An Echo in the Bone
By Diana Gabaldon
An Echo in the Bone is the seventh book in the Outlander series. I will say this right up front — not as discouragement but as a matter of fact — if you have not read the six preceding novels, don’t bother with this one. You’ll be confused and annoyed by page eight and want to hurl the book across the room, and at 814 pages (hardcover), you’re likely to break something.
The reason for the above warning — Gabaldon jumps right in where the last book, A Breath of Snow and Ashes, left off. If you don’t know who these characters are or how and why some of them end up moving from 1776 to 1980, it would be hard to catch up quick enough to enjoy the story.
If you’re familiar with Scotsman Jamie Fraser and his time traveling doctor wife, Claire, then be prepared for a long and meandering story. Having read all of the previous books, I’m fully vested at this point and couldn’t wait for this one. Gabaldon answers a lot of questions and leaves you with many more and an obvious eighth book. At least there better be because now I’m left wondering and I hate that!
Jamie and Claire Fraser are still on Fraser’s Ridge in North Carolina waiting for their chance to depart for Scotland with their nephew Ian Murray. It’s 1776 and the American Revolution is looming. Claire being the time traveler that she is knows what’s going to happen and, Jamie, having lost too much in wars past, is trying to get them out before things start erupting.
Unfortunately, before they set foot in Scotland, Jamie ends up in the Continental Army. Luckily, both get through the few battles they see relatively unharmed but a bit battered. In trying to make their way back home, they end up encountering pirates, see two battles of the American Revolution, death, new life, a return from the dead, and new love.
Let’s sum it up by saying it’s a long trip for both of them. Keeping in mind this is essentially a love story, in order to make the story interesting and move it along, there’s a kidnapping, spy charges, lots of fighting, and, oh yeah, sex. Lots and lots of sex.
One of the things I enjoy about this series, aside from the characters which I just find irresistible and charming, is the medical knowledge imparted by Claire. She’s a 20th century surgeon transplanted into the 18th century and doing the best she can to heal people without the technology she’s used to. She gathers plants, makes her own penicillin, and somehow manages to operate on people with a fairly high success rate. She’s endearing for this quality and Jamie, well, I guess I find something entrancing about a big, redheaded, Scottish man.
So while I have to say I didn’t love this book as much as the first (I always find that to be the case with a series like this one.), I did enjoy it immensely. It’s extremely potent and highly addictive brain candy. I find Jamie and Claire to be incredibly entertaining characters and I always want to know more about their life together and the people in it. So, I guess that means at least three more years of waiting to find out what happens with these two.