Thursday, September 24, 2009

The Fiery Cross

This is the big 1400+ page book I was referring to in the last two posts. The Fiery Cross is the 5th book in Diana Gabaldon's "Outlander" series. The overall series is about Claire, from the 20th century traveling back in time to 18th century Scotland and meeting Jamie Fraser. That makes it sound like a sci-fi series but they are really historical fiction novels. Eventually they marry and, through various circumstances, come to live in early America just prior to the American Revolution. Claire's 20th century daughter, Briana and her fiance also make their way into the past and become major characters as well. This particular book, covers a period of about two years around 1770-1772.

The book was, indeed, a long one. I chose this one for my long airplane ride because I would be able to stay focused and stick with it no matter what. For the first 200 pages or so, I realized I made the right choice because I'm not sure I would have stuck it out otherwise. Up to that point it was largely a novel of everyday life at the Fraser's homestead with lots of detail about how they lived as well as how they numerous minor characters interacted. Briana's wedding is looming and the preparations for the big event take an awful long time.

But then the action picks up a bit as Jaime is directed by the Governor of the colony to form a militia to put down some troublemakers. Here lies the central theme of the series at this point. Jaime and Claire know the future...they know the revolution is coming and they know which side to be on. But they can't make the jump to the revoultionaries too soon or risk treason. That is a cool concept and I understand the next book in the series takes it even further.

I enjoy long books because I get a real feeling of accomplishment when I complete them. And I often enjoy, as I did this time, really getting into the characters, expecially these old favorites. It seems like I know them personally and I can count on them to act true to form. There are sections of this novel that are pretty slow though and I have to wonder if Ms Gabaldon's editor feels comfortable cutting anything at all.

The other problem with a 1400 page paperback book is I think I would have sprained my wrist just holding the thing up if it hadn't been for the tray table from the seat in front of me :)

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Top 10 Books in no particular order (Well Known Authors)

  • "The Stand" by Stephen King
  • "Kane and Able" by Jeffrey Archer
  • "The Killer Angels" by Michael Shaara
  • "The Dark Elf Trilogy" by RA Salvatore
  • "Name of the Wind" by Patrick Rothfuss
  • "River God" by Wilbur Smith
  • "Mortalis" by RA Salvatore
  • "Ender's Game" by Orson Scott Card
  • "Centennial" by James A Michener
  • "The Repairman Jack" series by F. Paul Wilson

Top Books/ Series in no particular order (Lesser Known Authors)

  • "The Sculpter" by Gregory Funaro
  • "Power Down" by Ben Coes
  • "Revolution at Sea Saga" by James L. Nelson
  • "Black Rain" by Graham Brown
  • "Top Producer" by Norb Vonnegut
  • "Prairie" by Anna Lee Waldo
  • "The Wild Blue" by W. Boyne & S Thompson
  • "Unsolicited" series by Julie Kaewert
  • "Freedom" by William Safire