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Diana Gabaldon – Voyager

April 18, 2008

52. Voyager by Diana Gabaldon (1994)
Outlander, Book 3

Length: 870 pages

Genre: Historical Fiction; Romance

Started: 12 April 2008
Finished: 18 April 2008

Summary: Claire has been back in her own time for twenty years, and has believed Jamie to be dead – died on the field at Culloden. However, when Roger Wakefield’s research turns up clues that Jamie survived the massacre, and was alive as late as 1765, Claire must make a decision – to go back through the stones, and leave her daughter behind forever, or to risk losing Jamie in the tides of history. Of course, Claire chooses to return, but then is faced with the challenge of rekindling a marriage with a man she hasn’t seen in two decades. And when Jamie’s young nephew is kidnapped and taken to the New World, Claire and Jamie must follow, into the face of unknown peril.

Review: Love, love, love these books. I enjoyed this one a little more than Dragonfly in Amber, because that one was almost straight-up historical fiction, and this one adds back in a touch more of the romance side of things, as Jamie and Claire have to re-learn each other after twenty years of thinking the other lost for good. I would recommend reading this in as much of a solid chunk as you can – it’s a long book, and characters and clues that show up in the first few hundred pages show up again much later. I would have devoured this book in one sitting if I’d had the opportunity, but library books and life got in the way, and I found myself a little confused at the end when extremely minor characters showed back up without me remembering exactly where and how we’d met them before. This book has a preponderance of these sorts of coincidences, with everyone having met everyone else in passing or being related somehow or showing back up in each other’s lives… I know these things happen in real life, and of course they happen in novels, but this book had maybe one too many; my credulity was showing signs of strain by the end. Nevertheless, it’s incredibly absorbing, entertaining, and compelling reading, and very bad for my pile of other to-be-read books – I’m off to order the next three in the series. 4.5 out of 5 stars.

Recommendation: If you enjoyed the first two, this one doesn’t disappoint – but don’t start it unless you have a few days in a row to devote to finishing it – you’ll get sucked in just that fast.

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First Line: He was dead. However, his nose throbbed painfully, which he thought odd in the circumstances.

Vocab:

  • p. 3: “He had no idea of the staffing requirements of Purgatory; it wasn’t a matter the dominie had addressed in his schooldays.” – a schoolmaster.
    .
  • p. 28: “I had seen the doctor for a checkup the week before, and he had – with an avuncular wink and a pat on the bottom – assured me that I could resume “relations” with my husband at any time.” – of, pertaining to, or characteristic of an uncle
    .
  • p. 42: “The rain-spattered deed of sasine that proved transfer of the title of Lallybroch from the elder James to teh younger had made its appearance in court before, each time foiling the Crown’s attempt to seize the estate as the property of a Jacobite traitor.” – The delivery of feudal property, typically land.
    Feudal property means immovable property, and includes everything that naturally goes with the property.
    .
  • p. 48: “If nothing else, the deer he had shot would have gone long since, with all the extra mouths to fee, and there would be precious little from the kailyard at this time of year.” – a kitchen garden.
    .
  • p. 50: ““Cut them into collops and break the bones for me, will ye, Jamie?” she said, frowning at Mrs. McClintock’s Receipts for Cookery and Pastry-Work, laid open on the table beside the pie pan.” – A small portion of food or a slice, especially of meat.
    .
  • p. 54: “The big silver epergne. That was slightly dented, but had been too heavy to fit in a soldier’s knapsack, and so had escaped the pilfering of smaller objects.” – an ornamental piece for the center of a table, for holding fruit, flowers, etc.
    .
  • p. 59: ““Pity I didna see it – she said the wretched auld besom nearly swallowd her tongue when ye spoke to her.”” – a broom, esp. one of brush or twigs. (presumably there’s a colloquial implication of “witch”)
    .
  • p. 78: “She nodded, casually dumping my tea into the aspidistra that stood by the hearth and refilling my cup with fresh steaming brew.” – any of several plants belonging to the genus Aspidistra, of the lily family, native to eastern Asia, esp. A. eliator, having large evergreen leaves often striped with white, and grown as a houseplant.
    .
  • p. 93: ““Bar one or two passable blowzabellas down in the village, ‘society’ will consist solely of conversation with your officers – there are four of them, one of whom is capable of speaking without the use of profanity – your orderly, and one prisoner.”” – a traditional English dance (I think; all of my usual sources only refer to Blowzabella, the modern band.)
    .
  • p. 98: ““I canna make them eat those things; they all say, do I think them kine, or maybe pigs?”” – cows (archaic).
    .
  • p. 166: “She was dressed in her best habit, she saw, with a cairngorm brooch at her throat, and her color was higher than the temperature of the day warranted.” – A transparent or semitransparent brown or gray to nearly black variety of quartz, used as a gemstone.
    .
  • p. 181: “Passing back toward the front of the coach, after the latest battle with the mud, he was the Lady Isobel’s face peering out from beneath the isinglass sheet that covered the window.” – mica, esp. in thin, translucent sheets.
    .
  • p. 186: “The bundle emitted a loud shriek, as if in protest at this asseveration, and Dunsany, roused from his shock by the sight of his grandson in Ellesmere’s arms, started forward, his features contorted in fury.” – an emphatic assertion.
    .
  • p. 192: “Grooms did not have looking glasses, and he had sedulously avoided the company of the maids, who might have provided him with one.” – persistently or carefully maintained
    .
  • p. 253: “I had had the luck to pick a market day for my arrival, and I was soon lost to sight from the coachyard among the luckenbooths and oyster sellers who lined the street.” – shops in Edinburgh, situated on the Royal Mile from St Giles’ Cathedral down towards the Canongate.
    .
  • p. 286: ““Well, whisky mostly, but rum now and then, and a fair bit of French wine and cambric.”” – a thin, plain cotton or linen fabric of fine close weave, usually white.
    .
  • p. 295: “He was standing by the chiffonier, still naked, and at this, he turned half-round to face me.” – a high chest of drawers or bureau, often having a mirror on top.
    .
  • p. 311: ““Come along, Fergus, there’s eighteen ankers of brandy in the alleyway, and the excisemen on my heels!”” – Dutch unit of measure representing a small cask – roughly equivalent to 45 bottles, or ~39 liters.
    .
  • p. 317: “Jamie had reappeared by my seal hole like a St. Bernard dog, bearing a firkin of brandy.” – a British unit of capacity usually equal to a quarter of a barrel.
    .
  • p. 357: ““You’re no supposed to beating rich stuff like that when your wame‘s curdled,” he said, frowning and chewing.” – belly.
    .
  • p. 373: ““So when the Reverend made up his mind to take up the Missionary Society’s offer, and to take his sister wi’ him to the West Indies – why, he advertized for a strong woman o’ good character who wouldna mind travel to be an abigail for here . . . and here I am.”” – a lady’s maid.
    .
  • p. 399: ““Well, they’ll forgive him, of course, but he’s like to get a rare ballocking and his backside tanned before that.”” – a severe reprimand.
    .
  • p. 425: “Somewhere around the dozenth attempt, I was rewarded by a tiny black spot on the twist of tow I was using for kindling.” – the fiber of flax, hemp, or jute prepared for spinning by scutching.
    .
  • p. 444: “Meaching my way reluctantly toward Craigh na Dun, I had taken nearly two days to reach the small wood where Young Ian had caught up with me.” – Hiding; skulking.
    .
  • p. 455: “I did know it; a huge menhir some ten feet tall.” – an upright monumental stone standing either alone or with others, as in an alignment, found chiefly in Cornwall and Brittany.
    .
  • p. 480: ““Weel, ye must understand,” he began, “that a successful suit brought under the charges as described might result in Miss MacKenzie and her bruther mulcting ye in substantial damages – verra substantial indeed,” he added, with a faint lawyerly gloating at the prospect.” – To penalize by fining or demanding forfeiture.
    .
  • p. 513: ““I thought that you were sailing from Edinburgh to the West Indies,” I said, in hopes of taking his gelid eye off the Chinaman.” – very cold; icy.
    .
  • p. 521: ““What in the name of holy GOd d’ye mean by this, ye wee coofs?” he was demanding, by the time I made my way into earshot through the obstacle course of lines and seamen.” – fools, ninnies; dull, spiritless fellows.
    .
  • p. 553: ““Ye wouldna ken what’s meant by the term ‘spalpeens,’ would ye, Mistress Fraser?” MacRae asked, raising one bushy brow.” – A scamp; an Irish term for a good-for-nothing fellow.
    .
  • p. 575: ““It may be that I was cursed by an enemy, or perhaps that in my arrogance I had omitted to make proper sacrifice – for surely I was not lacking in reverence to my ancestors, being careful always to visit my family’s tomb each year, and to have joss sticks always burning in the Hall of Ancestors – “” – a Chinese house idol or cult image.
    .
  • p. 618: “I had the substantial advantage over Columbus of having known for a fact that the land was here, but I still felt a faint echo of the joy and relief that the sailors of those tiny wooden caravels had felt at that first landfall.” – Any of several types of small, light sailing ships, especially one with two or three masts and lateen sails used by the Spanish and Portuguese in the 15th and 16th centuries.
    .
  • p. 662: “The rowel was missing from one of his spurs.” – a small wheel with radiating points, forming the extremity of a spur.
    .
  • p. 665: “I rubbed a hand nervously through my own hair, already imagining the prickle of feet on my scalp, as tiny sestets gamboled through the thickets of my curls.” – A poem or stanza containing six lines. (obviously she’s referring to the six feet of the louse.)
    .
  • p. 687: “The curve of an occiput lay on top of the heap, fragile and perfect as an eggshell.” – the back part of the head or skull. (duh, I knew that, too – as in the occiptal lobe of the brain.)
    .
  • p. 689: “The man had been taken from a barracoon on the Guinea coast, five years before.” – a place of temporary confinement for slaves or convicts.
    .
  • p. 700: ““A parang, was it, or a cutlass, I wonder?”” – a large, heavy knife used as a tool or a weapon in Malaysia and Indonesia.
    .
  • p. 712: ““Two shorter than me, one maybe the size that griffone there” – he nodded toward Fergus, who stiffened in outrage at the insult – “one big, not so big as you…”” – griffin, although there’s probably a French colloquial meaning that I can’t find that’s insulting.
    .
  • p. 720: “He gave a brief snort of laughter, but lay quietly as I auscultated his chest, moving the disc of the stehoscope swiftly from ribs to sternum.” – the act of listening, either directly or through a stethoscope or other instrument, to sounds within the body as a method of diagnosis.
    .
  • p. 782: ““The court granted me the mercy to be weirrit before the burning,” _____ explained ironically.” – The closest I can find is “wherret – A box on the ear.”
    .
  • p. 820: “Better than when last seen, evidently, in spite of the fact that her neat wool challis gown had been replaced with a loose smock of coarse white cotton, sashed with a broad, raggedly torn strip of the same, stained dark blue with indigo.” – a soft fabric of plain weave in wool, cotton, rayon, or other staple fiber, either in a solid color or, more often, a small print.
    .
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7 Comments leave one →
  1. May 1, 2008 5:32 pm

    I just started Outlander and am enjoying it so far. I am looking forward to this series. I read so many good things about it over on LT.

  2. May 1, 2008 6:17 pm

    I see from your blog you’re listening to it – how is that? My dad tried the audiobook and gave it up, but romances really aren’t his thing, so his opinion on this one isn’t too valid.

    I’ve loved the first three in the series, and I just ordered the next three yesterday… I’ve read some varying opinions of their quality, but I bet they’ll still be entertaining at the least, and it’s coming up on some good summer trashy reading time. :)

  3. May 3, 2008 6:09 pm

    You know I am having a hard time with this one. My problem is the narrator. I am just not into her voice, it is getting on my nerves! I am going to try to continue it but if I don’t get used to her voice then I will buy the book and try it that way.

  4. May 19, 2011 1:18 am

    I just discovered these books last year, and I’m really impressed! Loved the first three. I’m sure I’ll keep reading the series.

  5. Linda permalink
    May 8, 2015 8:00 pm

    I love the story. I want to know what happens next, as with the first two – Outlander and Dragonfly in Amber. But! Don’t hate me for saying this. Claire is growing more immature with age. She’s still the gifted healer. However, she acts like a late adolescent, in my opinion.

  6. Nancy permalink
    November 6, 2015 7:13 am

    Re Griffone: When Claire and Jamie go to Rose Hall, Gellie is describing to Claire that the overseer on her plantation as a “griffone”, explaining that is what the locals call someone who is one quarter black.

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