Review: The Scottish Prisoner

Review: The Scottish PrisonerThe Scottish Prisoner by Diana Gabaldon
Series: Lord John Grey #3
Published by Bantam on May 29, 2012
Genres: Historical
Pages: 518
Goodreads
four-stars

FINAL DECISION: More Jamie than Lord John, this story is a type of buddy book with John and Jamie having to work together to solve a mystery involving a possible Jacobite group. I loved seeing Jamie for an extended period even though my heart hurt for him missing Claire.

THE STORY: This book takes place in the time period covered by VOYAGER (and there are spoilers). Here Lord John Grey finds himself the recipient of a mysterious message written in the Scottish language. He reluctantly realizes that Jamie might be able to translate the message. (The two have had a serious falling out during an earlier Lord John story.)  Jamie is suffering from the loss of Claire but watching over his illegitimate and unacknowledged son. But he is also approached with echoes from the past by Irish remnants of the Rising. These events send Jamie and John Grey on an adventure to discover the truth of what is happening.

OPINION: This is my favorite of the Lord John series, but it feels closest to Outlander because of Jamie’s presence. But the reason that I like this as a Lord John book is because Lord John is best when he is interacting with Jamie and not just thinking about him.

This book definitely takes it shape from the Lord John Grey series. It is a mystery that John goes to investigate. Here, because Jamie is such a central character, we get more of the interaction between John and Jamie. Their relationship is strained but this book is part of their journey to becoming friends again — and this time a more honest friendship.

I really enjoyed the story which was political drama, a roadtrip adventure, historical download and a story of unrequited love all in one. I also enjoyed getting to see more of John’s brother and sister in law (a couple I enjoyed in their own story).

This book enhanced my Outlander understanding and also managed to be the best example of the Lord John books.

WORTH MENTIONING: This novel is told by alternating Jamie’s story and Lord John’s story as the stories overlap. It takes place in the space of when Jamie and Claire are apart VOYAGER.

CONNECTED BOOKS: THE SCOTTISH PRISONER is the third book in the Lord John Grey series. This series is a spinoff of the Outlander series. While it is not necessary to have read the other books in the Lord John Grey series to read this book, I believe it is necessary to read VOYAGER to appreciate this book.

STAR RATING: I give this book 4 stars.

four-stars

Review: Lord John and the Hand of Devils

Review: Lord John and the Hand of DevilsLord John and the Hand of Devils by Diana Gabaldon
Series: Lord John Grey #0.5, #1.5, #1.5, #2.5, #2.5
Published by Delta on November 25th 2008
Genres: Historical, Mystery
Pages: 336
Goodreads
three-half-stars

This is a collection of three novellas about Lord John which have all been previously published. The stories about Lord John are a spinoff of the Outlander series.

LORD JOHN AND THE HELLFIRE CLUB: Lord John is approached by a man who bears a resemblance to Jaime and agrees to meet with the man about a political problem. The man is soon murdered and Lord John investigates and is drawn into the Hellfire Club. This is a very short story (around 40 pages) which gives a glimpse into Lord John’s life and a quick investigation, but it didn’t really stick with me. Neither the mystery, nor the life glimpse seemed that grand. Okay story for fans, but not a necessary read. Rating 2.5 stars.

LORD JOHN AND THE SUCCUBUS: Lord John is in Prussia and encounters another murder. This time the suspect is a succubus (female demon). Lord John investigates the death. This is a longer story (about 100 pages) and has a bit of supernatural flare which won’t surprise readers of the Outlander series. The mystery was intriguing to be because of the supernatural possibilities mixed with possible prosaic answers. The closeness of the possibility of supernatural answers feels really time appropriate. The story was enjoyable and I liked the resolution. Rating: 3.5 stars.

LORD JOHN AND THE HAUNTED SOLDIER: Lord John is engaged in an inquiry as to the explosion of a cannon during battle. Through a series of events, Lord John ends up with the only evidence that the cannon was poorly constructed, perhaps even criminally so. The novellas in this series have so far not interested me as much as the previous novel. I was interested in the investigation but perhaps the parts of this novella that overlap with the Outlander series was the most interesting part to me. Rating: 3.5 stars.

three-half-stars

Review: Lord John and the Brotherhood of the Blade

Review: Lord John and the Brotherhood of the BladeLord John and the Brotherhood of the Blade (Lord John Grey, #2) by Diana Gabaldon
Series: Lord John Grey #2
Published by Delacorte Press on August 28, 2007
Genres: Historical
Pages: 511
Goodreads
four-stars

FINAL DECISION: A winding walk through 18th Century England with Lord John Grey who is investigating the truth of his father’s allegiances, preparing his troops for war, and trying to live his life as a gay man where dangers threaten at every turn. The character of John is so vivid here, that I enjoyed this journey.

THE STORY: In the mid 1700s, Lord John and his brother are both soldiers in the Seven Years’ War. As their mother prepares to marry again, secrets from their father’s death and questions of whether he was a Jacobite traitor arise again. Lord John looks into the matter and someone seems to be taunting the family and threatening Lord John int he process. At the same time, Lord John’s new stepbrother is attracting Lord John’s attention.

OPINION: This book rests almost entirely on the character of Lord John. I enjoy reading of his life and how he deals with the complications of his family, his sexuality and just how he fits into the historical events of his time. He is a complex character. He has an unrequited love for Jamie Fraser, but he continues to live his life.

This book is driven by the mystery surrounding Lord John’s father’s death and whether he was a Jacobite sympathizer. However, while that is the framing of the story, this book is also about relationship and family and the dangers and events that Lord John experiences in his historical time period.

I enjoyed this book quite a bit and am more and more impressed with the historical depth of Gabaldon’s books.

WORTH MENTIONING: Jamie makes a couple small appearances here in a book that happens during the events of VOYAGER.

CONNECTED BOOKS:¬†LORD JOHN AND THE BROTHERHOOD OF THE BLADE is the second book in the Lord John Grey series which is a spinoff of her Outlander series. I don’t know if people read these books apart from the Outlander books, but I think that this book assumes a reader already knows who these characters are so I would only recommend this series if a reader is familiar with the Outlander books

STAR RATING: I give this book 4 stars.

four-stars

Review: Lord John and the Private Matter

Review: Lord John and the Private MatterLord John and the Private Matter (Lord John Grey, #1) by Diana Gabaldon
Series: Lord John Grey #1
Published by Delta on October 26th 2004
Genres: Historical, Mystery
Pages: 334
Goodreads
four-stars

FINAL DECISION: A dense and intriguing political and social mystery. The tone of this book is different from the Outlander books because it is focused on the mystery, but there is plenty of historical doings. And I love the character of Lord John Grey.

THE STORY: Lord John Grey has got a family matter on his mind (he’s concerned that his cousin might be betrothed to a man with the pox) when he is tasked with investigating the murder of a comrade who might have been a traitor. He can’t turn away from either so he works on finding the truth on both matters.

OPINION: For readers looking for another OUTLANDER, it will not be found here. However, some of the same elements from that series — a sense of historical presence, intriguing tidbits from history and compelling characters.

This book also is simply fun in many ways with Lord John investigating a murder and also investigating his cousins betrothed. I really liked his character here as we are treated to seeing his cleverness, his determination and his essential kindness.

We get to see how Lord John struggles with his homosexuality — not who his is, but how he has to hide himself where society will destroy him because of who he is. We see him dealing with how to live his life when he has to live his truth in the shadows.

But mostly this book is about Lord John’s investigation, the political intrigue and murder. Lord John travels the underbelly of society in order to talk with people. The books feels like the genre of mysteries of Agatha Christie based very much on the talking and personalities of the people with a few physical clues dropped in. I have a fondness for these types of mysteries and liked this one.

WORTH MENTIONING: Jamie doesn’t appear in this book but is mentioned.

CONNECTED BOOKS: LORD JOHN AND THE PRIVATE MATTER is the first novel in the Lord John Grey series. This is a spinoff of the Outlander series. It is not necessary, however, to read the Outlander series to enjoy this one and the genre and tone of this series is very different as the books focus on mysteries/crimes to be solved.

STAR RATING: I give this book 4 stars.

four-stars