This book was even longer than the first or the second book which were extremely lengthy but there was not one moment of time where I was bored in all of the 870 pages.
This book had Claire back in her own time after Jamie had made her go back through the standing stones at Craigh na Dun to save her life because she was pregnant with his child. She believes he went back to the Battle of Culloden and died but through some research, with the help of her daughter and Roger Wakefield, she finds out that he lived beyond the battle.
While Claire was living her life, going through medical school and raising her daughter, Jamie was going through hell. He leaves the battle field and somehow makes it to Culloden House with a terrible wound from a bayonet in his leg. There are other men in the house all with varying degrees of injuries or just hiding from the English. He is sure he will die because the wound is already festering. When the English come into the house, they take the names of each person and then take them outside to shoot them. The Englishman in charge happens to be the brother of John William Grey, the teenager who Jamie tied to a tree rather than shoot him in the last book. The boy told him that he owed him his life and would return the favor one day and must have told the brother because instead of shooting Jamie, he put him in a horse drawn cart under straw or hay and sent him off to Jamie’s home, Lallybroch. The Grey brother did not have any hopes of Jamie surviving the trip.
Jamie’s sister, Jenny, nursed him back to health but the English were combing the Highlands looking and killing anyone who fought for Charles Stuart so Jamie lived in a cave nearby for years. He would only go to his sister’s house once in a great while to bring them the animals he hunted. Scotland was going through a famine. People were dying from starvation.
After many years, the English had stopped killing everyone who fought for Charles Stuart and started imprisoning them. Because his family and clansmen were basically starving, he decided to have one of his clansmen turn him in for the reward money. Jamie spent the next ten years or so in prison where he was barely fed and was cold most of the time.
John William Grey became the commander of the prison and became enamored of Jamie who was considered the chief of the prisoners. I don’t know what it is about Jamie but woman and men both fall in love with him. Jack Randall had a sick obsession with him and made his life miserable, even raping Jamie repeatedly the last time he was imprisoned. Laoghaire, the young clanswoman, was in love with him and was the cause of Claire almost being burned as a witch. Now, John Grey is in love with him but at least, he is honorable and doesn’t act on his feelings.
The English close the prison and send all the prisoners to the colonies or America as indentured servants except for Jamie and one other prisoner who had lost his arm. They just released the latter and gave him a pardon and left him to struggle on his own in the world. Jamie was taken to England to work as a servant for a wealthy family. He worked in the stable.
The seventeen year old daughter of the family Jamie was serving was spoiled and demanding. She was angry that her parents betrothed her to an elderly man and she wanted Jamie but when Jamie refused, she intercepted the mail that Jamie was not supposed to have been getting and blackmailed him with it. She made him have sex with her a few days before her wedding. She died shortly after giving birth to her son. Her husband claimed the baby wasn’t his and when he almost through the baby out of a window, Jamie shot and killed him. The family covered it up and took the baby to live with them. They had given Jamie his freedom but since Jamie knew the child was his he stayed and enjoyed the boys company until he was about four or five years old but decided to leave when it became obvious the child was his. People were starting to notice and that would not have been good for his health.
After Claire discovers that Jaime would have still been living, she decides to go back through the stones and find Jamie. She finds him in Edinburgh where he has a printing business and a smuggling business. Jamie is ecstatic to see her and he accepts her back into his life. He had thought he would never see her again but he has secrets that he isn’t sharing.
Claire brought back pictures of their daughter, Brianna, who she named after his father. I don’t know why Jamie didn’t tell Claire about his son but he didn’t. From the time Claire arrived, there was excitement and chaos from all of Jamie’s criminal activities. First, he takes her to a whorehouse where he has a permanent room. He leaves her there in the morning to take care of some kind of business. She finds out, there is a secret entrance below the whorehouse where he stores the smuggled wine and brandy.
Jamie has a few aliases. He uses one while he smuggles and one for his printing business and hopes nobody will connects the two to his real name of James Fraser. He is also printing material for clients that could get him killed if the English find out.
Jamie’s brother-in-law Ian shows up looking for his son, Ian Jr. and Jamie agrees to help look for him but Claire discovers that Jamie had known all along that young Ian was there. After a lot of things happen, Ian Senior who has been Jamie’s best friend from childhood leaves without his son and lets Jamie bring him back to Lallybroch. When Claire decides to ride along, Ian asks, “But Uncle, What about” but Jamie cuts him off and won’t let him speak.
When Claire gets to Lallybroch, things are a bit odd. She gets a friendly enough welcome but everyone had thought she was dead for the last twenty years and are shocked that she is back. Then she discovers that Jamie is married to none other than Laoghaire who has two girls from a previous marriage. She can’t believe that Jamie married someone who tried to have her killed but then she remembers that she never told Jamie about Laoghaire’s part in it. She is so hurt that Jamie lied to her and let her come back to Lallybroch without saying anything about his marriage that she leaves and starts riding back to Craigh na Dun to go back to her own time even though she knows it could kill her. Each time she goes through the rocks, it is harder and it takes a lot out of her.
I hurt right along with Claire. I get that he didn’t think he would ever see Claire again but the fact that he lied or didn’t tell her the truth about the marriage was just cowardly and shady. He couldn’t have picked a worse person to marry either but of course, he had no idea about Laoghaire’s part in Claire’s being captured as a witch.
Young Ian goes after Claire and tells her to go back. She refuses at first but he tells her that Jamie is dying because Laoghaire shot him. Claire goes back and nurses him back to health. She brought penicillin back with her from her time through the rocks this time and gave Jamie a few shots of it. He explains to her what happened and why he married Laoghaire. He was lonely and she needed a father for her two girls but he couldn’t love her and Laoghaire was a cold fish in bed so he left and rarely came back to Lallybroch but he sent money to care for her.
They end up leaving Lallybroch after Jamie agrees to a legal agreement of giving Laoghaire a lot of money but to come up with the money, he will have to go on a dangerous mission. While he was in prison, he heard about a treasure nearby. He had escaped for three days and went to see it. He found a box with jewels and ancient Roman or Greek coins in it. He left it out on the secluded island but has gone back several times to get coins or gold from the box…just enough to feed the people at Lallybroch. He needs to take young Ian with him to swim to the island to get the gold because Jamie is wounded. His sister agrees.
Claire and Jamie wait for Ian on the cliffs while he climbs down and swims to the island. It is misty so they can’t really see what is going on but then they hear shouts. The mist clears and they see men on the island with Ian. One has Ian slung over his shoulder unconscious and then they get on a boat and start toward a ship. Clair and Jamie try to climb down after him but the ship shoots at them. They lose Ian but are determined to find him.
They travel to Paris where Jamie’s cousin lends them a ship. He believes the ship they saw was named the Bruja, a pirate ship that is headed to Jamaica where they will probably sell Ian as a slave.
They go off on a grand adventure that ends in a strange place. It is wild. During this adventure, Claire discovers a lot of Jamie’s secrets. She is a lot more understanding than I would have been. I just think he should have trusted her more and told her the truth.
There was a lot going on in this book and a lot of new people and a few old acquaintances. If I went into all of it, this would be a book and not a review so I tried to just hit enough of the book to explain it without giving up the ending.
It was an excellent book. I love Claire and Jamie. I also want to see their daughter come through time and be with them but I am not sure that will happen.
I’ve downloaded the next book. I haven’t seen how long it is but I’m sure it will be long. If it is as good as this book, I’m not going to get much sleep for a few days again.