Saturday, July 23, 2016

Diana Gabaldon's 'Drums of Autumn' - A Review

Knowing what the future holds can be a curse. . .

From erstwhile travellers passing through with no fixed address, or evidence of killings and the burning of property, the warning signs are clear. Roving bands of looters and opportunists are combing the ridge areas trying to find out who is on the side of the Crown and who is with the rebellious colonists. The drums are starting to beat a refrain: war is coming. Even when you know what is on the horizon, as Claire does, you know that the juggernaut of war can't be stopped.




DRUMS OF AUTUMN

The story of Jamie and Claire Fraser, the two main characters, is primarily about the Highlanders. This specific novel is one of a few set in the years leading up to the American Revolution, when the 'colonies' decided to make a stand for their independence.

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The story begins in Charleston 1767, where Jamie and Claire have come to see their nephew off as he goes back to Scotland. Only, it doesn't happen that way, much to the nephew's delight. On their arrival, Jamie is surprised to learn that Jocasta Campbell, his aunt, wants him to assume control (with her as advisor) of River Run - her plantation estate. Jamie balks, not sure he wants to accept. His aunt is a formidable woman who likes to run things her way and he knows that. 

Jamie has also been offered land in the highlands of North Carolina, with the proviso that he becomes the leader of those he settles on the large property he will get from the Crown's representative. This suits Jamie better, having been laird of his own property in his past. Of course, Fraser's Ridge becomes a gathering point for many of the Scottish who arrive after the Battle at Culloden. Claire becomes the 'doctor-healer' of the area, even though some still view her as part healer, part witch.

This is a well-woven tale of early America. I enjoyed it as I have all of Gabaldon's books. This novel, Drums of Autumn comes after Voyager and before The Fiery Cross. All focus on the coming American War for Independence, but at a personal level.

This book will be of interest to those who reside in the southeastern USA, as most of the action takes place on that coast and further inland in the eastern coastal mountains.  It will also appeal to those who enjoy reading about the clans of Scotland in the 1800s and their lives as colonists in the 'New World'. The historical details enrich the story and reveal a life before electricity and formal medicine. Recommended, of course.

I'm currently reading  the next Gabaldon book, A Breath of Snow and Ashes, and a steampunk story, a Roland Yeomans book, The Not so Innocents Abroad. 

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Does this book sound like something you might be interested in reading? Are your ancestral roots in the southeastern USA? If you're a Gabaldon fan, have you read this one?

Please leave a comment to let me know you were here and I'll respond.  Thanks for dropping by! 

I apologize for he infrequency of posts, but until I get the family issues stabilized, I'm going to be posting as I can. Hope your summer is going well!

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25 comments:

  1. Hi DG - I have yet to read a Gabaldon - but certainly she travelled with me - so I will get to her ... this looks interesting for those of us outside the States to get an appreciation of the lie of the land in SE USA.

    Thanks for sharing with us ... at what is a challenging time for you - thinking of you .. and yes I have one of Roland's books out to read ... so must get on with it - cheers Hilary

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    1. The main character is an English woman, Hilary, which the Scottish of the time called a "Sassanach". She's a nurse in WWII and via The Stones, time travels back to 1700s Scotland. Good luck with getting settled and thanks for the kind words.

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  2. Sorry to hear you are having family issues. I hope things get better soon. That book sounds interesting, although I've spent next to no time in the SE USA. By choice. lol But I have friends in the Carolinas that would probably really enjoy it.

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    1. I understand totally, JoJo. Why do you think I live in the Pacific Northwest (Canada side) now? Also by choice. . .that small town I grew up was NOT where I wanted to stay.

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  3. I read all the Gabaldon books some years ago and loved every one of them. It was particularly interesting when they moved to the U.S. I grew up in Pennsylvania and live in New England now so the Revolution was always part of my reading. In fact I'm reading a book about Aaron Burr right now. I just love this stuff.

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    1. It's an interesting time period, and I like Gabaldon's style. Glad you are familiar with her. I started reading her books after Outlander and meeting her at a conference.

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  4. I love reading about places I've never seen, so I'd be happy to read it. I like her and really must settle down and read all her books. I'm just too busy writing about Paris at the mo'. I know you'll understand. :-)

    I do hope you and your husband are well. :-)

    Denise

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    1. Writing about Paris can be distractWng. I'm trying to work on the next WEP theme for August.

      We are having a few difficulties, and testing will be needed.

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  5. Sounds like a fascinating slice of history. I know precious little about either Scotland or the Carolinas, particularly in that time period. Glad to know you enjoyed it.

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    1. History always looks different in retrospect, but I like the element of time travel . . .

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    2. An interesting wrinkle, no doubt.

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  6. I hope that things get better soon and I will be sending positive thoughts your way :)

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    1. Many thanks, I could use a lot of positive thoughts. . .

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  7. No need to apologize, it is just nice to see a post from you. I hope things are a little better, that time has helped Tom get better. So much time has gone by, I think of you often.

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    1. Thanks for the good wishes, Inger. I'll email you soon. Time marches on doesn't it, regardless of what we humans do. . .

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  8. I'm a big Diana Gabaldan fan. I have all her books and the whole series is GREAT! They are real page-turners, all of them. I didn't even know this series existed until I ran across the first book at a library sale years ago. I bought the hard cover for a dollar and was hooked then and had to have all the books.

    I totally understand personal life getting in the way sometimes, no apologies needed. I hope things are going better at your home.

    Thanks for stopping by my blog. Your hubby will be fine with the cataract surgery. They do lots of those daily in the US. Just make sure you have a great eye doctor and follow his instructions.

    Sunni

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    1. Well I hope the doctor is an expert! I'm surprised that hubs needs it but his mother had cataracts, too. Good luck with your healing.

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  9. I think I have this one up in my TBR pile by my bed, but I have no idea when I'll actually get to it. Sounds good, though!

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    1. Textbooks give us an overview, this side, that side, yada yada. But these alternate fiction books give us a personal look at what likely occurred as the revolution pot got up to boiling over.

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  10. No, I haven't read this... or any other book by Gabaldan. From the sounds of it, that's a situation I'm gonna have to rectify real soon. Since I'm a history nerd, have lived in the SE since we moved here in '71, and my father was born in Scotland, this book touches my interests on multiple levels. (Thanks!)

    Whatever family issues you're facing, I hope they're all in your rear view mirror real soon. Take care.

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    1. You would find it interesting, Susan, as I have. I grew up in Georgia and I also have three lines of Scottish descent in my background. Now I know why I love oatmeal and bagpipes. . .

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  11. Sounds like a story from an interesting era of which I've read little. The geographical setting is definitely of interest to me since that's a part of the country with which I am quite familiar and enjoy reading about its history.

    Arlee Bird
    Tossing It Out

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    1. It's the history detail integrated into the fiction that I like in Gabaldon's stories, Lee. Nice to see you here!

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  12. After a five month hiatus I've resurrected my blog. I'm only going to post twice a month and for my second posting in October I decided to enter the WEP Challenge. I came by to read your entry on 'Gardens' and get a feel for the process. You WEP posting was very interesting and it does sound like there's more to the story.

    As I was leaving your site, I spied this post and decided to check it out, as I've just finished reading 'Voyager' and am about to begin 'Drums of Autumn'. I have enjoyed this series greatly and wonder why I avoided it for so long. I do find that Gabladon often gets overly descriptive and wordy, but even with that her storytelling is superb and I've managed to breeze through the first three books in a little less than a month.

    Thanks for this review. I look forward to delving into 'Drums of Autumn' even more now. I'll try to remember to stop back and let you know what I think.

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    1. Glad to know you like her writing too. I agree she can get wordy, but in a series this long, it shows us a lot of side information. I've also reviewed The Fiery Cross which I read out of order, and will soon be reviewing A Breath of Snow and Ashes. An enthralling series, IMO. BTW, I'm flattered that you wanted to read my review and I would like to know what you think when you've finished The Drums of Autumn. For sure, let me know.

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