jamie knows that three years hence the shot heard round the world will be fired, and the result will be independence—with those loyal to the King either dead or in exile. And there is also the matter of a tiny clipping from The Wilmington Gazette, dated 1776, which reports Jamie’s death, along with his kin. For once, he hopes, his time-traveling family may be wrong about the future.
“This wife you have, Bird said at last, deeply contemplative, “did you pay a great deal for her?”
“She cost me almost everything I had,” he said, with a wry tone that made the others laugh. “But worth it.”
This was a difficult book for me to read. I read it faster than a lot of the others in this series. I mostly enjoyed it. I didn’t physically have troubles reading it. But, I disliked a fair amount of the biggest drama in the book. There are certain plot points in this series I’ve really grown.. angry about.
This is the most depressing book in the series, and I say that after I caused myself mild dehydration crying in Dragonfly in Amber and Voyager. There is so few good things that happen in this book, it is unbelievable. Every book prior to this, the good things outweighed the bad. There are random moments, random days, where they’re happy and together and just living. This book is all bad things happening. One thing after the other after the other. It is like nothing goes right! Even the good parts in this book somehow go bad. It is amazing.
There is a lot of time skipped in this book, mostly because of the above paragraph. Everything in this book had to be dramatic, so all the little moments aren’t around in the middle of notime. This book covers four years of time, some very dramatic four years for the Colonies. Yet, almost every bad thing in the book happens to them personally. Enemies come back or come forward. Things get destroyed. People get hurt.
I feel like most of the lead-up to the War in the Colonies is skipped over in this book. I was looking forward to this part, because while I don’t really care about the Revolutionary War, it is an interesting time to cover. I figure in little Fraser’s Ridge, there isn’t much they can come across here. It was just a bit disappointing. I suppose the next book will be the actual War itself, since it is just starting up in this book. It has barely even reached the colony of North Carolina by the end of the book.
I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again because it is especially relevant to this book. I’m super fucking tired of the rape. The attempted rape. The having it come up at the most random, and sometimes worst, moments. This book did not need a gang rape section. This book did not need two abductions with intent. After the last book, The Fiery Cross, had basically no rape, I really thought this series was going in a better direction. I was really looking forward to this book because of it. Bleh, why did she have to do this again??
At times, Claire’s steadfast need to be a doctor can get irritating. While I understand that in today’s world, the idea of not helping those in need no matter what side they are on is a difficult one to stomach. In the last book, I didn’t care she wanted to doctor the other side’s army when she was with the Militia. It is a different idea entirely to be fighting instincts to help someone who has kidnapped you, or done harm to your family. Especially when you know they would only continue to hurt you and your family if they’re left around and in good health, and that they have no desire to change.
However, on the other end of the spectrum, her being a doctor led to some interesting parts in this book. There is a lot of focus on babies this book – not about the birthing process, but how things can go wrong in development. There is also a big focus on what kind of life the new life would have as an adult when they are otherwise challenged. Previous books primarily focused on trauma – stitches, broken bones, gunshot wounds, things of that nature, plus pregnancy. The other big health related incident was an epidemic that Claire fought to save people from. It created a good story arc.
In the middle of this book, I started to not feel safe at home in Fraser’s Ridge. Too many people didn’t like Claire and Jamie, too many people wanted them hurt. By the end of the book, I felt strongly in need to get away from that place for good. It sucks. This was my home. I felt safe here. I became accustomed to it after Scotland. Now I can’t trust anyone I used to, I can’t trust anyone new. I can’t trust anything. It sucks. It really sucks. I was so depressed reading this in part because of this reason.
Similarly depressing, the relationships in this series so far have crumpled by the end of this book. Except for Claire and Jamie, and Brianna and Roger, that is. Friends move away, die, or there is some kind of betrayal. Jacosta’s storyline in this book made everyone involved dislike everyone else. Family has to leave for their own reasons. At the end of the book, we’re left alone.
However, Brianna is a bit better this book! She doesn’t seem as selfish. However, that may be because she is barely in it. The heavy focus on Brianna in the last books is thankfully drawn back in this book for the most part. Roger is in this book more, and as always, I adore him. He finds his calling in this book, and it is a better book for it. Brianna seems to still be searching for hers, which is why I’m kind of glad she isn’t around as much.
I love the book, but I’m depressed because of it. I’m sad, I’m disheartened. But, I have to continue. My mind won’t let me stop.
To read more reviews for this series, check out the Outlander series page!