The Scottish Prisoner (Lord John 3)

The Scottish Prisoner - Diana Gabaldon 3rd read: Feb 2013OK, so I'm just a sucker for Jamie Fraser... and any book that he's in.2nd read: Feb 2012Just gets better! Not much to add this time through, except that I appreciated the nuances of this book so much more. I was, however, dismayed to realize that the name Tobias Quinn never darkened our door before in any previous Outlander or Lord John book. That was a mystery to me, but... Also, I'd missed the resolution with Betty, the ladies' maid at Helwater in the 1st read. I was too focused on Jamie and Lord John and the "main" story. When Lord John realizes what's happened at the very end of the book, it finally resonated with me; I wonder how and where DG will take us from here? Her focus is on Outlander book #8 (MOBY), but I foresee much more info about Lord John and how he got involved with The Black Chamber coming. And I suspect that Bowles goads LJ into the intelligence area by virtue of this book - and perhaps, LJ's secret life and what happened with Percy Wainwright. We'll see!1st read: Nov 2011OK, I admit, Lord John might be growing on me.... I truly enjoyed this book -- probably because Jamie Fraser has a co-starring role. It was good to see and hear more of Jamie -- learn even more about his time at Helwater, and see him develop a relationship with the toddler William. We're even part of the magical moment when Jamie realizes that he loves the little tyke that he can never claim as his own.Warning: There is some steam in this book, which comes from Lord John's encounter with Stephan von Namtzen. It's not a long scene, and if that type of scene isn't your cup of tea, it's easily skimmed.I have to say though, I was actually glad to see LJ and Stephan have their time together. The chemistry & attraction between them has always been palpable, but there was always the question if Stephan swung that way. Even LJ thought that Stephan might be unaware of it, himself. No, I'm not fans of these particular scenes, especially since Ms. Gabaldon is so good at writing steamy sex scenes... but if LJ has to have a lover and Ms. G has to write about it, I was glad that this time it was Stephan. (I never did care for Percy.) Stephan and LJ have a long-standing relationship, a tender friendship; they've both seen each other through joy, war, loss, sorrow, and pain. And it was particularly endearing that this was Stephan's first time with a man; LJ literally made himself vulnerable in his lovemaking with Stephan -- I would argue as vulnerable if not more than he did with Percy. And that shows hope that LJ can and will banish that dark shadow to its rightful place... and perhaps have some true happiness and love. IMO, Stephan is the right person; the problem is that Stephan likely won't be in England a lot, and so I wonder how much time the two can spend together without lifting eyebrows.While LJ and Jamie take center stage, we still discover new and interesting characters (such as Quinn and Edward Twelvetrees) and receive interesting revelations about characters we already know, either from Outlander or the LJ books, especially Minnie (Hal's wife). I'm not certain if I didn't pick up on something that I should know about with her (is she a secret Jacobite? or was/is her father the Jacobite?) or if this is something to be revealed in a future book. The fact that she knew Jamie and had run messages between Jamie and her father was enlightening. And the way she met and eventually married Hal -- that's quite a story! The intricate plot of soldiers, war, duty, politics, and spies doesn't disappoint. And in her usual way, Ms. Gabaldon gives us plenty of unforeseen twists and turns, until we tumble onto the truth -- at the very end. This cannot be the last of the LJ books, because it seems as if she brought us up to the brink of what must be LJ's time in the spy-game -- the one he alluded to in "Echo in the Bone" in his musings about Percy and discussions with Percy and others.And Jamie. *sigh* How can one not love and adore the man? I had to start re-reading my favorite parts of "Voyager" again -- where Claire returns to Edinburgh. I'm also glad of this book, because I couldn't imagine how LJ and Jamie repaired their relationship, after their violent and emotional encounter at Helwater in the previous LJ book. How did we get from there to the scenes in "Voyager" between LJ and Jamie? In "Lord John and the Scottish Prisoner", we see the beginnings of how their friendship was re-established, if not repaired. Beyond their trip to Ireland, the happenings in LJ's club where someone actually yells out that LJ is a sodomite, and both Jamies and LJ's actions after that show us that, despite everything, there is still a solid and true friendship between the men.And, interestingly enough, we also see how and when LJ realized that William is really Jamie's son. LJ tucks that away in the back of his mind, his thoughts revealing that he might plan to use that to keep Jamie his prisoner. So, of course, we need to know more about that. As well as how Isobel agreed to become his wife. Again, we see how the pieces might just fit together to make that marriage happen; but we still don't know whether Isobel knows LJ's preference or how their marriage progressed. There is true affection between the two, no doubt, and likely love, just not romantic love. And many marriages of that day had a lot less than friendship and love!Which brings me to say what I never thought I would: After Outlander book 8, I can truly say that I'm looking forward to the next Lord John book!Speaking of which.... At the back of the book, Ms. Gabladon treats us to some sneak peeks at "Written in My Own Heart's Blood" (aka MOBY) -- short vignettes, to try to satisfy us until that book is complete and ready for publishing. Ms. Gabaldon says the writing should be done by the end of 2012, which likely means that we won't see the actual book until sometime in 2013. But we can always cross our fingers, can't we? In the meantime, follow Ms. Gabaldon on Twitter or tune into her web site or her Facebook site to catch her daily lines...