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Customer Review

128 of 144 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Frasers Build A New Life In America - Outstanding Drama!, February 4, 2004
This review is from: The Drums of Autumn (Mass Market Paperback)
"Drums Of Autumn" is the fourth book in Diana Gabaldon's extraordinary "Outlander" series. It amazes me that Ms. Gabaldon has been able to continue to delight readers with her consistently good writing, excellent plots, superb characters and meticulous historic research for thousands of pages and four novels. "Drums Of Autumn" most certainly will not disappoint fans of the series. If you have not read the three preceding novels, I strongly urge you to do so before beginning this book. "Drums of Autumn" may be able to stand as a novel in its own right, but I think it would be too confusing to enjoy it thoroughly without having read the historic and personal drama that Ms. Gabaldon details so well in her previous books. To label the "Outlander" series as merely historical romance fiction would be to do it a terrible injustice. This is an epic historical romance, yes...and so much more. The relationship between Claire and Jamie is one of the most caring and intimate I have ever encountered - in fiction or real life. This is a couple who are solidly committed to a life together for better or worse. Theirs is a love that truly transcends the boundaries of time.
More than twenty years before this novel begins, Claire Beauchamps Randall, vacationing in post WWII Scotland, stepped through the ancient stone circle known as Craigh na Dun - and was suddenly sucked back in time to 1743 and war-torn Scotland. It was here that she met and married her own true love, highlander James Fraser. Before the tragic battle of Culloden Moor she was forced to return to the 20th century to protect herself and her unborn daughter, abandoning Jamie in the process. Two decades later Claire made the journey back through the stones to reunite with James in the 18th century, leaving their grown daughter, Brianna, behind.
James and Claire both agreed that there was no possibility to build a life for themselves in Scotland. The clans had been forced to disband, the people were starving and living in abject poverty, most of the men were dead, crippled, imprisoned and or jobless as a result of the doomed Jacobite uprising. The Frasers along with a few friends and James' nephew, Ian, cross the Atlantic and make their way to North Carolina where Jamie's aunt has a plantation. At the same parallel time, 20th century Brianna and her beloved Scottish boyfriend Roger discover some terrifying information about Claire's and Jamie's fate. Brianna is determined to reach her parents somehow and warn them of coming events, hoping to change the future. The inevitability of these events and the frustration and inability to change the future continue to be strong themes.
This is a phenomenal novel! Ms. Gabaldon details frontier life in beautiful 18th century North Carolina so clearly and accurately that one literally feels swept back in time. Claire and James have grown tremendously as characters, as have the love and intimacy between them. I have never experienced a couple as unique as these two in modern fiction. New characters are introduced, as well as a marvelously vile villain, and in typical Gabaldon style, these new folks are portrayed with realism, complexity and humor as are many of the old favorites. This is also Brianna's story. She finally meets her father in "Drums Of Autumn" and becomes a woman with a woman's responsibilities.
The books in this series are among my favorites novels, not just because the plots are so fascinating that I am unable to stop reading once I begin...although this is true. The characters are so palpably real that the reader actually bonds with them, at least with Jamie and Claire, in a way that is most unusual and very moving. We follow their lives and observe them as they grow as human beings, experience joy, suffer, and just interact with each other on a day to day basis, as well as in the midst of high adventure. We watch as they make history and as history tears away at them. I cannot recommend this book and series highly enough.
JANA
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Showing 1-4 of 4 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Nov 25, 2009 9:03:00 AM PST
Kokopelli says:
Excellent review! You managed to capture the essence and wonder of the Outlander series without revealing too much of the plot or including any spoilers. You were also able to encapsulate the feeling of the entire series in a remarkably concise manner. Kudos!

Posted on Sep 26, 2010 5:31:18 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Sep 26, 2010 6:06:29 AM PDT
Avery says:
I agree, unlike Lawyeraau, an erstwhile top 50 reviewer, who instead of reviewing, summarized the book and gave no indication that he would be spoiling the surprises and plot for any reader who might happen onto his review, this reviewer did as Kokopelli said - wrote a review, a very good review, without laying out the entire plot of the book, summarizing it, and then analyzing it. Lawyeraau's "review" belongs in a discussion forum, this review, from a top 100 reviewer, was a bona fide review, and should be at the head of the reviews to at least partially obscure the other individual's spoiling of a long-awaited book.

Very well done, Ms Perskie - perhaps you might assist "Lawyeraau" with his/her reviews, as that individual doesn't seem to care at all if he/she spoils the book for those who come to this page in order to read the reviews of others to help determine whether they will buy the book; to obtain assistance in evaluating a possible purchase through the insight of others who have read it, and whose reviews, if well-written and reasoned, would be persuasive in that regard. They do NOT come here prior to buying a book to have the book's entire plot spoiled, discussed, analyzed, and the surprises, the unfolding of the plot turns and unforeseen twists, which were enjoyed by the reviewer, reft away by the (seeming) arrogance of one who doesn't appear to care that his "review" destroys much of the joy of discovery which he himself had enjoyed upon first reading.

I can only conclude that it is arrogance, based on the fact that Kokopelli wrote a comment to Lawyeraau's review NEARLY A YEAR AGO - and that review has NOT been modified, nor have there been spoiler warnings added; further, that "reviewer" has not bothered to respond to Kokopelli's comment, much less amended the problems with his review.

A lack of understanding so fundamental as to the difference between a review for people PRIOR to purchasing, and a discussion of a book POST purchase, should absolutely not be present in a "top" reviewer. In my opinion, that review and any similar reviews of "Lawyeraau" should be taken down and the individual asked to amend his reviews prior to any consideration of reposting; and if such request be denied, further review privileges be revoked.

I realize that this may seem draconian, but it HAS been nearly a year since Kokopelli brought the issue to Lawyer's attention; given the fact that he has not responded, two possibilities present themselves; 1) unlikely - that he "missed" the email containing Kokopelli's comment; possible, but unlikely, and 2) that he didn't care; that his placement in the "top 50" - has convinced him that he need not heed reasonable requests of others, or utilize basic courtesy toward readers; and that Amazon will not take action against him. Fortunately, I too, possess spare time, and will use some of it to try to convince the moderators that this review - and any other which spoil the plots of books which people have come to purchase - be removed.

The lack of consideration which seems apparent here, based, again, on the failure for nearly a year to respond to a comment and amend his review or at the very least indicate that it contains serious spoilers and SHOULD NOT BE READ by anyone who hasn't read the book - in other words, almost everyone reading a review as a guide to buying the book - is particularly unfortunate in one who has been granted certain privileges by Amazon; advance copies of books to review, and participation in any other discussions or determinations which a "top 50" reviewer might be accorded.

Very well done, Ms. Perskie, and very poorly done, "Lawyeraau." Given that the top 100 is a small group, I would hope that others in that group might prevail upon "Lawyeraau" to amend his review of this book, and to go through his other reviews; or for Amazon to simply put a Spoiler Warning on every one of the reviews should he not willingly amend them himself; something which heretofore, he has shown no inclination to do - again, based on Kokopelli's comment to that person's review, nearly a year ago, pointing out that he had spoiled the book for Kokopelli and indicating Kokopellii's displeasure - nothing stronger than "bummer" was said; the comment should have been headed immediately and an apology made.

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 26, 2010 8:15:47 AM PDT
Thanks for your comment.

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 26, 2010 11:01:49 PM PDT
Avery says:
You're welcome, I guess, more for not spoiling the story than anything else. It should be a given that a reviewer doesn't spoil the book for the potential purchaser. It would be nice if reviewers who DON'T spoil, might teach or instruct other top tier reviewers in doing the same.

Of course, I haven't received the courtesy of a response from "Lawyer" yet, nor do I expect to, frankly. He didn't respond to the other poster, and doesn't seem to care that he's ruined at least one book for at least two people; the general rule is that for each person who speaks up, 1000 don't and just go away unhappy.

Unacceptable.
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Review Details

Item

Reviewer

Jana L.Perskie
(VINE VOICE)    (HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)   

Location: New York, NY USA

Top Reviewer Ranking: 359