By Diana Gabaldon
Bantam Books 16.00 534 pages
Diana Gabaldon’s The Scottish Prisoner is the fourth novel in her series of mysteries featuring Lord John Grey, an ancillary character from her “Outlander” series. This novel features Lord John on an extended trip to Ireland, trying to settle a debt of honor, and bring a scoundrel who has been defrauding the army to justice.
Long time Gabaldon readers will enjoy the presence of Jamie Fraser, the Scottish prisoner of the title, who also narrates substantial parts of the story. Readers of the previous Lord John novels will find this one in a similar vein. Gabaldon’s characters are her strength in every work, and that continues to be true in this novel. Readers will sympathize with both Jamie and Lord John, caught in difficult positions, and many will enjoy the fleshing out of the character of the Duke of Pardloe, Lord John’s older brother. However, the Lord John books generally are less approachable than Gabaldon’s other writings. She has never been afraid to put her characters in unusual, improbable, or even supernatural situations, so writers looking for a straightforward who-dun-it should look elsewhere. Additionally, the layers of formality and complicated title and introduction in Lord John’s upper class world have become so familiar to the author, many connections may not be apparent to new readers. If you’re looking for highly enjoyable escapism, and a historical author who values accuracy, although not at expense of the plot, you’re in the right place.
Reviewed By Katie Richards