Review – The Scottish Prisoner by Diana Gabaldon

the scottish prisoner“But it marks you, killing.  No matter why it’s done.  It’s a brand upon your heart, and while it may heal, the mark canna be removed, save by a blade.  All ye can hope for is a cleaner scar.”

“Lord that she might be safe. She and my children.”

The Scottish Prisoner is technically considered the 3rd book in the Lord John series.  However, it should also be noted as a mid-novel in the Outlander series.  Both John and Jamie Fraser are the main characters in this story.

From Goodreads: “London, 1760. For Jamie Fraser, paroled prisoner-of-war, life is coming apart at the seams. In the remote Lake District, where he’s close enough to the son he cannot claim as his own, Jamie’s quiet existence is interrupted first by dreams of his lost wife, then by the appearance of an erstwhile comrade still fighting to rally the Irish. But Jamie has 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 is in possession of explosive documents that expose a damning case of corruption against a British officer. But they also hint at a more insidious danger. 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.”  (I’m not sure that the synopsis is 100% accurate – Jamie is actually blackmailed into assisting John (against John’s wishes) by Hal.  I’m kind of picky about these things and, more and more, some of the summaries seem to be twisted to make the book sound like something it isn’t.  Just a pet peeve.)

I am going to backtrack on something I said in a recent review of the 2nd Lord John novel.  That synopsis played heavily on Jamie’s involvement and it was so minor to that story.  Lord John should be able to (and can) stand on his own as the main character of these novels.  However, for this novel, it was important to see more of the interplay between John and Jamie.  And, we got to fill in some of the blanks regarding Jamie’s time at Helwater.  The result gave us not only a thoroughly enjoyable Lord John mystery but also a story that will help round out the Outlander series.

With each book, Lord John continues to become one of my favorite protagonists.  His sense of loyalty, friendship, family and fun are refreshing.  I especially enjoyed the expansion of his relationship with Stephan.  My hope is that their foundation of friendship will allow them to continue on in each other’s lives.

Duels – were they so common in the 1700s?  It seemed like one of the men was always challenging another to a duel for some real or perceived insult.  There was one major fight and, whew, it was a doozy!  Diana’s writing brought it to life so that my heart was in my throat the entire time.

We also learned more about Minnie’s history.  As Hal’s wife, I assumed that she had always been a member of a privileged family.  BUT…she used to be a spy.  With her father!  And, Jamie knew of them in France.  This was a nice surprise and actually allowed me to like Hal a little more. He’s not quite the stuck up Duke that I thought.

Overall, this was a great addition with a lot of heart and adventure.  5/5 stars.

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