A frustrating five years after the seventh book in the acclaimed Outlander series, ‘An Echo in the Bone’, comes ‘Written in my Own Heart’s Blood‘. Diana Gabaldon‘s epic tale that started off with an ex-combat nurse, Claire Randall, disappearing from 1946 after walking through a stone circle in the Scottish highlands and emerging in 1743 continues now in 1778, and partially in 1980.
In the previous book, Claire was presumed a widow in 1778 after husband Jamie Fraser’s ship sank in rough seas. Accusations of spying prompt Claire to marry Jamie’s best friend, Lord John Grey for protection. Jamie, however, survived the sinking of his ship and returns to find his wife married to his best friend. Worse still, the illegitimate son he had accepted as his own has been told that his real father is a rebel Highlander.
Meanwhile, Claire and Jamie’s real daughter, Brianna is in 1980. Her colleague, Rob Cameron has always harbored suspicions over her origins and now has kidnapped her son, Jem, to force her to reveal her secret. He has sequestered Jem in a deep underground tunnel, but tells Brianna that Jem has been hidden in another time. Brianna’s husband, Roger, takes the bait and leaves his wife and daughter, Mandy, to fend for themselves. They find themselves at the mercy of Rob and his accomplices who have buried treasure on their minds.
There is a sub-plot involving Jamie’s nephew, Ian, who has been initiated as a Mohawk, but finds himself falling in love with a Quaker woman.
At almost 850 pages, Written in my Own Heart’s Blood is an epic within this epic series. Diana Gabaldon’s attention to detail through her obviously painstaking research flows out richly onto the pages. However, it might prove distracting, if not tedious, for readers who want a historical story but not a history lesson. Still, a good read for fans of the series.