Wednesday, October 28, 2009

The Fiery Cross - Diana Gabaldon

The Fiery Cross
Diana Gabaldon
Dell
Copyright Date: 2005
978-0440221661

The back cover blurb:
New York Times bestselling author Diana Gabaldon mesmerized readers with her award-winning Outlander novels, four dazzling New York Times bestsellers featuring 18th-century Scotsman James Fraser and his 20th-century time-traveling wife, Claire Randall.

Now, in this eagerly awaited fifth volume, Diana Gabaldon continues their extraordinary saga, a masterpiece of pure storytelling and her most astonishing Outlander novel yet....

The year is 1771, and war is coming. Jamie Fraser?s wife tells him so. Little as he wishes to, he must believe it, for hers is a gift of dreadful prophecy ? a time-traveler?s certain knowledge.

Born in the year of Our Lord 1918, Claire Randall served England as a nurse on the battlefields of World War II, and in the aftermath of peace found fresh conflicts when she walked through a cleftstone on the Scottish Highlands and found herself an outlander, an English lady in a place where no lady should be, in a time ? 1743 ? when the only English in Scotland were the officers and men of King George?s army.

Now wife, mother, and surgeon, Claire is still an outlander, out of place, and out of time, but now, by choice, linked by love to her only anchor ? Jamie Fraser. Her unique view of the future has brought him both danger and deliverance in the past; her knowledge of the oncoming revolution is a flickering torch that may light his way through the perilous years ahead ? or ignite a conflagration that will leave their lives in ashes....

The Fiery Cross is the fifth book in the saga of Jamie and Claire Fraiser, which began in Outlander, and it is the sequel to Voyageur.

I'll note right off that I've read the book before, but that was back when it first came out in hardcover. I'd tried several times since then, but ended up putting The Fiery Cross down in favor of other books that were more convenient to read (generally meaning paperbacks and pocketbooks for reading on the bus). As a result, this read was more like I'd never read the book before than it was a re-read.

Diana Gabaldon has a knack for description of all sorts, be it clothing, settings, behavior or any number of facets of life. She's got the details down. I can't say if they're all accurate, but the characters and the way the live in the late seventeen-hundreds "feels" right to me.

Each of the characters has his or her own style, and it shows in the sections written from their perspectives. Claire's perspective is the only one written differently though: her sections of the book are written in the first person. Not something I generally care for, but it works well for Diana Gabaldon's writing style.

I know it's not really a character, but one of my favorite characters was Adso the cat. Just about every time he appeared on the pages, I could see what he was doing, based on the behavior of my own cat (or things my cat would dream of doing, like making off with a turkey wing fresh off the bird).

The story in The Fiery Cross resolved itself nicely, but not too tidily, and leaving plenty of material to be told in A Breath of Snow And Ashes, which I have, but have yet to read. I want to read it, but it's going to have to wait for a week or two.

If you're going to read this series, start with Outlander and go from there. It's a great series, but also a sizeable time commitment, as the books are around a thousand pages each. But, it's a thousand pages of great writing.
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