Monday, December 8, 2014

Drums of Autumn (Outlander Book 4) by Diana Gabaldon

The magnificent saga continues....

It began in Scotland, at an ancient stone circle. There, a doorway, open to a select few, leads into the past—or the grave. Claire Randall survived the extraordinary passage, not once but twice. Her first trip swept her into the arms of Jamie Fraser, an eighteenth-century Scot whose love for her became legend—a tale of tragic passion that ended with her return to the present to bear his child. Her second journey, two decades later, brought them together again in frontier America. But Claire had left someone behind in the twentieth century. Their daughter, Brianna....

Now Brianna has made a disturbing discovery that sends her to the stone circle and a terrifying leap into the unknown. In search of her mother and the father she has never met, she is risking her own future to try to change history...and to save their lives. But as Brianna plunges into an uncharted wilderness, a heartbreaking encounter may strand her forever in the past...or root her in the place she should be, where her heart and soul belong....

Published & Release Date: Random House, October 26, 2004

Time and setting: 1767 North Carolina/June 1969, Boston and Scotland

Genre: Historical Romance/Epic Adventure/Time-Travel

Heat Level: 2

Reviewer rating: 5 Gold Crowns

Reviewed by Vikki

Drums of Autumn, Book 4 of the Outlander series, dropped me right into the middle the action, which is something I always relish. After all, a man being hanged is quite dramatic to say the least, and this happens on page three. Ms. Gabaldon is at her descriptive writing best as she describes Claire’s thoughts and emotions. I felt as if I could actually feel her pulse in her carotid arteries as it beat in time with the drums. Feel her wet shift bathed in sweat from the oppressive heat as she watches a friend from Jamie’s time in Ardsmuir prison meet his end for stealing six pounds, ten shillings. As the man dies, one of the other convicted men sentenced to hang that day takes the opportunity to escape.

As Claire and Jamie travel toward Wilmington, hoping to find a ship for Young Ian so he can return to Scotland, (Ian ends up staying with C&J and finds Rollo) they stumble across the escaped man and aid him, then part ways. Little did I know this man, Stephen Bonnet, with his faint Irish accent, would become the new villain of this series.  

Claire and Jamie begin their journey upriver to Cross Creek, where Jamie’s Aunt Jocasta lives on the plantation River Run. Before they reach their destination, they set upon by pirates and their ring leader is none other than Stephen Bonnet. He steals their valuable jewels they had planned to use to establish themselves in this new country, along with Claire’s gold wedding band from her first marriage.
You may wonder why this has significance to the story, but later on that same ring leads Brianna into a situation that has dire consequences for her and Roger. It starts the intricate plotline for Brianna and Roger.

Brianna and Roger’s story line had her in 1969 Boston and Roger in Scotland, but Roger soon comes to visit and their romance progresses beyond friendship during his stay. This part of the story is a bit slow moving, but interesting nonetheless and pulled me into their relationship, so personally I did not mind.

When Brianna discovers something that affects her parents, she travels through the stones back to 1769 to warn them of what is to come, leaving Roger in 1971 Scotland. Roger has also found out the same information and realizes Brianna has gone back. He follows her and through some harrowing misadventures of his own, eventually chases her to Wilmington. After a brief reunion, where they commit to a handfasting, they part on less than ideal terms, and a great many horrifying events occur to both of them.

Drums of Autumn, for me, is just as much Brianna and Roger’s story as it is Claire and Jamie’s. Ms. Gabaldon intertwines the two plotlines masterfully,  as only a superb storyteller can, keeping me thoroughly enmeshed in all the characters’ lives. I love it when I become so obsessed with a book that even when I cannot read due to everyday life interference, my mind will not stop thinking about it. To me, this is the sign of an extremely well-written, riveting and compelling story.

In this book, we are again reunited with many of the characters from the previous books and introduced to quite a few others. At times, I almost wish I had started a chart of all the characters so that when they are brought into the story again, I will immediately remember why they are important. I think something like that in the front of these books would have been very helpful.   
I really expected this review to be rather short, but there are many pivotal happenings in this one that build the founding blocks for the future stories. Hopefully, I have shared enough for you to understand why this is such an important book in the series.

Along with the complicated plot, I also felt the deeper connection between Claire and Jamie and was greatly moved by the numerous tender moments between them. I am not talking about the sexual scenes, even though those are all amazing, but the ones of gentle touches and loving glances that abound in this powerful tale. Theirs truly is a love of a lifetime that transcends time and space. Well done Dianna Gabaldon for giving me such a spell-binding reading experience. Now I am on to the next one, The Fiery  Cross. Happy reading!

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