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Drums of Autumn (Outlander) Hardcover – December 30, 1996
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Not going to lie, for me one of my favorite elements of the series will always be the Highlands, and I'm still disappointed we didn't get more time there. I assumed I didn't love DiA as much as the others because the setting moved from Scotland to France. But that wasn't it, because the move to the American colonies I had been dreading wound up working well. I think what went wrong with DiA was the remake of Jamie into kind of a dandy, trying to fit in with the silly French noble class. Jamie just doesn't make sense to me as a character outside of a rugged setting with a battle to fight. I worried I wouldn't enjoy the expanding cast of characters, or the shift in focus outside the Jamie/Claire dynamic, but it wasn't as clumsy as I'd feared. That said, I like both Brianna and Roger a little less after this book. In large doses, they are both super annoying. But I could read about Ian (and Rollo!) and Lord John all day.
I didn't think the plot was slow. In fact, it gets a little old for me when Jamie and Claire have to escape death every 20 pages. But there was still a lot of story movement here. Enough to make it a page turner for me, for sure.
THE STORY: This book begins after the events of VOYAGER. Jamie and Claire have ended up in the colonies and begin building a new life together there as the settlers begin to have conflicts with the native inhabitants. In the future, Brianna has to deal with the loss of her mother. She and Roger also rekindle their romance but the discovery of a clipping announcing the death of Jamie and Claire due to a house fire forces Brianna and Roger to make a decision.
OPINION: While this book is filled, as all Outlander books, with various adventures, what attracted me most to this book was the personal relationship between Claire and Jamie. Here, the two are building a life together for the first time. The boring, daily details of life -- cooking, cleaning, preparing the land -- are what the two have to deal with (punctuated by various adventures). For the first time, the two have to learn to live together after so many years apart. This book feels like a settled and romantic couple which I really loved. In the daily living, true love is shown. And for the first time, there is no question that Jamie and Claire will be together throughout the book.
What I really didn't expect was how much I would love the story of Brianna and Roger. With Claire and Jamie on a less extreme emotional path, the torch of young love is passed to Brianna and Roger. I ended up loving both of these characters and I look forward to seeing their relationship develop.
As the series has progressed, I've become more acquainted with the historical events which form the pillars of the stories where these characters exist and with each book, I have enjoyed the historical parts more. Perhaps because we have moved into more familiar territory for me, I found the historical events and tidbits here fascinating.
As with all the books in this series, parts of the story are resolved and then parts are left for future books.
WORTH MENTIONING: The book depicts a graphic rape.
CONNECTED BOOKS: DRUMS OF AUTUMN is the fourth book in the OUTLANDER series. The book assumes knowledge from the previous books and therefore the books should be read in order.
STAR RATING: I give this book 4.5 stars.
Top international reviews
The books and TV stories tell the story of Claire Randall, who had been a combat nurse with the British Army during World War II, and, while on a second honeymoon with the husband from whom she had largely been parted during the war, is transported back 203 years in time from 1946 to 1743 by a stone circle. This story and the events over the following year were told in the first novel, originally published in the UK as "Cross Stich" but subsequently as "Outlander" which is also the title of the series of novels and of the TV series.
The books published or anticipated to date are:
1) Cross Stitch/Outlander
2) Dragonfly in Amber
4) Drums of Autumn
5) The Fiery Cross
6) A Breath of Snow and Ashes
7) An Echo in the Bone
8) Written in My Own Heart's Blood
9) Go Tell the Bees That I Am Gone (forthcoming)
Historical events which are covered include the sequence leading up to and aftermath from the 1745 uprising and the battle of Culloden, the settling of North America, and the American War of Independence.
So far each season of the TV series has told more or less the same story as the equivalent book of the series.
Throughout the first four books and TV series (I'm not going to say any more to avoid a spoiler) the readers' or viewers' perspective shifts between the 18th and 20th centuries.
The description of the world of the 18th century, with its glories and horrors, is at times exquisite and at times horrifying but very well done.
The TV version corresponding to this book, Season 4, is actually quite good but in my humble opinion the book much better for two reasons.
For one thing, there is a great deal of entertaining writing in the book which does not make its' way into the TV version. And secondly, the clash between 18th and 20th century worldviews is handled much better in the books, by which I had better explain that I mean that the characters in the books are far more likely to compromise enough to keep themselves alive in the 18th century while the characters in the TV series are more likely to behave in ways which will win the approval of politically correct 21st century viewers but would in practice have been only too likely to get themselves and their loved ones killed.
The heroine would have been born about 1920 which would make her a contemporary of my parents' elder siblings, so she would have been a child during the great depression, and she had survived World War 2 as a nurse in a British army field hospital just behind the front lines.
As such she would have seen more death, pain and suffering than most people alive today can begin to imagine and she would also have to be a deeply pragmatic and tough survivor type : she would also probably be that much closer to understanding the attitudes of people in earlier centuries than people living today would.
I can think of many ways in which 20th century Brits had attitudes closer to those of the 21st century than the 18th, but objectively, and without meaning this as a criticism of the people living in any of those three centuries, I can also very easily think of several issues on which the attitude of my parents' generation were closer to those of the 18th century than they are to the attitudes of many members of my children's generation.
To explain in detail any of the instances in the book and TV series which inspire this opinion would be a spoiler, but although the conflicts between modern and 18th century attitudes are very much present in the books as they are in the TV series, the characters in the former show much more awareness of how dangerous it could be to get yourself accused of being a witch, or of getting too far ahead of even the most enlightened attitudes of the time on issues like slavery, the place of women, or gay rights.
Indeed in some cases the story is ahead of the 20th century, never mind the 18th. A couple of important characters in the story are gay or bisexual. The TV series barely notices that there is anything unusual about this, while the books do at least record that the gay 18th century characters are living, quote, "in a time when that particular predilection could get one hanged."
Neither the books or the TV series are suitable for the sqeamish or those who like everything to be light and cheerful. Both are set in an era where terrible things happen to good people and indeed good people are sometimes forced to do or go along with cruel things.
Nevertheless if you are interested in history or time travel I can strongly recommend "Drums of Autumn" and the rest of the Outlabder series of books, and indeed the TV series too.
This has been my favourite book in the series so far. I'd definitely recommend people new to the series to read at least this far.
Basically - if you start on Outlander be prepared to read all of them!
Picking up from where book 3 left off, this is set in America and interspersed with some brief stints back in Scotland as Roger and Brianna 's story starts proper. I would recommend reading but have to admit I'm going to take a break from these great characters before delving in to book 5.
I have only one slight moan, nothing to do with the story. I have the reprint Arrow edition and I found that there are a number of printing/editing/spelling mistakes in it which cannot be put down to the author. The previous three books are faultless in this respect.
I find it irritating, and in this day and age (NOT the 18th century!) there is surely no excuse for such sloppiness by the publisher. I only hope the next three books are better edited!
Diana Gabaldon is a litery genius, she takes you on a journey so vivid and full of detail that you switch off and think you are there. Some of the detail can be a bit too much sometimes, but that is her style and her book is a throughly enjoyable read - 17 days.
Can highly recommend