I tried to actually read this book when it was first published, but sadly, was unable to finish it due to boredom. I just didn't care about Lord John ..Show More »at the time. I only began to read this series for something to do while waiting for the next book in the "Outlander" series to be released. That said, I guess I care a little more about Lord John now, since he's became more of a major figure in the Outlander series. The audiobook version of "Private Matter" is better than the actual hard copy. Lord John can be funny, but is also rather snarky at times. He is a good amateur sleuth and Diana Gabaldon is a good mystery writer; however, I'm not all that much of a fan of the mystery genre, being more of an admirer of straight-forward historical fiction. If you want to fill out your knowledge of Jamie Fraser's character while he and Claire were separated for twenty years after Culloden, I recommend reading the Lord John series, especially "The Brotherhood of the Blade".
(NOTE: There is a review of "Lord John and the Hand of Devils" on Audible.com by one "D. McCoy" that I found quite helpful. This reviewer lists the proper order in which to read the Lord John novels/short stories since order is particularly important with this series. If you listen/read them out of order, you may find that you have more questions than answers. Also, I do recommend the Outlander series to readers of the Lord John series. It is MUCH longer, has many more interesting characters, and readers will discover Jamie Fraser, the love of Lord John's life and, IMHO, one of modern fiction's most compelling and enigmatic characters. Though he is straight and VERY married, he and Lord John do become quite bosom friends once they reach an "understanding". This says something to me about the likeability of Lord John and his overall sense of honor.)
First of all let me say I am on my fourth listen to this book. Jeff Woodman voices Lord John Grey with tremendous wit and style, he does a fine job w..Show More »ith the other characters as well (although Davina Porter fans may find fault with his Jamie Fraser). The story is intriguing on it's own (ahem, yes he's gay, yes there is sex, it doesn't get graphic until 4 or 5 hours into the book with plenty of foreshadowing - those who claim to be shocked at this remind me of Claude Rains in "Casablanca"). Beyond that there is social and political intrigue, great battle scenes and a family mystery.
If you are a Gabaldon fan and plan to read/listen to "Echo in the Bone" this is a must for many reasons. Chacters and story lines come back to haunt us, but most critically this book shows us Lord John Grey in depth. He's no longer a 'minor character' in Echo, and I for one am glad.
John Grey, a seemingly minor character encountered by the main protagonists of Diana Gabaldon's Outlander series, becomes a central character on his o..Show More »wn in a series of short stories and books. He is a soldier, a gentleman, a noble man (in the original sense of the word), a sodomite, and an altogether human hero - often dragged into the heart of 18th century intrigues during the time surrounding the 7 Years War (French and Indian War to the Americans) in the years between the Scottish Jacobite Rising of 1745 and the American Revolution in 1776.
Readers of this series might give the Outlander series a miss, but you will lose out on serveral interactions between John and the Frasers that give a richer view of the character. The Outlander novels are a whopping 40 hours each on average, where LJ reads range between 1 and 14 hours.
You should definitely not read the Lord John series out of sequence to itself, which is easy to do accidentally since chronologically it alternates between shortstories and full length novels. Hand of the Devils contains three of the four current short stories, and while they are in order in this collection, make references to events in Private Matter and Brotherhood which leave the reader wanting to know what the heck happened though it does not have an immediate impact on the story.
As of October 2010, the order to read Lord John in is:
Hellfire (Hand of Devils); Private Matter (novel); Succubus (Hand of Devils); Brotherhood of the Blade(novel); Haunted Soldier (Hand of Devils); Custom of the Army (Warriors, Anthology); Scottish Prisoner (novel not yet released).
Stop me if you've heard this one before - An Englishman, a Scotsman, and an Irishman walk into a conspiracy...
If you haven't read "Lord John..Show More » and the Custom of the Army" you might want to catch that first (from the Warriors anthology of short stories) to understand the full scope of the events that catapult Lord John Grey into a quest to bring a fellow soldier who committed atrocities in Canada during the Seven Years War to justice.
Even before his parolee, once and future friend Jamie Fraser, is pressed into helping him by his brother the duke, and the squirrelly Toby Quinn tags along as a guide, Grey knows that he's about to unearth a hornet's nest. When he stumbles across an old family rival, Twelvetrees, events take on a different twist and subtly begin spinning out of control, and in such a way that Grey, Fraser and Quinn won't realize until it's far too late that the price for the secrets they uncover will be paid in blood.
However, it takes a Jacobite to know a Jacobite, and Fraser, already full of distrust and misgivings, and harried by his old friend Quinn, finds himself walking a tightrope between helping the Greys and betraying old allegiances, until both men find themselves in the center of a political storm of conspiracy and betrayal.
Underneath it all, John Grey juggles his family and personal relationships, from the warmth of his relationship with Hal's family, Bird, Quarry and Von Namtzen, to the open hostility of Edward Twelvetrees, to the often fractious odd half-friendship with the suspicious Fraser. When that friendship goes wrong, it's horribly, horribly wrong, but when they recover the common ground that once made them friends, even as bittersweet as it is, it shines.
While the Lord John series can be read independently of the Outlander series where he is a "guest star", knowing the full story of why Jamie reacts the way he does is best learned from the first three (Outlander, Dragonfly in Amber, Voyager) of these novels. I always recommend reading the Lord John series in the correct order, since these novels and short stories build neatly upon one another. They are, in order:
Lord John and... The Hellfire Club (Hand of Devils) Private Matter (Novel) Succubus (Hand of Devils) Brotherhood of the Blade (Novel) Haunted Soldier (Hand of Devils) Custom of the Army (Warriors, Anthology) The Scottish Prisoner (Novel) A Plague of Zombies (Down These Strange Streets, Anthology)
While Gabaldon is more known for the heftier Outlander novels, Custom of the Army and Scottish Prisoner are an excellent read, and I kind of consider them a continuation of the same story. I would not be surprised to find these two works made into a movie.
I've never been able to get into Diana Gabaldon's Outlander, not being much historical romances, but I have to say that I enjoy the mysteries G..Show More »abaldon has created around Major Lord John Grey. This character is interesting for many reasons not the least of which is he is a gay man in 18th century England where they are even less welcoming of homosexuality than they are today. The mystery is engaging and well-read by Jeff Woodman. I've already read Gabaldon's follow-up to this short story, Lord John and the Private Matter, which was not as good as this story, but still worth reading. I look forward to further adventures with Lord John.
These anthologies can be a HUGE miss sometimes but I think I got a hit this time. This book has the usual hit urban fantasy writers such as Charlaine..Show More » Harris, Carrie Vaughn and Patricia Briggs. But it also has Diana Gabaldon with a short Lord John Zombie story as well as gem of the story from Lisa Tuttle Set with a curious mystery of cursed goods set in 19th centery London. I have to say I loved to read about Warren from the Mercy Thompson story taking a spotlight in her short story!
Recommned it to anyone who likes a little unusual detective stories! and of course if you are a fan of those arthors and their world, you will definately have fun!
1. “Death by Dahlia” by Charlaine Harris (from Sookie's world) 2. “The Bleeding Shadow” by Joe R. Lansdale 3. “Hungry Heart” by Simon R. Green (Nightside story. Humorous) 4. “Styx and Stones” by Steven Saylor (this seems to be a part of a series) 5. “Pain and Suffering” by S. M. Stirling 6. “It’s Still the Same Old Story” by Carrie Vaughn (Kitty's world a Rick story!) 7. “The Lady is a Screamer” by Conn Iggulden 8. “Hellbender” by Laurie R. King (Really interesting premise! I wonder if there is more) 9. “Shadow Thieves” by Glen Cook ( a part of a series I think) 10. “No Mystery, No Miracle” by Melinda M. Snodgrass (Really interesting. I would love to read more about Cross and his work ) 11. “The Difference Between a Puzzle and a Mystery” by M. L. N. (This was a really clever story and I would love to disscuss it with someone) 12. “The Curious Affair of the Deodand” by Lisa Tuttle (I loved this short story. I would love to read more from this world) 13. “Lord John and the Plague of Zombies” by Diana Gabaldon (YES! another Lord John story!) 14. “Beware the Snake” by John Maddox Roberts (A part of a series I think) 15. “In Red, with Pearls” by Patricia Briggs (A part of Mercy's world and Warren is the main character! I loved it!) 16. “The Adakian Eagle” by Bradley Denton ( a lot going on with this story... I think I need to relisten to it)