Drums of Autumn by Diana Gabaldon
Drums of Autumn is the 4th book of the Outlander 8-book series… and the best so far.
Covering 3 years from 1767 to 1770- or in real time from 1968 through 1970- Jamie and Claire find themselves in their usual dramatic adventures while Brianna and Roger have their own calamities and issues to deal with. There’s more time travel, Indian scenes, ocean voyages, life on the plantation, and primitive living in the wilds of North Carolina. This book takes the reader into the unsettled untamed land outside the colonies- essentially Mohawk controlled territory. But even when Claire and Jamie are at home doing domestic chores and are settled into their everyday routine, life it is never dull. At one point they were at a loss of what to do about “the snake in the privy, the pig (a mean old sow) in the pantry, and the Indian (convalescing with contagious measles) in the corncrib.” Claire’s reputation as a healer draws people from near and far to deal with cuts and bruises, broken bones, baby births, malaria and measles…. everything from herbal healing to major surgery.
Scottish superstition becomes intermingled with Indian myths, ghosts and visions, dreams, and the magic of gems. Amongst the friendly Indians, Claire becomes known as the “White Raven”.
A few new characters enter the stage and a few older ones depart. The plot is exciting, interesting and unpredictable. More than once I gasped in surprise and said aloud, “No way!” Some times in horror, sometimes in joy. There are laugh-out-loud moments and several sentimental, tear-jerking scenes.
Sadly, I have also come to the realization that our hero Jamie is human after all… not the perfect super-hero, do no wrong, macho- but sensitive- ideal man of every woman’s dreams. He has a ferocious temper, makes mistakes, and is stubborn as hell. And that definitely has severe consequences for everyone close to him. Gabaldon has several strong points in her story telling. She obviously did an immense amount of research into Scottish and Indian lore and she has exceptional knowledge of biology and ecology. She is a wonderful storyteller with a boundless imagination, strong character development, and her ability to write natural dialogue brings the characters to life and lends a sense of reality to even the most absurd scenes. The plot line is still intriguing enough to inspire me to start Book 5 of the series- The Fiery Cross.
Rated 5 Stars November 5, 2016
All contents © 2016 Lois Weisberg. All rights reserved