Remember that old TV Show Bullseye, where they showed the losers at the end the prize that they could have won but hadn't? This latest episode in the never ending story of (occasionally) Jamie and Claire Fraser has a few, tantalising glimpses of the writer in her hey dey, I.e. Books 1-3, but no more than that. Huge chunks of this sizeable tome found me skipping through screeds of Army detail that held no interest for me, Lord John Grey, whose fascination has always escaped me, and jumps erratically to the past and the future in a seemingly random and very distracting manner. Distasteful sex scenes with highly improbable behaviour from 18th century virgins were increasingly desparate, and added nothing to the story. Too Long by far, too many irrelevant characters with nothing to recommend them, it mostly reminded me of Book 4 and its interminable descriptions of the gathering.
Yet I found myself enjoying the few wee nuggets that were vintage Gabaldon, showing me the book we could have had, but I fear won't ever get again. She knows we want Jamie & Claire, but doesn't seem to want to deliver them.
This series has long outstayed its welcome, time for it to be retired.