The latest epic volume in the multi-million-copy best-selling Outlander series.
It is June 1778, and the world seems to be turning upside down. The British Army is withdrawing from Philadelphia, with George Washington in pursuit, and for the first time, it looks as if the rebels might actually win. But for Claire Fraser and her family, there are even more tumultuous revolutions that have to be accommodated. Her former husband, Jamie, has returned from the dead, demanding to know why in his absence she married his best friend, Lord John Grey.
Lord John's son, the ninth Earl of Ellesmere, is no less shocked to discover that his real father is actually the newly resurrected Jamie Fraser, and Jamie's nephew Ian Murray discovers that his new-found cousin has an eye for the woman who has just agreed to marry him. And while Claire is terrified that one of her husbands may be about to murder the other, in the 20th century her descendants face even more desperate turns of events. Her daughter Brianna is trying to protect her son from a vicious criminal with murder on his mind, while her husband, Roger, has disappeared into the past....
©2014 Diana Gabaldon (P)2014 Recorded Books LLC
As one of Diana Gabaldon's huge fan base, I came to this eighth "big book" expecting it to be wonderful -- and I was not disappointed!
Written in my own Heart's Blood weaves four separate story lines effortlessly together, resolving all the cliff-hangers from An Echo in the Bone (while introducing some tempting new questions), enlarging our understanding of the characters -- and providing heart-stopping thrills pretty well all the way through!
When I get a new Outlander book, I find I have to read it very, very fast -- just to be sure everyone I care about will survive -- then I can go back and re-read it slowly, savouring all the delightful details, fascinating historical information and character development. And this is where the audio version really comes into its own: my first race through the book is always done on my Kindle, but enjoying all the details with Davina Porter's wonderful reading (she really is one of the very best readers around!) is utterly satisfying.
No spoilers in this review, I'm afraid -- but I cannot recommend this book too highly!
Diana Gabaldon and Amy Harmon (my favourite authors) have written some amazing books and I rank all of their books equally at the very top of my listening tree. Written In My Own Heart's Blood is a book I have been eagerly anticipating for four years and it is everything I hoped it would be.
At first I was going to say that I haven't read any other books that I could compare to this one but that wouldn't be true. The first one was named Outlander and was the story of a time traveler named Claire and a young Scotsman named Jamie.
I had many favourite scenes but there were a couple of notables that I keep thinking of over and over again. One would be when Bree was reading the letter she found from Frank Randall. It showed just how much he loved and treasured Bree and how he had done all he could to prepare her for the life ahead. The other scene would be the tragedy the family suffered just before leaving Savannah. Absolutely heartbreaking. And then there was William! Oh and of course Lord John.
This book is amazing in that it brings together so much of what has come before. I think I will need to listen to it a couple of times to pick up all it has to offer. Did I want to listen to it all in one session? Hell yes! I wanted to know it all. But realistically with a book that spans 48 hours of listening time that was never going to happen.
Any book that can leave you constantly thinking about what you have just read, about the decisions the characters made and the way their lives evolved is a gift to be treasured. But now I find that I need to go back to the beginning yet again because I realise that I didn't pay enough attention to what was written before! Well done Diana.
I loved this book! Beautifully written and has a great narrator. She really captured the characters and made them come to life in ways that were difficult when just reading the book. I love all of the Outlander series and this is no exception. Really looking forward to the next one!
Author of Five (Maor Series)
James Fraser has come back, presumably from the dead, to find that his wife has married his best friend. William has discovered that he is really the illegitimate son of General James Fraser. Oh, and did I forget to mention that they’re in the middle of the American revolution? But at least they know their only daughter is safe, back in the twentieth century…or is she?
If there was ever a cliffhanger in the Outlander series, ‘An echo in the bone’ was it. I’ve been dying to find out what happens to Jamie and Claire. The story picks up right in the thick of the action, and the blunders, misunderstandings and consequences make for entertaining reading. Once again, I found the war and camp scenes tedious at times, but that really just made it more authentic.
The storyline with Roger was fun, but I’m not sure it really added much to the story. The plot with Brianna was understated. I was a little surprised by this, as Gabaldon is not one to shy away from what could have been a seriously thrilling encounter. It was a little too vague for my liking.
I enjoyed seeing a more ‘human’ side to Claire in this installment. She’s been through so much and always appears so strong and put together. Sometimes she can come across as hard because of her efficiency, so this softer side was endearing.
I’ve never before stuck with a series for so long. Usually by book four, I find the story begins to repeat and the characters start to annoy me, but I can honestly say that I’ve never been more invested in a set of characters as I have been - and continue to be - with the Frasers. Another pearl from Gabaldon!
I have enjoyed the whole series but feel book 8 ended with a lot of loose ends and feel as though i am missing a part
Good except for the abrupt ending
I have a busy career, travel a lot and don't have much time to read, so I listen to Audio books. I love reading!
I waited with baited breathe for the new book and as usual was not disappointed..
I just love this series and historically the facts are as true as they can get given that it is fiction. I love the accents and the narrator is fabulous. But start the series at the beginning so that you can follow the story line properly because Diana does not spend any time recapping in the first chapter. She picks up the flow and runs..
I love this series... I can't wait for another one!
I read on Diana Gabaldon's blog that she doesn't always know where a story will take her. This book if proof of that, I feel. For a long while it just didn't seem to be going anywhere. Too many story lines going at once which made piecing it all together and keeping track of who all the characters were in relation to each other a bit more difficult. Having said that, Claire and Jamie's story ... and that of their immediate family .... continues along a very satisfactory path and I was as easily caught up in their lives as with all the other books. Davina Porter's characterisations are as brilliant as always and a pleasure to listen to. I look forward to book number 9 and to seeing how much further the story of Claire and Jamie will go.
AGAIN AND AGAIN AND AGAIN...WANT MORE PLEASE
This book was above my high expectations, there was twists and turns and appeared to bring all of the previous books and events into one. She is an amazing writer that leaves you wanting more...
No one else could narrate these books, Davina makes the books come alive
yes..no sleep and house work ...oh what house work.
I loved the book, like the previous books I will listen to it probably another 5 or 6 times but I feel this is not the end of the series...god I hope not
"Not quite here and not quite there but somewhere.."
The story, of course, follows the life and times of James Fraser, his wife Claire and her family. They are all there: Ian, Brianna, Roger, Janet... It is somewhat difficult to cover anything thematically without spoilering something else due to context.
The book is absolutely worthwhile to be listened to, Davina Porter as divine in her narration as always. Really, I can't imagine someone else telling the story.
All in all: the story does evolve, we get to know many answers to unsolved aspects of previous books, Diana Gabaldon is a master in word-choosing and in weaving atmospheric and vivid scenery.
Only three stars then, why?
After scattering her main characters all over the place at the end of her last book (the worst possible cliff-hangers!) I was quite anxiously awaiting how the different story-lines would be joined again. Unfortunately, and this is one of my big issues with this book, I had the impression that - after flinging Roger, Jem, William, John Grey and Ian to who knows where - D.G. had difficulty in picking them up again and uniting them in one arc. For much too long the different time-lines are completely broken apart, and while there is a lot going on, the story itself gets lost in all the conundrum. Military expertise is a fine thing to read about, but not the point (my point!) in this series.
The "rejoining"-moments then are done without further description, somewhat abrupt and strange / inconsistent. Without spoiling: What was a really, really big step in previous books is now sometimes excruciatingly difficult and sometimes as easy as if it was a walk in the park.
These are maybe small aspects, but somehow they matter here, and I felt that they disturbed the "reality" of the story.
Although all characters show up, they weren't depicted as the shining, living, breathing personas you are expecting them to be when reading D.G. This is only my personal opinion, of course, but I'd have liked to have more links between the different people during the story. It all seemed to be quite disjointed, with seemingly important persons suddenly vanishing from view, popping up completely out of context and without logical explanation and then vanishing again. Some of them refuse verbally to say where they are headed to - and then they are gone. Poof.
it was as if they were, in fact, too much to be handled for the author, and so the characters literally fell off her plate, only to be picked up from the floor several chapters laters, slightly the worse for wear and a bit disoriented.
Some of the main characters have changed in vital aspects of their being - so much that it was hard to reconcile them with what they were before. And that, in all honesty, was bugging me a lot sometimes. Of course a person's being will evolve, but usually, the won't change so much - and not in such a sad, lamentable way as in this book.
Listen to this book, enjoy it, it's worth it if you have enjoyed the previous books, and join me in waiting four or five years for the next installment. Sigh.
"At last! The next one - worth waiting for!"
Having read all the books in 'The Outlander' series, I was waiting with baited breath for this last title. According to Diana Gabaldon's web site, it was due for release in March, so the delay until June was unbearable! But it was worth the wait reader - believe me.
Firstly, Thank you, thank you, thank you, for giving the narration of this book back to Davina Porter. She IS the characters - they are back to being the people I remember them as.
I will not spoil your entertainment by telling you anything about the story, if you have listened to the series all I will say is that you will not be disappointed.
If you are looking at this book as a stand alone and have never read Diana Gabaldon before, can I suggest that you start at the first one and work your way through? That way you will enjoy all of the twists, understand the history of the characters and arrive where I am now, desparate to know if this is it, or if there is some more to come.
I understand that this month (August 2014), the Outlander series will screen in the US as a 16 episode series - now THAT would be a box set to watch on a duvet day and no mistake!
"So disappointed I could cry"
The wait was so long - and my anticipation high. I have loved this series and spent countless hours listening to the Devine Ms Porter. The previous book was not my favourite but I still hoped for a wonderful conclusion to the story of Jamie and Claire. Alas there was no conclusion, wonderful or otherwise. There were far too many extraneous characters about whom I had no interest and much too much about the Grey family (they have their own series after all) I hate to say it but I was bored! Too much military detail and too much plot repetition ( how many rapes in one family? Lightening might strike twice but rape??) I listen to my audible books in bed and thought I must have fallen asleep because the story seemed to take a giant leap forward. After crawling forward a moment at a time in the first part of the book we suddenly catapulted ahead with no explanation. I rewound back to the point I remembered but no, I had not missed anything the author just popped characters forward in time and space with no explanation (no plot spoiler but you'll see what I mean) despite its title I think this book lacked heart. The previous offerings were sublime but this was a damp squib - sorry.
"Another fabulous book from Diana"
Yes, such a fabulous book, and Davina is a great narrator, I enjoy listening to her.
Clare is my favourite, she is so brave and I love reading about her medical practice in the 18th century
I enjoyed all her character performances, but I think I like her Jamie character the most.
When Clare and Jamie realise that it is Briana, Roger and the children walking towards them.
I love the outlander series, I hope there will be a book 9
I have loved this series since book 1 and have both read and listened to it multiple times. Once again, Diana pulls us into the past drawing the listener into a time of romance and danger engaging us with her fabulous characters until we can't wait to hear what happens next.
I loved every bit of this book. There are dramatic scenes, romantic senses, tearjerkers and belly laughs. I loved the weddings and cried at the funerals.
I think Davina Porter reads this book very well. She imbues each character with their own voice, so you know who is talking without the annoying habit some actors have of using funny voices to differentiate each one
I half wanted to read this book in one go - simply not possible- and half didn't want it to end.
I really enjoyed this the Eighth book in the outlander series. It was great how Diana dealt with the characters ageing & how they came together. I truly can't wait for the ninth book as yet again, so many unanswered questions leave us hanging for conclusions. So hurry up Diana, but also take the time it will take to make it as good as all the others have been. It has taken a year of my life to read this series. Just what else is out there that will fill the void??
"A fine listen"
This book concludes the Outlander series in a good way. It continues the great story and provides a strong ending. After 8 books in the series I hoped they would give a clear final book and I wasn't disappointed. They could have ignored a few of the sub plots but it is a must listen if you've finished Book 7!
"kept me attentive &on the edge of my seat"
I enjoyed this as it is onecof the best of the series so far, in my opinion.
"WHAT A LET DOWN !!!!"
Book 7 was not as good as the previous books, this was worse. Frankly I found it boring. Story lines were weak and disjointed. I only kept reading because I found the early books so good, and thought this had to improve. Sadly it didn't. Also, there were far too many sex scenes, On this evidence, I think it is time to finish the series.
Written it with the same pace and enthusiasm as the first six novels. They were brilliant. Felt like she was bored with having to write !!
The book as all the previous books, was well read, but that does not improve on poor story lines.
I am sorry to have written this review but it truly is how I feel.
I have loved my time with the all of the characters in all 8 of the books as I defy anyone to be able to stop before they are all complete. Beautifully written and researched with so many individually crafted characters the threads between them all like gossamer. I have recommended far and wide. The narration was unusually brilliant
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