Title: Seven Stones to Stand or Fall
Author: Diana Gabaldon
Rating: 4 stars
There are two new stories in this collection. A Fugitive Green (about Hal and Minnie’s relationship- this should be read after The Scottish Prisoner) and Besieged (which follows the last installment of the Lord John series).
Plus here are my other reviews for the short stories in this collection in the order of reading.
Virgins- 4 stars
This is a novella about Jamie and Ian set before the time in Outlander. The story begins in October, 1740 near Bordeaux, France. Jamie has just come from Scotland, delivered by Murtagh, urging him not to and not to return to Scotland. To earn their way, Jamie and Ian work as mercenaries, protecting and delivering goods and people safely to destinations for payment.
It was really interesting seeing Jamie just after his ordeal with Black Jack and coping with the recent loss of his father. I loved getting that further insight into his thoughts.
Jamie’s knowledge of Hebrew has them included in an assignment to take a young Jewish woman from her home in Bordeaux to her prospective husband in Paris. But the trip does not go according to plan, and Jamie sees the young, innocent-looking Rebekah for what she really is: a dangerous woman.
It was great getting to know more about Jamie’s time in France and helped to better understand his character. I loved seeing Jamie before Claire and overall this was a great novella and a must read for any Outlander fan.
The Custom of the Army- 4 stars
After an electric-eel party (involves connecting as many people as possible while someone holds onto the eel), Lord John finds himself in a little hot water over a lady’s honor. This results in a duel that ends badly and thus finds himself needing to lay low for awhile.
Before starting his new commission, Lord John receives a summons to act as a character witness for an old friend, Captain Charles Carruthers in Canada. So he travels to the New World and comes across many secrets and scandals that he finds himself getting involved in. Lord John is able to reunite with his new cousin-in-law but not is all as it seems.
Overall, there were parties, duels, family issues and wars fought plus much more. I am really enjoying the LJG series and the novella’s offer a nice interlude between novels.
A Fugitive Green- 4 stars
I was intrigued by the backstory we got about Minnie in The Scottish Prisoner, so getting to see a more detailed telling of it was great. This tells the story of Minnie’s journey from France to England and the intrigue surrounding her actions and the family business.
Once arriving in England (after getting a brief appearance of Jamie Fraser in France), Minnie is determined to find out her who mother is involving intrigue and nunneries. Minnie is wonderful and resourceful and is involved in quite the intrigue. Minnie first meets Hal while she is rifling through his office, after some pertinent information. Hal is instantly intrigued with Minnie but unfortunately she disappears and he only discovers her while she is heavily pregnant and convinces her to marry him (something we know from The Scottish Prisoner).
Overall, I enjoyed this novella although I wish there was a bigger focus on Hal and Minnie’s relationship rather than all the other goings on.
Besieged- 4 stars
The story follows on from Lord John’s adventures in “A Plague of Zombies”. Lord John is getting ready to leave Jamaica when his step father shows up to tell him that his mother is Havana which will soon be invaded by the British to take Cuba from the Spanish.
Lord John makes his way to evacuate his mother, and his pregnant cousin and her children. Lord John, not managing to avoid conflicts, finds himself embroiled in a slave revolt while avoiding the yellow fever which is spreading through town. All this is done with only a smattering of Spanish.
The Space Between- 4 stars
Michael Murray helps escort Joan MacKimmie to Paris to seek her vocation of a nun where she meets Mother Hildegarde. Joan’s real reason for joining a convent is because she hears voices in her head that tell her certain things about people and thinks a convent is the best place for her.
Michael is recovering from the recent death of his wife and must deal with the schemes of his sister-in-law. But something may be beginning with him and Joan.
Meanwhile Paul Rokoczy, Comte St Germain (who isn’t dead) is looking for Master Raymond who knows something of his situation and his capacity for time travel. A mysterious blue light is involved as everything comes to a conclusion.
There are still many questions that have yet to answered from this short interlude. I need to find out more. However I have started reading Written in My Own Heart’s Blood where we come across the blue light again so I find this a necessary read in the series (I find every book in the series a necessary read though).
A Leaf on the Wind of All Hallows- 4 stars
This tells the story of what really happened to Roger’s father. Some of the happenings were hinted at in earlier novels, especially in Written in My Own Heart’s Blood. Jerry Mackenzie is a pilot in WWII and is asked to perform a special mission for MI6- enter Frank Randall.
During one of the test flights, his plane goes down near some standing stones in Northumbria, thus sending him back in the past.
I really liked getting to know more about Roger’s parents and understanding more about their relationship- even though we know how it ends.
There were some surprise twists and turns and a return of previous characters. I have enjoyed the way a lot of the stories are all connected together and joining together like a puzzle piece in the end.