Sunday, April 13, 2008

THE FIERY CROSS by Diana Gabaldon

By Diana Gabaldon
Bantam Dell/Random House
ISBN 9780440221661
Paperback, 1443 pages, $7.99
Genre: Historical Romance

In the fifth installment of the Outlander series, time-traveler Claire Beauchamp Randall Fraser and her eighteenth century husband, Jamie, have established their homestead on Fraser’s Ridge in the mountains of Western North Carolina. Grumblings among colonists against British tyranny have begun, and Jamie and Claire are resigned to the fact that the American Revolution will take place and there is nothing they can to do stop it. Although Jamie sympathizes with the colonists, his allegiance, for the time being, lies with William Tryon, Governor of North Carolina, who gave Jamie a land grant of 5000 acres in North Carolina, although Jamie is Catholic and this was forbidden at the time. When Governor Tryon appoints Jamie Colonel and asks he put down a forthcoming rebellion by the colonists (called Regulators) at Alamance, Jamie follows Highland tradition and calls together his fellow clansmen by burning a large cross, referred to as the Fiery Cross. Accompanied by Claire (acting as field surgeon) and Roger Wakefield, Jamie’s son-in-law, they journey to Alamance, where a brief but brutal skirmish takes place.

This installment addresses interesting issues of the eighteenth century, including everyday mundane activities, medicinal herbs and treatments, Highland superstitions, and a wide array of characters, savory and otherwise, made all the more intriguing by the time period. The love story between Claire and Jamie, is, as always, in the forefront and continues forward as they age with each book. Recommended.

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