Although this book was super long, I don’t think anything too exciting happened in the first half of the book except for when Roger was hanged. This booked droned on and on about every day ordinary life on Fraser’s Ridge. If you ask me, most of the book needs to be edited and shortened. Half of the book was just meaningless dribble and could have been left out of the book.
Because this book was so long, I’m having a hard time remembering what happened in it but I’ll try to summarize it the best I can.
In the last book, Claire, Jamie and Ian went off in search of Roger since Jamie had given him to the Iroquois. They travel through the wilderness and discover that Roger had been given to the Mohawk so they travel even further to the Mohawk village. Roger had been living amongst them as a slave for quite a while by the time Claire, Jamie and Ian reached the village.
Jamie had been making whiskey which was more profitable than any of the other things they did on the ridge like farming. In order to get Roger back, they had brought their share of the whiskey along with them to trade for him. The whiskey was worth a lot and would have supported them for at least a year with its profits but it was the only thing they had that the Mohawk would accept as trade for Roger. They hid it before they reached the village.
Somehow, the men in the village got ahold of the whiskey and got drunk. A fight broke out in the village during the execution of a Jesuit priest and one of the Mohawk was killed by Roger. The Mohawk demanded a life for a life so they took Ian and tattooed his face, scrubbed him with sand in the river and adopted him into their tribe.
Claire, Jamie and Roger left without Ian who said he would be happy with the Mohawk.
Roger ended up not going back to the ridge right away with Claire and Jamie because they had told him about Brianna being raped and being pregnant. He had to decide whether he wanted to stay or go back to his own time in the 20th century. He had found a place like the standing stones in Scotland where he could travel back to his time out in the wilderness. In the end, he decided to be with Brianna and accept the child as his own.
The beginning of this book was all about the Regulators and an impending battle. The Regulators were a group of about a thousand or more men who had grown weary of the corruption of government officials in North Carolina so they would go into certain towns, drag out the corrupted officials and beat them and sometimes kill them, and start riots in the town. Governor Tryon who gave Jamie his land called on Jamie and others to get together an army of men to fight the Regulators.
Claire went along to the battle to help the wounded afterwards. On the morning of the battle, Jamie sent Roger over the creek to speak with Herman Husbands, a Quaker who was basically the leader of the Regulators. Roger was to try to reason with Herman and to convince him to stop the battle. Herman, who was against violence, ended up just riding off and leaving the Regulators who wanted war and would not listen to him. On his way back across the creek, Roger saw Morag, a woman he helped on the ship and who he now knew was his great-great-great-great or more grandmother. For some reason, he kissed her and her husband, William Buccleigh MacKenzie, who would be Roger’s great-great-great-great grandfather or more saw the kiss and started fighting with Roger.
The battle began while Roger was fighting with William MacKenzie. Somehow, William and his friends took the metal button that proved that Roger was one of Governor Tryon’s men from him. When the battle was over, William and his friends gagged and bound Roger and pretended they were with the Governor’s men. They said that Roger was one of the leaders of the Regulators. Governor Tryon, not recognizing Roger, decided to hang three men from the Regulators and hung Roger as one of the three.
Morag ran to find Jamie and Claire to try to warn them before it happened but by the time they reached Roger, he had been hanging for over an hour. Brianna had showed up at the battle site also and was there when they took Roger down from the rope. I cried because it was sad that Roger was dead but then Roger moaned and they discovered he was not dead after all. It was still sad though because he couldn’t breathe so Claire had to cut a hole in his neck to let in air because his neck had been crushed and he was swollen.
Due to the hanging, Roger could barely speak and it was certain that he would never sing again and that was what Roger loved to do. He went into a depression and withdrew from everyone. He still functioned but he wasn’t himself anymore.
Jamie’s Aunt Jocasta finally married Duncan Innes and had a giant party to celebrate. During the party, Jamie found one of the slaves passed out drunk in the garden. She had Duncan’s cup that Jocasta had given him for as a wedding gift. Jamie thought that she may have been drugged and since she had Duncan’s cup, the drug was probably meant for Duncan but she drank it instead. He had her carried up to the slave’s quarters to sleep it off. She died the next day but Claire thought she died of something different than the drugs because she had started bleeding everywhere so Claire and Jamie snuck into the shed where she was put to await burial and performed a secret autopsy. During the autopsy, two people entered the shed, Phillip Wylie and behind him, Stephen Bonnet. They both ran when they saw Claire and Jamie. At first, Jamie thought that Wylie and Bonnet were together but when they questioned Phillip Wylie, it was clear that he didn’t know Stephen Bonnet and that Bonnet had followed him into the shed.
They found out that while they were performing the autopsy — which they couldn’t tell anyone about because it would be considered defiling a corpse and punishable by death – Stephen Bonnet and an unknown associate had been up at the mansion where they had tied up Jocasta then questioned and threatened her. They had heard that she had gold and wanted it. She had sent them to the shed as a delay tactic. When they left to go to the shed, she broke the window in her bedroom and yelled for help. She described Bonnet’s voice as having a lilting Irish accent but she could not describe the other man’s voice because he had not spoken. Jocasta figured that she probably knew him and he knew that since she was blind that if he did not speak, she would not recognize him if he did not speak but she also was adept at smells too. All she knew was that he had drank a lot.
Jamie wanted to know the whole story of why anyone would think there was gold at River Run so Jocasta told them the story. When Prince Charles tried to gain the throne during the Jacobite uprising, King Louis of France was supposed to have sent gold and jewels to Scotland but it never arrived. People believed that King Louis just said he sent it but in reality had not sent it at all. Jocasta said that King Louis had sent it but it had arrived too late. She was with her husband, Hector Cameron, one night just before Culloden. Hector Cameron along with Dougal MacKenzie and one other masked man had unloaded six boxes of gold and jewels then each had taken away two boxes apiece for safe keeping. The gold had reached the shores of Scotland too late to help the Jacobite cause. Hector had taken his two boxes and went somewhere in the woods near his home and buried them but had taken out enough gold to get them away to the Americas where they escaped to just after Culloden. She said that there was no extra gold after purchasing River Run.
Jamie believed that Stephen Bonnet would return to River Run to look for the gold one day soon. He was tired of Stephen Bonnet causing so much trouble so he started having people inquire about the whereabouts of Bonnet so he could find him and kill him.
Jamie’s sister, Jenny, stopped writing to Jamie when she found out about Ian living with the Mohawk. Everyone else including her husband wrote to Jamie but not Jennie. Jenny still wouldn’t write to Jamie even after Ian had snuck a letter out to Jamie telling him that he was okay and that he was expecting a baby with one of the Mohawk women who he called Emily. He said he was happy and not to worry about him. Later in the book, Jennie finally wrote to Jamie. She said she was still mad at him but she realized that she still loved him after she had accidently overheard Laoghaire having sex with someone and she became angry on behalf of Jamie….not because Jamie would be jealous but because Laoghaire had refused any marriage proposals which would have released Jamie from a lot of his financial burden. It was obvious that Laoghaire was either living with a man or at least sleeping with one and keeping it secret so that she could receive more money from Jamie.
I thought it was kind of strange that after receiving the letter from Jenny, Jamie confessed to Claire that he was upset that Laoghaire was enjoying having sex with someone when she hated having sex with him. He couldn’t figure out why she would like it with someone else and not with him. Claire was so understanding with him when he told her this but I thought he shouldn’t even care.
Ian and his wolf, Rollo, came back to the ridge almost a year and a half after later. He didn’t say why he was back and what happened to his Mohawk wife and child. He only said that he was back for good.
Jamie never did meet up with Stephen Bonnet. When he went to go meet him, Bonnet sent others to ambush Jamie and Roger. Claire, Brianna and Marsali waited for Jamie and Roger in Wilmington. When they went to pick berries one morning, Stephen Bonnet followed them. He told them that he and Lieutenant Wolff had been the ones at Jocasta’s that night. Lieutenant Wolff had ran into a doctor named Rawlings who had been at River Run and had seen gold there. Lieutenant Wolff had then tried to marry Jocasta to get River Run and to find the gold but Jocasta had refused him. Then Wolff had hired Bonnet to kill Duncan Innes on the day of the wedding. Wolff had drugged Duncan’s drink and given it to the slave to give to Duncan but when the slave drank the drug instead, it complicated things. Wolff was afraid the slave would identify him as the one who had given her the drink so he had gone to the slave’s quarters and made her drink something that had ground glass in it which had killed her. Bonnet also said that Jamie and Roger would be dead by now because he had sent two of his associates to kill them. Stephen Bonnet tried to get Brianna to go with him but she shot him somewhere in the groin area. He ran and got away. Jamie and Roger were ambushed but got away after killing the two men who ambushed them.
There were 979 pages in this book. That is a very long book. Although it is interesting to learn about life way back in the 1770s, I grew tired of reading about the making of candles and the building of fences. I just think a lot of it could have been left out of the book. I’m invested in the series now so I went ahead and downloaded the next book. I noticed it has 1432 pages.