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A Breath of Snow and Ashes (Outlander) Mass Market Paperback – April 29, 2008

4.7 out of 5 stars 3,164 customer reviews
Book 6 of 8 in the Outlander Series

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

After waiting nearly four years since The Fiery Cross (2001), readers will find every expectation fulfilled in the sixth book of the popular Outlander series. Gabaldon shines as she unfolds the continuing story of the Frasers, heartbreakingly heroic highlander Jamie and his time-traveling wife Clare. Set during the three years leading up to the American Revolution, this compulsively readable mix of authentically set historical fiction and completely satisfying romance maps both violent loss and strong family ties. On the eve of war much is changing on Fraser's Ridge and Jamie and Claire encounter much harm. This vivid and haunting novel, therefore, brings an aching sadness, but it is balanced with sheer joy, revelation, and solace. The large scope of the novel allows Gabaldon to do what she does best, paint in exquisite detail the lives of her characters. Gabaldon's ability to invoke the heroic and the harrowing writ large, while also creating moments where you dare not take a breath for fear of missing something tiny and fine, is her hallmark. For it is in describing the sound of rain on the roof, Jamie's injured hand, or the understanding between father and daughter that the world of the novel comes alive and offers readers an enthralling experience. Neal Wyatt
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Review

“The sixth instalment of the adventures of Claire and Jamie Fraser, already number one on the bestseller list, is a whopping 980 pages of action-packed escapism. It also has surprisingly melancholy and insightful views on the experience of growing old and dealing with the losses that entails…. One of the things that sets Gabaldon apart from other romance writers is exhaustive research of the times in which her characters live, so evident in her attention to period detail…. plot lines and stand-alone yarns are expertly woven together with the overall theme of impending doom and the question of predetermination.” — The Toronto Star

“Fans of Diana Gabaldon’s popular Outlander series have another rousing historical-science-fiction-romance novel to savour in A Breath of Snow and Ashes…. For fans, this book is another slam-dunk hit. It’s a massive, long-lasting source of entertainment.” — The Gazette (Montreal)


Praise for Diana Gabaldon:
“Riveting. Gabaldon has a true storyteller’s voice.”—The Globe and Mail

“Triumphant. . . . Her use of historical detail and truly adult love story confirm Gabaldon as a superior writer.”—Publishers Weekly

“Diana Gabaldon is a born storyteller. . . . The pages practically turn themselves.”—Arizona Republic

"Readers will find every expectation fulfilled.... The large scope of the novel allows Gabaldon to do what she does best, paint in exquisite detail the lives of her characters."—Booklist


From the Hardcover edition.
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Product Details

  • Series: Outlander (Book 6)
  • Mass Market Paperback: 1488 pages
  • Publisher: Dell (April 29, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0440225809
  • ISBN-13: 978-0440225805
  • Product Dimensions: 4.7 x 2.4 x 6.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3,164 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,828 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Diana Gabaldon is the New York Times bestselling author of the wildly popular Outlander novels-Outlander, Dragonfly in Amber, Voyager, Drums of Autumn, The Fiery Cross, and A Breath of Snow and Ashes (for which she won a Quill Award and the Corine International Book Prize)-and one work of nonfiction, The Outlandish Companion, as well as the bestselling series featuring Lord John Grey, a character she introduced in Voyager. She lives in Scottsdale, Arizona.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
I was one of those many readers who loved the first four books but was harshly critical of The Fiery Cross, her fifth book. However, this book is terrific. First of all Claire and Jamie are more present in this book with all their love and passion, fierceness and courage, which had been dimly expressed in The Fiery Cross. Brianna and Roger are more believable and loving towards each other - Roger is less of a wimp, Brianna has gotten over her whinny self, and Jemmy is a terrific kid, not just a pooping, nursing machine.

Ordinarily, I am impatient of a lot of description, do a lot of skimming, and want to get down to the meat and potatoes of the plot. But not in this book. Every vignette, even if not central to the plot, is vivid and fascinating, giving the reader a glimpse into life in those days. I found myself devouring every word, enjoying the journey rather than being in a rush to the destination. Gabaldon is just such an incredible writer; such an imagination - you find it hard to believe she wasn't actually there. And when Jamie says things like "If I die, dinna follow me. The bairns will need ye. Stay for them. I can wait." I find myself crying and feeling like an idiot, since this is fiction, but it touches me so.

Enjoy!
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Format: Hardcover
If you've been waiting for certain things to be resolved . . . well, you're in luck. It was with a great deal of satisfaction that I finished this book (at 2:30 this morning), because I finally had answers to a lot of the things I'd been wondering about.

Unlike Fiery Cross, this book is much faster moving, with no long descriptions of diaper-changing. Brianna and Roger seem to have found their places at Fraser's Ridge . . . Brianna is much more likeable, much more mature, and a lot less whiny. And, of course, Claire and Jamie are featured very prominently . . . it's still their series. There's action, adventure, abduction, illness, war, and of course, sex.

A book more in the tradition of Voyager and Drums of Autumn . . . I wasn't disappointed.
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Format: Hardcover
Bodice-ripper romance? Check. Historical fiction with oodles of period detail? Double-check. Time-traveling fantasy? You bet. A BREATH OF SNOW AND ASHES (actually, all six volumes in Diana Gabaldon's Outlander series) combines most of the genres I love, which means I couldn't put it down --- and at a hefty 992 pages, that's saying a lot. While immersed, I felt I was never far from Fraser's Ridge, the North Carolina homestead where Jamie Fraser, an exiled Scotsman, and his wife Claire, doctor and displaced 20th-century person, make their home. There are two other refugees from the contemporary world in the community: the Frasers' daughter Brianna (conceived in the 18th century, born in the 20th), and her husband Roger --- plus assorted saints, ruffians, eccentrics, rogues, floozies and fanatics.

Gabaldon's conceit, for those new to the books, is that certain individuals are able to pass from one century to another by means of ancient circles of standing stones. In OUTLANDER, the first volume, Claire time-travels quite by accident while vacationing in the Highlands; from 1946 she is hurtled back some 200 years, when the Jacobites, Scottish supporters of Bonnie Prince Charlie, were fighting to oust the English and reestablish their own king. She meets and marries Jamie, but after the rebels are crushed at Culloden in 1745 and he is condemned to death, she returns to modern life (and her bemused 20th-century husband) to save her unborn child.

Sounds pretty crazy, but Gabaldon makes it plausible because her research is so meticulous and her characters so sympathetic: heroic, yet attractively flawed. You get to know the central quartet --- Jamie, Claire, Brianna and Roger --- especially well, since they take turns narrating the book.
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Format: Hardcover
So far, none of the last few books at least for me has even come close to matching the first two. This was more of the same - not a lot of tension, and pages and pages of just life at the Ridge. And how many pregnant out of wedlock girls, cheating husbands, and rapes can possibly happen to one group of people?!

I liked it and read it because I love the characters, but not even close to the fun of the first two books.
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Format: Hardcover
The last three books in this series have been quite disappointing to me, and I think this was one of the worst. (I had a similar problem with the Star Wars movies-- old ones: yay, new ones: nay.) The first trilogy-- Outlander, Dragonfly in Amber and Voyager-- were taut believable adventure tales; the characters were complex and well-drawn and the books actually had a sense of plot. The second trilogy has been bloated and unfocused. I think the author's problem is that, having landed in America, she didn't know quite what to do with her main characters, and her secondary characters were not nearly as vivid or compelling.

I loved the ending of Voyager-- Jamie and Claire washed up on the shore of the New World, and when he introduced themselves as "the Frasers", it was a hard-earned privilege after spending three books hiding their identities. It hinted at a fresh start and great things to come for the two of them. The ending of ABOSAA, on the other hand, just depressed me. They're both in their 60s, and they have to start all over *again*?? Like much of the last half of the book, it also seemed slapdash.

The book's biggest problem is that there is no overarching plotline driving the story, no major question that has to be answered. The reader is simply left to wander through the complex brambles of pre-Revolutionary American politics with characters that he or she doesn't even like that much...(excepting Claire and Jamie, of course).
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