The year is 1771, and war is coming. Jamie Fraser’s wife tells him so. Little as he wishes to, he must believe it, for hers is a gift of dreadful prophecy—a time-traveler’s certain knowledge. Claire’s unique view of the future has brought him both danger and deliverance in the past; her knowledge of the oncoming revolution is a flickering torch that may light his way through the perilous years ahead—or ignite a conflagration that will leave their lives in ashes.
More than three years since I finished Drums of Autumn, I’ve finally finished The Fiery Cross. I have found that blogging and the general busyness of life have made it more challenging to commit to long books and these books are bigger than bricks! I started The Fiery Cross last year and ended up abandoning it about 400 pages in with the intention of picking it back up, but never found the motivation. I decided this year is the year I’m committing myself to these behemoths, or at least as much as I can via the audiobooks.
I was concerned about how the audio would work for me before I started listening to this book. I wasn’t sure the narrator’s voice for Claire and Brianna was fitting. Soon I realized it didn’t quite matter the longer I listened. She had such a canny ability for keeping track of the voices for each character, I always seemed to know who was speaking whether their name had been mentioned yet. I really can’t say enough good things about Davina Porter’s excellent narration after listening to 55 hours of her bringing these beloved characters to life. It truly felt as if I was watching a movie in my mind!
“Blessed are those who eat greens, for they shall keep their teeth. Blessed are those who wash their hands after wiping their arses, for they shall not sicken. Blessed are those who boil water, for they shall be called saviors of mankind.”
Despite it being more than three years since I’ve read a book in this series, I couldn’t believe how easily the storyline came back to me as I listened. Naturally, there were a few details I had forgotten or the significance of a certain character to events taking place, but Diana Gabaldon does a great job of refreshing the reader as the book goes along. I was able to immediately jump right back in as if almost no time had passed at all. In fact, it seems mind-boggling that it has been so long since I finished the fourth book. I think that’s a testament to just how epic these books are. They stay with me, obviously partly due to the time invested in them, but because the story is such a rich experience.
“He had learned early on the trick of living separately in a crowd, private in his mind when his body could not be. But he was born a mountain-dweller, and had learned early, too, the enchantment of solitude, and the healing of quiet places.”
There was a big chunk of this story that felt as if very little was happening, which I think contributed to my inability to finish the first time around. However, it was nice to be able to settle into a routine with the characters. It seems very rare for Claire and Jamie to have what seemed to be eons of time with little drama surrounding their family life. Nevertheless, as the story progressed, there were quite a few of those jaw-dropping, stomach sinking moments I had grown accustomed to. My only real complaint about this story were the few time jumps that didn’t seem to offer as much of an explanation to past events as I would have wanted. This made parts of the story feel rushed, whereas other less interesting plotlines had many more pages (minutes) of detail.
“…well, if women’s work was never done, why trouble about how much of it wasn’t being accomplished at any given moment?”
The great take away from this was just how much I’ve missed spending time with Claire and Jamie and all of the many secondary characters as well. They feel like real people to me by now and I miss them frequently throughout my life when I’m not reading the books. I’m hoping to use my next Libro.fm credit, which luckily hits my account today, on the next book in the series, A Breath of Snow and Ashes. I’m eager to use this abundance of time making progress on the latter half of the series. Somehow I know these final few books will be ripping my heart to shreds along the way.
Rating: 4 stars