Lord John and the Brotherhood of the Blade (Lord John Grey Series)

Lord John and the Brotherhood of the Blade (Lord John Grey Series)

by Diana Gabaldon

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Overview

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
 
Diana Gabaldon, the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Outlander saga, brings back one of her most compelling characters: Lord John Grey. Here Gabaldon weaves together the strands of Lord John’s secret and public lives—a shattering family mystery, a love affair with potentially disastrous consequences, and a war that stretches from the Old World to the New.
 
It’s been seventeen years since Lord John’s father, the Duke of Pardloe, was found dead, a pistol in his hand and accusations of his role as a Jacobite agent staining forever a family’s honor. Now unlaid ghosts from the past are stirring. Lord John’s brother has mysteriously received a page of their late father’s missing diary—and John is convinced that someone is taunting the Grey family with secrets from the grave. So he turns to the only man he can trust: the Scottish Jacobite James Fraser. But war, a forbidden affair, and Fraser’s own secrets will complicate Lord John’s quest—until James Fraser yields the missing piece of an astounding puzzle and Lord John must decide whether his family’s honor is worth his life.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780385337502
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication date: 08/26/2008
Series: Lord John Grey Series , #3
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 528
Sales rank: 46,865
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.20(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

Diana Gabaldon is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the wildly popular Outlander novels—Outlander, Dragonfly in Amber, Voyager, Drums of Autumn, The Fiery Cross, A Breath of Snow and Ashes (for which she won a Quill Award and the Corine International Book Prize), An Echo in the Bone, and Written in My Own Heart’s Blood—as well as a collection of Outlander fiction, Seven Stones to Stand or Fall; the related Lord John Grey books Lord John and the Private Matter, Lord John and the Brotherhood of the Blade, Lord John and the Hand of Devils, and The Scottish Prisoner; two works of nonfiction, The Outlandish Companion, Volumes 1 and 2; the Outlander graphic novel, The Exile; and The Official Outlander Coloring Book. She lives in Scottsdale, Arizona, with her husband.

Hometown:

Flagstaff, Arizona

Date of Birth:

January 11, 1952

Place of Birth:

Flagstaff, Arizona

Education:

B.S., Northern Arizona University, 1973; M.S., Scripps Oceanographic Institute; Ph.D., Northern Arizona University, 1979

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One


All in the Family

London, January 1758 The Society for Appreciation of the English Beefsteak, A Gentlemen’s Club

To the best of Lord John Grey’s knowledge, stepmothers as depicted in fiction tended to be venal, evil, cunning, homicidal, and occasionally cannibalistic. Stepfathers, by contrast, seemed negligible, if not completely innocuous.

“Squire Allworthy, do you think?” he said to his brother. “Or Claudius?”

Hal stood restlessly twirling the club’s terrestrial globe, looking elegant, urbane, and thoroughly indigestible. He left off performing this activity, and gave Grey a look of incomprehension.

“What?”

“Stepfathers,” Grey explained. “There seem remarkably few of them among the pages of novels, by contrast to the maternal variety. I merely wondered where Mother’s new acquisition might fall, along the spectrum of character.”

Hal’s nostrils flared. His own reading tended to be confined to Tacitus and the more detailed Greek and Roman

histories of military endeavor. The practice of reading novels he regarded as a form of moral weakness; forgivable, and in fact, quite understandable in their mother, who was, after all, a woman. That his younger brother should share in this vice was somewhat less acceptable.

However, he merely said, “Claudius? From Hamlet? Surely not, John, unless you happen to know something about Mother that I do not.”

Grey was reasonably sure that he knew a number of things about their mother that Hal did not, but this was neither the time nor place to mention them.

“Can you think of any other examples? Notable stepfathers of history, perhaps?”

Hal pursed his lips, frowning a bit in thought. Absently, he touched the watch pocket at his waist.

Grey touched his own watch pocket, where the gold and crystal of his chiming timepiece—the twin of Hal’s—made a reassuring weight.

“He’s not late yet.”

Hal gave him a sideways look, not a smile—Hal was not in a mood that would permit such an expression—but tinged with humor, nonetheless.

“He is at least a soldier.”

In Grey’s experience, membership in the brotherhood of the blade did not necessarily impute punctuality—their friend Harry Quarry was a colonel and habitually late—but he nodded equably. Hal was sufficiently on edge already. Grey didn’t want to start a foolish argument that might color the imminent meeting with their mother’s intended third husband.

“It could be worse, I suppose,” Hal said, returning to his moody examination of the globe. “At least he’s not a bloody merchant. Or a tradesman.” His voice dripped loathing at the thought.

In fact, General Sir George Stanley was a knight, granted that distinction by reason of service of arms, rather than birth. His family had dealt in trade, though in the reasonably respectable venues of banking and shipping. Benedicta Grey, however, was a duchess. Or had been.

So far reasonably calm in the face of his mother’s impending nuptials, Grey felt a sudden drop of the stomach, a visceral reaction to the realization that his mother would no longer be a Grey, but would become Lady Stanley—someone quite foreign. This was, of course, ridiculous. At the same time, he found himself suddenly in greater sympathy with Hal.

The watch in his pocket began to chime noon. Hal’s timepiece sounded no more than half a second later, and the brothers smiled at each other, hands on their pockets, suddenly united.

The watches were identical, gifts from their father upon the occasion of each son’s twelfth birthday. The duke had died the day after Grey’s twelfth birthday, endowing this small recognition of manhood with a particular poignancy. Grey drew breath to say something, but the sound of voices came from the corridor.

“There he is.” Hal lifted his head, evidently undecided whether to go out to meet Sir George or remain in the library to receive him.

“Saint Joseph,” Grey said suddenly. “There’s another notable stepfather.”

“Quite,” said his brother, with a sidelong glance. “And which of us are you suggesting . . .?”

A shadow fell across the Turkey carpet, cast by the form of a bowing servant who stood in the doorway.

“Sir George Stanley, my lord. And party.”


General Sir George Stanley was a surprise. While Grey had consciously expected neither Claudius nor Saint Joseph, the reality was a trifle . . . rounder than anticipated.

His mother’s first husband had been tall and dashing, by report, while her second, his own father, had been possessed of the same slight stature, fairness, and tidy muscularity which he had bequeathed to both his sons. Sir George rather restored one’s faith in the law of averages, Grey thought, amused.

A bit taller than himself or Hal, and quite stout, the general had a face that was round, cheerful, and rosily guileless beneath a rather shabby wig. His features were nondescript in the extreme, bar a pair of wide brown eyes that gave him an air of pleasant expectation, as though he could think of nothing so delightful as a meeting with the person he addressed.

He bowed in greeting, but then shook hands firmly with both Greys, leaving Lord John with an impression of warmth and sincerity.

“It is kind of you to invite me to luncheon,” he said, smiling from one brother to the other. “I cannot say how greatly I appreciate your welcome. I feel most awkward, then, to begin at once with an apology—but I am afraid I have imposed upon you by bringing my stepson. He arrived unexpectedly this morning from the country, just as I was setting out. Seeing that you will in some sense be brothers . . . I, er, thought perhaps you would pardon my liberty in bringing him along to be introduced.” He laughed, a little awkwardly, and blushed; an odd mannerism in a man of his age and rank, but rather endearing, Grey thought, smiling back despite himself.

“Of course,” Hal said, managing to sound cordial.

“Most certainly,” Grey echoed. He was standing closest to Sir George, and now turned to the general’s companion, hand extended in greeting, and found himself face to face with a tall, slender, dark-eyed young man.

“My Lord Melton, Lord John,” the general was saying, a hand on the young man’s shoulder. “May I present Mr. Percival Wainwright?”

Hal was a trifle put out; Grey could feel the vibrations of annoyance from his direction—Hal hated surprises, particularly those of a social nature—but he himself had little attention to spare for his brother’s quirks at the moment.

“Your servant, sir,” he said, taking Mr. Wainwright’s hand, with an odd sense of previous meeting.

The other felt it, too; Grey could see the faint expression of puzzlement on the young man’s face, a faint inturning of fine dark brows, as though wondering where . . .

Realization struck them simultaneously. His hand tightened involuntarily on the other’s, just as Wainwright’s grip clutched his.

“Yours, sir,” murmured Wainwright, and stepped back with a slight cough. He reached to shake Hal’s hand, but glanced briefly back at Grey. His eyes were also brown, but not at all like his stepfather’s, Grey thought, the momentary shock of recognition fading.

They were a soft, vivid brown, like sherry sack, and most expressive. At the moment, they were dancing with mirth at the situation—and filled with the same intensely personal interest Grey had seen in them once before, at their first meeting . . . in the library of Lavender House.

Percy Wainwright had given him his name—and his hand—upon that occasion, too. But Grey had been an anonymous stranger then, and the encounter had been necessarily brief.

Hal was expressing polite welcome to the newcomer, though giving him the sort of coolly professional appraisal he would use to sum up an officer new to the regiment.

Grey thought Wainwright stood up well to such scrutiny; he was well-built, dressed neatly and with taste, clear-skinned and clean-featured, with an attitude that spoke of both humor and imagination. Both traits could be dangerous in an officer, but on a personal level . . .

Wainwright seemed to be discreetly exercising his own curiosity with regard to Grey, flicking brief glances his way—and little wonder. Grey smiled at him, now rather enjoying the surprise of this new “brother.”

“I thank you,” Wainwright said, as Hal concluded his welcome. He pulled his lingering attention away from Grey, and bowed to Hal. “Your Grace is most . . . gracious.”

There was an instant of stricken silence following that last, half-strangled word, spoken as Wainwright realized, a moment too late, what he had said.

Hal froze, for the briefest instant, before recovering himself and bowing in return.

“Not at all,” he said, with impeccable politeness. “Shall we dine, gentlemen?”

Hal turned at once for the door, not looking back. And just as well, Grey thought, seeing the hasty exchange of gestures and glances between the general and his stepson—horrified annoyance from the former, exemplified by rolling of the eyes and a brief clutching of the shabby wig; agonized apology by the latter—an apology extended wordlessly to Grey, as Percy Wainwright turned to him with a grimace.

Grey lifted one shoulder in dismissal. Hal was used to it—and it was his own fault, after all.

“We are fortunate in our timing,” he said, and smiled at Percy. He touched Wainwright’s back, lightly encouraging him toward the door. “It’s Thursday. The Beefsteak’s cook does an excellent ragout of beef on Thursdays. With oysters.”

Sir George was wise enough to make no apology for his stepson’s gaffe, instead engaging both the Greys in conversation regarding the campaigns of the previous autumn. Percy Wainwright appeared a trifle flustered, but quickly regained his composure, listening with every evidence of absorption.

“You were in Prussia?” he asked, hearing Grey’s mention of maneuvers near the Oder. “But surely the Forty-sixth has been stationed in France recently—or am I mistaken?”

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Lord John and the Brotherhood of the Blade (Lord John Grey Series) 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 155 reviews.
msayyid More than 1 year ago
Read this book if you are in desperate need of any Outlander connection. As usual Gabaldon's writing style is superb, she paints her characters with extreme detail and startling depth while also plotting a mystery. The gay romance is beautiful and built upon layers of complication depicting an impossible love triangle (between three men). I've always liked Lord John Grey (except when he made his first move on Jamie at Ardsmuir) but I grew to love and sympathize with him in this book. I read this novel AFTER reading "An Echo in the Bone" and therefore was really rather grateful for all the clarification regarding Grey's elusive past and involvement with the infamous, Percival Wainwringht. Percy really keeps you on edge throughout the novel and you keep thinking "Okay what is he going to do next?" I kept thinking he was evil and never really trusted him. He is a very entertaining character. You get a good taste of the Seven Years War and the vivid recollections of war that come with most of Gabaldon's novels. Alas I can NOT give this novel 5 stars due to my lack of ardor while reading it. I got through it towards the end but enjoyed most of it. Gabaldon is a gifted writer and story teller and if you can not wait for her next book then this book will give you comfort.
la-bibliophile More than 1 year ago
A good read- sensous, action-filled though psychological novel, with brief glimpses of Jamie. Though the Lord John series is not quite as good as the Outlander series (but what could compete with Jamie- even for those of us who despise "romance" novels?), this series is an excellent way to wean yourself off the Outlander books, or to keep yourself occupied until the next Outlander book comes out. I wouldn't recommend this book for your average book club unless there aren't any homophobes, but otherwise, I'd recommend this book to anyone who likes historical fiction.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Diana Gabaldon has a magical way of drawing in her readers. The characters were well developed and understood. The Brotherhood of Blade is a fine example of historical accounts that, in many sad ways, still exsist today. 1758, a time of war in England is also a time of misery for those who would hide their identity, their sexual difference of preference from that the law permits via church and government. The book details the inside thoughts of those in fear of an inevitable exicution by grisly torture should they be revealed and exposed. The story is captivating. Having already read Lord John and the Private Matter, I had a sense of clear undestanding and backround to enjoy this read fully. Having said that, I am sure the book stands well on its own which is a quality in writing that I truly appreciate. I believe the sexual content, a bit descriptive was, infact, necessary for the reader to be able to imbibe and understand the writers passion. I enjoyed this read and would recommend it to any adult.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. To the reviewer who thought this was an adult book, I agree. But I think all her books are adult. Her descriptions of people are so full and well-rounded that they are a joy to read even if the story weren't riveting. I found the description of the gay lifestyle in the 1700s very interesting it was something I was unfamiliar with. Be sure to read Lord John and the Private Matter first, it makes this book more understandable.
harstan More than 1 year ago
Being a gay man in 1758 England is difficult as caught sodomites are hung in a grisly manner. The government does not call attention to a group of conspirators who will be tried for treason so instead accuse them of sodomy. Lord Major John Grey, brother to Hal, the Duke of Pardloe, keeps his sexual orientation hidden for fear a wrongly placed whisper means death. While in the Hal¿s Office, a page of their dead father¿s journal is found on his desk. Hal tells John he was exiled to Aberdeen when his father died because there were rumors that their father was a traitor who was going to be arrested and rumors of his being a sodomite were on everyone¿s lips. John takes solace in his new relationship with Percy, the stepson of the man about to marry his mother. Percy joins the same regiment that John and Hal belong to so that they have another reason to be brothers. John has recently been attacked several times their mother believes the incidents are tied to their father¿s murder. John is content to be with someone he cares about and not delve into the homicide even if it ties to the present. After their regiment deploys to the German front to fight the French, clues surface that could solve the decade old murder mystery. --- The latest Lord John book is more a historical drama than a mystery. Readers obtain a glimpse at life in mid eighteenth century England for someone who is gay. John is an honorable person who relishes his sexual orientation although he hates having to hide it (not out of shame but out of a real fear for his life). The murder mystery is interspersed throughout the story line as that subplot serves to enhance the look at the life of a homosexual in historical England. Diana Gabaldon¿s provides a powerful Lord John tale that is unforgettable especially with its relevancy today. This author can't write a bad book as they are all fascinating and memorable. --- Harriet Klausner Harriet Klausner
Englander More than 1 year ago
Already having earned gradute degrees in both Marine Biology and Ecology, Diana Gabaldon should probably qualify for degrees in far more subjects based on the extensive research that she must have done in this and all her other books including the Outlander series. Her works have priority in my library - all are well worth reading again and again.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A must read if you have read the Outlander series. Especially if you are having Jamie and Clare withdrawal.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Besides the well researched history woven into a great storyline, I love Gabldon's use of vocab.
Pam529 More than 1 year ago
I've read her Voyager series three times and I expect I will reread the Lord John series many times as well. Engaging, fun, historical fiction.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love the Lord John books, however, I love anything by Diana Gabaldon. There is not one book of hers that I have not added to my collection, and read numerous times and this one is just as good.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
really interesting addition to the series
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
As with all of the Outlander series, I have really enjoyed the Lord John Grey series. The Brotherhood of the Blade is my favorite of the Lord John stories. The reader really gets a better idea of who Lord John is.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved the history and Lord John's character. The tidbits of Jamie Fraser was a bonus!
love2laf on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I really enjoy the Lord John series, and this one being a full length novel was even better than the short stories. Lots to sink my teeth into.
fyrefly98 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Summary: Lord John Grey's mother is getting remarried, but that's not the only thing that's stirring up the memory of his father's death. Seventeen years ago, right before his apparent suicide, Lord John's father was accused of being a Jacobite traitor, an accusation which still weighs heavily on Lord John's mind, and which he and his brother have spent their lives denying. Now, pages from their father's journal - the same journal that might either exculpate or damn their father - are resurfacing, which means that someone involved in his death is still alive. But before Lord John can uncover the person behind the pages and finally put his father's ghosts to rest, life intervenes, in the form of a budding new relationship with his stepbrother that he must keep secret at all costs, and the perils that come with being an officer in the British Army.Review: If it weren't for the fact that I already had Lord John and the Brotherhood of the Blade sitting on my shelf when I read Lord John and the Private Matter, I'd think that Gabaldon wrote it specifically to address my main issues with the first book. Specifically, I'd complained that the Lord John books pale in comparison to the Outlander series, because Lord John is just not as lively and compelling of a character as Jamie and Clare. But, after finishing Lord John and the Brotherhood of the Blade: I take it back! I take it all back!In this installment, Lord John is just about the opposite of weak tea. Brotherhood of the Blade is very much a character-driven novel, and we get to see some of his inner fire that he usually keeps locked up pretty tightly. Over the course of the book, he has to wrestle with a lot of issues about family and honor and love and responsibility, and Gabaldon is not shy about putting him through the emotional wringer - and about giving the readers a close-up view of the process, instead of keeping her characters at a more staid and proper 18th century distance. My heart broke for Lord John more than once over the course of this book, and while he might never quite match Jamie's magnetism, he's certainly become a fascinating character in his own right. Speaking of Jaime, he does show up several times in this book (which takes place in the gap between Dragonfly in Amber and Voyager in the Outlander series chronology). I was particularly struck by how different Lord John's Jamie is than Claire's Jaime, very hard-edged and tightly-wound and almost harsh. If this had been the first time I'd met him as a character, I doubt I'd have liked him much; and I'm impressed that Gabaldon was able to so effectively present such a different view of such a well-loved character. The one downside to having such a character-focused novel is that the mystery plot - who is sending the pages and what do they know about Lord John's father - is put on the backburner for a lot of the novel. I found the mystery/politics/conspiracy subplot a little hard to follow, because most of the people involved appear on-screen very briefly (if at all), so it was hard to keep them all and their motivations (and their motivations of 20 years ago) straight in my head. But because the emotional heart of the story is in the repercussions of Lord John's father's death, rather than its causes, I don't think I missed much, and the bulk of the book was totally engrossing. 4 out of 5 stars.Recommendation: This book could stand alone fairly well, but of course it will appeal most to Outlander fans who have read at least through Voyager.
alana_leigh on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
For those who read Lord John and the Private Matter and shrugged their shoulders a bit, happy enough to enjoy the world of Gabaldon but not terribly impressed with the mystery itself, then I think you'll be quite pleased with Lord John and the Brotherhood of the Blade. It has enough to delight Gabaldon fans who also happen to like mysteries as well as the fans who are really just looking for a fix while they wait for the next big Jamie and Claire book. In Private Matter, things started off with Lord John was working for the interests of his family (aka making sure his cousin didn't marry a poxed fellow), but overall, it wasn't quite compelling. Here, that's all changed and the story is very personal indeed. Not only does the main storyline have to do with avenging the death of a father and reclaiming the family honor, but we introduce a love interest for John in the form of Percy Wainwright and delve into deeper discussion of homosexuality in the eighteenth century. The book also also gets right into the thick of the workings of the British army and a bit of action from the Seven Years War.We've caught a glance of Percy before now in the Lord John series, as a handsome young man briefly seen at Lavender House, so we know where his orientation lies. (And those who have read An Echo in the Bone will immediately recognize him. I found myself rather wishing that I had read Gabaldon's books in order of publication so I could have known more about Percy and John's relationship before reading Echo. It wasn't required, certainly, but it would have been nice background information. Alternately, reading Echo first doesn't ruin the outcome of this book, but the reader does get a hint as to how things turn out.) In Brotherhood of the Blade, Percy is not simply a casual acquaintance, but rather, he is about to become John's step-brother, pending the nuptials of John's mother Benedicta. There's an immediate spark between Percy and John, starting with the surprise of recognition as they're introduced and continuing through their every encounter. While they keep attempting to find some private time alone, poor timing means that repeatedly, their attempts at an evening alone are thwarted. Of course, this also means that they get to know each other quite well before any physical intimacy; it all has the warm and exciting air of courtship, which exactly what it is, even if the time period wouldn't quite carry the same view. Percy might be a handsome young man, but as with many handsome young men, he has limited means... which means that his step-father is buying him a commission in a regiment and if he hadn't been inclined to join John's (overseen by John's older brother Hal) previous to their meeting, well he's certainly inclined to do so now. The air is spiced with the thrill of battle as the regiment readies itself for any number of locations, though ultimately they're sent to chase the French army around for a while before they see real action... but if you think this might be a fluffy book, never fear -- there is some pretty intense military action to witness.One of the fun parts of this installment is the greater acquaintance it provides with Lord John's family. Hal, John's older brother, is an interesting character, also seen in Echo as a much older man, so it's nice to see him a bit younger. While Hal technically has inherited his father's title, Duke of Pardloe, he stubbornly refuses to use what is viewed as a tainted title, following a scandal that indicted their father as a Jacobite sympathizer. Hal and the rest of the family is adamant that such an accusation was false (despite their mother's Scottish background) and before any official claims were laid to the Duke, he died. The death was ruled as a suicide, but John reveals that he knows such a ruling to be false -- it was murder. Seeing as everyone's English, there's a great deal of non-discussion about emo
LisaShapter on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Another well researched, fast-paced enjoyable historical mystery with vivid characterization, where one can smell the mud of the battlefield and the streets and parlors of England and German. However, I liked this book less than the first Lord John book: the rhythm of the author's writing now seemed a little formulaic (a critical scene is always interrupted 2 or 3 pages in by a surprise letter, a dark figure on the street, an unexpected person bursting in with a distraction or upsetting news.) I imagined a "plot wheel" next to Gabaldon's desk to be spun everytime such an interruption is needed. Also the plot smacked of ret-con (the murder long in the past that forms the center of the plot in this book is not hinted at in the first book. It was a very odd thing for the main character not to mention and a few subtle re-writes would permit the first book to set up this one.) In addition, this book seems more dependent than the first one on the long heterosexual romance series it is an offshoot of; I wish this book had stood more on its own. (A long veteran of reading science fiction and fantasy, I resent being prodded to buy or read the other books in long serieses.)A large (and perhaps unwise) childhood dose of Anne McCaffey was all the romance reading I needed, I do not wish to read any others.The scenes in this book also veered from the realistic: the episode where a women in late-stage labor kept silent during a church service while the hero tryed to attract attention to her plight by throwing candies at the assembled from the choir (when he started out in a pew and could have just grabbed someone's elbow) made me shake my head as I read it (as did other occasional moments and situations).I enjoyed the book; it was entertaining and carefully researched, but I could hear the gears working in ways I could not in the first.
legan on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The reviews are correct - the history is quite good, but that was not enough to suffer through the constant blindsiding.
pmatson on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed the flashing wit and sly implications of the conversations, and the intricate and ultimately satisfying plotting. Gabaldon's writing is very evocative of her settings, both in time and in place. I find Lord John a sympathetic character, and others are interesting as well. However, readers who can't handle depictions of homosexual sex or light S&M should stay away from this series.
avernon1 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Lord John is once again in the midst of a mystery. However, this time it is a mystery that has haunted his family since his childhood. Lord John's father, the late Duke of Pardloe, was found dead in his home, a gun in his hand and his reputation sullied with rumours of being a Jacobite sympathizer. Did the Duke kill himself? Lord John knows he didn't and is desperate to prove it and in the process, reclaim his father's honour.I liked this book more than the first installment in the Lord John series. As the story moves between John investigating his father's mysterious death, John's love affair with Percy Wainwright and his preparations for war, the reader learns a great deal more about this nobleman. A large part of the book focuses on the growing relationship between Lord John and Percy, with well-written, tender love scenes as well as some rough and raunchy ones too. If you are a homophobic fool, this is not the book for you. Although Lord John finds himself growing more and more fond of Percy, he cannot dispel the feelings he still holds for Jamie Fraser. Lord John's unrequieted love for the Outlander Scotsman makes me feel sympathy for him, for it is a deeply felt love, one within his soul, one he cannot forget, even in the arms of another lover.Once again, Diana Gabaldon is amazing in her descriptions of historical accounts, with gripping battle scenes that make you feel the explosions of the cannons as they tear through the air. I did find the story to be a bit convoluted at times, with many names and connections to be remembered. However, I truly enjoyed the personal insights into Lord John's life...his relationship with his older brother Hal, his growing love for another man, and his sense of honour. This is an interesting and engaging book, written with wit and humour and full of details of 18th century London society. I will surely be reading the third and final installment.
AuntieClio on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Ah, mid-eighteenth century when it was illegal to be gay, to the point of being hanged for it in the public square. Even worse was shaming the family honor by being some form of officer in the Queen¿s army and titled. Forget the mystery surrounding Lord John Grey¿s father¿s murder (once thought to be suicide), this is the story of Lord John¿s affair with his stepbrother as a substitute for his unrequited love for the very straight (and disgusted by the thought) Jamie Fraser (star of The Outlander series). Gabaldon writes about the joys of being in love and the physical sensations of that love (without being exceedingly graphic) and the pain of living a double life. There¿s something about Gabaldon¿s books that makes me read them almost straight through and then wish for more.
labelleaurore on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This book is signed by Diana Gabaldon, when she was on a book tour, in Chapters, Pointe-Claire, Montreal, Canada, last September 2007. I was so happy to see her in person.
miyurose on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed this second book in the Lord John Grey trilogy. I felt it was much more fleshed out than the first book, Lord John and the Private Matter. There is much joy and much pain in Lord John¿s life during this book, and my only complaint is that the main mystery of the book ¿ who killed Lord John¿s father ¿ often gets lost between his relationship with new step-brother Percy (and its consequences) and his involvement in the war. There were long stretches of the book where I completely forgot what the main point was. Lord John is himself an interesting character, noble and flawed both. I enjoyed his interactions with Jamie Fraser (which helped me place this book in the Outlander timeline), as well as his affair with Percy, even if that did end poorly. Not only does Gabaldon manage to tell quite an interesting tale, but she also explores what it¿s like to live as a homosexual man in Georgian-era England, where such behavior is often punishable by death. As with the last book, if you are squeamish about homosexual relations, this trilogy is not for you!
jenreidreads on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This was better than Lord John and the Private Matter, but that isn't saying too much. For a while in the middle, I was able to forget the fact that this was a mystery, and Gabaldon returned to romance with Lord John and his lover, Percy (who is his step-brother by marriage). The middle was the best part; we got history, character development, romance...but then she had to go back to the mystery at the end! It got very confusing, I thought, and ended rather abruptly. It was nice to see Jamie throughout this book, but he's much better with Claire; opposite Lord John, Jamie just seems like an asshole. Hopefully the trend will continue, though, and the third Lord John novel will be better than this one.
surreality on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Plot: It's styled as a mystery, but the most mysterious bit about it is that the mystery set up on the first 50 pages disappears completely, and only resurfaces two chapters before the end so it can be solved as an afterthought. The middle part of the story is a romance, with some war background thrown in for good measure. Far too many complications, far too many side plots that come to nothing and only add confusion.Characters: There are far too many of them, and only very few actually add anything to the plot. To add insult to injury, these side characters also tend to get very little characterization, so they're completely pointless and just add a few pages to the book. The central characters are better, but they don't get the attention they should be getting because the story is so chock-full of other characters. Style: The mystery is a catastrophe. Badly set up, far too complex, clues are magically produced and it all is so far-fetched that you mentally disengage very quickly. The romance is better, but doesn't get enough space to really develop; there are a lot of opportunities to explore it which aren't taken up. Plus: Gay romance, at times surprisingly explicit for a mainstream novel. And not at all badly done. Minus: Think of the opening scene in War and Peace, the party with countless names and far too much background information, where you have no chance of figuring out who is going to be important later on. Most of this book feels like that.Summary: It's a story with an identity crisis. A mystery? A romance? A war novel?