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72 of 73 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Gift from the Gods....
For Jamie Fraser devotees, The Scottish Prisoner is like a gift from the Gods. Not only does the exiled Scot play a significant role in this latest Lord John adventure, but he also appears to be largely in control of the action. For those familiar with the Outlander story, Jamie is from necessity, sojourned at his Majesty's pleasure in the wilds of the English Lake...
Published on 9 Dec 2011 by jaffareadstoo

versus
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars OK but second best - please get on with Outlander, Diana!
Reading Diana Gabaldon's huge Outlander series is one of my greatest guilty pleasures, but I find the Lord John Grey spin-off stories a poor second best and gave up on them a while ago. I was tempted by this latest one, however, because it features Outlander's Jamie Fraser.
But despite the presence of the divine Jamie I didn't change my mind. Of course there are good...
Published 22 months ago by Bookwoman


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72 of 73 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Gift from the Gods...., 9 Dec 2011
By 
jaffareadstoo (England) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Scottish Prisoner (Hardcover)
For Jamie Fraser devotees, The Scottish Prisoner is like a gift from the Gods. Not only does the exiled Scot play a significant role in this latest Lord John adventure, but he also appears to be largely in control of the action. For those familiar with the Outlander story, Jamie is from necessity, sojourned at his Majesty's pleasure in the wilds of the English Lake District, where as part of his parole after Culloden, Jamie must eke out his days as a groom on Lord Dunsany's estate at Helswater. When Lord John Grey and his brother, Harold, Duke of Pardloe acquire a secret and highly dangerous document, they need help to translate its Irish Gaelic contents in order to resolve a potentially volatile situation.

Jamie Fraser, enigmatic Scotsman, and traitor to the crown, is the one man Lord John knows who can be trusted to decipher the Irish Gaelic contents of the documents. Removed from the protective safety of Helswater, Jamie is at first a reluctant conscript, and yet once drawn into the mystery surrounding the documents, we quickly see a return of the Jamie Fraser of the early Outlander novels, where the bold and fearless warrior, with his heart of gold, and arteries of steel is back in the midst of the action.

Diana Gabaldon's skill as a writer turns this adventure story into a series of violent escapades, from sword fights and treachery, to pistols at dawn, but throughout the narrative, she blends quite seamlessly the story of two very different men, forced together by circumstances, and whose shared history creates more questions than it does answers.

For me this book worked on several levels. As a continuation of the Lord John books, the story was a well thought out adventure, both fast and furious in equal measure, and a commendable continuation of the Lord John catalogue. On the other hand, as a fully paid up member of the Jamie Fraser appreciation society, this book allowed a rare glimpse into Jamie's hidden time at Helswater, where the loss of his beloved wife Claire runs like a silken thread throughout the narrative,and as ever his love and need of her is palpable and painful. His constant prayer that she and their child be safe, is heart breaking, and utterly believable. On a lighter note, his burgeoning relationship with his son William is a joyful glimpse into Jamie's role as protector, teacher and fatherly mentor.

At the end of the novel I felt a sense of loss, and yet, inordinately grateful that once again due to the skill of this talented author,I had been allowed a rare glimpse into the imagined life of this charismatic Scottish prisoner.
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Cannot Fault, 15 Jan 2012
By 
Gareth Wilson - Falcata Times Blog "Falcata T... - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Scottish Prisoner (Hardcover)
OK, to those who've already Diana's work I'm not saying anything that they didn't already know, to those who have seen the authors name and not sure whether or not to take a chance, this is perhaps the review to help you make up your mind.

First of all I was new to Diana's writing when I was lent An Echo in the Bone. Yes I know, it was the seventh book in the series but the beauty and the story weaving was so exceptional that I had to go all the way back to the first book and read the series back to back.

As with Diana's other books, this latest title is a story of honour, love, battle and of course the development of roles for the characters within. The fact that Jamie Fraser makes a reappearance will more than please fans of the Outlander series as he gets back to doing what he does best. Add to this a seriously delicious storyline, cracking character development alongside prose that many will fall in love with alongside a masters understanding of pace and it's a book that is serious value for money. All I have to do now is set up a guard to protect my copy from a certain parent who's already setting her sights on it.
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34 of 35 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A stunning novel from a true master storyteller., 9 Feb 2012
This review is from: The Scottish Prisoner (Hardcover)
Jamie Fraser was a convicted Jacobite traitor and prisoner of Ardsmuir. Now he is on parole, working as a stable hand on the Helwater estate, for the English aristocratic Dunsany family.

But when an Irish stranger calls in the night, with talk of white roses and a renewed Jacobite uprising, Jamie's quiet life on parole is turned upside down. . .

Lord John Grey has been tasked by his older brother to discover a plot of corruption and murder against a British officer, Major Gerald Siverly. But the only clue as to Siverly's whereabouts is a cryptic poem, written in `erse' - the Scottish tongue. And the only Scot John Grey knows is one Jamie Fraser, whom he met while he was Governor of Ardsmuir. But he and Mr Fraser did not part on good terms, and Grey is reluctant to be reacquainted with his old friend, now turned foe.

Grey's brother, Hal, enlists the help of Jamie Fraser to assist on the hunt for Siverly. But it quickly becomes clear that this Jacobite hunt is mired in Ireland - the poem is not written in Scottish erse, but rather Irish Gaeilge. Even more curious, the poem tells tale of the `Wild Hunt', an Irish folk legend.

Lord John Grey, Jamie Fraser and Grey's trusty valet, Tom Byrd, set out to Ireland on a wild hunt that will lead them to conspiracy and murder. . .

`The Scottish Prisoner' is the fourth book in Diana Gabaldon's `Lord John Grey' series, which is itself a `spin-off' of her wildly popular `Outlander' series.

Diana Gabaldon's first `Lord John Grey' spin-off book was released in 2003. The spin-off was born when Ms Gabaldon was invited to contribute to a historical British crime stories anthology. As she explains, she didn't want to write about any main `Outlander' characters, but decided that Lord John was a suitably significant character in her main series, who was not always a key player. Thus, Lord John's spin-off was born, and `Scottish Prisoner' marks the fourth instalment, and also the most anticipated.

The three previous Lord John Grey books have not featured Jamie Fraser. The spin-off books have also not matched the timeline of the `Outlander' books (`The Private Matter' was released before `The Fiery Cross', while `Brotherhood of the Blade' came out two years after `A Breath of Snow and Ashes'. Another reason, I'm sure, Ms Gabaldon didn't wish to write a spin-off for a main `Outlander' character. . . trying to keep parallel timelines would probably do her head in!). But, it became apparent to fans of `Lord John Grey' and `Outlander' that a significant overlap could occur - in that sad grey period of Jamie and Claire's lives, between `Dragonfly in Amber' and `Voyager', when they were separated by time.

Diana Gabaldon's `Outlander' series is tricky and fantastic. Timelines curve and time spans - there are major time lapses in both Jamie and Claire's lives. Jamie spent seven years hiding in a cave after the disaster of Culloden. Claire spent years studying medicine and raising her and Jamie's daughter, Brianna. As readers, we were privy to snatches and samples of these times in Jamie and Claire's lives apart in the third book, `Voyager' (and a bit in the beginning of `Dragonfly in Amber'. . . see what I mean about time curving?)

Jamie also spent a good deal of time in Ardsmuir prisoner, where he first met Lord John Grey and formed a friendship that lasted until his parole on Helwater. . . whereupon Lord John, a homosexual (in times when sodomy was illegal) made advances to Jamie, and embarrassed them both. While at Helwater Jamie also had a disastrous liaison with the young mistress, Geneva Dunsany, resulting in the birth of his secretly illegitimate son, William. Eventually Lord John Grey would marry William's aunt, Isobel, and adopt the boy as his own, partly because he knows what the boy means to Jamie and he vows to care for him (thereby winning Jamie's loyalty and gratitude back).

Readers of `Outlander' gathered all this information while reading `Voyager', the third book in the `Outlander' series which included Lord John Grey and Jamie Fraser's impromptu meeting on the high seas (and John Grey meeting Jamie's supposedly dead wife, Claire, for the first time).

But there was so much we didn't know, in between. Thanks to Gabaldon's tricky timelines, multiple plots and intense back-story, there was plenty of blanks in Jamie and Lord John's history. There are also many blanks in Jamie's progression from the young twenty-something in `Dragonfly' to the man Claire meets after a long absence in `Voyager'.

That's what `The Scottish Prisoner' is - it's the back-story and the in between. In this book we read part of Jamie's progression to the man we have come to know and love, hinting at his transformation to Mac Dubh of the Ridge.

As in all the `Lord John Grey' books, there is a `whodunit' mystery plot, concerning Jacobites in Ireland. This is an interesting plot, and with Jamie and John Grey on the case, you better believe there's lots of trickery and violence. But this Jacobite plot is most interesting for how it impacts on Jamie. He is in the middle of his Helwater parole and Culloden still haunts him. The last thing he wants is for all of this to resurface. But even more important is the fact that investigating this new Jacobite plot takes him away from Helwater, away from young Willie - his little boy who has just grown old enough to start playing with horses, and interacting with Jamie.

The only reason Jamie even agrees to travel to Ireland (with no intention of escaping) is because he knows he needs to return to Helwater and see out his parole. This is his only chance to be near his secret illegitimate son.

Fans of Diana Gabaldon know that herself writes grand historical adventures. Her books are meticulously researched and she beautifully conjures a sense of time and place with her evocative stories and endearing characters. But readers also know that Gabaldon is a master of romance - Jamie and Claire's love has spanned seven books and evaded time. For this reason, some fans may be hesitant to read `Scottish Prisoner' - a book with Jamie, but no Claire. And no `Outlander' fan wants to read about Jamie coupling and courting with anyone other than his Sassenach (it was hard enough to read his encounters with Geneva and Mary McNab, no matter how innocent or regretted). Rest assured, Jamie remains true to his wife (despite some unsubtle advances). And even though there's far less romance in this novel than in any of Gabaldon's other novels, Claire is a heavy presence throughout the book. Jamie thinks of her, always. At this point of time he prays that Claire and his child (who he's sure was a boy) went through the rocks safely and were carried back to her own time. Whenever Jamie thinks of her and the child (which is often) he sends out a silent prayer: "That she might be safe. She and the child."

Lord John Grey also learns more about Claire in this book. Not so much because Jamie opens up to him about missing his wife (he tells everyone he `lost' her at Culloden), rather John Grey observes how thoughts of Claire weigh on Jamie's mind. Their investigations into this Irish Jacobite plot conjure some hard memories for Jamie - memories of his time in France with Claire, and of his duel with `Black' Jack Randall. Lord John Grey finds himself stumbling across little tells and hints of Jamie's love and yearning for Claire, and it makes John green with envy.

This is where Diana Gabaldon really excels - in writing these little tensions and unsaid conversations between her characters. As readers we know all that's between the lines, and reading Jamie and Lord John dance around one another - around personal and political issues - makes for some truly delicious reading.

Something I especially loved in this book was the backstory to a recurring secondary character. We learn about Lord John Grey's older brother, Hal, and the story of how he and his wife, Minnie, came to be married. I love, love, loved this backstory! It could be a book (novella? Short story?) unto itself, and I certainly hope that herself decides to write it! Minnie was a spy in France, and Hal met her when she was snooping through his desk . . . his discovery ended in a coupling, on the hearthrug. Delicious! Hal becomes infinitely more exciting with this backstory, and I want more!

I knew I would enjoy `The Scottish Prisoner'. Not least of all because the seventh `Outlander' book came out in 2009, and Gabaldon has only recently guessed that the eighth book, `Written in my Own Heart's Blood', will be finished (hopefully) by the end of 2012, and (tentatively) released by the end of 2013. That's another long wait between much-anticipated `Outlander' books, so `Scottish Prisoner' is a lovely book to tide fans over in the interim. And the fact that we get a long dose of beloved Jamie Fraser? Even better.

But more than anything, `The Scottish Prisoner' is an important book in understanding the evolution of James Alexander Malcolm MacKenzie Fraser. This book is the `in between' of his life - when he's no longer a prisoner, but not quite a free man. He is a new father, to Willie, but can never let this fact be known. And he learns the value of friendship and loyalty with the Englishman, Lord John Grey. I loved this book, as I knew I would, and even though there was no Claire, the love Jamie has for her is even more powerful for her absence and his constant yearning for her. A stunning novel from a true master storyteller.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful Historical Fiction, 17 Jan 2013
By 
Marleen (Cavan, Ireland) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Scottish Prisoner (Lord John 3) (Paperback)
The last time Lord John Grey and Jamie Fraser saw each other they parted after a heated fight during which things were said that can't be easily forgiven or forgotten. Since then Jamie has been working as a groom on the Helwater estate. While he is no longer a prisoner, he's not a free man either since he can't go anywhere else or plan his own life. Jamie isn't too unhappy about his lot though. While he still misses his wife, Claire, terribly, even after more than ten years, and aches for his home in the Scottish Highlands, living on Helwater gives him the opportunity to be close to the son he can't acknowledge. His life is peaceful and predictable until Tobias Quinn arrives. The Irish man, who was part of the failed Rising, is involved in plans to resurrect the Jacobite rebellion and determined to get Jamie involved.

In London, Lord John Grey has in his possession papers which reveal corruption and murder committed by a British officer. Together with his brother Hal, John decides to bring the officer in question in front of a court martial. But with their suspect residing in Ireland they have to come up with a way of getting him back to England. And since the papers also hint at a more far reaching conspiracy, the brothers need Jamie to travel with and assist John.

Soon the two men are reluctantly thrown back together and travelling to Ireland. Here they will face danger, conspiracies, murder, false accusations and divided loyalties. But it is also a journey that will give them the opportunity to overcome their old hostilities and forge a new, if complicated, friendship.

Set in 1760, this is a wonderful book. It offers solid historical fiction, great characters and a thrilling story. Really, I couldn't find anything wrong with this book if I wanted to.

For the uninitiated, a short background to the characters in this book. Jamie Fraser is one of the two main characters in the series of books that started with Outlander (Cross Stitch in the UK). Lord John Grey occasionally makes guest, but not unimportant, appearances in those books but has been given his own stories in a separate offshoot of the Outlander books. This is the first book in which both characters play an equal role, and it makes for fascinating reading. Jamie, the proud Scottish Highlander, former rebel and now despised prisoner and John, the English aristocrat and officer couldn't be further apart. And yet the two men have a lot in common. Both are honourable, intelligent and cultured and both have to live with an impossible love. Jamie will never get over the wife he had to let go so she could return to her own time in safety and John, as a homosexual, can never openly admit to his preferences. The fact that he is deeply attracted to Jamie only complicates matters further. The relationship between the two men is complicated and very interesting. Even after their big fight they find it hard to sustain their animosity when they're forced to work together and depend upon each other. The way their feelings fluctuate, and their relationship develops, gives this book depth and adds greatly to the mysterious and thrilling story-line.

Diana Gabaldon writes her stories well. With every book I read her characters become more real for me and I'm deeply invested in their lives. The historical detail in the books is fascinating, and as far as I can tell, well researched and accurate. The fact that a big part of this story took place in Ireland was a very nice added bonus for me.

The Scottish Prisoner delivers everything you might be looking for in a good read: we have a mystery that has to be solved, danger that has to be faced and overcome, fascinating settings, realistic and multi-facetted characters with issues to overcome and dialogue that flows smoothly (and boy do I love that Scottish accent).

I've allowed myself to fall behind in my reading of the Outlander books. Of course, that's not necessarily a bad thing because it means that even if I read "A Breath of Snow and Ashes" in the near future there will be a sequel already available in the shops as soon as I finish it. Life is good!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars AWESOME!!!!!!, 30 May 2014
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I loved this book, love the characters, the writing style and the storyline. once again Diana Gabaldon had me hooked from page 1 til the end :)
I just can't get enough of the outlander series and related books :)
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent - as always, 3 July 2013
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I have read all of the 'outlander'/Jamie books (several times) and have never been disappointed. This author has the wonderful skill of drawing you into the story. This is the first time I have tried any of the 'Lord John Grey' series, which of course overlap and interact with the outlander series. I have found it to be every bit as absorbing as the other books written by this author. Excellent!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Kindle version, 15 Dec 2012
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I have an 'addiction' for Diana's novels and have always had to wait for the paperback version to hit the bookstall as the hard-back versions are too heavy to hold for a long reading period! Now I don't have to wait - my kindle is just the right weight and I can enjoy the read as soon as it is released - what couldn't be good? As for the work - brilliant as usual - well defined characters and highly crafted 'background' stories. Diana allows the reader to 'catch up' with main characters and what they are doing whilst not on the scene in the main 'saga' and produces for us books that stand alone but also greatly enhance the main work. In the Scottish prisoner we are treated to the depth of background that makes the relationship between Lord John and Jamie Fraser so complex and does so without destroying the readers own imaginings.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Scottish Prisoner, 28 Nov 2012
By 
P. A. Cunningham "Penny" (N.Ireland) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Scottish Prisoner (Lord John 3) (Paperback)
I really enjoyed this book, my favourite of The Lord John books. There is a lot of Jamie in it and it answers a lot of the questions thrown up in the other Lord John books about the relationship between Lord John Grey and Jamie Frazer. It gives an insight into the some of the years that Jamie and Claire are seperated and just rounds out the story for you.
It comes at a good time in the series about Jamie and Claire, if you are a fan and awaiting the next installment of the Outlander series, (which is due to be published in 2013) this just wets your appitite for it!!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Scottish Prisoner, 13 Oct 2012
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Diana Gabaldon is a recent discovery for me, but I have now read all her 'Outlander' and 'Lord John' books and loved them!
'The Scottish Prisoner' brings the two series much closer together as you discover more about Lord John and his family and background. Whilst I found this book a little slow to grab me (as I did the very first book of Gabaldon's I read- 'Cross-stitch in Time') it was thoroughly worth sticking with and I felt vaguely bereft when I'd finished it...which is how I always feel when a book I have loved reading ends.
The book itself, set in England and Ireland in the mid 1700s, and deals with the interaction between a paroled scottish prisoner (Jamie) and his parolling officer Lord John. and the love/hate relationship they have as Jamie is exploited for the benefit of the John's family- although it is not instigated by John himself, who is in love with Jamie. I loved it!
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars OK but second best - please get on with Outlander, Diana!, 25 Oct 2012
By 
Bookwoman (South Wales) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Scottish Prisoner (Lord John 3) (Paperback)
Reading Diana Gabaldon's huge Outlander series is one of my greatest guilty pleasures, but I find the Lord John Grey spin-off stories a poor second best and gave up on them a while ago. I was tempted by this latest one, however, because it features Outlander's Jamie Fraser.
But despite the presence of the divine Jamie I didn't change my mind. Of course there are good things in it, as you'd expect from this author: it's very readable, the historical details are totally convincing, and she hasn't lost her gift for creating characters that walk straight off the page, particularly Grey's brother Hal and his intriguing wife Minnie. And there are a couple of memorable and moving scenes involving Jamie and his secret son Willie.
But, for me, Lord John remained rather dull, despite the obligatory sex scenes (I'll leave it to you to supply the 'Fifty Shades of Grey' jokes). He's a well-drawn character, just not a leading one: why do I have to follow him around, when I could be spending time with Jamie?
I also thought the plot was paper-thin in parts: the reasons why Jamie had to be involved in the bungled entrapment of the corrupt British officer Siverly were extremely unconvincing, and the bolted-on supernatural elements of the story were a step too far for me.
Given the success of the Outlander books I'm willing to bet that Ms Gabaldon regrets creating the huge gap in the story, in which Jamie and Claire are separated for two decades. It must be tempting to go back to Jamie's lonely years in Scotland and Helwater, and I wish she'd just give us more of that. But instead we've got the Lord John mysteries, which she enjoys writing and which are obviously selling, so I suppose we're stuck with them.
But am I the only fan who wishes she'd just get on with the main story? Despite the shortcomings of the latest instalment, An Echo in the Bone (Outlander), and because of all the loose ends she left hanging, I personally can't wait to read what happens next - and adding a taster to the end of this book was rather cheeky, and not quite enough.
Five stars for Jamie, of course, but only two for the rest: I'll average it out with a generous three.
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The Scottish Prisoner (Lord John 3)
The Scottish Prisoner (Lord John 3) by Diana Gabaldon (Paperback - 25 Oct 2012)
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