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. . .

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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.


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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!

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21 comments:

  1. I was tempted to read the Outlander series and to watch the series but the bloody cruelties displayed in snippets I saw on YouTube turned me off. I have been the target of whippings and beatings ...

    I have started watching BBC's and Masterpiece's POLDARK, based on the 12 excellent books by Winston Graham.

    http://www.amazon.com/Ross-Poldark-Novel-Cornwall-1783-1787/dp/1492622079

    (It has already been made into a series 25 years ago.)

    The current series stars Aidan Turner, the handsome dwarf from THE HOBBIT. If the books are as good as the series, you should try to get it from the library. :-)

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    1. The person in the Outlander series who received the beatings (I haven't watched that on tv) was the main character - not the female Claire who narrates most of the story. To understand much of what Jamie Fraser does, you need to know about the neurotic who was responsible. I've watched the Poldark series on BBC previously and loved it. I've always liked the masterpiece theatre productions. Hmm, the handsome dwarf, you say is in the new one?

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  2. Considering it's history involving my area, I might have to check it out.

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    1. I'm from the southeast, Alex, and I found it quite interesting trying to imagine the area during that time and the minds of the people. Be prepared for some steamy passages, though. And it's not all from the muggy heat.

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  3. I love history, especially of the not-dry variety. I've not read a single one of her books, but I always hear good things. Might have to change that when my reading pile dies down.

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    1. I met Gabaldon at a writer's conference and she was a friendly, warm person; also met her son who writes fantasy. She lives in the Arizona area, I think. I'd recommend giving her books a try.

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  4. Hi DG. I have a lot of her books, and I plan to read them in order. Trouble is, my daughter borrowed number one and I'm waiting for it back. They certainly are big books, so I'd be surprised if she can keep up the suspense 100% of the time. Thanks so much for your review!

    Denise :-)

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    1. My older daughter is reading Gabaldon, too, I'm giving her Fiery Cross and she's giving me Dragonfly in Amber. . .(she's a big Game of Thrones fan) Do we get any advance notice about what the prompt will be for WEP in August?

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  5. I've watched a few episodes of the Outlander series. It's interesting. I'd probably enjoy reading the book more.

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    1. I have watched a few of the episodes too, when I can, and I plan to keep reading of her books. It's very evident that Gabaldon does her research. And now that you live in the US southeast, this may be even more interesting due to the historical value.

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  6. I still have to read her books, but I do want to. :-)

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    1. It's hard to read just one. . .but it's a way to start.

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  7. I read the first book and loved it but got so worried for the characters! It was awful! I should really read the rest - especially now that I know they're both still together however many years later. That will help me get through the hard times I know they'll have.

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    1. Gabaldon draws the reader into the story, and yes makes us care about them. This book is no different, life was tough in the 1700s. I'm onto my third book now, Dragonfly in Amber.

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  8. I tried to read one, but couldn't get into it. All the best with the move and that goes with it.

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    1. Thanks, Inger! Sometimes the time isn't right for a book. It might have been which one you tried to read, as well.

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  9. Sounds intruguing, DG. I like the time travel aspect of Outlander.

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    1. So did I, Milo, as those stones found in the UK have always intrigued me, and with them as a portal to time travel - I was drawn right into the story. . .

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  10. Hi D.G. loved the review, I haven't read these books, but they do sound amazing, now on my to buy list, but I'm hoping I can find them second hand. I love the historical perspective.
    Thanks for signing up for the WEP. This one's going to be special, thanks to Denise.

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    1. Thanks, Yolanda, I like the stories, and I've met the author at a writing conference. And I have Scottish background. As for WEP, I'm looking forward to it! Thanks for helping Denise revive the challenge.

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  11. Hi! I haven't read much in that genre. Thanks for stopping by my blog today.

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