Lord John and the Hand of the Devils

Narrated by: Jeff Woodman
Series: Lord John, Book 0.5,1.5,2.5
Length: 9 hrs and 41 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (2,328 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Diana Gabaldon, the number-one New York Times best-selling author of the Outlander saga and a Quill Award winner, delivers a treat for her many fans - a collection of three novellas starring the ever-popular Lord John Grey.

In these tales, Lord John vows to avenge a murder, investigates a terrifying "night-hag" on the battlefields of Europe, and discovers treason in His Majesty's ranks.

©2008 Diana Gabaldon (P)2008 Recorded Books

Critic Reviews

"Gabaldon brings an effusive joy to her fiction." ( Publishers Weekly)
"Gabaldon's strengths are on full display....Deftly written, pleasantly concise stories about the ghosts of desire, each with its own discrete merits." ( Kirkus Reviews)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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Story

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Lord John Grey comes to life

John Grey, a seemingly minor character encountered by the main protagonists of Diana Gabaldon's Outlander series, becomes a central character on his own 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).

213 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

A small plate of savories

Highly recommended as an appetizing complement to the Outlander series. These three stories fill in a wealth of details about Lord John Greys's life and character. I don't know how interesting I would find them as stand alone works, but they provide backstory for one of my favorite personalities in the Outlander series. Plus they contain lots of clues and context for the longer Lord John books.

As usual with Diana Gabaldon there is a wealth of historic detail and some sly humor, with the added twist of the mysteries to be solved. The style of the writing is quite different from that in the Outlander main series - like fine claret as opposed to scotch whiskey, perhaps? Both appeal to me.

That being said, the final story 'Hand of Devils' does feel like it could easily be twice as long and better for it; I wanted to know more about some of the characters who remained undeveloped. Still it does tie up some of the loose ends from Brotherhood of the Blade (and will make a lot more sense if you have read that book).

I find Jeff Woodman's nuanced reading delightful, he brings the varied cast of characters to life - particularly Grey and his loyal, long suffering valet Tom Byrd. I've listened to these more than once in the past year, and enjoyed picking up on things I missed the first time.

34 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

heads up

You should read all the other Lord John stories before this one or the frequent references will just confuse. Also note that the the first two stories ( Hellfire and the Succubus) are available also on audible so if you are a big Gabaldon fan you will only be getting this book for the third story.

66 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Errors

There are several places throughout the story where the reader has had to repeat a phrase, a Clause, or even as much as a complete paragraph or page. It seems to me that the publisher should enlist the services of a good editor. Here I mean a human being with keen eyes and experience. Apparently neither the programer, who wrote the code for the grammar, syntax and other elements for the proper presentation of a quality work of literature, nor the editor (Was there actually a human editor?) had bothered to examine this piece to ensure the quality of the presentation. The author should sit down with the publisher and demand a re-recording after a scouring of this piece to correct all aforementioned errors.

9 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Reliable Gabaldon, Good Narration

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

I would recommend it because it is a reliably interesting Diana Gabaldon book, which means that the story pulls you in, the historical setting is so well-drawn you feel you are there, and the reader gains insight into what was happening to one of the lesser characters (Lord John) in the Outlander series between his appearances in the "Big Books."

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

Lord John is voiced so very well by Jeff Woodman that his voice is the one I will hear in my head when I read other Lord John episodes in the Outlander series as well as the Lord John novels and novellas.

If you could take any character from Lord John and the Hand of the Devils out to dinner, who would it be and why?

Of course it would have to be Lord John. These are his stories, and he has led a very interesting and adventurous life.

Any additional comments?

If you like Diana Gabaldon's books, you will like the Lord John stories. Just don't expect this book to be about the Fraser's. It is not.

5 people found this helpful

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Great!

The narrator is a wonder! Loved the way he brought the characters to life. The short stories were a lot of fun and a great look into this side character from the main Outlander series.

4 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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love the story, unedited reading

This book is great, the narrator, however, has not been fully edited and occasionally repeats himself when testing out different ways to say something.

3 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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I can never think of a good "headline"

I love it when a team comes together. I've been very much a fan of Diana Gabaldon for some time, and I like Lord John Grey very much. And as it turns out I utterly love Jeff Woodman's narration. He's wonderful. He has excellent timing, a marvelous gift for character, and, clearly, a sense of humor that suits Grey down to the ground. He reminds me a great deal of Simon Vance, actually, to the point that I double checked to make sure it wasn't he under a pseudonym. It wasn't. The only issue I have with the narration is a handful of repeated lines, where apparently an editor failed to delete out–takes. Odd.

I have to say, it had been a while since I met up with Lord John, and I had forgotten much of it. Honestly, it is a bit thick that bloody well everyone falls in love with Jamie Fraser.

Then again, he is Jamie Fraser, so...

I plan on using the word "absquatulating" as soon as conveniently possible. Possibly in conversation. Why have a reputation for weird without capitalizing on it?

- "Lord John and the Hellfire Club" felt familiar – oh, that's why. It's not a spectacular story – though part of that might have been me thinking "isn't this an awful lot like that other story, and what is going to happen to make this different?" When in fact (perils of the audiobook) it was the story I was thinking of, which I did not realize for some reason was part of this collection, and so of course nothing happened to make it different from, er, itself. I'm not even going to try to unravel that sentence.
- "Lord John and the Succubus" – That was different. Lord John was not in what I've felt to be his natural element here. The setting and the path of the story are unlike the other stories, but it's fun, and unpredictable.
- "Lord John and the Haunted Soldier" – Such beautiful story–telling. It was entirely natural, no chunks of information floating by, tension maintained throughout. Eerie, with the underlying certainty that there had to be some rational explanation … unless there wasn't… The emotions are honest, and the story leaves a mark. Excellent.

This right here is one of the hazards of becoming addicted to audiobooks. I think I could get the books and stories cheaper in ebook form, or even by trolling used bookstores or what–have–you. And I'm all about the cheaper. (I have no money.) But Audible offered this collection (in a sale), and I knew that Jeff Woodman was going to be one of those narrators in regards to whom money is (almost) no object. I want everything he's ever read. Oh dear.

3 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Liked this a lot!

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

While I had read that some people did not care for the narrator on these books, I like him a lot! I like learning more about Lord John's earlier years, and find him to be a very well rounded and real character. Enjoyed the book very much!

What does Jeff Woodman bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

Love the various voices he uses in developing the personality of the characters - it isn't the same as when I read them.

3 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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The Adventurous Life and Times of Lord John

al-mystery-suspense, miltary-romance-contemp-fut-hist
Read 2 times. Last read April 18, 2019 to May 2, 2019.

In an effort to read the Lord John Grey series in order, I have not read this anthology of short story and novellas together, but rather where they fall in the story time line. I love John Grey's character in the Outlander series and was so pleased to see that he had his own stories.

The first story in this book, Lord John and the Hellfire Club, was a nice introduction and reminder of his character while posing a nice murder mystery plot. John has just returned to London and visits a few of his old haunts meeting an old army friend. He is still raw from his experiences with the Scottish prisoner and sees hints of the man at every turn. But soon his thoughts have a new direction when a newly made acquaintance asks for a private interview and then gets murdered almost before his very eyes. John agrees to inquire into the matter of the young man's death and the trail leads to unexpected people and place. I found it engaging and it has whetted my appetite for the rest of the stories. 4.19.13

I just finished the second story, the novella Lord John and the Succubus. Now that was a nice atmospheric mystery set just after the events of Lord John and the Private Matter. John becomes the liaison between the English army and the Prussians in their war against the French and the Austrians near a small town in Germany. Things are going until a rumor of a Succubus breaks out and men start cropping up dead. Between negotiating this superstition, intrigue in the castle where he resides and worrying about the location of the enemy, John has his hands full. My only niggle was the ending was abrupt like you get in a shorter story, but nothing to upsetting. It was another enjoyable installment in the series. 4.27.13

Finally was able the third story after I finished the novel that comes between the second and third stories. For a novella, this one was charged with the danger, tension and internal turmoil that the author is good at. There was the mystery of the sabotage and the accusations that were flung at him going on, but John was also commissioned to discover the whereabouts of a dead lieutenant's woman. This story was very much a follow up to certain events near the end of 'Lord John and the Brotherhood of the Blade' so I don't want to get detailed and spoil it for anyone. Suffice to say, it was a gripping, entertaining read that was just one more wonderful story in the Lord John series. 6.2.13

In conclusion, if you are thinking of passing on the short story and novellas in this book, don't. These are well worth it and to skip them would to missing out on a good part of Lord John's ongoing story.

Update: I did a re-read listen to this book with the talented Jeff Woodman narrating. I really do enjoy his voice work for John and all the regular characters of this series. John is a thoughtful person, his valet Tom is sharp and eager, Harry is bluff and engaging, and the German accents during the Succubus tale were good. Woodman captures the voices and stories so well There were some editing issues where phrases were repeated now and again. But, it was a delight to listen to these three stories and the author's note with as much interest as the first time.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Anne
  • 04-13-20

Excellent Lord John stories

Loved these stories from Lord John character. Performance was excellent, brought the words to life.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Ken James
  • 12-29-19

Lord John novella

Easy to read with an interesting storyline. Familiar characters which make the books favourites of mine.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Tereza
  • 09-13-19

Too many characters for my taste ...

It was a nice, easy book. But for me, there was bit too many characters ... I was thinking several times ... and who the hell is that guy, again?? 😆

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Yorkiegirl
  • 11-07-18

Hand of Devils, Lord John

well writen, easy to listen to, an enjoyable collection of stories by an excellent wrter.

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Dianne
  • 05-12-08

Disappointing

I must admit it was my own fault that I found this listen most disappointing. I must be Diana's number one fan, but I did not pick up on the point that this was a collection of short stories.

As I have said my own fault.

5 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Courtney Wicks
  • 03-06-18

Great. But not the greatest.

For some reason the recording was very unstable. It faded in and out a lot. I’m not sure whether it was an editing issue, however, there were a few places where the narrator repeated the same sentence.

The Narrator has a lovely voice, and his accent talent is amazing.

2 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • K_Fa_Shizzle
  • 08-16-19

Narration not as bad as people have made out.

I love all of Diana's books - and these are no exception. I was expecting the narration to be awful based on other comments. He is no Davina (the audio book wizard), but not terrible!!

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Wren-nest
  • 07-21-19

Sad production errors make for flawed listening

The story lines of the book are generally as we would expect from Diana but sadly the production lacks so so much.

Far too many errors:-
The re-recordings that end up with repeated sections cause frustration to the listener.
The performers fake upper class British accent is rather distracting.
So many English words said in that fake British accent that are wrongly pronounced it quite ruins the whole book.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 09-18-18

Review - Lord John & hand of devils

I found the pronunciation of some of the text quite off putting and there were a number of long hesitations with repeated text in the recording. Having listened to all the Outlander recordings I found the quality of this one to be of a much lower standard