The fifth book in Gabaldon’s Outlander series, the Fiery Cross takes places shortly after the ending of the fourth book. As a recap (and possible spoiler if you haven’t read the first novels) Claire, a nurse from the 1940’s traveled back in time to 18th century Scotland. There, to preserve her life, she marries Jamie Fraser, a Scottish highlander in order to save her life. She grows to love him but is sadly separated for twenty years when she has to return to her own time. When she learns he has not died in battle, she returns through the stones and back in time to find him. After a misfortune of a kidnapping of his nephew they set out for the Indies, but are shipwrecked in Georgia. There they begin a new life, which is somewhat interrupted when their daughter and her boyfriend come back to warn them of something the history books say. They set about making a life in the colonies and turning their farm into a successful place.
This book continues on with the wedding of their daughter and Roger and also of Jamie’s aunt and a friend of his. Throughout the novel there are skirmishes with people wanting to be free from the British government and Jamie and Roger are enlisted to help with the British army. Another problem is the issue of Stephen Bonnet, a man who has stolen from Jaime and also raped his daughter. Both he and Roger are bound and determined to find this man and kill him for honor.
As part of the battle between the government and the rebels there is a battle in which Roger is almost killed. He is violently attacked and it leaves him a little less sure of his place in life. But it also helps his character gain more respect from Jaime.
On less gruesome aspects of the novel it shows a great deal of how the Fraser’s are surviving in this time and making a living off their farm. From such common tasks as caring for children to slaughtering a hog, Gabaldon goes into great detail so the book can kind of be read as a journal on homesteading life.
Like most of her novels, this one is no different in the amount of detail that is worked into it. It continues to have a fair amount of violence described, but nothing like the first book and it is all believably done. While some of the detail I could have done without (descriptions on what’s in a babies diaper) it nonetheless made everything realistic.
The characters continue to flesh out and I was pleased to see that Roger started to become his own man in this novel rather than a repeat of Jaime which I feared he was beginning to resemble in previous books. The rest of the characters, even the side characters also had great attention given to them and it was like reading about a real conglomeration of people.
Overall while this was a good novel. Its not as good as some of the others. Still worth the read if you enjoy the series though.
The Fiery Cross