Review: The Scottish Prisoner by Diana Gabaldon

London, 1760. For Jamie Fraser, paroled prisoner-of-war in the remote Lake District, life could be worse: He’s not cutting sugar cane in the West Indies, and he’s close enough to the son he cannot claim as his own. But Jamie Fraser’s quiet existence is coming apart at the seams, interrupted first by dreams of his lost wife, then by the appearance of Tobias Quinn, an erstwhile comrade from the Rising.

Like many of the Jacobites who aren’t dead or in prison, Quinn still lives and breathes for the Cause. His latest plan involves an ancient relic that will rally the Irish. Jamie is having none of it—he’s sworn off politics, fighting, and war. Until Lord John Grey shows up with a summons that will take him away from everything he loves—again.

Lord John Grey—aristocrat, soldier, and occasional spy—finds himself in possession of a packet of explosive documents that exposes a damning case of corruption against a British officer. But they also hint at a more insidious danger. Time is of the essence as the investigation leads to Ireland, with a baffling message left in “Erse,” the tongue favored by Scottish Highlanders. Lord John, who oversaw Jacobite prisoners when he was governor of Ardsmiur prison, thinks Jamie may be able to translate—but will he agree to do it?

Soon Lord John and Jamie are unwilling companions on the road to Ireland, a country whose dark castles hold dreadful secrets, and whose bogs hide the bones of the dead. A captivating return to the world Diana Gabaldon created in her Outlander and Lord John series, The Scottish Prisoner is another masterpiece of epic history, wicked deceit, and scores that can only be settled in blood.

Here’s what I thought:

1st I want to share the  story of how I came to be such a huge Outlander fan.  Even though this isn’t a book from that series, I wouldn’t have read it if I didn’t have mad love for James Alexander Malcolm MacKensie Fraser.

I had a co-worker who had repeatedly insisted that I would enjoy the Outlander books and more specifically Jamie. Every couple of months she would ask if I had read the 1st book yet, and when I responded in the negative she’d again tell me how good it was. This went on for the better part of a year. Finally, one day in early 2010 I came to work, and my friend pulled me into her office and handed me a book. It was a big book. It was Outlander. She had gone to the library and checked it out and brought it to me to read. Fine, I thought. If she was willing to go to that much trouble the least I could do was try it.  That evening when I went home I began to read…and so began an obsession love affair with all things Jamie/Outlander related. I have a huge Outlander collection that continues to grow.

In fact, it has it’s own bookcase. Wait! What?!? I kid you not.  Ok fine, you want proof?!? Here’s a picture. Remember, this doesn’t even count my Kindle books.

My Outlander Series Bookcase

HA! Told you so!

I’m glad I didn’t discover them til book 7 was already published, because waiting on books to come out in a series is excruciating for me. Waiting for the release of book 8 which is due out in 2012 has been torturous, so I was extremely happy when I heard the news that I could get a bit of a Jamie fix thru The Scottish Prisoner.

Well,  I’ll begin by saying that anything Jamie,  AKA #JAMMF,  is in has got to be great right? Jamie is one of those characters that gets under your skin and into your heart in a big way. Once he’s  there he never lets you go. I’m ok with that. I could read a travel brochure featuring Jamie extolling the virtues of a particular destination and I’d be making plane reservations. Thankfully, Scottish Prisoner is way more than a travel brochure. For a point of reference, SP is a Lord John Grey novel and takes place during Jamie’s time at Helwater as a pardoned prisoner from the Jacobite uprising. In terms of the Outlander series it occurs during the 1st part of the Voyager novel.  Now that we have our literary boundaries in place…

The Lord John novels are all stand alone books unlike the Outlander series, so if you haven’t read any of those it’s really ok. However, I would strongly suggest that you read Outlander and Dragonfly in Amber before reading this book if you haven’t already. I always wanted to know a little bit more about Jamie’s time as one of the Dunsany’s groom. Little did I realize that he had quite an adventure during his time there. I’m  a big fan of  LJ, altho I haven’t always been. I kind of go back and forth with him during the Outlander series, because of …well circumstances I won’t discuss here so as not to be spoilerish.

During most of my reviews I don’t do a lot of plot talking and dissecting. I’ll leave that to others who do it better, or like to review that way. I like to focus in on talking about the characters and my reactions instead. That being said, Jamie is my kind of guy. He’s very smart, physically appealing, he’s a hard worker, and he has a wicked dry sense of humor. He’s also a Scottish highlander which is a favorite of mine. He speaks Gaelic, French, and German, and what I would give to hear him speak with his Scottish accent. *Hard Thud*  He and LJ have not been on friendly terms, but I was happy to see their friendship slowly reemerge in this book.  I have sympathy for Lord John’s feelings for Jamie, but that’s another story.  There’s a good deal of adventure and plotting, twists and turns in this book which makes for an enjoyable read.

I got to know LJ’s brother Hal and his wife Minnie better,  and I like them both. They are strong secondary characters as are several others. Among them Tobias Quinn, Edward Twelvetrees, and Charles Siverly.

I really feel for Jamie and his situation with his son William. It’s a secret that he bears for Willie’s sake, but the emotional pain it must cause him is at times heartbreaking for me.  I think the one thing that I was disappointed about as for as the overall book goes is that I was hoping for a few more scenes with Jamie and Claire. I think there are a few places where it would have worked in easily as a dream or flashback for instance, and not disrupted the story Herself was telling us. If you haven’t read the book and were hoping for the same thing…you’ll be disappointed.

All in all I enjoyed the book, and I’m happy to add it to my collection.

I give The Scottish Prisoner 4 out of 5 hearts.

OMG! I loved it. You need this book NOW!

Tamie Xo

7 thoughts on “Review: The Scottish Prisoner by Diana Gabaldon

  1. Sarah says:

    Oh dear, another series I won’t be able to put down! Love historical fiction.

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    • Tamie says:

      LOL! They are big books, and lots of peeps read one…wait awhile…read another… but I plowed thru them 1 after the other. Let me know what you think if you read them 🙂

      Like

  2. I have the first Outlander book on my to read list. 🙂

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  3. I read the first Outlander book and I absolutely loved it. Looking forward to reading the other ones in the series. Great review!

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  4. Fantastic review–I enjoyed these quotes especially:

    “I could read a travel brochure featuring Jamie extolling the virtues of a particular destination and I’d be making plane reservations.”

    “Jamie is my kind of guy. He’s very smart, physically appealing, he’s a hard worker, and he has a wicked dry sense of humor. He’s also a Scottish highlander which is a favorite of mine. He speaks Gaelic, French, and German, and what I would give to hear him speak with his Scottish accent. *Hard Thud*”

    Ha ha! I feel exactly the same way as you about Jamie. That’s a good point about wishing there were more Jamie/Claire flashbacks.

    Here’s my review if you’re interested: http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/259916421

    Like

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