The Book Junkie

I enjoyed Gabaldon’s “Lord John and the Brotherhood of the Blade,” the second novel in her Lord John series. Gabaldon may be an acquired taste, as her novels span many genres in single books, and she doesn’t gloss over any aspect of life in the 18th century; however, if you like her style and have enjoyed other books of hers, you’ll probably enjoy this one. I’d recommend reading “Private Matter” before “Brotherhood of the Blade.” Although both books can stand alone, reading the books in order will add clarity that should make this book more cohesive.

Lord John is one of the supporting characters in the Outlander series. I’ve enjoyed both “Brotherhood of the Blade” and “Lord John and the Private Matter” as both a stand-alone series and as supplements to the Outlander books. Getting to know Lord John better is fun; reading about his life outside of “Outlander” gives him more depth, which in turn makes rereading the Outlander novels more fun.

In “Lord John and the Brotherhood of the Blade,” John and his brother Hal meet their step father- and step brother-to-be at a dinner with their mother. At first sight, John realizes that he has already met his future step-brother Percy at Lavender House, where they had a romantic encounter. John and Percy decide to turn their coincidental past into relationship. In the course of the story, John makes a few trips to Helwater, where his erstwhile Jacobite prisoner Jamie Fraser is employed. Jamie gives John information that helps clear up the mystery of John’s father’s death. For those of you who are big Outlander fans, know that Jamie’s role is only a cameo, but is vital to the development and resolution of the story.    

The book revolves around John’s life in the army, his relationships with Percy, his brother, and his mother, and most importantly, the mystery surrounding his father’s death. Widely believed to have been suicide, John knows differently; his father was murdered. And, disturbingly, his mother (who also knows the truth) has been covering it up. Why? What are her real motives? The answers to these questions are revealed in the course of the story.

“Lord John” is not about Jamie and Claire Fraser, so don’t open the book expecting that. What is is an interesting historical fiction about compelling characters. As with all of Gabaldon’s books, it is descriptive and goes into much detail about life in the time period and specifically the minutiae of the characters’ lives. If you, like me, find that fun, then read this book.

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