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The Custom of the Army: An Outlander Novella | [Diana Gabaldon]

The Custom of the Army: An Outlander Novella

London, 1759. After a high-society electric-eel party leads to a duel that ends badly, Lord John Grey feels the need to lie low for a while. Conveniently, before starting his new commission in His Majesty’s army, Lord John receives an urgent summons. An old friend from the military, Charlie Carruthers, is facing court-martial in Canada, and has called upon Lord John to serve as his character witness.

Grey voyages to the New World,a land rife with savages (many of them on his own side) and cleft by war.

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Publisher's Summary

London, 1759. After a high-society electric-eel party leads to a duel that ends badly, Lord John Grey feels the need to lie low for a while. Conveniently, before starting his new commission in His Majesty’s army, Lord John receives an urgent summons. An old friend from the military, Charlie Carruthers, is facing court-martial in Canada, and has called upon Lord John to serve as his character witness.

Grey voyages to the New World - a land rife with savages (many of them on his own side) and cleft by war - where he soon finds that he must defend not only his friend’s life but his own.

This novella also appears in the collection Warriors, where it is narrated by Patrick Lawlor.

©2010 Diana Gabaldon (P)2012 Recorded Books

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  •  
    Di Bronx, NY USA 07-25-12
    Di Bronx, NY USA 07-25-12

    di4pips

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Excellent Interpretation"
    Would you listen to The Custom of the Army again? Why?

    I would listen again because the story comes alive with this narration. This is a long series and as time goes by I want to revisit old friends and be reminded of what I've forgotten.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of The Custom of the Army?

    John's confusion after the duel. It was very well done.


    Have you listened to any of Jeff Woodman’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    Not yet, but I will


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

    Lt. Col. John Grey travels to 18th century Canada to come to the aid of his former lover and comrade in arms.


    Any additional comments?

    This is my first listen of a Lord John book and I just love it. Jeff Woodman is excellent; it's as if he "knows" Lord John. I'm truly enjoying it. Jeff did a particularly good reading of the duel scene, when John was confused and didn't know quite what was happening. Jeff was also very comfortable during the scene between Hal and John when Hal visits with his baby daughter. The sibling intimacy and warmth each man felt while in one another's presence coupled with the English reserve (not easy to do), while discussing a crisis came across perfectly, as did the humor.

    The voices are so distinct you forget it's just one man narrating. Of course, that's the point and well done.

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lulu KANSAS CITY, MO, United States 11-23-12
    Lulu KANSAS CITY, MO, United States 11-23-12 Member Since 2006
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Fills in Several Blanks"

    The first 15 minutes alone of this short novella are worth reading. Gabaldon's ability to start her stories with a bang is one of her greatest skills. The beginning to this story rivals the first 15 minutes of The Scottish Prisoner.

    Jeff Woodman has become the voice of Lord John to me. So much so that this is the single character in the Outlander series that I wish someone other than Davina Porter would narrate. And since I think the Porter and Outlander combination is pretty close to perfection, that is saying a lot.

    A lot happens in a very short period of time in this piece. And by the time it is finished, a few more questions are answered and blanks are filled in about the Lord John character, his history and how he became the man he is in the Outlander series. I highly recommend it.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Bonnie Bellmore, NY, United States 08-11-12
    Bonnie Bellmore, NY, United States 08-11-12 Member Since 2001

    BJS

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "I've read all Diana Gabaldon books......however"
    Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

    No, the story was very choppy, even though the narrator was excellent, I really felt cheated the end of the book left me empty. Lord John went to Canada to attend a court martial. It didn't even get into that. It touched on other things which really had nothing to do with why he was there.


    What was the most interesting aspect of this story? The least interesting?

    The narration was great, and Jeff Woodman does accents and voices wonderfully however it didn't make up for the lack of content as far as I was concerned. I thought Scottish Prisoner was a MUCH better story. All the other Lord John books were much better, for that matter. My opinion of course.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    Lord John confronting his cousin by marriage, who has a child out of wedlock with an American Indian woman. It truly explains a lot about what solders suffer during war.


    Did The Custom of the Army inspire you to do anything?

    No not really, like I said it disappointed me because it just left the ending up in the air. If people don't follow all the books they will be confused and it just doesn't create interest to follow series.


    Any additional comments?

    This book should not have been issued as a separate book but part of an anthology perhaps. (about Lord John) I felt that the money I spent was not worth it, even though the narration was wonderful.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Teahouse Fox MD, United States 11-21-12
    Teahouse Fox MD, United States 11-21-12 Listener Since 2006

    ...and this is my favorite store on the Internet!

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Don't blame the electric eel..."

    In this short story Lord John Grey, finds himself stunned near to death at an eel party, in a fist fight, then virtually sleepwalking through a duel defending the honor of a lady. By the next morning, the Duke is at his doorstep with mail from outraged nobles, and everything comes into horrifyingly humorous focus.

    His brother, Harold, Duke of Pardloe, offers him an alternative to marrying Caroline and having to explain about the demise of an annoyingly rude poet: Go to Canada.

    He's come to defend an old friend Caruthers who is about to be court martialed, but an ailing Caruthers means to use the trial expose corruption and brutality by his superiors that echoes the shades of the aftermath of the Rising in Scotland. John also means to locate his cousin's husband to deliver a portrait of their newborn son, but what he finds is not what he expects.

    If that weren't enough John is just in time to join the British forces on the outskirts of Quebec, and shortly finds himself joining Wolfe's army, meeting yet another Fraser, climbing the cliffs and taking part in the historic battle of the Plains of Abraham.

    Set in the midst of the Seven Years War, The Custom of the Army is a tale that falls between the novella 'The Haunted Soldier' (from Lord John and the Hand of Devils) and the Outlander series crossover novel, The Scottish Prisoner. In fact, I'd say that you really cannot fully appreciate Custom of the Army without reading at least The Scottish Prisoner, and you cannot really appreciate The Scottish Prisoner without reading at least The Brotherhood of the Blade.

    Gabaldon's books are like that, unfolding and intertwining the Lord John and Outlander series into a common tale. But in this case, there are events in Custom of the Army that are left unresolved until Scottish Prisoner. I actually got to the end of the story and was left wondering, since Lord John had committed to seeing his friend's quixotic task through until justice was done.

    "Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for justice," Caruthers tells John, but we will have to go hungry until The Scottish Prisoner because you don't get to see that justice move forward in Custom.

    Still I cannot fault the story much, and Jeff Woodman again provides the wonderful voices of John Grey as well as all the other characters in his excellent narration.

    There are a couple of loose ends addressed, like what happened to his cousin's husband, and what became of the Jacobite conspirator responsible for murdering his father Gerard Grey, 1st Duke of Pardloe (from Lord John and the Private Matter and The Brotherhood of the Blade, respectively).

    So in short, if you can't wait for this novella to come out on audio with a few more Lord John short stories (like Plague of Zombies which as of this writing is the latest), get this as a companion piece to The Scottish Prisoner. But if you read it without reading The Scottish Prisoner afterward, Custom of the Army feels unfinished, and you are left doubting Lord John's resolve to see his promise to Caruthers through to the end.

    Together, however, they are one of my favorite Gabaldon stories.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Carol Massachusetts 07-29-12
    Carol Massachusetts 07-29-12 Member Since 2010

    It is true that I know only what I have read in books. But I have read a great many books. ("Venetia" by Georgette Heyer)

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Lead-up to "Scottish Prisoner""

    I'm a big fan of LJG and can easily see why Diana Gabaldon gave this character his own spinoff series after his relatively brief but completely endearing appearance in the Outlander series' "Voyager." (He appeared even more briefly in "Dragonfly in Amber," but hadn't yet achieved endearment in that one.)

    This is a very nice story--not wonderful, but a good, short Saturday afternoon read. A conversation between Lord John and his brother the Duke (interrupted by gurgles and demands from the Duke's treasured baby daughter as she's passed between Daddy and Uncle John) sets up the story and is a priceless example of what lifts Gabaldon's books out of the run-of-the-mill romance/adventure fantasy category and into a class of their own. Humor and melodrama grounded in likeable characters that somehow feel completely real.

    This novella describes the events immediately preceding those of "The Scottish Prisoner."




    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Karen Raleigh, NC, United States 07-21-12
    Karen Raleigh, NC, United States 07-21-12
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    "An entertaining story, and great narration!"

    Diana Gabaldon's novella, "The Custom of the Army", is a highly entertaining story that will appeal to fans of her Lord John books as well as the main OUTLANDER series. Jeff Woodman does an excellent job with all the voices. I particularly liked his voices for Lord John, Hal, Tom Byrd, and the gravel-voiced Sgt. Cutter.

    My only complaint is that this audiobook seems expensive for only 2 hrs and 35 minutes worth of recording time. But the recording was well done, and Jeff Woodman seemed to me to be enjoying himself. The enthusiasm comes through in his voice.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    E 04-18-14
    E 04-18-14 Member Since 2012
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    "if you have the Scottish Prisoner - don't bother"
    What disappointed you about The Custom of the Army?

    UG- this is a money churner- the story is told in two other of her books- I feel taken- I already knew the story - no new story


    Has The Custom of the Army turned you off from other books in this genre?

    NO I believe Diana can write new adventures of Lord John - The duke's Journals are still a mystery - seeped with possibilities


    Which character – as performed by Jeff Woodman – was your favorite?

    Lord John


    What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

    Disappointment - the story line has been established


    Any additional comments?

    This is poor pen-womanship

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Joey Chicago, IL, United States 04-08-14
    Joey Chicago, IL, United States 04-08-14 Member Since 2005
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    ""Outlander Novella" is misleading"

    I am a huge fan of the Outlander series. This story was not bad, Diana Gabaldon is a good storyteller, but it is not an Outlander book, it belongs to the Lord John series of books. It even has the same narrator as the Lord John series, not the narrator of the Outlander books. Since I have not read the Lord John books, the story was a novella about characters I didn't know (aside from Lord John). I kept waiting for it to come around to the Outlander storyline, but it never did. I assume they called it an "Outlander" novella since that series is more popular than the Lord John series, but I feel that doing that is a misleading way to try to encourage sales.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    A. LaBair Denver, CO USA 12-24-12
    A. LaBair Denver, CO USA 12-24-12 Member Since 2011

    Dr. Bear

    ratings
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    "Another wonderful Diana Gabaldon novel"
    What did you love best about The Custom of the Army?

    A good story, well narrated. A bit of a mystery that is thought provoking.


    Have you listened to any of Jeff Woodman’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    equally good


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ntala Barrhead, AB, Canada 08-14-12
    Ntala Barrhead, AB, Canada 08-14-12 Member Since 2010
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    "The Custom revealed"
    Where does The Custom of the Army rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    Good book and enjoyable to see part into the next stage of Lord John


    What was your reaction to the ending? (No spoilers please!)

    Couldn't believe it was over-because it was quite short.


    Have you listened to any of Jeff Woodman’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    Love the reader. He's got an engaging voice


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    No extreme reactions


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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