Absolutely Fabulous! If you haven't read this series, you are seriously missing out on terrific story telling. No one tells a story like Diana Gabaldon. Part historical (British/Scottish/American history), part romance and time travel. Jamie Fraser is the ultimate hero - a spectacular Scottish warrior who is head over heels in love with his time traveling wife, Clare. It's the greatest romance wrapped inside the most hellish battle fought between England and Scotland ending at Culloden. Then continues (in another book) with the American Revolution with the British fighting the Americans for independence. It offers detailed historical data from this time period. I always found history boring but Ms. Gabaldon makes it fascinating and can't-put-downable but maybe that's because of Jamie.
The entire series is spectacular with something for all readers. There's naval battles, pirates, wars, skirmishes, romances, indian affairs and just ordinary life in the back country of America. The characters are wonderfully complex and endearing and you can see them grow emotionally from book to book. The kind of people you really want to get to know and with roughly 800-1000 pages per book, you do.
My only regret is that I just finished the latest book in the series and it will be years before the next one.
An Echo in the Bone is the seventh book in the popular Outlander saga. By this time in the series, Jamie and Claire Fraser are in their 50's and early 60's - and still as much in love as they ever were. (May I say how refreshing it is to read about an older couple in love and - dare I say it? - still enjoying an active sex life?) The Outlander series is a blend of adventure, historical fiction, romance and time travel. I think that in Echo there is more historical fiction than anything else, but plenty of the other three also. Echo is set in America and Scotland from 1776-1778, so the historical setting in this case is the Revolutionary War - one of my favorite time periods. And there are major characters on both the American and the Britsh sides, so we get to view the war from both sides.
In the first few books in the series (Outlander, Dragonfly in Amber), the story was told in first-person by Claire. And even though Claire and Jamie's story will always be the main theme of these books, by now there are several other major characters and storylines. So in addition to Claire's narrative in this book, we also have three other main POV's (points of view): young Ian's, Roger and Brianna's family, and Lord John and William (the British contingent). I have read some comments that other readers thought there was too many changes in the POV's, but I had absolutely no problem and thought that those other stories needed to be told.
My only critique is that this book ends with a big cliff-hanger. The last 40-50 pages of the book are a roller-coaster ride and then...Boom! (That's a figurative boom, not a literal one). I really wish that the author had wrapped up a few more things and fleshed out those last few pages a little more. And it's probably going to be at least three years until the next book comes out. Argghhhhhhh!
But even having said that, this book still gets a 4.5* rating from me. There simply is no other series (or even a single book) that has ever "pulled me down the rabbit hole" like the Outlander books do - and this book was no exception. It's now two days after I finished Echo, and I'm still suffering from an Outlander hangover and unable to start any other book. I guess that the good thing about a three year wait is that it will give me plenty of time to re-read the entire series again before the next book comes out. Given the fact that they are all big books (700 to 1000 pages), I'll need the entire three years LOL.
Can't I give more than 5 stars? The entire series is an annual re-read for me (but may need to become bi-annual for me to get anything else read LOL!); therefore, I eagerly awaited this volume. It certainly did not fail me--the many cliffhangers will make it hard to await the next book in the series, but I now believe (personal opinion only) that there will be at least two more books and I say "keep them coming"!
This is no longer Jamie and Claire alone, but as I have grown to love many of the other characters, I want them to appear each volume as appropriate. William is now grown and needs his tale told, as does Young Ian. I didn't stop caring for and wondering about Brianna, Roger and the kids simply because they are no longer at Fraser's Ridge. John's British perspective on the Revolution is invaluable in helping us understand Loyalist versus Patriot philosophy. Fergus and Marsali deserve to remain as active characters, again because we have loved him since he was rescued by Jamie from the brothel all those long years ago.
This is an epic saga full of historical accuracy and enough daily living that I can retreat away--not into a fantasy, never-extant world, but into human history told by a master. She has covered the Stuart Uprising and now much of the American Revolution...please Ms. Gabaldon, let Jamie, Claire, Michael, Jared, Fergus and the rest take us through the French Revolution as well (that should guarantee your fans at least three more volumes in the tale).
Long live Jamie and Claire and their family!
Gabaldon continues to expand the length and breadth of her world in this seventh volume of her series, and has no trouble juggling the various story lines to produce a coherent whole that is a delight to explore. Moving back and forth between Jamie and Claire in the 18th century to Roger and Bree in the 20th, she keeps both major and minor story lines moving at a brisk pace. Although the reader may find slight difficulty remembering minor characters when she brings them back (due to the enormity of her work and the plethora of such characters), she does a good job of reminding the reader of their place on her world's stage. It is 1776, and Jamie and Claire are trying to get to Scotland to bring his nephew Ian back to his parents at last after their home on the Ridge burns down, but are caught in the beginnings of the Revolutionary War. Lord John Grey's adopted son William also finds himself in the thick of the war and despite Jamie's determination to avoid conflict in battle with his unknowing offspring who is his spitting image, the author of course manages to cleverly throw them together in tantalizing moments of near recognition. Roger and Bree have settled at Lallybroch after dealing with their daughter Amanda's heart problem, and struggle to find their place back in the modern world. If you haven't yet acquainted yourself with Gabaldon's epic series, no small review can do justice to the scope of her work - READ IT. It kept me up till 2:20 am, terrified she would leave three major cliffhangers, but sighing with relief at the end as she contented herself with only one. Now I find myself in the familiar dismay I feel at the end of every one of her books, realizing I have at least a year, if not more, to wait before I can find out what happens next.
Another page turner from Diana Gabaldon! Jamie and Claire along with Ian and Rollo continue to have their travel plans continually interrupted by the Redcoats, war, pirates, and other adventures as they try to get back to Scotland. Readers will meet new characters, experience more history, and see how Will (Jamie's son) is now a Brittish officer. Once again, Claire must leave Jamie in Scotland and travel ahead with Ian to America to perform surgery on wee Henri-Christian. Of course, Jamie is to follow but his travel plans are changed at the last minute, leaving his friend Lord John to come to Claire's aid. The ending? Will this come in another two or three more books?