SPOILER ALERT. This post contains a whole lotta spoilers from book 4 of the Outlander Series, Drums of Autumn by Diana Gabaldon. Don’t read on if you haven’t read the book yet. Unless you don’t care about spoilers, then please do read on. You have been warned.
The second half of season 1 of the Outlander TV series on Starz premieres in April 2015. April 2015 is a long time away! At the rate I’m getting through these books I’ll probably be done with book 6 by that time! I’m not trying to jump ahead, but truthfully… I am. I just can’t help but to continue on. Let’s cross our fingers Diana Gabaldon continues to write about Jamie and Claire because I (and all the Outlander fans out there) can’t get enough of them. Watch the exclusive opening scene. I can’t say it really does it for me, but what the heck, the guy is eye candy.
In Book 3, Voyager, Claire returns to Jamie and they find themselves on the “Colonies”, in South Carolina. Now that Jamie and Claire are living their “happily ever after” it seemed like a good time to focus our attention on something else… just for a little bit. Gabaldon introduces a new love story in this 4th installment of Outlander, Drums of Autumn, that of Roger and Brianna. In the last book, they were in love, sort of. This time, they really explored and wanted it. You can go back to my previous blog post here to see what I had to say about that book.
Here’s what went down in Drums of Autumn… In the 20th century Roger discovers a newspaper clipping announcing that James Fraser and his wife Claire die in a house fire. Instead of telling Brianna what he found, he hides it from her and tries to detract her from continuing her search for her parents. He knows she’ll try to change the outcome by going back in time to save them. This completely backfires because she finds out anyway and goes back without telling him. By sheer chance he finds out she’s gone and goes after her. (Brianna’s time traveling abilities are inherited from her mother, Claire. Roger is the descendant of Geillis Duncan which is how he can also travel through the stones.)
How Brianna made it to the right time? I’ll have to go back and read it again to find out, but at this point I really don’t care. She did it and so did Roger, but she did her research before taking the trip through time. She finds Lallybroch, meeting her Aunt Jenny, Uncle Ian and cousins. They help her book passage on a ship to America so she could go to her parents and insisted she get a servant, preferably a man, to travel with her. Instead, Brianna employs an indentured 15 year old girl to save from possibly becoming some creep’s sex slave.
Meanwhile, Roger, about 2 weeks behind them, gets himself on a ship captained by a shady character named Bonnet. Turns out Bonnet was supposed to be hanged in America for piracy but escaped execution with the help of Jamie, who had no particular reason to help him other than they had a mutual friend. A mutual friend who was executed for piracy. “The friend of my friend is also my friend” motto didn’t always work back then either. This whole event is explained in the first part of the book and at the time seemed irrelevant. Roger’s trip wasn’t as pleasant as Brianna’s. The ship he sailed in had a smallpox outbreak and he unwillingly watched as the crew threw infected people (children) overboard to prevent further infection. He does end up helping a young lady and her baby from the same fate when he hides them on the ship but Captain Bonnet finds out. Instead of just killing Roger for insubordination, Bonnet gives him a chance to live with the luck of a coin toss. 50/50 chance to live or die… he lived.
Side Note: The solution for the smallpox outbreak in this part of the book reminded me of a horrible chapter in James Fenimore Cooper’s The Last of The Mohicans. The British, after their defeat by the French, trek back home but the Indians massacre them on the way. There is a part where an Indian grabs a baby from a lady and smashes it into a rock. I know, gruesome. It’s a whole new kind of experience when all you see are words yet your mind’s eye has translated these words into a horrific scene. It’s very disturbing.
Finally, after going through hell crossing the Atlantic, Roger finds Brianna and takes her away, but not before everyone witnesses him “attacking” her. The truth is they talk it out, make out, and then make love. Vowing a “handfasting” and their commitment to each other as husband and wife… You know all the romantic stuff.
With perfect timing for the dramatics Brianna figures out that Roger knew about her parents’ death all along and didn’t tell her. They fight, then he goes off to steal jewels from Bonnet and those would be their ticket home through the stones. Things don’t go well for Brianna. She eventually makes her way to her parents, but not before she is raped by… dun dun dun… Bonnet. Yep, the guy who was saved from execution by her dad and also almost killing her new hubby with a coin toss. To make matters worse, she’s pregnant and it might not be Roger’s baby!
Back to Claire and Jamie now.
Claire’s a doctor and she’s off doing doctor-y things with the people around the area. During a medical excursion she gets lost and seeks shelter in a hollowed out tree to get out of the rain. She finds a skull and upon inspecting it, sees that there are fillings in the teeth. It’s a guy from the future?! What? While just hanging out waiting to be rescued, she sees an Indian in a loincloth and a painted face approaching her. Without talking to her or even seeing her, he just stares her way for a while in the darkness then just simply disappears. Eventually Jamie and Ian show up. Somehow (the ghost did it) her shoes made it back home and Ian’s wolf-dog tracked her scent and found her. We later find out that the Indian was indeed from the future and traveled back in time to warn the natives to “not trust the white man” but they didn’t believe him and killed him for it. Bummer! He didn’t come from Scotland so there was another stone circle in America as well.
Okay, back to Brianna.
Brianna reveals to everyone that she’s pregnant but only Claire knows about Roger and the rapist… and his identity. Brianna’s indentured servant girl tells Jamie that she and Ian saw the guy who “raped” Brianna. It was a guy she knew as MacKenzie (which was what Roger was calling himself). Jamie, not knowing that MacKenzie is Brianna’s beloved Roger they have been looking for all this time, finds him and beats the crap out of him. He almost kills him, but decides not to because Roger said “she asked me to”… meaning popping her cherry. After hearing this, he starts to doubt his daughter’s word about the whole thing and hands Roger off to the Mohawks until he can get the “truth”.
Jamie and Ian, through an artistic sketch by Brianna, find out that the guy they beat up was indeed Brianna’s man Roger. Jamie is now convinced his daughter’s a harlot, claiming rape when she was the one who asked for it, but in spite of it all promised to retrieve Roger to make up for almost killing him. They planned an exchange, whiskey for Roger, but the Mohawks found the whisky first and all hell broke loose. Roger kills one of the Mohawks during the melee but instead of retribution they wanted someone to replace the guy they lost. This is where Ian, poor little Ian, takes his place with the Mohawks and says goodbye to the Frasers forever.
On their way back home, the Frasers tell Roger that Brianna was raped and that the baby might not be his. He takes a long time to think about whether he wants to be with her or not. After all that! Did he really need to think about it? Hooking up with Brianna has almost killed him on several occasions. I guess he did have a right to think about it. Well, he chose to stay and they made up. Claire and Jamie go on loving each other and they all live happily ever after… in the past. Next stop, American revolution!… There goes the neighborhood.
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