Saturday, August 26, 2017

Book Review - A Breath of Snow and Ashes by Diana Gabaldon


When you know war is coming, how do you prepare for it? 


Cover for D. Gabaldon's A Breath of Snow and Ashes


A Breath of Snow and Ashes
(#6 in series)

In the hills of the Carolinas, on the southeastern coast of the USA, spring was only beginning when a desolate sight met the eyes of Claire and Jamie Fraser. A burning homestead. . .and it wasn't the only one. A friend reports the carnage to Jamie and the Frasers go to investigate. They find half-burned bodies, whole families murdered and hanged, and some poisoned. The settlers are being killed by roving gangs of men who are the forefront of the coming war. Like carrion-eating birds, they judge and execute those who don't agree with them. The marauders blame the Indian camps, some of whom had taken to fighting back as they try to protect their own against these same roving gangs of men.

Tensions are running high when Jamie is offered the position of Indian Agent, a liaison between the British and Native tribes. The British are gathering their supporters about them as they try to determine where and when the trouble will come. Jamie accepts the Indian Agent position with misgivings. One of his first meetings reveals that the Indians want guns, they fear any treaties will be broken if the white man goes to war.  

Both the British and the Regulators (who consider themselves patriots of this new country) are wondering where James Fraser's allegiances lie. Then, an incident at the Fraser mash shed occurs and Claire is snatched as a hostage. She suffers much before Jamie locates the camp. This is a pivotal point in the story.

Incident follows incident, and Claire is regarded with suspicion after she makes a bad medical decision. Some consider her a healer, others thinks she's a witch. Her daughter, who has time-travelled back to find her mother, is kidnapped by a pirate. The Frasers and Roger, Brianna's husband to be, pursue the man responsible in order to find their daughter.

This novel reads at a faster pace, with constant action. The war machine of the British colonial empire is coming. Gabaldon weaves the history details into the narrative, as she shows the anguish and horror which helped birth a nation. The settlers are defending their own land. The British redcoats are defending the Empire. The Indians just want to survive. Recommended for anyone who likes Gabaldon's writing and for fans of the American colonial times. I enjoy Gabaldon's writing style, and the characters that populate her novels. There will be more reviews of her work for this series, once I acquire them. 

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Are you a Gabaldon fan? Have you watched the Outlander series on tv? Do you like historical based fiction books? 


Please leave a comment to let me know you were here and I'll reply. Thanks for stopping by! Next up will be reviews about a couple of Agatha's mysteries (Poirot) and one review of a book about Jack Kerouac and Neal Cassidy. Hope you'll come back for those.

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For my other reviews of Gabaldon's work:

Drums of Autumn (#4)

Voyager (#3)

Dragonfly in Amber (#2)

The Fiery Cross (#5)

Outlander (#1)

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13 comments:

  1. I've actually never heard of that author or seen Outlander. Historical fiction is OK...this sounds interesting.

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    1. I read one of her books before meeting the author at a writer's conference. She is a warm, friendly very easy person to talk to. I had a critique time booked with her and it was very productive. I also had a crit from her son, who is a fantasy author. After that, I decided to read all of this series as it touches on my ancestry. I read some other works of hers. She doesn't disappoint. When you have time from your crafts, maybe give Outlander a try. That book sets the stage. I prefer the books to the tv series.

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  2. Hi DG - I know you're a great Gabaldon fan ... and on your recommendation I have one of her books here, which I hope to read when life has settled a bit more.

    This sounds as though there could be correlations with some of today's goings on ... thanks for the review and I look forward to reading more reviews ... cheers Hilary

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    1. I agree, Hilary, there could be some correlations drawn. . .The difference might be that Britain viewed the colonies as a chattel and one part of its empire, the colonies viewed themselves as a new country, and wanted independence from an overbearing monarch. I'm glad to hear that you've acquired one of Gabaldon's books. As a history buff, I think you'll like it once you get into the story. The female protagonist, Claire, is a nurse from England in the 1940s, but her character is very annoying at times. Jamie will steal your heart.

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  3. I started her first one but couldn't get into it. I do like historical fiction, but not going off into time traveling and other strange things.

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    1. Now Inger, the time travel makes for some interesting observations. However, that is a thread that runs through the book. The history goes from Scotland to France and then to the Americas. We each like to read certain kinds of books, so I understand you like your historical fiction not to be mixed with science fiction (the time travel).

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  4. I've never seen the series and didn't realize the book was part of it until I got to the bit about time traveling. Interesting that part of it is set in the Carolinas.

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    1. Reading it has helped me understand where a lot of the southern customs originate. Most of the Scottish that settled here at that time came after the Battle of Culloden (and the cleansing by the English of the Scottish Highland families who participated).

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  5. I haven't seen the series. It must be on Netflix, so I still have a shot at it. I like stories set in historical periods that shed light on the past.

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    1. Watching the series will give you an idea if you might like the books, C. Lee. I prefer the books, but the casting is well done for the series, and from the episodes I've seen keeps to the storyline for the most part.

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  6. I do like historical based novels. And no, I haven't watched Outlander. Its on my list to binge watch though.

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    1. A new season is starting soon, so hope you get a chance to see if the idea appeals. I like the idea of time travel through a portal, and it's a wonderful way to look at the idea that even if we know history and could go back, can we change it?

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  7. I haven't read or watched any of Gabaldon's works, but I do like historical fiction and this one sounds great!

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