An Echo in the Bone
One of the best feelings in opening a sequel is in knowing you are soon to be reunited with very good friends, people you have grown to love. There is a sense of trepidation as well; will the new installment stay true to what’s gone before, or will it veer wildly off course? Thankfully, almost from the moment I began reading, I realized I was indeed in for another great adventure filled with old friends, new enemies, and relationships that transcend time… literally.
Seventh in the popular Outlander series, An Echo in the Bone finds our heroes, Jamie and Claire, leaving Fraser’s Ridge, North Carolina, for Scotland during the early years of the American Revolution. As expected, nothing runs smoothly, and they soon find themselves battling pirates, the British at Ticonderoga and Saratoga, and assorted ruffians. When they reach Lallybroch, old hurts and new losses rear their ugly heads, and they find themselves separated again. As these circumstances play out, the plot moves among the viewpoints of Jamie and Claire; Jamie’s two children, Brianna and William; Jamie’s nephew, Ian Murray; and Lord John Grey.
An Echo in the Bone builds solidly on A Breath of Snow and Ashes, and its strength lies in the characters’ depth of feeling. Some story arcs wrap up, and new characters promise future problems. Gabaldon throws Brianna and Claire some major surprises, and as long-held secrets come to light, William, John, and Jamie must find peace with what they share.
Gabaldon takes the long way around to tell her tale, and some will wish more editing had taken place. Not me, however; I love the way Gabaldon evokes the period and her characters, no matter how many pages it takes her to do it. This is a sprawling, delicious novel, and Jamie’s own words can apply to it: “Ye’re no verra peaceful, Sassenach, but I like ye fine.”