Among the seven spellbinding pieces there is “The Custom of the Army,” which begins with Lord John Grey being shocked by an electric eel and ends at the Battle of Quebec. Then comes “The Space Between,” where it is revealed that the Comte St. Germain is not dead, Master Raymond appears, and a widowed young wine dealer escorts a would-be novice to a convent in Paris. In “A Plague of Zombies,” Lord John unexpectedly becomes military governor of Jamaica when the original governor is gnawed by what probably wasn’t a giant rat. “A Leaf on the Wind of All Hallows” is the moving story of Roger MacKenzie’s parents during World War II. In “Virgins,” Jamie Fraser, aged nineteen, and Ian Murray, aged twenty, become mercenaries in France, no matter that neither has yet bedded a lass or killed a man. But they’re trying. . . . “A Fugitive Green” is the story of Lord John’s elder brother, Hal, and a seventeen-year-old rare book dealer with a sideline in theft, forgery, and blackmail. And finally, in “Besieged,” Lord John learns that his mother is in Havana—and that the British Navy is on their way to lay siege to the city.
Filling in mesmerizing chapters in the lives of characters readers have followed over the course of thousands of pages, Gabaldon’s genius is on full display throughout this must-have collection.
The Custom of the Army
This is actually the best Lord John story I’ve read other than the Scottish Prisoner (and I loved that one so much because it had Jamie). This isn’t some silly little detective story. There isn’t a huge information dump at the end of it. He doesn’t spend a difficult portion of this book mooning over Jamie. He has an uncomplicated relationship with someone, for once. It was just a decent read. Hallelujah.
This novella takes place before the events of the Scottish Prisoner. The events in this novella directly affect the events in that book, and I would actually consider this necessary to the reading of that book.
The Space Between
I really enjoyed reading this story, which should best be read afterWritten in My Own Heart’s Blood. Joan is a neat character, and it adds a subset of magic we haven’t yet seen even a hint of prior to this story. In addition, the Comte St. Germain was interesting once I figured out what he was even doing in this story. This also tied up a plot point from book two, Dragonfly in Amber, that was always left open. I wonder if Gabaldon has plans to do any more with this story, because it was certainly interesting. The way she leaves it open certainly suggests there is more to come with this.
A Plague of Zombies
I’m not certain how I can convey how little I wanted to read this story before I started it. Reading it actually did not change my mind. I just really didn’t care one way or the other what happened. This takes place before the events that happen in Voyager, so I didn’t even get Lord John’s reaction to meeting Claire from his own perspective. Gabaldon just wanted to write the story that happened in real life at this time, and used Lord John to do it. If you like the Lord John stories to date, you’ll love this. I’m just done with him. At least there was very minimal Jamie mooning this time around.
A Leaf on the Wind of All Hallows
I really, really, really liked this one. I read Written in My Own Heart’s Blood prior to reading this, and this should be read after that, so I knew part of this story. However, I really hoped I got to see the end of that story. I got my wish. Damn, I was not expecting anything out of this story at all. I got so much more than I bargained for. Great story.
Another great story. I loved seeing Jamie and Ian together. You don’t really get to see that in the Outlander series, due to various events. You know they’re as close as brothers, but this is the only time you really get to see that. Jamie is healing still, both from his wounds and the loss of his father. They’re sent on a really uninteresting mission. And they’re both obsessed with the idea of getting laid. True brothers. I really liked reading this, though.
A Fugitive Green
We got the basic gist of this story throughout the Lord John series, but here is the whole thing. Hell, I liked reading this novella. They were barely even characters in the series, both series. Constantly apart, easily tossed off to the side. This was their time to shine. I really enjoyed reading it. They’re cute together, and they work well together. This reminds me much more of what I enjoy from Outlander more than I got from any other Lord John Grey story.
Wasn’t the worst Lord John Grey story of the bunch, but not the best, either. Just another story where Lord John goes around talking people, and then it all gets solved in the end by means of author magic. Gabaldon really doesn’t play to her strengths with Lord John stories, which is a damn shame. I really like Lord John in Outlander, he is an amazing secondary character that gets squashed by very meh stories.
To read more reviews for this series, check out the Outlander series page!