Jamie Fraser, former Jacobite and reluctant rebel, is already certain of three things about the American rebellion: The Americans will win, fighting on the side of victory is no guarantee of survival, and he’d rather die than have to face his illegitimate son—a young lieutenant in the British army—across the barrel of a gun.
Claire Randall knows that the Americans will win, too, but not what the ultimate price may be. That price won’t include Jamie’s life or his happiness, though—not if she has anything to say about it.
Meanwhile, in the relative safety of the twentieth century, Jamie and Claire’s daughter, Brianna, and her husband, Roger MacKenzie, have resettled in a historic Scottish home where, across a chasm of two centuries, the unfolding drama of Brianna’s parents’ story comes to life through Claire’s letters. The fragile pages reveal Claire’s love for battle-scarred Jamie Fraser and their flight from North Carolina to the high seas, where they encounter privateers and ocean battles—as Brianna and Roger search for clues not only to Claire’s fate but to their own. Because the future of the MacKenzie family in the Highlands is mysteriously, irrevocably, and intimately entwined with life and death in war-torn colonial America.
With stunning cameos of historical characters from Benedict Arnold to Benjamin Franklin, An Echo in the Bone is a soaring masterpiece of imagination, insight, character, and adventure—a novel that echoes in the mind long after the last page is turned.
“Perhaps it was only that the sense of reaching out to something larger than yourself gives you some feeling that there is something larger – and there really has to be, because plainly you aren’t sufficient to the situation.”
It took me a while to like this book. I just personally didn’t care about a lot of the events that happened in the first half of this book. The story took forever to get where it said it was going to go. Some of the perspectives I really found myself not caring about. However, I still enjoyed the book. Probably because Gabaldon, herself, might be a witch set to ensnare me and keep me reading.
The beginning felt very disjointed, like she wasn’t really certain what direction she was going to take the beginning of the book, she only knew how she wanted to end it. I really liked the ending, but the beginning left me bored. It kept jumping around and not telling the full story of any one event. This usually to the form of letters. The first half of the book has a TON of letters going every which direction. It wasn’t until after the midway point where most of those letters stopped occuring.
Another factor that contributed to the fact that the beginning of this book feeling disjointed is there were more perspectives to deal with. There was, as always, Claire and Jamie, and even Brianna and Roger. But, there was also William (Jamie’s son), and Lord John Grey. For the most part, none of these perspectives told a full story in the first half of the book. They’d start something, mostly just to say “hey, look at this character”, and then go away. And then the next time you saw that person, it wasn’t even telling the same story. There was also a bit of time fuckery going on here, where there were two timelines being told at the same time (both in the past). It was really confusing at first, because I really suck at keeping dates in my mind while reading. While I don’t mind William, and mostly Lord John, I really wish these perspectives would have been put to better use.
Once again, I didn’t give a fuck about Brianna and Roger. All the bits I wanted to know weren’t shown. I wanted to know how they came back. I wanted to know how they got by in the modern world right after they came through the stones, with nought but two children (and one sick, at that). Yet, it time skips over all the interesting parts. Instead, I got Brianna going back to work and “becoming one of the guys” in a male dominated workplace. I got Roger trying to come to terms, yet again, with himself and his place in life. It would be nice to check in with them, but I swear their story took up way too much time.
From the beginning of the book, we knew we were going to Scotland again. I’ll save you some time – they don’t actually get there until 75% of the way through the book. The old adage “Everything that can go wrong, does go wrong” holds true in this case. This seems to be against the other books in the series, because everytime they set out to do something, they actually do it, but then the story keeps going and going. They actually didn’t even finish their entire goal by the time this book ends! It was really frustrating.
That said, I really liked liked the bits with the war effort, when Claire and Jamie keep getting sidetracked. One of the highlights of the series is the history – and if you’re going to be in the Revolutionary War, you better damn show it. And she showed it. She tried to show the English point of view, with William, I just don’t think it really worked. By the time his story finally warmed up, the English army wasn’t really part of his story anymore.
I’m of two minds about the ending. On the one hand, wow was that an ending. I love Lord John. However, I’m also tired of the need for this ending. I’m really tired of things going wrong because they “have” to in Gabaldon’s mind to tell the story. It isn’t bad enough that there is the war going on? She has to throw every conceivable “bad thing that could possibly happen in the 1700s”at them? Still though, love Lord John.
While good, I still think a lot of the book did not have to be read. The book could have been better focused. Unfortunately, every single person is left in a cliffhanger situation this book. Really annoying, really.
To read more reviews for this series, check out the Outlander series page!