A Breath of Snow and Ashes

Written by Diana Gabaldon
Review by Alice Logsdon

The sixth book in this popular series of novels begins in March 1773, when a family of settlers in backcountry North Carolina is found dead. Jamie Fraser, his extended family, and friends are safe, but clearly events like this have the inhabitants of Fraser’s Ridge rattled. Because Jamie’s wife, daughter, and son-in-law are all time-travelers from the 20th century, he knows that the American colonists are about to revolt against English tyranny. His hope is to safeguard his loved ones through the coming months. Memories of the horrible days before and after the battle at Culloden, when the Jacobite cause suffered staggering defeat, haunt his dreams, making him justifiably nervous to be on the rebel side once more. Despite reassurances from Claire, Bree, and Roger that this time things will be different, Jamie still has worries.

While the majority of the action centers on Jamie and Claire, others have their stories as well. Characters introduced in previous books show up again. Some old mysteries are solved while new ones begin.

This is a satisfying, wide-ranging historical novel. Diana Gabaldon is a natural storyteller. Her pacing is crisp, something you might not expect in a novel of such length, yet thoroughly detailed. Her prose is vividly descriptive, and her gift for writing dialogue is unsurpassed. Yes, I’m a fan. Could some of the action be cut or pared? Possibly. Is the abduction scenario overused? Maybe once or twice. Would I have wanted this book to end any sooner? Definitely not. So, leaving those small grievances aside, I must say that I loved this and will definitely be rereading it at least one more time before the next book is released.