DRUMS OF AUTUMN by Diana Gabaldon


From the "Outlander" series, volume 4
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A convoluted, long-winded tome from Gabaldon (Voyager, 1994, etc.), who brings back the Scottish rebel Jamie Fraser and Claire, a time-traveler from the 20th century and the love of his life, as they face the late 18th century with characteristic aplomb. This time out, Jamie and Claire arrive in the US from Great Britain and are joined by Jamie's teenage nephew Ian. Although vividly drawn and well-developed, all three characters quickly become tangential; from the very first scene, set in Charleston in 1767, it is clear that the focus is to be not on them but on the ``hot button'' issues of the time: British/American tension, slavery, Indians, and impending war. There's a secondary storyline as well, which takes place in the late 20th century and involves Jamie and Claire's college-student daughter Brianna and her desperate attempts to find love in her present-day life while simultaneously striving to rejoin her mother--and Jamie, the father she has never known--in the past. Roger Wakefield, a Scottish student who helped Claire travel back in time in the previous books, is the object of Brianna's affection now; the fact that he knows about Brianna's parents' unusual situation allows him both to win her heart for eternity and also help her rejoin her loved ones, in very unusual fashion. Conflict between Claire's past and present lives is omnipresent; at various times she's forced to perform surgery (she was a doctor in 20th-century England), explain TV, and reminisce about life with the husband she had in modern times, pre- Jamie. Ghost story, historical novel, fantasy, stock romance? In her attempt to be all things to all people, Gabaldon has created a 900- page monster with far too many components. Only for the author's most rabid fans. (Author tour)

Pub Date: Jan. 1st, 1997
ISBN: 0-385-31140-0
Page count: 896pp
Publisher: Delacorte
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15th, 1996

Kirkus Interview
Diana Gabaldon
July 21, 2014

Diana Gabaldon was crossing genres in her action-flled Outlander series long before that was considered cool. We talk to Gabaldon about her latest in the series, Written in My Own Heart's Blood, this week on Kirkus TV. View video >


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