Book Review · reading

Book Review: Lord John and the Brotherhood of the Blade by Diana Gabaldon

Blurb from Amazon:

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.

Lord John and the Brotherhood of the Blade is not my typical reading material. I usually read fantasy and this is historical fiction. I picked this up on a whim and finished it in short order. Than I went out and got the others in the series (there are 2 more, a novel that was published before and a book of novellas) and finished the last novella yesterday. So it went very fast.

There are a few elements to Lord John and the Brotherhood of the Blood – a new romance, a mystery, old lusts and a war in the background. Though at points the war reaches out and grabs you by the throat. Lord John is a Major in his brother’s regiment and a lord in his own right, being the younger son of a Duke. He is also gay, a major no-no in England(or anywhere else for that matter) at that time.

John’s new lover, Percy, is his stepfather’s stepson. The slightly incestuous nature of this relationship bothers John a little, but he tells himself Percy is not really his brother, not by blood.

I would think it they are not family at all – can you really consider the stepson of your mother’s new husband to be blood?

In any case, they begin a hot, discreet affair. During the course of their love affair, John finds out many things, not the least of which is that Percy used to be a whore. Percy tells John himself, after he was caught in the act with another man.

I was shocked, because I wouldn’t have guessed that. Later, Percy also gives John clues to give find out what had happened to his father.

John frees Percy at the end. That wasn’t described as well as I’d hoped, but it was still very good. The part I remember the most is when Percy confesses to what he was, to what he knows. That was memorable.

Grade: B+