The year is 1771, and war is coming. Jamie Fraser’s wife tells him so. Little as he wishes to, he must believe it, for hers is a gift of dreadful prophecy—a time-traveler’s certain knowledge.
Born in the year of Our Lord 1918, Claire Randall served England as a nurse on the battlefields of World War II, and in the aftermath of peace found fresh conflicts when she walked through a cleftstone on the Scottish Highlands and found herself an outlander, an English lady in a place where no lady should be, in a time—1743—when the only English in Scotland were the officers and men of King George’s army.
Now wife, mother, and surgeon, Claire is still an outlander, out of place, and out of time, but now, by choice, linked by love to her only anchor—Jamie Fraser. Her unique view of the future has brought him both danger and deliverance in the past; her knowledge of the oncoming revolution is a flickering torch that may light his way through the perilous years ahead—or ignite a conflagration that will leave their lives in ashes….
Grand, sweeping, utterly unforgettable, The Fiery Cross is riveting entertainment, a vibrant tapestry of history and human drama.
“When the day shall come, that we do part,” he said softly, and turned to look at me, “if my last words are not ‘I love you’—ye’ll ken it was because I didna have time.”
Once again, I really enjoyed reading this. But, I had to break it into four separate days of reading. I just couldn’t keep going. I’d read an entire “book’s” worth of story, and then set it aside for the day and read something else. As much as I like it, it is very slow, with very little happening for vast stretches of time. Eventually I get to the point where I cannot take the suspense and fear for the future any longer, and I just need to back away and read something else because I can’t take it anymore. I think because I did this, I was able to get through this book with way less stress and fear of the next book than the rest of the series so far. I’ll actually be able to start the next book tomorrow instead of waiting days until my stress level goes down again.
Once again, this is a slow book. But, that is the way of this series. Slow books punctuated with periods of lots and lots of drama. For example, it took me three hours to read about the events of one single day, but two years happen over the course of this book. It was a really nice day, don’t get me wrong, but I really didn’t need to hear about all of it. As much as I love the series, I can definitely say that parts of this story really do not need to be told with as much detail as they actually are. It gets a bit frustrating at times, and you just wanna say “get on with it already”.
A lot of the drama in the book seems a bit unnecessary, too. With a very predictable fashion. You can tell when something is going to go wrong because of the way the new day is set up. Some new days start, and you can tell it is a cuddle day, where everything is all nice and happy and you will love all of it. Other days, they start, and you just know some shit is going to start that needn’t happen. I can understand some of this shit happening in any given year to them, shit happens, especially in pre-revolutionary America. But all of it feels a bit of a stretch.
At first, I thought I would dislike the militia portions of the book. But, they really reminded me of what I liked about book one. They weren’t overdone until the very end, which was just plain dumb. It, at least, signaled something was happening in the story. Plus it was nice to get away from Bree and Roger for a bit, with the militia chapters. That said, I really fucking hate the end of the militia arc in this book. It is unnecessary, it is overdone, and for the love of god, I feel like she expected that to be a surprise. There was no surprise in that arc ending. The readers can see it a mile away, because of course something had to go wrong when you set it up that way. Sigh.
Three other parts of the plot I want to talk about. First, why is the damn French gold back? I thought we were done with that. So much unnecessary drama, I felt like she added the gold just to add drama into what was an already nice, entertaining event. Also, I really disliked that Jamie couldn’t let Stephen Bonnet go to that extent. It was frustrating, because the entire time you knew something was going to happen despite all the “Do not fash yourself, Sassenach”s Jamie gives. As if it could end any other way, you bloody Scot. Lastly, so damn close to no rape this book, got so close. It doesn’t actually happen, thank fuck, but christ this woman just can’t help herself, can she?
I’m really glad the real Claire and Jamie are back this book. They felt like completely different people in Drums of Autumn, as I said in my review. I was really afraid that would be the new norm going forward. But, they came back to me this book, and I felt at peace. There is still some of the book four parts going on in this book, but overall they’re back to the characters I fell in love with. Claire is back to being strong and independent, but her world is back to being Jamie in the way it should be. Jamie is back to being thinking, and just slightly rash, but he either has a good reason or he thinks before he acts. Welcome back, Claire and Jamie!
Unfortunately, I still don’t really like Brianna. She still seems slightly selfish, and not really all that commited to Roger (not like Claire is to Jamie). Roger has moments where he doesn’t seem to, either, but he comes around in the end, and we actively see him at least making an effort. I never really seem to notice Brianna making an effort in anything to do with Roger. If her attentions aren’t on Jemmy, they’re on her drawings, or mildly complaining about 18th century household tasks compared to modern day. Roger just never seems to really be on his mind unless he is in obvious trouble. I like Roger, he seems to really been in this life for the long-run. Brianna…we’ll see what the hell she does, really.
The secondary characters are also back in strength. It isn’t just Claire and Jamie that are back, it is the rest of the cast. Last book they seemed distant and not really part of the story. This book, they come back and Claire and Jamie don’t seem to be so alone and stuck with a screaming baby, a self-absorbed daughter, and a lovely son-in-law. It really brings some life back into the book. I don’t always care for the secondary characters as much as Claire and Jamie, but I still like having them around. For as big as these books are, they actually have a pretty small cast of characters (must make the tv series easier).
Book four seems to have been a bit of a fluke, character wise. The overall plot was a bit more interesting in Drums of Autumn than The Fiery Cross, but that might just be because I’ve caught on to the flow of the books now. Plus, the fact that I did stop every day at a specific book percentage definitely didn’t help my engagement at times. It felt like every time I went to stop, the book finally got interesting. I enjoyed the reading more, because I’m 100% more a character person than a plot person. Which is why I like these books so much, I suppose. I complain about slow plot, but I don’t really mind it so much, I just hate the unnecessary drama.
There is actually some more magic/time travel interest in this book, but I think Gabaldon might be adding that every book just to keep our interest in it. While I like the confirmation, it felt a bit thrown in at the last minute. I like the new information on the other travelers, too. It just all felt like it was thrown in because Gabaldon thought she had to include some in every book, but hadn’t gotten around to it yet.
No matter what you can say about the book, you have to admit that that last line in the book is amazing. Perfect. Heartbreaking. Lovely.
To read more reviews for this series, check out the Outlander series page!