The year is 1757. On a clear morning in mid-June, Lord John Grey emerges from London’s Beefsteak Club, his mind in turmoil. A nobleman and a high-ranking officer in His Majesty’s army, Grey has just witnessed something shocking. But his efforts to avoid a scandal that might destroy his family are interrupted by something still more urgent: The Crown appoints him to investigate the brutal murder of a comrade-in-arms who may have been a traitor. Obliged to pursue two inquiries at once, Major Grey finds himself ensnared in a web of treachery and betrayal that touches every stratum of English society—and threatens all he holds dear.
Quite frankly, I have no idea who this book was written for. It wasn’t for me. Perhaps she wrote it to Lord John? But, Lord John doesn’t even feel like the person I came to know in Outlander. So once again I’m just left wondering why this was even written.
Mostly, this was just a historical detective novel, with a splash of LGBT thrown on top. And really, it wasn’t all that interesting, either. The most interesting part of the story was how Lord John was going to go about trying to prove that the fiance did have Syphilis, only because it was really amusing. Gabaldon tried to make the murder of the army man interesting, but I really didn’t find anything interesting about it, except that she tried to make it as complicated as possible behind the scenes.
The worst things about the plot, perhaps, was that everything is revealed in a single chapter at the end of the book and that they were all interconnected. It was 20 minutes of infodump about things we have already learned, as well as the true motives behind everything. This was perhaps the least interesting way to end this book I can think of. I didn’t really care about any of the plot threads at this point, but what little interest I had in them died when they started becoming interwoven. There was no real need for them to have been connected at all, except that the author wanted them to be.
Perhaps most disappointing was the lack of romance or any real social ties. Lord John is alone in this book. The strongest part of Gabaldon’s works are the relationships she weaves. This book really didn’t have any of that, so it felt sort of lifeless. I came to really enjoy Lord John’s presence in Outlander, but he doesn’t even really seem like the same person here. There are hints of the person I came to enjoy, but that is it – hints. Perhaps there are only hints because most of the relationships I associate with him aren’t actually established yet. Still, I was disappointed.
This was not the book for me. I like the character, I like Outlander. Not certain what this was trying to accomplish. I was bored pretty much the entire time, and while there was nothing overly bad about it, really, there just wasn’t anything that kept me interested, either.
To read more reviews for this series, check out the Lord John Grey series page!