Diana Gabaldon, author of the Outlander Series, wrote an explanation regarding the short stories (short being a relative term when it comes to this author and I'm not complaining!) she has written and published about Lord John Grey. She basically explained that she found herself becoming very interested in this character apart from his supporting role in her books. She decided to write about him to see where this led, and what his life separate from the series itself, would tell her about him. Authors often do this, I've come to understand, with regard to supporting characters and the like who show up in the writing of their main story lines. They learn more about that character and why they are who they seem to be through this exercise. It is fortunate for us, her readers, that she became so interested in Lord John Grey, and decided to share his backstory, so to speak, with the people who love The Outlander books.
After reading this book, the first of the Lord John books, I found that I liked him even more than I already did through the main books. I enjoyed getting to know even more about this man who is, above all, an honorable man of his word and a rare human being in that he is loyal beyond question to those people he loves, regardless of how that love is returned. Lord John, to my way of thinking, is the kind of human being that we should all aspire to be. He is also a huge breath of fresh air when compared to the likes of say, Black Jack Randall.
This teaches us that simply because a person "belongs to the enemy", it does not follow that every person on the "other side" is a bad person. We are reminded that there are both good and bad people on both sides of any conflict, regardless of which side they stand on. This is true of the military, in particular throughout history. The word "enemy" is attached to a country by the leaders of another country. It follows that the military for either side of the conflict has no choice; they are a weapon that is armed, aimed and fired wherever and at whoever the leaders of their country dictate. They feel all the same sorts of things that the troops deployed against them feel, and their personal feelings are of no consideration. As an American, it put me in mind of how Americans treated their own troops during Vietnam. Thank goodness that public awareness has come far enough now, that people no longer disrespect our soldiers. We seem to have realized that they have no say in anything when it comes to any military action.
I apologize that I have digressed, but in this case I felt obliged to share what general thoughts I had that were provoked by reading both the Outlander books, and the Lord John novels. As to this book, as well as every book in print and every novella or short story only available as a download, I love them all. They are wonderfully written in the style we've come to love and expect from Diana Gabaldon. They add an extra depth and richness to the Outlander saga, that while unneeded--the Outlander Series is extremely rich and fulfilling all on its own--is an unexpected bonus from this outstanding author of historical fiction.
**If you have not read the Outlander Series, I'm afraid that while the Lord John novels arguably can stand alone, you won't understand passing references to characters that you would otherwise know very well from the book series, thereby leaving a good bit of information about Lord John himself, as well as what takes place when he is involved in those books. I'm afraid they might leave you feeling a bit confused even. I can heartily recommend the series itself as well as the Lord John novels.**
***New Outlander Series Readers: I've been reading this series since the very first book came out in hardback about twenty years ago, and I am enjoying the new made for television adaptation of the first book, The Outlander. I'm enjoying it so much that I've been rereading all the books and novels to date. Through my recommendation of the show to friends and family, at least four people have started reading the books. I recommend the same order to them that I will suggest to you...read the first 5 books in the Outlander Series, then stop and read all of the Lord John books in order and if you have the hardware necessary, download and read the two novellas only available via download...Amazon has everything Gabaldon has written) then go on to Book 6 from the Outlander books. You can't go wrong with that timing, I promise! HAPPY VIEWING AND READING!***