and the Brotherhood
of the Bladeby Diana Gabaldon
By Deniz Barki
the day after their first formal meeting with their mother's fiancée
and their soon-to-be stepbrother, Lord John Grey finds a disturbing
missive in his brother Hal's office at the 46th Regiment's headquarters
in London - a page torn from his father's last journal, which disappeared
soon after their father, accused of being a Jacobite agent, was
found dead with a pistol in his hand. Lord John is disturbed and
intrigued, all the more so when Hal refuses to disclose any information
or even to treat the matter seriously. If Lord John defies his brother
and pursues his investigation, can he clear his father's name and
restore his family's honour?
Lord John and
the Brotherhood of the Blade is Diana Gabaldon's most recent novel,
following Lord John and the Private Matter, to focus on the intrigues
and adventures of 18th Century soldier and nobleman Lord John Grey.
A third volume, Lord John and the Hand of Devils, enclosing two
previously published and one new short story, was released at the
end of November. Lord John first made his appearance on the eve
of the Battle of Culloden in Scotland, as a brave - if foolhardy
- 16 year old, in the second book of Gabaldon's bestselling Outlander
series about James Fraser and Claire Beauchamp, and immediately
captured the interest of devoted Jamie and Claire fans. For those
unfamiliar with the original series, however, Lord John and the
Brotherhood of the Blade may serve as an exci-ting introduction
to both Lord John - and James Fraser, who holds nothing but scorn
for his erstwhile gaoler Grey, as both an Englishman and homosexual,
but may hold the key to solving the mystery of Grey's father's death.
quest for the truth leads him back and forth across London and up
to the Lake District, where Fraser is indentured, all the while
as he is engaged in preparing the 46th Regiment for battle on the
French front (in what was afterward called the Seven Years' War).
At the same time, in a London that does not look kindly on men of
his nature, Grey finds himself torn between his growing affection
for his stepbrother and his incessant, though never to be requited
love, for Fraser. Other mishaps occur along the way, involving a
chance meeting at a literary salon, never-ending Irish wakes, and
even a stolen fortune-telling automaton, as Gabaldon deftly weaves
the threads of Lord John's story. Her attention to historical detail
and her sparse prose, which in a few words conveys a wealth of ideas
and reveals the depths of her characters' emotions, draw the reader
in to a convincing - and breathless - world.
said that whether short story, regular-length novel or epic, each
of her stories may be encapsulated in one word, and that Lord John
and the Brotherhood of the Blade is about honour. Whether his father's,
his lover's, Fraser's or his own, readers are masterfully led through
every twist and turn as Lord John takes on himself the task of clearing
his family's honour - without losing his own.
Old Articles by Deniz Barki:
Approaching Ireland by ferry...
Just Plain Nesin