Tuesday, September 16, 2014

An Echo in the Bone

I'm grateful I didn't read An Echo in the Bone in 2009 when it was published. Five years would've been an excruciating wait for the next book in the Outlander series; the cliffhangers and loose ends are unmatched since Dragonfly in Amber. As it is, I merely have to give myself a little time to decompress before picking up Written in My Own Heart's Blood, which waits on my bookshelves.

Number 7 in the series, An Echo is my favorite so far and the only one I've rated 5 stars. Diana Gabaldon's storytelling powers are magnificent. She has created interesting characters and set them in interesting times. In this case, the interesting times are the American Revolution, which, in this narrative, is largely a civil war as communities and even families are divided. [Ms. Gabaldon's portrait of the war may be a more accurate understanding than the prevailing mythology of it as a struggle against imperialism.]

Readers who thought the previous three books were a snooze, with too much description of Claire tending her garden or making ether in her home surgery, should enjoy seeing Jamie and Claire back in action and near-constant danger. I found myself wondering, as Claire is about 60 in this book, how she can physically manage so many adventures, but she does reflect on this herself and is keenly appreciative of soft beds and warm fires when she can manage to find them.

The last 200 or so pages of this novel were so gut-wrenching and absorbing that I'll need a few days at least and a couple of buffer books to chill out before the next one, but I know I won't be able to put it off for long.

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