Sunday, July 5, 2015

The Fiery Cross by D. Gabaldon, A Book Review

In the distance it glows, the red and orange flames licking the shape, defining the burning cross. . .

Cover 'The Fiery Cross', by Diana Gabaldon

It's the symbol to gather for war or a visual notice that your laird (or lord of the manor) has something to say that he deems important enough for such a traditionally called clan gathering. A large fiery cross burns for all to see for miles around. The tradition was brought to America by the Scottish settlers and adopted in the mid-coastal colonies of the southeast for civil matters in the 1700s. Over time this symbol became transmuted into something more fearful. The laird James Fraser calls his loyal henchmen to serve as militia in this way, unknowing of the future symbol's dark image. But Claire knows. . .


By the acclaimed author of Outlander, Fiery Cross takes place in a different time period and a different setting, in the Carolinas of the 1700s, in a young America. Called the Colonies prior to the American War for Independence, it was a place to start over in many ways. Scottish settlers bought land and tried to adapt to life in the New World, while the long arm of British Law and Governance tried to control those who had flown the coop.

Generals and militia men and ghosts from the past whom we met in Outlander show up here in the States in that historical period before the War for Independence. This is a story of a time when tension and distrust ran high, medicine knowledge was poor, and men were passionate in their beliefs. Land and loyalty were treasured, men were put to the scaffold for treason without a fair trial.

In this book, we see more of the daily occurrences of Jamie and Claire, and daughter Brianna and her husband. We learn of the harshness of life and the ghosts which haunt them. We see the young America before it has spurned the control of the mighty British Empire, we see a young nation flexing its muscles. Claire continues to practice her duties as a doctor, even attempting to formulate a type of medicine to battle the bacteria which takes so many lives.  She follows the early skirmishes with Jamie to give medical aid and to be with her man.

D. Gabaldon's 'The Fiery Cross', DGH collection

I can't find any fault with this tome (it's one of her BIG books) which I attained on sale by our local library. There is one section near the end which I found the story started to lag, but an unexpected attack on the main character, Jamie Fraser brought me right back. I found myself once again turning page after page with heightened interest as Claire tried to save her man.

Highly recommended. For the record, I'm not reading the Outlander series books in order, but that doesn't ever bother me. I can handle story jumps as well as time travel jumps in my reading.

If you like history, entwined with romance, intrigue, time travel references, and strong characters, you'll like Gabaldon's writing, and if you're American, it may give you a totally different outlook on this era. The Fiery Cross doesn't read like the dry history books from which we were taught.

Are you a Diana Gabaldon fan? Have you read many or any of the books she has written? How do you like the tv series based on the Outlander book? 

Please leave a comment to let me know you were here, and I'll reply. Thanks for dropping by! BTW - I like the tv series and I watch very few.  It's the Scottish version of history done on a micro scale with time travel and romance. Gabaldon does both well!