Monday 28 November 2011

The Scottish Prisoner by Diana Gabaldon...

I eagerly await a new Diana Gabaldon book with a longing something akin to the birth of a child - there is so much waiting and anticipation.....

........ and then finally the big day draws nigh...

And then here it is....

and it's beautiful 

From the book

"London 1760, and Lord John Grey- aristocrat, soldier and some time spy- finds himself in possession of a packet of papers that might as well have come equipped with a fuse, so explosive are their contents....

One of the documents is written in Erse, the language spoken by Irishmen and Scottish Highlanders, and a language Lord John became all too familiar with as governor of Ardsmuir Prison when it was full of Jacobite prisoners.

Including a certain Jamie Fraser...."

Doing a happy dance

My Review

For Jamie Fraser devotees, The Scottish Prisoner is like a gift from the gods. Not only does the exiled Scot play a significant role in this latest Lord John adventure, but he also appears to be largely in control of the action. For those familiar with the Outlander story, Jamie is from necessity, sojourned at his Majesty’s pleasure in the wilds of the English Lake District, where as part of his parole after Culloden, Jamie must eke out his days as a groom on Lord Dunsany’s estate at Helswater. When Lord John Grey and his brother, Harold, Duke of Pardloe acquire a secret and highly dangerous document, they need help to translate its Irish Gaelic contents in order to resolve a potentially volatile situation. 

Jamie Fraser, enigmatic Scotsman, traitor to the crown, is the one man Lord John knows who can be trusted to decipher the Irish Gaelic contents of the documents. Removed from the protective safety of Helwater, Jamie is at first a reluctant conscript, and yet once drawn into the mystery surrounding the documents, we quickly see a return of the Jamie Fraser of the early Outlander novels, where the bold and fearless warrior, with his heart of gold, and arteries of steel is back in the midst of the action.

Diana Gabaldon’s skill as a writer turns this adventure story into a series of violent escapades, from sword fights and treachery, to pistols at dawn, but throughout the narrative, she blends quite seamlessly the story of two very different men, forced together by circumstances, and whose shared history creates more questions than it does answers. 

For me this book worked on several levels. As a continuation of the Lord John books, the story was a well thought out adventure, both fast and furious in equal measure, and a commendable continuation of the Lord John catalogue. On the other hand, as a fully paid up member of the Jamie Fraser appreciation society, this book allowed a rare glimpse into Jamie’s hidden time at Helswater, where the loss of his beloved wife Claire runs like a silken thread throughout the narrative,and as ever his love and need of her is palpable and painful. His constant prayer that she and their child be safe, is heart breaking and utterly believable. On a lighter note, his burgeoning relationship with his son William is a joyful glimpse into Jamie’s role as protector, teacher and fatherly mentor.

At the end of the novel when Jamie returns to Helwater, I felt a sense of loss that his adventuring was over, and yet, inordinately grateful that once again due to the skill of this talented author,I had been allowed a rare glimpse into the life of this charismatic Scottish prisoner.



  1. Hi I saw your blog mentioned over at Dizzy C's site and wanted to stop by to say hello. A great blog, it's lovely to meet you, I've really enjoyed my visit.

  2. Hi Petty Witter

    Thanks for visiting jaffareadstoo. Glad you enjoyed your visit - please come and see us again soon.


Thanks for taking the time to comment - Jaffareadstoo appreciates your interest.