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Lord John and the Brotherhood of the Blade

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In her much-anticipated new novel, the New York Times bestselling author of the Outlander saga brings back one of her most compelling characters: Lord John Grey--soldier, gentleman, and no mean hand with a blade. Here Diana Gabaldon brilliantly weaves together the strands of Lord John's secret and public lives--a shattering family mystery, a love affair with potentially di In her much-anticipated new novel, the New York Times bestselling author of the Outlander saga brings back one of her most compelling characters: Lord John Grey--soldier, gentleman, and no mean hand with a blade. Here Diana Gabaldon brilliantly 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. . . . In 1758, in the heart of the Seven Years' War, Britain fights by the side of Prussia in the Rhineland. For Lord John and his titled brother Hal, the battlefield will be a welcome respite from the torturous mystery that burns poisonously in their family's history. Seventeen years earlier, Lord John's late 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. Someone is taunting the Grey family with secrets from the grave, but Hal, with secrets of his own, refuses to pursue the matter and orders his brother to do likewise. Frustrated, John turns to a man who has been both his prisoner and his confessor: the Scottish Jacobite James Fraser. Fraser can tell many secrets, and withhold many others. 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, caught between his courage and his conscience, must decide whether his family's honor is worth his life.


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In her much-anticipated new novel, the New York Times bestselling author of the Outlander saga brings back one of her most compelling characters: Lord John Grey--soldier, gentleman, and no mean hand with a blade. Here Diana Gabaldon brilliantly weaves together the strands of Lord John's secret and public lives--a shattering family mystery, a love affair with potentially di In her much-anticipated new novel, the New York Times bestselling author of the Outlander saga brings back one of her most compelling characters: Lord John Grey--soldier, gentleman, and no mean hand with a blade. Here Diana Gabaldon brilliantly 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. . . . In 1758, in the heart of the Seven Years' War, Britain fights by the side of Prussia in the Rhineland. For Lord John and his titled brother Hal, the battlefield will be a welcome respite from the torturous mystery that burns poisonously in their family's history. Seventeen years earlier, Lord John's late 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. Someone is taunting the Grey family with secrets from the grave, but Hal, with secrets of his own, refuses to pursue the matter and orders his brother to do likewise. Frustrated, John turns to a man who has been both his prisoner and his confessor: the Scottish Jacobite James Fraser. Fraser can tell many secrets, and withhold many others. 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, caught between his courage and his conscience, must decide whether his family's honor is worth his life.

30 review for Lord John and the Brotherhood of the Blade

  1. 5 out of 5

    Isis

    I dithered about this. I feel a little odd giving a guilty-pleasure just-for-fun book like this five stars, but when I compare it to what I have recently given four, well, I have no choice. Because I loved this so very, very much. This is the kind of book I want to write, the kind of book I wish there was a whole lot more of. It's basically slash fanfic for her Outlander series, I gather, and it seems that whichever you read first, you prefer. (And oddly, the bits that involve Jamie Fraser are my I dithered about this. I feel a little odd giving a guilty-pleasure just-for-fun book like this five stars, but when I compare it to what I have recently given four, well, I have no choice. Because I loved this so very, very much. This is the kind of book I want to write, the kind of book I wish there was a whole lot more of. It's basically slash fanfic for her Outlander series, I gather, and it seems that whichever you read first, you prefer. (And oddly, the bits that involve Jamie Fraser are my least favorite. I don't care for the one-sided relationship.) What I love is that it has gobs of UST and semi-explicit erotic romance but is not, at heart, a romance. I am not a romance genre fan, and that is what wrecks most m/m novels for me. This is an adventure/mystery story, and the plot twists that deal with the realities of being a homosexual soldier and nobleman in the 18th century are fabulous and terrifying at the same time. The battle scenes are gripping, and the society interludes wickedly funny. I appreciate the careful structure, with guns subtly hung on the walls in early parts that are later duly fired to great effect. The characters are interesting and engaging and seem quite real to me. I also have to admit that a large part of my enjoyment of this book was listening to the audio version as narrated by Jeff Woodman. Be still my heart, especially in the more explicit scenes. He does the accents expertly and it all comes alive, and people wonder why I'm grinning like a fool while I'm jogging down the river path. La la la.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Tatiana

    I still don't understand why Gabaldon's Lord John books are not more popular than they are. Is the "gayness" of the main character really such a huge turn-off? Because I can't find any other reason to dislike these books. To me, "Lord John and the Brotherhood of the Blade" is another great historical novel, full of subtle wit and humor, details of 18th century London society and entertaining descriptions of military living during the Seven Year War, along with a nice mystery (this time directly I still don't understand why Gabaldon's Lord John books are not more popular than they are. Is the "gayness" of the main character really such a huge turn-off? Because I can't find any other reason to dislike these books. To me, "Lord John and the Brotherhood of the Blade" is another great historical novel, full of subtle wit and humor, details of 18th century London society and entertaining descriptions of military living during the Seven Year War, along with a nice mystery (this time directly involving Lord John's family). It should be noted however that Gabaldon turns the gay sexy up here a notch. There are some man on man scenes, fairly explicit IMO, with generous use of words like "prick" and "arse." I don't think I enjoyed these scenes too much, but I have to admit, some of my curiosity was satisfied. I only hope I got the "logistics" right, it can be confusing when two he's are involved in the matter. But I digress... Aside from that, I've learned many other curious things about the period: there were actually chamber pots located right in the dining rooms, just hidden my screens, and they were used during parties (!); officers used to sleep with curling papers in their hair, even during war time; the ratio of gay to straight men was quite high, based on Lord John's experiences. Who would have thought? But joking aside, I really enjoyed this book (maybe not as much as the first Lord John novel) and will definitely read future Lord John stories. Gabaldon is definitely a special writer... P.S. I partially listened to this book and the narrator is great! Reading challenge: #21.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Kelly

    I enjoyed this book very much. Lord John is an engaging, interesting character -- and he doesn't spend a whole lot of time in this book mooning over Jamie Fraser! This is set right after the death of Geneva Dunsany in the Outlander timeline, but the meat of the book is a mystery in Lord John's own family, and John's love affair with an attractive young man. Gabaldon writes men very well -- we get enough emotional revelation to let us cnnect with the characters, but they are most definitely men. T I enjoyed this book very much. Lord John is an engaging, interesting character -- and he doesn't spend a whole lot of time in this book mooning over Jamie Fraser! This is set right after the death of Geneva Dunsany in the Outlander timeline, but the meat of the book is a mystery in Lord John's own family, and John's love affair with an attractive young man. Gabaldon writes men very well -- we get enough emotional revelation to let us cnnect with the characters, but they are most definitely men. The writing in this story was very polished and tight, the pacing was good, and we didn't spend 150 pages at one wedding. I feel like Gabaldon needs to take some of the verve from this novel and inject it back into the Outlander series.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Res

    The one where Lord John's mother remarries, which sets in motion new dangers, new revelations about his father's disgrace and death, and a relationship with an attractive new stepbrother. I like Lord John a great deal, but I don't like Lord John books very much. Partly this is just a book/reader mismatch. I don't enjoy mysteries, so I'm reading these particular mysteries for the character stuff and the historical-milieu stuff, which is like someone who doesn't like romance reading romantic-suspe The one where Lord John's mother remarries, which sets in motion new dangers, new revelations about his father's disgrace and death, and a relationship with an attractive new stepbrother. I like Lord John a great deal, but I don't like Lord John books very much. Partly this is just a book/reader mismatch. I don't enjoy mysteries, so I'm reading these particular mysteries for the character stuff and the historical-milieu stuff, which is like someone who doesn't like romance reading romantic-suspense books for the plot -- sure to be a disappointment. But part of it is the books. Lord John's infatuation with Jamie Fraser is beginning to call for intensive therapy. I didn't actually believe their confrontation in the stable late in the book -- sexual boasting is way out of character for Grey with anyone, let alone with Fraser -- but its inclusion suggests that Fraser unbalances someone's brain, either the character's or the author's. Aside from the Fraser bits, the character stuff in this book is reasonably satisfying -- I liked seeing the development of Grey's relationships with his brother and his mother -- but the romantic plot and the historical milieu were both unrelentingly bleak and hopeless and depressing. Significant parts of the mystery seem like a big mess; the involvement of the O'Higgins brothers, the really unnecessarily large number of people named Longstreet and people with the initial A, Grey asking Fraser to send some letters to help solve the mystery and then quite literally forgetting about them until reminded. Gabaldon's sex scenes have improved since Outlander, which had one sex scene where I actually could not figure out what was going on. She had good sexual tension going here, and some nice moments. If I'd been her beta I would have advised her that when you use the "genteel generalities with a few details picked out" method, one guy musing on the precise shape of the other guy's cock is maybe not the best detail to pick out.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Kimberly

    I read this book after finishing Gabaldon's A Breath of Snow and Ashes. Thank goodness I found out it was out as it restored my faith in Gabaldon's skill as a writer and storyteller. The plot mixes an important "whodunit" as well as insight into John's personal life as a man and a soldier. The pacing and story were spot on and refreshing after the near 1000 pages of meandering in ABOSAS. I've always been fond of the character of Lord John -- even when he's painted as the bad guy. But this book t I read this book after finishing Gabaldon's A Breath of Snow and Ashes. Thank goodness I found out it was out as it restored my faith in Gabaldon's skill as a writer and storyteller. The plot mixes an important "whodunit" as well as insight into John's personal life as a man and a soldier. The pacing and story were spot on and refreshing after the near 1000 pages of meandering in ABOSAS. I've always been fond of the character of Lord John -- even when he's painted as the bad guy. But this book truly cemented him as one of my favorite characters ever! He's real and he makes choices, which sometimes ends up being mistakes. This is especially apparent in his short dealings with James Fraser and his first shot at love since Hector. Lord John isn't meant to be perfect -- and for this I am grateful! A lot of people who don't like the book will say "I don't need to know about Lord John's sex life..." that shouldn't be the reason why you turn on this book. Asides from getting a love interest, you really get into his relationship with his family. I especially loved his scenes with Hal! Is it worth the read? YES! Is the depiction of John's sex life too graphic? Your mileage may vary and depends on how comfortable you are with sexuality in general. How excited am I for the Lord John novella set coming out in November? Yes, that's a rhetorical question.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Ashley

    I love Lord John Grey. I kind of want to be best friends with him. Or, at least take him out for drinks and commiserate about how he has absolute shit luck with romance. He seems okay with his life, but I just feel so bad for him, like, all the time. Lord John and the Brotherhood of the Blade is the second novel in the Lord John spin-off series which takes place during the twenty year timespan of Voyager. You don’t need to have read the Outlander novels to enjoy these books, though. They stand ve I love Lord John Grey. I kind of want to be best friends with him. Or, at least take him out for drinks and commiserate about how he has absolute shit luck with romance. He seems okay with his life, but I just feel so bad for him, like, all the time. Lord John and the Brotherhood of the Blade is the second novel in the Lord John spin-off series which takes place during the twenty year timespan of Voyager. You don’t need to have read the Outlander novels to enjoy these books, though. They stand very well on their own. The Lord John books are essentially historical mysteries set during the time of the Seven Years War. Lord John is a an officer in the British army. He is also gay, something which was absolutely taboo at that time, and punishable at times by execution. The central mystery of the book features Lord John and his family once again becoming embroiled in the scandal that killed his father years before. Because of the scandal, which ended with the Earl supposedly killing himself, and LJG’s older brother refusing to take his title, the remaining Grey family has had to step carefully lest they too be accused of treason. The thing is, LJG’s father didn’t kill himself; he was murdered, and his mother made it look like suicide in order to keep her children safe. So when pages from his father’s journal start showing up as threats in his family’s mail, LJG is drawn back into the scandal, trying to dig up the truth. All the while this is going on, his mother is about to remarry, bringing with him a new stepbrother called Percy, with whom John becomes romantically entangled. LJG’s investigation also brings him into contact with Jamie Fraser, the Scottish Jacobite prisoner he fell in love with during his time as warden of Arsdmuir prison. Jamie does NOT reciprocate his feelings, but he may have information that could clear his father’s name. Despite being a well-educated man of means, Lord John Grey is a constant underdog, forced to live in a world where he can never be himself. His constant transgressions provide a backbone of conflict that runs throughout even the most mundane of his interactions. Nobody in his life suspects his double life, and at points he’s forced to act as if he was “normal” and punish those who commit the same acts he does privately in order to remain safe. It’s an institutionalized hypocrisy that all these secretly gay men lived with daily, and Gabaldon manages to portray her world as one where Lord John is far from the only person in this precarious social situation. It’s a fascinating and heartbreaking dynamic. I’m SUPER excited for the next book in this series, which is supposedly the story of how Jamie and Lord John finally become friends. I am beyond ready for Jamie to stop acting like such an ass about LJG’s sexuality. He behaved atrociously in this book to LJG, cultural norms or not. I’m ready for them to be BFF now.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Paul E. Morph

    I’m continuing to enjoy the Lord John spin-offs more than the actual Outlander books. This one contains some of the most powerful scenes I’ve read by Gabaldon. Onward to the next one with the flash of a blade!

  8. 5 out of 5

    Marcie

    I've put off thinking about this one because I was so disappointed in it. At times, I downright hated it. Who the hell was this main character? I thought I knew, thought he was smarter, braver, funnier, more urbane than depicted here. 1st Problem: We get to know his older brother much better here -- at the expense of camera time usually spent on his funny and insightful sidekicks Col. Harry Quarry and valet Tom. I didn't care for the focus on petulant sibling issues. I prefer Lord John in a light I've put off thinking about this one because I was so disappointed in it. At times, I downright hated it. Who the hell was this main character? I thought I knew, thought he was smarter, braver, funnier, more urbane than depicted here. 1st Problem: We get to know his older brother much better here -- at the expense of camera time usually spent on his funny and insightful sidekicks Col. Harry Quarry and valet Tom. I didn't care for the focus on petulant sibling issues. I prefer Lord John in a light-hearted romp. 2nd Problem: Too many problems -- did their father commit suicide or was he murdered, and who murdered him, was he really a Jacobite traitor, why did the new lover/ stepbrother/ officer trainee betray him, and should John now let him hang as a despised sodomite? By the time we discover who murdered his dad, I couldn't remember who this person was. The fact that John was sleeping with his new stepbrother and a subordinate officer he was supposed to be training totally icked me out. And I really hated that it took him so long to figure out that he should not let this young man die for doing the same thing he is guilty of doing and let go of the grudge. Like it would be hard to out-smart the guards and free him? His idea of honor and mine are very different. 3rd Problem: Did I really need the graphic, blow-by-blow sex scenes, complete with even a little S&M whip action. Nope. Nor the gross, desperate, frantic, cataclysmic masturbation scene outside the barn after a confrontation with Jamie Fraser. The glue between all these story lines was the exploration of what is "honor." People in the past (mother, brother) took certain actions to protect the family honor. Lord John struggled with behaving honorably. All the craziness on the battlefield...is war/ killing really honorable or a desperate act of self-preservation? In the end, I felt sordid for reading it...as if my own honor had been diminished, floating without an anchor.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Jane

    Lord John, who emerged from the Outlander series as a separate series of novels, has a few problems on his plate. For one thing, he's in love with his new stepbrother. For another, the bitter feelings surrounding his father's death are still very much alive after a period of several years, and his brother Hal won't bear his father's title. Then there's the matter of the pages from his father's missing journal that keep turning up. . . On top of which, as a professional soldier Lord John generall Lord John, who emerged from the Outlander series as a separate series of novels, has a few problems on his plate. For one thing, he's in love with his new stepbrother. For another, the bitter feelings surrounding his father's death are still very much alive after a period of several years, and his brother Hal won't bear his father's title. Then there's the matter of the pages from his father's missing journal that keep turning up. . . On top of which, as a professional soldier Lord John generally has a battle to fight somewhere, and the next one may cost him his life. As always, I'm impressed with Gabaldon's command of dialog and attention to historical detail. As always, her plot is intricate and involves a large number of characters. I have decided I need to get a better handle on the Outlander world if I'm going to keep reading these books (and I will, I'm a sucker for a lively historical novel) so I've downloaded the audiobook of Outlander and intend to work my way through the series in the order they were written. Perhaps my poor lame brain can get its head round all these people if someone is doing the voices. What I like most about the Lord John books is, I think, the fact that each one is based on a puzzle/mystery that gets worked out by the last chapter (whereas the Outlander series is very episodic). I also enjoy seeing how Lord John negotiates a world in which homosexuality is a crime and a guaranteed route to social ruin if found out. And I like this character; I always enjoy characters who have a smooth, polished facade that hides deep emotions. Dorothy L. Sayers fans like myself may recognize Lord John as a gay Lord Peter Wimsey (who, according to Sayers, is an 18th-century gentleman at heart). Verdict? Good. If you like intricate plots in a historical setting, you'll enjoy.

  10. 5 out of 5

    sage

    warning: spoilers follow! I think this is definitely the best of the Lord John books so far. I'm really delighted to see a mainstream bestseller write a vividly sexual queer romance. Heaven knows we've seen Lord John show enough repressed desire, but it's lovely to see him with a lover and in more explicit detail than I expected. The mystery plot was a bit more convoluted than I considered necessary, especially since I'd completely forgotten who the villain was by the time he arrived at the end -- warning: spoilers follow! I think this is definitely the best of the Lord John books so far. I'm really delighted to see a mainstream bestseller write a vividly sexual queer romance. Heaven knows we've seen Lord John show enough repressed desire, but it's lovely to see him with a lover and in more explicit detail than I expected. The mystery plot was a bit more convoluted than I considered necessary, especially since I'd completely forgotten who the villain was by the time he arrived at the end -- hundreds of pages after his last mention. I'm still not even sure what his motive was -- was he going to expose someone, or was he merely framed as a conspirator? I'm afraid it's a muddle. But! I can say that the scenes set in Prussia were fabulous. Gabaldon has a real knack for writing 18th century warfare. And unlike most hero-books, the men on the field simply felt like ordinary men. No one came off as larger than life or patterned off a superhero. They just seemed like regular guys who happened to be scared shitless AND fighting a gruesome war. And that was refreshing to me because the lack of fear dehumanizes a character and I wanted all these people to feel human. I love Stephan like a much-loved thing. I want Percy to grow the hell up, but I don't trust him to. And I really loved the darker turn of John's character at the end, where he does have secrets and a much looser morality than we've seen before. I hope Gabaldon will stick around in this universe for a while -- and I hope that book sales figures will encourage her publisher to let her.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Jeanne

    I have read and enjoyed the Outlander series (to date), but Lord John and the Brotherhood of the Blade is the first of the Lord John books that I've read (it's actually the second in the series). Lord John is one of the more interesting but more peripheral characters in the Outlander series. This book explores the difficulties he faced in 18th century as a gay man, albeit a privileged gay man and a gay man who could "pass." Relationships are complicated enough without a central issue being unable I have read and enjoyed the Outlander series (to date), but Lord John and the Brotherhood of the Blade is the first of the Lord John books that I've read (it's actually the second in the series). Lord John is one of the more interesting but more peripheral characters in the Outlander series. This book explores the difficulties he faced in 18th century as a gay man, albeit a privileged gay man and a gay man who could "pass." Relationships are complicated enough without a central issue being unable to be discussed. "Are you also gay?" "Are you living as gay?" Secrets, sometimes open ones, existed. So did blackmail. Not surprisingly, some men who weren't gay were hanged as gay – as were some gay men. Some books are comfort food. Diana Gabaldon's books fall in a special place in this category, as they are filling and satisfying. There are periods of intense war or other excitement (often the parts that I skim), which punctuate longer, thankfully, much longer, quiet periods. And, while bad things happen – this is the 18th century, for goodness sake, when childbirth, pneumonia, or medical treatment could kill you – it always ended well(ish). One of the things that I like about Gabaldon's books is that these "quiet periods" are quiet, but not simple. Comfort food, not simple food. Lord John, for example, worried: If I lie before the court-martial, that is the end of my own honor. If I do not— it will be the end of his life or freedom, and then later, I cannot in honor see him hanged for a crime whose guilt I share— and from whose consequences I am escaped by chance alone. Gabaldon does not offer us simple and easy choices, but they are pleasurable ones.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Chance Lee

    The back of Lord John and the Brotherhood of the Blade goes into detail about the plot: the death of Lord John's father was surrounded in scandal and secrecy, and one of those secrets has resurfaced, forcing the family to confront the past. This plot drives most of the story's action, but the back of the book relegates the /emotional/ drive of the story to a mere few words, "a love affair with potentially disastrous consequences." This "love affair" is Lord John's relationship with his soon-to-be The back of Lord John and the Brotherhood of the Blade goes into detail about the plot: the death of Lord John's father was surrounded in scandal and secrecy, and one of those secrets has resurfaced, forcing the family to confront the past. This plot drives most of the story's action, but the back of the book relegates the /emotional/ drive of the story to a mere few words, "a love affair with potentially disastrous consequences." This "love affair" is Lord John's relationship with his soon-to-be step-brother Percy Wainwright. In the mid 1700s (a hundred years after another gay-in-the-English-military novel, As Meat Loves Salt), being a sodomite and a pederast in the military is an offense punishable by death. Their affair is steamy and dangerous, and has consequences that are somewhat predictable but no less gut-wrenching. Perhaps the back of the book glosses over the homosexual aspect of the story (and by "aspect" I mean it colors almost every single one of Lord John's actions throughout the book) to not turn away readers who might be put off by the gay angle or those strange women who are so appalled by Lord John's "obsession" with Jamie Fraser that their vehement opposition to their friendship exposes their own unhealthy obsession with a fictional character. Don't worry, ladies, the big bad gay isn't going to steal your fake boyfriend. Back to the point, Brotherhood intersects with events in Voyager, but the Jamie Fraser connection feels like out-of-place fanservice. The Helwater sections, in which Lord John visits and pines over Fraser, break up the otherwise smooth flow of the novel. The "mystery" surrounding Lord John's father is complicated, but minimally intriguing, and is resolved by a series of fortunate coincidences without any direct involvement by Lord John itself. The story is at its strongest when focused on the relationship the publishers tries to ignore. This is an important book, showing just how dangerous it once was to be gay. It shows how far society has come, and its parallels to today show how far we still have to go.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Surreysmum

    I dropped away from Diana Gabaldon's main (hetero) romance series after the second or third book, mostly because het romance isn't my thing, and possibly because she shifted the locale to the Americas, while my own initial interest was because of the Scottish setting. ("Outlander", the first book, owes a certain amount to an old favourite of mine, "The Flight of the Heron", though they are certainly very different in tone, detail and degree of graphic sex!) Anyway, Lord John, a minor character in I dropped away from Diana Gabaldon's main (hetero) romance series after the second or third book, mostly because het romance isn't my thing, and possibly because she shifted the locale to the Americas, while my own initial interest was because of the Scottish setting. ("Outlander", the first book, owes a certain amount to an old favourite of mine, "The Flight of the Heron", though they are certainly very different in tone, detail and degree of graphic sex!) Anyway, Lord John, a minor character in the het series, appears to be getting his own set of adventures; I enjoyed the first one, though it was short and fairly light. This one is much more substantial and really well done. The fine points of drawing room and battlefield ring true. I won't give away details of the plot so as not to spoil anyone, but if you read it, prepare to come up solidly against the harsh reality of 18th-century treatment of man-loving men. And also prepare to see our beloved Jamie Fraser utter some fairly virulent homophobic sentiments, in the true spirit of his time. (It's just as well I had the memory of a Fraser/Lord John sequence in one of the other books - Voyager? - where Jamie "gets over it" to the point of giving Lord John a wee kiss, to sustain me.) I have the next in the series on my shelf. Looking forward to it!

  14. 4 out of 5

    Choko

    This vacation and the warm ocean water really get in the way of my reading!!! I guess this is what people mean when they talk about real life :-) The book is cool and I am almost done. John is a wonderful character and I love him as the story teller. I am also pleased with the heft of the book and it not being as ambitious as the "Outlander. " books ... We will see...

  15. 5 out of 5

    Lisa Wolf

    2014 update: After listening to the audiobook version, I'll just reiterate my earlier comments: This is a must-read for Outlander fans, and the more Lord John audiobooks I listen to, the more I love Lord John as a character! He comes to life via audio in a way that's just so magical (kudos to the narrator!). I completely enjoyed this re-read! I would definitely say that "Lord John & the Brotherhood of the Blade" is the best of Diana Gabaldon's Lord John books and novellas. "Brotherhood" is a 2014 update: After listening to the audiobook version, I'll just reiterate my earlier comments: This is a must-read for Outlander fans, and the more Lord John audiobooks I listen to, the more I love Lord John as a character! He comes to life via audio in a way that's just so magical (kudos to the narrator!). I completely enjoyed this re-read! I would definitely say that "Lord John & the Brotherhood of the Blade" is the best of Diana Gabaldon's Lord John books and novellas. "Brotherhood" is a tautly written mystery, action-adventure story, love story, and examination of a man's soul, all in one. Readers of the Outlander series have come to know Lord John as an interesting, somewhat enigmatic secondary character. In Brotherhood, John's family history is explored and the understanding of John's personal code of honor is greatly enhanced. Lord John is a heroic, honorable man, forced to hide his true nature by the strict code of his time. I would recommend reading Brotherhood prior to reading Echo in the Bone in the Outlander series. I hadn't, and realize now that I would have understood some of the plotlines in Echo much better had I read this one first. As an added bonus for devoted fans of Jamie Fraser, Himself makes several noteworthy, powerful appearances in Brotherhood. For fans of Diana Gabaldon's fictional world, Brotherhood of the Blade should not be missed.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Teresa

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. There are spoilers for Voyager in this review. "Life is nothing if you are not obsessed" [John Waters] Ok. I may not go as far as fully seconding that or putting it out so cheerfully, but I have to admit I am dealing with an obsession here. So, let's see if I fully qualify as an Outlander obsessive, shall we? Am I thinking about these people when I'm doing other things? Yes. At work, on the train, when shopping or cooking dinner? Yes, (and don't forget when doing the ironing, only that I've t There are spoilers for Voyager in this review. "Life is nothing if you are not obsessed" [John Waters] Ok. I may not go as far as fully seconding that or putting it out so cheerfully, but I have to admit I am dealing with an obsession here. So, let's see if I fully qualify as an Outlander obsessive, shall we? Am I thinking about these people when I'm doing other things? Yes. At work, on the train, when shopping or cooking dinner? Yes, (and don't forget when doing the ironing, only that I've taken up rewatching the TV series when doing that now. It's more entertaining than just thinking about them). Am I initiating random conversations about Outlander all the time with my other half (who, other than agreeing to watch the TV series with me, could not care less about Jamie Fraser)? Yes, I am afraid so. And I have to thank him for being so gracious about it and not rolling his eyes every time I start. Have I been converting all my friends to Outlander, and have I bought about 4 copies of the (very heavy) paperback so far to give away? Yes. Well, err. . . hear me out: I have excuses. So many friends' birthdays have come up in the last few months. . . I had to buy them something anyway, hadn't I? Outlander it is! They'll thank me later. Did I have to research the whole historical details of the Jacobite uprisings which, since I am not English, I knew next to nothing about? Well, of course! And that even means now, that just because of Outlander, I am better educated. Do I have an ear worm with the music theme of the TV series? Bloody hell, it is so annoying, I can't get rid of it! So, with the Highlands tour planned and all, what about Lord John? Did I HAVE TO read all the Lord John's novels and novellas in the combined narrative, in exactly the chronological order dictated by the author in her webpage? Well, of course I did, which brings me to Lord John and the Brotherhood of the Blade. So, yeah, OBSESSED indeed. But since I'd been stuck with it for so long, I have not managed to move on to book four of Outlander yet, which is a bummer because I am so intrigued about it. But the first book in the series did it for me. And it was so brilliant that I've been hooked ever since. So, let's talk about this book a bit, shall we? My experience of it was very mixed. It is quite perplexing, but I was enjoying it quite a lot although I still put it on hold a few times as other things were going on in my life that meant my concentration was shot and I could not follow anything. But every time I returned to it, I still enjoyed it and was glad to be back. Lots and lots and lots of things happen in this book and I started to take notes (that pesky lack of concentration), which is handy, but also means that my review is what we call in psychology "over-inclusive", a sure synonym to "boring", but mostly written for myself to remember in the future. There are lots of protected spoiler alerts, so I don't think there are many glaring revelations. I really wanted to persevere with this book (because it's taking me closer to The Scottish Prisoner (Yay! :-), and. . . because of JAMIE!!!!! who featured prominently on this book), and I'm so glad that I went back to it, as it is one of the Lord John's books with the greatest overlap with the Outlander world, and there is even a wistful, absolutely delicious recounting, on Lord John's own words, of his first fateful meeting with Jamie and Claire Fraser when he was 16, just before the battle of Prestonpas, and the big misunderstanding about Claire that left him with a broken arm. The timeline here coincides with part of Voyager, when Jamie Fraser has been paroled from prison and exiled to Helwater as a stable hand for the Dunsanys. This is the time when Geneva Dunsany dies in childbirth and there is a great scandal about it that was described at length in Voyager, and that will have important repercussions for the Outlander chronology from here onwards. The spoiler below is for what happened in Voyager, just before the narrative in this book. (view spoiler)[ Geneva Dunsany had blackmailed Jamie Fraser to have sex with her in the eve of her unwanted marriage with an old, wealthy Earl, and has eventually given birth to Jamie's son before dying of an unstoppable haemorrhage. Her elderly husband had claimed that the child was not his as he had not been able to consummate the marriage. He was about to throw the baby out of a window (if I remember correctly), and Jamie's intervention had lead to the accidental death of Earl Ellesmere. Jamie Fraser has confused feelings about the whole situation: anger and rage at Geneva for forcing him to do something he did not want to do; guilt that indirectly he has caused her death by giving birth to their son; shame for yielding to her request, and also deep sorrow for the fact that he is now a father and will not be able to claim his son as his own, in the same way that he has never met his offspring with Claire. Jamie Fraser is still a proud, honest man, but with Claire gone, he is also a broken man with no purpose in life. He broke my heart once again. (hide spoiler)] In this book, Lord John Grey, friend of the Dunsanys, goes to Geneva's funeral and it is in the middle of the night, in the chapel where her body rests awaiting the ceremony in the morning, that he meets Jamie Fraser again for the first time in a very long time. Jamie is paying his respects, prepared to spend the whole night in the chapel in the freezing cold, and Lord John very intuitively starts to suspect what has happened. All of this intermingles with Lord John investigating the obscure circumstances of his father's suicide, as old diaries are unearthed that indicate he might have been murdered instead, together with suspicions arising that he might have been a closet Jacobite. Who better to aid him in this enquiry than the notorious Jacobite, Jamie Fraser himself? On top of all this, Lord John is having constant squabbles with his overbearing brother Hal, who is keeping lots of secrets about their father. He reluctantly attends a gruesome execution, and is at the same time trying very hard to move on from his unrequited love for Jamie Fraser. He is finally ready to pursue an intimate relationship, this time with his new brother (by his mother's marriage), Percy, and there is some (not too explicit) gay sex in this book, but sadly, this new liaison will not yet take him anywhere near a happy ending, and the perils and misadventures of being a homosexual man in the 18th century continue. I actually wonder if this affable character will ever find happiness. Once I overcame my reading restlessness and I came back to it, I quite enjoyed this book and my attention did not falter again. I found it an entertaining, multilayered mystery that Lord John Grey pursues with his habitual flair and panache. Having Jamie Fraser featuring in it to such a large extent, was the icing on the cake, and it probably even deserves 5 stars for entertaining value alone, but since it did not gripped me strongly enough from the beginning, and I ended up abandoning it for a while, I cannot really give it a 5. If I ever re-read it in the future, in one sitting, I probably will, but not now. In any case, obstinate could be my middle name, and here I was 5 months after I started, and still refusing to give up. Because there's lots of drivel out there that I wouldn't bother to finish, but this was a high quality book that I simply could not advance on because of my lack of concentration. What was clear reading this, is that for me, Lord John Grey has become a highly compelling character on his own right, and I'm probably no longer reading about him only because he is part of the Outlander universe, (and not only because of my obsession with the chronology of that), but because I came to care deeply about him on his own, as he is a charming, complex character, deeply conflicted and misunderstood, facing some really difficult challenges for being a gay military officer, when homosexuality in that time period and context could mean not only social suicide and oprobium, but actual physical death too. So, on to the next Lord John novella now, Lord John and The Haunted Soldier, which appears in the anthology Lord John and the Hand of Devils. I'm closer to The Scottish Prisoner now. Finally! I'm dying to get to that one! But these books are probably too intense (and long!) to simply jump onto the next one just like that. Even though the next one is a novella, I think need some uncomplicated fluff for a while now. I probably have not had this much fun reading a book series in order, and becoming obsessed about all connected spin-offs and getting the chronology right since I found Rook and Ronin by JA Huss last year and ended up reading 14 books by the same author pretty much in a row. Ah, happy times indeed!!!! I cannot recommend Outlander strongly enough. It is really a gem with something for anyone. In any case, don't be tempted to watch the TV series before you give the books a chance. It is an amazing experience. So maybe John Waters is really on to something with his quote about obsessions, and these benign, happy fixations may end up contributing to season life with some novel flavourings, and can bring lots of enjoyment to us while in their pursuit. This author and what she has created has definitely brought a lot of that into my life, for which I will be eternally grateful. And I think that our interests, after all, as much as our thinking, personality and values, are part of what makes us who we are. So that's who I am and will be, an Outlander fan for life. And finding something like this from time to time, worthwhile to become obsessed about, is a truly magical, wonderful thing.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Julianna

    Reviewed for THC Reviews "4.5 stars" Unlike the first three stories in the Lord John Grey series which are primarily mysteries, Lord John and the Brotherhood of the Blade takes a little different turn. The book is solidly in the historical fiction genre, covering approximately a year in John’s life and detailing all the things he does during that time which are widely varied. There’s still a mystery threaded throughout the book, but sometimes a few chapters can go by with little development takin Reviewed for THC Reviews "4.5 stars" Unlike the first three stories in the Lord John Grey series which are primarily mysteries, Lord John and the Brotherhood of the Blade takes a little different turn. The book is solidly in the historical fiction genre, covering approximately a year in John’s life and detailing all the things he does during that time which are widely varied. There’s still a mystery threaded throughout the book, but sometimes a few chapters can go by with little development taking place on that front. Then there is John’s military service which is a big part of who he is as a character. We also get a bit of romance as John strikes up a relationship with another man. Last but not least, we learn even more about historical attitudes toward LGBT persons, particularly gay men, which is always interesting to me. Perhaps most exciting of all for me, though, were a few scenes involving Jamie Fraser, when John goes to visit Helwater, where Jamie works as an indentured servant, serving out his parole. I struggled a bit with how to rate the book, because there were some things that kept it from being a perfect read for me, but overall, I did enjoy it. The mystery that John takes part in solving this time takes on a more personal flavor, because he’s investigating his own father’s death, which occurred when he was only twelve and which was ruled a suicide. John’s father was also disgraced as having Jacobite ties, so John is understandably eager to restore his family’s honor that’s been in shreds for over fifteen years. I have to admit that this part of the story lost me at times. There are a number of players involved and some of the names started to blur together. I think maybe having it play out so slowly over time with lots of other things happening in between made me forget who a lot of the characters were and how they related to the case. In the end, I understood the gist of what actually happened, but there were other aspects of the story that I enjoyed more than the mystery. As I mentioned, we once again see John in action as a military officer. A large part of the story takes place in England during the wintertime, while the British troops are awaiting their orders to go back to Prussia where they’re allied with the Prussians in the Seven Years War. During this time, we see John interacting somewhat with the troops and other officers, including his brother, Hal, and friend, Harry Quarry. He also spends some time training his new step-brother, Percy, who has just bought an officer’s commission, but has no military experience whatsoever. Finally, around the last third or so of the book, John actually does return to Prussia and sees some wartime action. I think I found this part more interesting than I did in the previous novella of the series, because it’s more action-oriented with John in the thick of battle. Also Ms. Gabaldon doesn’t go into quite as much detail on troop movements and such. John also gets a little romance in this book, although I hesitate to call it romance due to the relationship ending and there being no HEA. However, I did enjoy it while it lasted and felt like their interactions were on par with some romances I’ve read. As to the particulars, John becomes involved with Percy, who was introduced in Lord John and the Private Matter as a patron of Lavender House, the underground men’s club that caters to gay men. In this book, Percy is the stepson of the man who is about to marry John’s mother. Although he’s referred to as John’s stepbrother throughout, I didn’t feel like their relationship was in any way incestuous, because they’re not even close to being blood related and had barely met. I liked that, for a while, John had someone in whom he could confide and be intimate, and who made him happy on some level. For those who might be wondering, there are love scenes between the two, but while it’s clear to the reader what’s going on, the narrative doesn’t go into a great deal of detail when compared to most of the gay romances I’ve read. I had hoped that maybe John had found someone with whom to share his life or at least some long-term happiness, but unfortunately, due to John still being in love with Jamie and other events which I won’t go into so as to not give away too many spoilers, their love affair is not meant to be. Having a strong interest in sociology, I was particularly interested in the social attitudes toward gay men of the era who were known as sodomites back then. I learned quite a bit from Lord John and the Private Matter, but this book expands that even further. I was especially struck by the knowledge that as difficult as it can be for LGBT persons in our modern age, it was far worse for most of them nearly three centuries ago. Ms. Gabaldon brings out the stark reality that for men to engage in gay sexual relations was not only taboo, it was also illegal and a “crime” punishable by imprisonment or worse yet, execution. Also, not unlike today, it seems that gay men, being viewed as morally bankrupt, were often blamed for other crimes as well. Any traitorous acts against the government, whether true of not, were often blamed on sodomitical conspiracies, and the burden of proof was pretty low, sometimes leading to a man being executed as a sodomite (even if he wasn’t) rather than as an actual traitor. Of course, any man caught in such circumstances brought shame to his family, so other means of getting out of a public trial and hanging were often preferable. It was all rather fascinating and made me look up the books that Ms. Gabaldon recommended in her author’s note at the end. Of course, as would be the case with any true Outlander fan, my favorite parts of the story were the Jamie sightings. John speaks with him on three different visits to Helwater, the first of which was to attend Geneva Dunsany’s funeral. In typical Jamie fashion, we can see that her death has affected him, not because he loved her or anything, but because he feels in some way responsible for what happened. On this visit, John, being the highly intelligent man that he is, puts the pieces together and begins to suspect that Jamie is the true father of the child Geneva died bearing. John and Jamie’s conversations give insights into the unusual relationship they share. We know from the Outlander books that they developed a respect for one another and became friends while at Ardsmuir Prison where Jamie was a prisoner and John the warden. I thought it rather telling that when John is faced with the difficult dilemma of choosing between a man’s life and his own honor, Jamie is the only person he can talk to about it. However, it leads to some things being said that stir up a bit of a hornet’s nest between them over the topic of homosexuality. I’ll be very interested to see how this is resolved in The Scottish Prisoner, because again based on the Outlander books, I know that they do continue their friendship and share another bond as well. I strongly debated on whether to give Lord John and the Brotherhood of the Blade 4 or 4.5 stars and eventually settled on the latter. The story may be a little slow in places and occasionally more challenging to follow, but overall, there was enough to hold my attention, the romance, the LGBT history lesson, and Jamie being chief among them. I also enjoyed John rekindling his friendship with Stephan von Namtzen, who is finally more overtly implied to be gay as well, something I’d suspected from previous stories in the series. For various reasons, a more romantic relationship between them isn’t possible at this time, but I’ll be interested to see if anything more develops in future stories of the series. So despite a few misgivings, I still felt the book was worthy of keeper status. John is a strong and interesting hero who I’ve very much enjoyed getting to know better and who is worthy of his own books series, so I’m looking forward to continuing on with it soon.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Marla

    Enjoyed this book. Good story about Lord John Grey as an addition to The Outlander.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Jo

    ** 4 stars** "Dead is dead, Major," he said quietly. "It is not a romantic notion. And whatever my own feelings in the matter, my family would not prefer my death to my dishonor. While there is anyone alive with a claim upon my protection, my life is not my own." It'a hard to pinpoint why I enjoy this series so much although I miss Jamie and Claire terrible. The thing is, John truly is such a fascinating character, that give us an unique view of the military life and of a life of a gay man in t ** 4 stars** "Dead is dead, Major," he said quietly. "It is not a romantic notion. And whatever my own feelings in the matter, my family would not prefer my death to my dishonor. While there is anyone alive with a claim upon my protection, my life is not my own." It'a hard to pinpoint why I enjoy this series so much although I miss Jamie and Claire terrible. The thing is, John truly is such a fascinating character, that give us an unique view of the military life and of a life of a gay man in that time and in that position of society, and of course the consequences of the eventuality of being found out. In this story, we discover more about John's and Hal's father, the Duke of Pardloe,how he shot himself and how he was accused of being a Jabobite. Now, the reasons involving his death come to surface again, someone is in the possession of his father's latest diary and it may risk all of their lives. Between family secrets, plots, murderers, a secret affair, John have gone to Prussia to fight and barely survives the battle of Krefeld. Now after bearing many injuries and a betrayal that cut his heart, he have to choose between honour and a man's life. *** Yep, this story gave me lot's of feels. Between John's view on his father death and discovering the truth, his secret affair (that provide us some sweet and hot moments) and that ultimate betrayal (that made me angry, I confess)...it was emotional to see John goes trough all that, and still have so much goodness in him. And well, let's just say that one scene between him and Jamie just cut me into pieces...it was so visceral and raw, god damn it. Anyway, if you love John this book is definitely a must read.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Artemiz

    Lord John and the Brotherhood of the Blade is another wonderful example of Diana Gabaldon's writing. This time Grey doesn't have to solve some criminal mystery but the mystery of his father death. And besides doing his best to understand why his father did allegedly committed suicide and was a Jacobite and rumors made him also be an sodomite, he meets once again his half brother Percy Wainwright and now the Outlander series readers can find out why he is very reserved and untrustworthy toward him Lord John and the Brotherhood of the Blade is another wonderful example of Diana Gabaldon's writing. This time Grey doesn't have to solve some criminal mystery but the mystery of his father death. And besides doing his best to understand why his father did allegedly committed suicide and was a Jacobite and rumors made him also be an sodomite, he meets once again his half brother Percy Wainwright and now the Outlander series readers can find out why he is very reserved and untrustworthy toward him. So the story goes between search for the truth, Grey's feelings toward Percy - which at the beginning where very sweet - and Grey's moving step by step closer to Jamie Fraser and also William (although he does not know his name yet). There are places where I wanted to take Dragonfly in Amber and Voyager, find the right places and read the story from Claire's or Jamie's point of view :). Yes this book is very much MM book, but its not MM erotic book, but still you should be warned to read it carefully if you not comfortable with it. Good book, full of exiting situations, interesting secrets and pure feelings and a good book to give extra information about the characters that you already know from Outlander series.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Dawn

    Unfortunately, the Lord John series is not nearly as satisfying as Gabaldon's Outlander series. I do love Lord John Grey as a main character but the plot-lines are rather difficult to follow and there are entirely too many characters to keep track of. As the second book in this series, I was disappointed in the lack of continuity between this book and the first in the series, Lord John and the Private Matter. The only similarity between them was Lord John as the main character. Not that I have t Unfortunately, the Lord John series is not nearly as satisfying as Gabaldon's Outlander series. I do love Lord John Grey as a main character but the plot-lines are rather difficult to follow and there are entirely too many characters to keep track of. As the second book in this series, I was disappointed in the lack of continuity between this book and the first in the series, Lord John and the Private Matter. The only similarity between them was Lord John as the main character. Not that I have to have a series in which the next book is entirely based on the one before, nonetheless, I like to have at least some characters and maybe a small storyline in common. The parts of the book I really enjoyed were the parts where Grey interacts with Jamie, the male lead character in the Outlander series. The Lord John books are more like mysteries and I feel like those parts are a little convoluted. The parts about Grey's relationships and daily goings-about are more interesting to me. That said, I still worship all books Ms. Gabaldon writes and I will continue to not only read but purchase the Lord John books and any other books she may write in the future.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Erica Anderson

    I know it's heretical, but I actually like the Lord John books better than the Outlander series. I think Gabaldon must be channeling Grey, straight from Georgian England, because his voice is so authentic. Gabaldon's trademark historical detail is laced throughout, including an absolutely amazing scene involving leeches. [Incidentally, if you're a writer, I recommend you read this scene carefully. It's brilliantly done.] Here's an excerpt: ****** ... Hal replied, bending over the table to peer at I know it's heretical, but I actually like the Lord John books better than the Outlander series. I think Gabaldon must be channeling Grey, straight from Georgian England, because his voice is so authentic. Gabaldon's trademark historical detail is laced throughout, including an absolutely amazing scene involving leeches. [Incidentally, if you're a writer, I recommend you read this scene carefully. It's brilliantly done.] Here's an excerpt: ****** ... Hal replied, bending over the table to peer at a leech, which was extending itself in an eccentric and voluptuous manner. "Do you think that one's dead?" ****** "Voluptuous" leeches. Brilliant description. Here's another, as the battle of Crefeld is about to begin: ****** Collet's seamed face beamed at the honor, and he bounded back to his men, barking orders. The men cheered, and went off at a trot, shoulder to shoulder, like a flock of particularly bloodthirsty sheep. ****** [Incidentally, I am outraged at Percy on Grey's behalf. Really, how could he? And am so glad to see Stephan and his dachshunds again.]

  23. 5 out of 5

    Emily

    Since I stayed up until 4:30 this morning finishing this, I'd say it deserves 5 stars. I love Lord John. Lord John and the Private Matter was enjoyable, but I thought this one was even better, with more complications-family scandal, mystery, war and a new relationship keep John's story buzzing along, and showing him in these various situations really gives insight into his character that isn't there in the Outlander books, where he is eventually an important character, but still not the main one Since I stayed up until 4:30 this morning finishing this, I'd say it deserves 5 stars. I love Lord John. Lord John and the Private Matter was enjoyable, but I thought this one was even better, with more complications-family scandal, mystery, war and a new relationship keep John's story buzzing along, and showing him in these various situations really gives insight into his character that isn't there in the Outlander books, where he is eventually an important character, but still not the main one. Getting to see more of his interactions with his family, especially his brother Hal was one of the things I liked most about this book. Here's hoping Gabaldon finishes Lord John and the Scottish Prisoner soon!

  24. 5 out of 5

    Christine (AR)

    I found the basic mystery -- the suicide or murder of the main character's father -- to be a little confusing, but no matter; I loved Lord John himself, found his world completely fascinating and sincerely hope Gabaldon writes twenty more in this series.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Vikki Vaught

    So glad I read this book! It answered quite a few questions about Lord John's sub-plot that had always confused me. Happy reading!

  26. 4 out of 5

    Kathleen

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. This book could have been absolute garbage and I would have loved it ~ that's how happy I was to be back in the 'Outlander' orbit. Of course it wasn't absolute garbage, far from it. Diana Gabaldon is way too intelligent of a writer to ever publish anything in that category. What a nonsensical way to start a review. Lord John Grey is one of my favorite periphery characters from the 'Outlander' books. As such, it was like seeing an old friend, the warmth I felt at renewing our acquaintance. My appr This book could have been absolute garbage and I would have loved it ~ that's how happy I was to be back in the 'Outlander' orbit. Of course it wasn't absolute garbage, far from it. Diana Gabaldon is way too intelligent of a writer to ever publish anything in that category. What a nonsensical way to start a review. Lord John Grey is one of my favorite periphery characters from the 'Outlander' books. As such, it was like seeing an old friend, the warmth I felt at renewing our acquaintance. My approach to reading his series has been deliberately paced, in slow methodical fashion, so as to draw out my obsession pleasure with this world for as long as possible. 'The Brotherhood of the Blade' mentioned Jamie Fraser as part of the storyline which, of course, was an instant, bonus, no-brainer, decision-maker to reading the book. Sadly, Jamie was actually a very small (tho pivotal) part but it was nonetheless satisfying to read dialog between two of my favorite men in literature. Now, don't count, but how many times have I waxed on and on about what a gentleman LJG is? Probably so many, everyone is doing a perfunctory eye roll at this very minute. Too bad! I'm not quite finished yet nor can I ever imagine a day when that would be so. I could go on and on about it ad nauseum ~ it's so particularly striking in this day where simple civilities are noticeably lacking. He makes me sigh, he's so perfect. How is it fair one man is as blessed in good attributes as he ~ looks, athleticism, manners, intelligence, wealth, noble birth family, etc.?? He's missing nothing except the ability to love openly , the person of his choice. No small thing that. I'm sure he would trade any one of the previous for the opportunity to be granted that freedom. Reading about what happens to sodomites in the British Army is sobering, as there is still progress to be made in the world on that front. Diana Gabaldon wrote such an honest portrayal of love, lust, betrayal & anguish in the relationship between LJG and Percy Wainwright, I felt I lived it right along with him. It was so typical of LJG to find the best case scenario in how it ended. Of course he would. At the end of this book, it did not appear Percy & Lord John were on bad terms. However; (me being ever the stickler for details) I distinctly remember, when they crossed paths again in 'An Echo in the Bone,' Lord John was not very thrilled to see him. Perhaps in one of the few books I have left to read, they have a distasteful encounter? or is it possible I've forgotten something? hmmmm. The other big storyline was the mystery of who murdered John Grey's father, the Duke of Pardloe and the sleuth work to figure it out. I won't spoil that part, for once! I really enjoyed 'The Brotherhood of the Blade' although my favorite in this series (of the ones I've read) remains 'The Scottish Prisoner.' Mostly because Jamie & LJG comport themselves as equals in that excursion. This book fills in more details on events we 'Outlander' fans have read about in the regular series. We get a lot of insight into the depths of Lord John's feelings for Jamie. I felt pangs of empathy for him all over again that it was destined to be unrequited. Indeed, I could would love to commiserate with him over a brandy. *sigh* If only. The explosive argument between LJG and Jamie regarding homosexuality was very revealing and written to perfection. I'd always wondered if Lord John knew about what happened to Jamie with Black Jack but here was the answer. I was happy to learn it and I think it explained to Lord John, without question, Jamie's reaction to his advance at Ardsmuir. Despite their considerable differences ~ religion, politics, sexuality, etc. ~ they are inexorably drawn to each other in friendship. We could all learn a lot from DG's fictional world.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Matt

    Gabaldon moves the Lord John series forward in this wonderful novel, which opens in 1758, as the Seven Years War continues pulling Britain into the fray, now fighting for Prussia. Lord John and his brother, Hal, enjoy life as soldiers. When the discussion turns to the death of their father, both begin to remember the events that led to that fateful day. Seventeen years earlier, Lord John's father, the Duke of Pardloe, died from a pistol shot and accusations of being a Jacobite sympathiser swirli Gabaldon moves the Lord John series forward in this wonderful novel, which opens in 1758, as the Seven Years War continues pulling Britain into the fray, now fighting for Prussia. Lord John and his brother, Hal, enjoy life as soldiers. When the discussion turns to the death of their father, both begin to remember the events that led to that fateful day. Seventeen years earlier, Lord John's father, the Duke of Pardloe, died from a pistol shot and accusations of being a Jacobite sympathiser swirling around him. When Hal receives excerpts from the Duke's missing diary, the mystery resurrects itself and leaves both Greys to wonder if the secret will become public knowledge, tainting their respective images. These secrets taunt Lord John and his family, leaving him to consult a known past Jacobite and his former prisoner, Jamie Fraser. Frissons on both sides reveal a little more about this Ardsmuir-based relationship and help the reader understand both men that much more, based on their encounters in Gabaldon's VOYAGER. Amidst these concerns, Grey's mother is set to wed again, bringing a new and exciting step-brother into his life. Percy Wainwright piques Grey's interest on many levels, forcing the two young men to explore their magnetism and deep-seeded passions. While the reader is left with little doubt about Grey's proclivities, it is Wainwright who is trapped in a bit of military hot water when he is caught and charged with sodomy after an encounter with a Prussian. Will Grey stand by Wainwright and ensure he is kept from punishment or will he continue to hide his own passionate interests, which have included Wainwright himself? What assistance might Jamie Fraser bring to permit Grey to solve his family mystery and remove the stain from the Duke's reputation? Gabaldon has done well to paint many important pictures in the Lord John series, which answers some queries, but open new and exciting doors for future instalments. Gabaldon, who has already spun many wonderful tales with her Outlander series, creates a much thicker and convoluted backstory for Lord John Grey, especially in this novel. While past mentions of Grey's personal life leads the reader in a certain direction, little doubt is left from hereon in, especially with Percy Wainwright crossing paths with our protagonist. While some readers may find this trivial or useless in the larger storyline, I would argue to its essential nature. While Claire and Jamie's passionate encounters are not the motivating factor in OUTLANDER, it does play a key role in better understanding the characters. Lord John remains a mystery to many, but with more novels of this nature, light is shed and the reader finds themselves more drawn to learning even more. With Jamie Fraser as a strong bridge between the two series, there is sure to be a great deal the reader can learn and will leave many flocking to digest these massive missives. Kudos, Madam Gabaldon for this revealing LJG novel and helping the reader procure a greater understanding of the issues that pull at his heartstrings on a regular basis. Like/hate the review? An ever-growing collection of others appears at: http://pecheyponderings.wordpress.com/

  28. 4 out of 5

    keikii Eats Books

    60 points/100 (3.25 stars/5). Lord John Grey's mother is getting remarried. With it brings up trouble from their past and his father's death, some dangerous situations, and a very handsome new step-brother. Well, I certainly liked this book a hell of a lot better than the last one. The last one was some random story with a character that may or may not be Lord John. This book, however, is exactly what I was expecting out of a Lord John Grey novel. I have the character I enjoy back, I have somethin 60 points/100 (3.25 stars/5). Lord John Grey's mother is getting remarried. With it brings up trouble from their past and his father's death, some dangerous situations, and a very handsome new step-brother. Well, I certainly liked this book a hell of a lot better than the last one. The last one was some random story with a character that may or may not be Lord John. This book, however, is exactly what I was expecting out of a Lord John Grey novel. I have the character I enjoy back, I have something that is more than a weird detective novel, and I have what I expected. That isn't to mean I necessarily enjoyed it - I am basically reading this out of what feels like obligation towards the main Outlander series. but it was better. This book, Gabaldon stuck to what she knew - and she knows how to form relationships between the characters. This book has romance, it has family, it has friendship. This book has what the last so dearly lacked. It also has the sense of honor and obligation that entails in a man such as Lord John Grey. I enjoyed John in this book so much better, because he is the character I have come to expect, enjoy, and look forward to. There is still a mystery, but it isn't the only part to the book. There is also some war games that get played. And a lot of romance. The book is a bit all over the place for how short it is (and thank god it isn't the same length as a typical Outlander novel!), but it was decent nonetheless. There are a lot of plot threads that happen, maybe too much. I just didn't really care about it the way I care for an Outlander novel. Still not my thing, but a much better book than the last.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Mary

    Diana Gabaldon never fails to deliver a well-researched and well-written novel. Lord John and the Brotherhood of the Blade is no exception. While this is an enjoyable installment that gives us further background into John's family and personal history, something was missing for me. I didn't feel the same attachment to the characters and there were very few scenes that left me with 'the feelings' that Diana usually conveys through her writing. There were a few lighthearted moments - John's cousin Diana Gabaldon never fails to deliver a well-researched and well-written novel. Lord John and the Brotherhood of the Blade is no exception. While this is an enjoyable installment that gives us further background into John's family and personal history, something was missing for me. I didn't feel the same attachment to the characters and there were very few scenes that left me with 'the feelings' that Diana usually conveys through her writing. There were a few lighthearted moments - John's cousin giving birth in the church, Percy learning to dance. And, a few heartbreaking - John finding Percy in a very compromising position that left them both with almost no options. But, in general, it was a fairly standard historical novel with a little romance and a little mystery. I was most impressed with John finding a way to save Percy while still preserving the honor that is so important to him. One pet peeve - the synopsis listed above plays on Jamie Fraser as a character. He is in about two scenes that are fairly unimportant to this story (there is a revelation to John regarding William's birth but that is truly more about the Outlander storyline.) I think Lord John can stand on his own and they don't have to use Jamie as a selling point for these books. 4/5 stars because, even with flaws, Diana Gabaldon can write!

  30. 4 out of 5

    Leilani

    I read the first couple of Outlander books about a decade ago, so I only retain a few foggy memories of them. Contrary to some of the other reviews, I enjoyed this book even without any detailed knowledge of the main series. The historical research felt strong and detailed; the characters felt appealing but not anachronistically modern; and the settings were vividly drawn - I felt like I was really in all those cold rooms with rain beating at the windows. The story alternates between Lord John's I read the first couple of Outlander books about a decade ago, so I only retain a few foggy memories of them. Contrary to some of the other reviews, I enjoyed this book even without any detailed knowledge of the main series. The historical research felt strong and detailed; the characters felt appealing but not anachronistically modern; and the settings were vividly drawn - I felt like I was really in all those cold rooms with rain beating at the windows. The story alternates between Lord John's love affair & the troubles it causes, and the unearthing of some secrets surrounding his father's death many years before. I found the first storyline much more involving and moving. The second had the potential to be interesting, but mainly felt confusing - the plotters he was trying to hunt down mostly stayed offscreen and I had trouble remembering which name went with which unseen villain, so I took away a star for that. Also for the scenes with Jamie Fraser, which felt shoehorned in. They felt irrelevant and less convincing than the rest of the book, as though she had to fit in her favorite character somehow, even though he didn't really belong.

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