Thursday, March 20, 2008

DRAGONFLY IN AMBER by Diana Gabaldon

By Diana Gabaldon
Dell Publishing
ISBN: 0385335970
Paperback, 743 pages, $15.00
Genre: Historical fiction

The second installment in the Outlander series is just as much a rollicking adventure as the first, albeit this one is told in flashbacks from time traveler Claire Beauchamp’s memory. The first of the book may be confusing to readers, as the end of Outlander left Claire with Scottish Highlander Jamie Fraser in the 1740s, yet the beginning of this book finds Claire in Scotland in 1968, where she has returned with her daughter Brianna, intending to tell Brianna who her true biological father is. Frank, Claire’s present-day husband, is dead and Claire hopes to learn what happened to Jamie some 200 years earlier. She asks historian Roger Wakefield to help with her search and relates to Brianna and Roger her history with Jamie, laird of Lallybroch.

Claire picks up her story when she and Jamie escape to France, where Jamie is to be interpreter for Prince Charles. Aware history shows that the bonnie prince’s failed attempt to reclaim the English throne caused massive devastation to the clans of Scotland at the battle of Culloden, Claire and Jamie are intent on thwarting Prince Charles’ efforts to accumulate the funds necessary to stage such a war. While in Paris, Claire and Jamie enjoy a lifestyle of luxury, but it seems that no matter what they do, they cannot stop the tide of history, and the battle takes place. But beforehand, Jamie is forced to kill his uncle Dougal, who tries to murder Claire. Knowing he must face punishment for killing his chieftain, Jamie tells Claire she must go back to the future, as it is his intent to die on the battlefield of Culloden. Claire goes back, but she takes a part of Jamie with her: his unborn child.

This series is a fascinating read, filled with historical facts, interesting information about medicines from the 18th century, nonstop action and nail-biting suspense. Claire and Jamie’s committed love for one another shines through the book and adds hot spice to a galvanizing read.

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