Parts 5, 6 and 7 are here, and all posts to this book recap are linked below!
Part 1 and 2 have been archived. Dragonfly in Amber.
Part 3 and 4 have been archived. Dragonfly in Amber.
This is part 5, 6 and 7 of Dragonfly in Amber:
With the long awaited return of OUTLANDER, SEASON TWO DRAGONFLY IN AMBER to the Starz original Series lineup still months away, there have been many outlets recaping chapters, podcast reviews and book clubs popping up about Diana Gabaldon's 2nd book. Certainly to entertain us until the spring when the show airs again.
Outlander Homepage has also tried to find interesting ways to recap each chapter of DIA, even doing our own written version by an admin. But Diana’s chapters are soooo long and complicated.
BOOK*SENSE summary & analysis "Dragonfly in Amber" has a thought provoking quick recap of the entire story and a breakdown of each chapter that we think Outlander Fans will enjoy!
We will continue to update this page weekly. If you are new to reading these recaps, we have left them in order so you can read all of the chapters, not just the most current one.
Dragonfly in Amber summary & analysis by BOOK*SENSE
INTRODUCTION The sweeping saga begun in Outlander continues in Diana Gabaldon’s 1992 Dragonfly in Amber. In it, the Frasers return from France to Scotland, only to be separated, and revelations of the strange relationships within families come to light— among many other events that are entertainingly and engagingly depicted in a solid, substantial piece of writing.
SETTING FOR THE STORY In such books as those of the Outlander series, both physical and temporal settings matter. In Dragonfly in Amber, much of the physical setting is in Scotland; Parts Two through Four are in Paris, France , but the remainder are in the northernmost British country. The two physical settings serve as counterpoints to one another, the urbanity of the French capital contrasting sharply with the ruggedly beautiful but rural Scotland. The commonality of action among the settings, however, underscores the fundamentally human nature of deceit and betrayal. The temporal setting in the frame is 1968, while that in the main narrative is 1745. Not much is made of the resonance of the late 1960s in the frame, but the significance of 1745 as the last gasp of the Stuart monarchy is much touted in the text. Because Gabaldon is an American author , and the events of the Jacobite Rising do not figure much into the prevailing American popular consciousness but the events of the 1960s do, it makes sense that the earlier events would be more thoroughly explicated than the latter. As the Frasers are much more significant in the earlier events, as well, the greater explication of them also seems sensible.
PROLOGUE A nameless character (likely Claire) remarks on waking thrice before dawn: once in sorrow, once in love and once in blankness. The speaker claims to be the only one who knows the purpose of the stone circle on Craigh na Dun.
PROLOGUE I woke three times in the dark predawn. First in sorrow, then in joy, and at the last, in solitude. The tears of a bone-deep loss woke me slowly, bathing my face like the comforting touch of a damp cloth in soothing hands. I turned my face to the wet pillow and sailed a salty river into the caverns of grief remembered, into the subterranean depths of sleep. I came awake then in fierce joy, body arched bowlike in the throes of physical joining, the touch of him fresh on my skin, dying along the paths of my nerves as the ripples of consummation spread from my center. I repelled consciousness, turning again, seeking the sharp, warm smell of a man’s satisfied desire, in the reassuring arms of my lover, sleep. The third time I woke alone, beyond the touch of love or grief. The sight of the stones was fresh in my mind. A small circle, standing stones on the crest of a steep green hill. The name of the hill is Craigh na Dun; the fairies’ hill. Some say the hill is enchanted, others say it is cursed. Both are right. But no one knows the function or the purpose of the stones. Except me.
Chapter 30: Lallybroch. “ I Am Come Home” begins with a description of Jaime’s home holding and his, Claire’s, Murtagh’s and Fergus’s approach to it. Claire recalls their departure from France and their parting from those in Paris. They are met and greeted warmly by Ian and Jenny as Jaime resumes his command of the place and his place with his family.
“All right,” I said, stepping carefully over a tiny runnel of water that crossed the deer path. “Good enough. What about ‘Lallybroch,’ though? Why is it a lazy tower?”“It leans a bit,” Jamie replied. I could see the back of his head, bent in concentration on the footing, a few tendrils of red-gold hair lifting from the crown in the afternoon breeze that blew up the slope . “Ye canna see it much from the house, but if you stand on the west side, you’ll see it leans to the north a bit. And if ye look from one of the slits on the top floor over the door, ye canna see the wall beneath you because of the slant.”
Chapter 31: Mail Call. Claire remarks on finding herself pulled into a comfortable pattern of days as well as on letters exchanged with Louise, Stuart, Hildegarde and others. Raymond sends occasional packages. Claire finds herself working as a healer for the family as well as as the wife of the local laird. She muses on the nature of home as she does so, which Jaime joins her in doing.
Jamie is home:
It was strange, then, and rather wonderful, to wake in the upper bedroom at Lallybroch, next to Jamie, and realize, as I watched the dawn touch his sleeping face, that he had been born in this bed. All the sounds of the house, from the creak of the back stair under an early-rising maid’s foot , to the drumming rain on the roofslates, were sounds he had heard a thousand times before; heard so often, he didn’t hear them anymore. I did. His mother, Ellen, had planted the late-blooming rosebush by the door. Its faint, rich scent still wafted up the walls of the house to the bedroom window. It was as though she reached in herself, to touch him lightly in passing. To touch me, too, in welcome. Beyond the house itself lay Lallybroch ; fields and barns and village and crofts . He had fished in the stream that ran down from the hills, climbed the oaks and towering larches , eaten by the hearthstone of every croft. It was his place.
Chapter 32: Field of Dreams Claire and Jaime inspect a field that has been planted with potatoes instead of grain. They have difficulty determining if the crop is ready; Fergus suggests a simple methods for checking, and the crop is determined to be ready. It is harvested and a dinner made and shared. An impromptu party ensues, and a good time is had by all.
What to do with a potato at Lallybroch:
“You roast them.” Fergus came to the rescue once more, bobbing up under Jamie’s arm . He smacked his lips at the sight of the potatoes. “Put them in the coals of the fire. You eat them with salt. Butter’s good , if you have it.” “We have it,” said Jamie, with an air of relief. He thrust the potato at Mrs. Murray, as though anxious to be rid of it. “You roast them,” he informed her firmly. “You can boil them, too,” I contributed. “Or mash them with milk. Or fry them. Or chop them up and put them in soup. A very versatile vegetable, the potato.”
In which Jamie watches Claire with his family:
“Gone to sleep, has he?” The larger Jamie’s bulk loomed near my shoulder, the firelight picking out the hilt of his dirk, and the gleam of copper in his hair. “Yes,” I said. “At least he’s not squirming, so he must have. It’s rather like holding a large ham.” Jamie laughed , then was still himself . I could feel the hardness of his arm just brushing mine, and the warmth of his body through the folds of plaid and arisaid. A night breeze brushed a strand of hair across my face. I brushed it back, and discovered that small Jamie was right; my hands smelled of leeks and butter, and the starchy smell of cut potatoes. Asleep, he was a dead weight, and while holding him was comforting, he was cutting off the circulation in my left leg. I twisted a bit, intending to lay him across my lap. “Don’t move, Sassenach,” Jamie’s voice came softly, next to me. “Just for a moment, mo duinne—be still.” I obligingly froze, until he touched me on the shoulder. “That’s all right, Sassenach,” he said, with a smile in his voice. “It’s only that ye looked so beautiful, wi’ the fire on your face, and your hair waving in the wind. I wanted to remember it.” I turned to face him, then, and smiled at him, across the body of the child. The night was dark and cold, alive with people all around, but there was nothing where we sat but light and warmth— and each other.
Chapter 33: Thy Brother’s Keeper Fergus integrates himself into the life of Jaime’s holdings, and Claire and Jenny discuss children. Claire asks Jenny after the surrounding and related lairds. The MacKenzie descent is made clear. That night, Claire sleeps alone, as Jaime is out among his tenants; the next day sees him and Ian return to the home, Ian somewhat bruised. The report made is that his peg leg broke, pitching him, and there was delay in getting him a new one carved. Claire moves to treat him and notices more bruises than should be present. She quizzes Jaime about it later; his report makes clear that he has PTSD and acted from it. The next day, Jaime gives Claire a piece of amber, one that reminds her of another piece she had been given— one with a dragonfly in it.
Jenny gets the way of it:
Colum said to Dougal, ‘I’ll tell ye, if the brothers MacKenzie have but one cock and one brain between them, then I’m glad of my half of the bargain!’” Jenny gave a sudden laugh of surprise, then stared at me, a speculative gleam deep in her blue eyes, so like her brother’s. “Och, so that’s the way of it, is it ? I did wonder once, hearing Dougal talk about Colum’s son, wee Hamish; he seemed a bit fonder than an uncle might be.”“You’re quick, Jenny,” I said, staring back at her. “Very quick. It took me a long time to work that out, and I saw them every day for months.”
Ian and Jamie:
“Well, Ian’s been married too long,” he said defensively. “I’d say you’d been out in the sun too long,” I remarked, staring at him, “except that there isn’t any. Have you got a fever?”“No,” he said, evading my attempts to feel his forehead. “No, it’s only—stop that , Sassenach, I’m all right.” He pressed his lips together, but then gave up and told me the whole story. Ian had in fact broken his wooden leg by stepping into a molehole near Broch Mordha. “It was near evening —we’d had a lot to do in the village— and snowing. And I could see Ian’s leg was paining him a lot, even though he kept insisting he could ride. Anyway, there were two or three cottages near, so I got him up on one of the ponies, and brought him up the slope to beg shelter for the night.” With characteristic Highland hospitality, both shelter and supper were offered with alacrity, and after a warm bowl of brose and fresh oatcake, both visitors had been accommodated with a pallet before the fire. “There was scarce room to lay a quilt by the hearth, and we were squeezed a bit, but we lay down side by side and made ourselves as comfortable as might be.” He drew a deep breath, and looked at me half-shyly. “Well, I was worn out by the journey, and slept deep, and I suppose Ian did the same . But he’s slept every night wi’ Jenny for the last five years, and I suppose, havin’ a warm body next to him in the bed— well, somewhere in the night, he rolled toward me, put his arm about me and kissed me on the back o’ the neck . And I”— he hesitated, and I could see the deep color flood his face, even in the grayish light of the snow-lit room—“ I woke from a sound sleep, thinking he was Jack Randall.”
Where Jaime confesses to Ian:
I told him. About Randall. And everything that happened.”I began to understand the ambiguity of the look Ian had given Jamie. And I now understood the look of strain on Jamie’s face, and the smudges under his eyes. Not knowing what to say, I just squeezed his hands. “I hadna thought I’d ever tell anyone—anyone but you,”he added, returning the squeeze. He smiled briefly, then pulled one hand away to rub his face. “But Ian …well, he’s …”He groped for the right word. “He knows me, d’ye see?”“I think so. You’ve known him all your life, haven’t you?” He nodded, looking sightlessly out the window. The swirling snow had begun to fall again, small flakes dancing against the pane, whiter than the sky. “He’s only a year older than me. When I was growing, he was always there. Until I was fourteen, there wasna a day went by when I didna see Ian. And even later, after I’d gone to foster wi’Dougal, and to Leoch, and then later still to Paris, to university—when I’d come back, I’d walk round a corner and there he would be, and it would be like I’d never left. He’d just smile when he saw me, like he always did, and then we’d be walkin’away together, side by side, ower the fields and the streams, talkin’of everything.”He sighed deeply, and rubbed a hand through his hair. “Ian …he’s the part of me that belongs here, that never left,”he said, struggling to explain. “I thought …I must tell him; I didna want to feel …apart. From Ian. From here.” He gestured toward the window, then turned toward me, eyes dark in the dim light. “D’ye see why?” “I think so,”I said again, softly. “Did Ian?” He made that small, uncomfortable shrugging motion, as though easing a shirt too tight across his back. “Well, I couldna tell. At first, when I began to tell him, he just kept shaking his head, as though he couldna believe me, and then when he did—”He paused and licked his lips, and I had some idea of just how much that confession in the snow had cost him. “I could see he wanted to jump to his feet and stamp back and forth, but he couldn’t, because of his leg. His fists were knotted up, and his face was white, and he kept saying ‘How? Damn ye, Jamie, how could ye let him do it?’ He shook his head. “I dinna remember what I said. Or what he said. We shouted at each other, I know that much. And I wanted to hit him, but I couldn’t, because of his leg. And he wanted to hit me, but couldn’t—because of his leg.”He gave a brief snort of laughter. “Christ, we must ha’looked a rare pair of fools, wavin’our arms and shouting at each other. But I shouted longer, and finally he shut up and listened to the end of it. “Then all of a sudden, I couldna go on talking; it just seemed like no use. And I sat down all at once on a rock, and put my head in my hands. Then after a time, Ian said we’d best be going on. And I nodded, and got up, and helped him on his horse, and we started off again, not speakin’to each other.” Jamie seemed suddenly to realize how tightly he was holding my hand. He released his grip, but continued to hold my hand, turning my wedding ring between his thumb and forefinger. “We rode for a long time,”he said softly. “And then I heard a small sound behind me, and reined up so Ian’s horse came alongside, and I could see he’d been weeping—still was, wi’the tears streaming down his face. And he saw me look at him, and shook his head hard, as if he was still angry, but then he held out his hand to me. I took it, and he gave me a squeeze, hard enough to break the bones. Then he let go, and we came on home.”
Chapter 34: The Postman always Rings Twice. Claire continues to integrate herself into Scottish life and heal. Mail comes, and work continues. Among the post, though, is unwelcome news; Jaime has been named in absentia as a comrade in arms of the Young Pretender. He and his are now branded traitors to the English crown in the Hanoverian dynasty.
The Bonnie Prince announces his arrival in Scotland:
I was in the kitchen when I heard him cry out. I had never heard such a sound from him before. Shock and horror were in it, and something else—a note of finality, like the cry of a man who finds himself seized in a tiger’s jaws. I was down the hall and running for the drawing room without conscious thought, a tray of oatcakes still clutched in my hands. When I burst through the door, I saw him standing by the table where Jenny had laid the mail. His face was dead white, and he swayed slightly where he stood, like a tree cut through, waiting for someone to shout “Timber”before falling. “What?”I said, scared to death by the look on his face. “Jamie, what? What is it?!”With a visible effort, he picked up one of the letters on the table and handed it to me. I set down the oatcakes and took the sheet of paper, scanning it rapidly. It was from Jared; I recognized the thin, scrawly handwriting at once. “‘Dear Nephew,’”I read to myself, “‘…so pleased …words cannot express my admiration …your boldness and courage will be an inspiration …cannot fail of success …my prayers shall be with you …’”I looked up from the paper, bewildered. “What on earth is he talking about? What have you done, Jamie?”The skin was stretched tight across the bones of his face, and he grinned, mirthless as a death’s-head, as he picked up another sheet of paper, this one a cheaply printed handbill. “It’s not what I’ve done, Sassenach,”he said. The broadsheet was headed by the crest of the Royal House of Stuart. The message beneath was brief, couched in stately language. It stated that by the ordination of Almighty God, King James, VIII of Scotland and III of England and Ireland asserted herewith his just rights to claim the throne of three kingdoms. And herewith acknowledged the support of these divine rights by the chieftains of the Highland clans, the Jacobite lords, and “various other such loyal subjects of His Majesty, King James, as have subscribed their names upon this Bill of Association in token thereof.”My fingers grew icy as I read, and I was conscious of a feeling of terror so acute that it was a real effort to keep on breathing. My ears rang with pounding blood, and there were dark spots before my eyes. At the bottom of the sheet were signed the names of the Scottish chieftains who had declared their loyalty to the world, and staked their lives and reputations on the success of Charles Stuart. Clanranald was there, and Glengarry. Stewart of Appin, Alexander MacDonald of Keppoch, Angus MacDonald of Scotus. And at the bottom of the list was written, “James Alexander Malcolm MacKenzie Fraser, of Broch Tuarach.”“Jesus bloody fucking Christ,”I whispered, wishing there were something stronger I could say, as a form of relief. “The filthy bastard’s signed your name to it!”
Chapter 35: Moonlight. Jaime’s people prepare for war, as does Jaime. Ian will be left at home to mind the estate. Jaime considers other deployments of his tenants and the strategic situation of the Jacobite forces he is expected to join. Claire determines to accompany him to war— and Fergus will, as well. That evening, Claire hears Jaime tend his infant niece for a while; the next morning, Jenny comments on the event to Claire.
Where Lallybroch prepares for war, Jamie confides in his infant niece:
“Eh, wee Kitty, ciamar a tha thu? Much, mo naoidheachan, much.”The sound of them went up and down the passage, and I dropped further toward sleep, but kept half-wakeful on purpose to hear them. One day perhaps he would hold his own child so, small round head cradled in the big hands, small solid body cupped and held firm against his shoulder. And thus he would sing to his own daughter, a tuneless song, a warm, soft chant in the dark. The constant small ache in my heart was submerged in a flood of tenderness. I had conceived once; I could do so again. Faith had given me the gift of that knowledge, Jamie the courage and means to use it. My hands rested lightly on my breasts, cupping the deep swell of them, knowing beyond doubt that one day they would nourish the child of my heart. I drifted into sleep with the sound of Jamie’s singing in my ears. Sometime later I drifted near the surface again, and opened my eyes to the light-filled room. The moon had risen, full and beaming, and all the objects in the room were plainly visible, in that flat, two-dimensional way of things seen without shadow. The baby had quieted, but I could hear Jamie’s voice in the hall, still speaking, but much more quietly, hardly more than a murmur. And the tone of it had changed; it wasn’t the rhythmic, half-nonsense way one talks to babies, but the broken, halting speech of a man seeking the way through the wilderness of his own heart. Curious, I slipped out of bed and crept quietly to the door. I could see them there at the end of the hall. Jamie sat leaning back against the side of the window seat, wearing only his shirt. His bare legs were raised, forming a back against which small Katherine Mary rested as she sat facing him in his lap, her own chubby legs kicking restlessly over his stomach. The baby’s face was blank and light as the moon’s, her eyes dark pools absorbing his words. He traced the curve of her cheek with one finger, again and again, whispering with heartbreaking gentleness. He spoke in Gaelic, and so low that I could not have told what he said, even had I known the words. But the whispering voice was thick, and the moonlight from the casement behind him showed the tracks of the tears that slid unregarded down his own cheeks. It was not a scene that bore intrusion. I came back to the still-warm bed, holding in my mind the picture of the laird of Lallybroch, half-naked in the moonlight, pouring out his heart to an unknown future, holding in his lap the promise of his blood.
Chapter 36: Prestonpans. The Flames of Rebellion begins in Scotland in September 1745, with the Fraser forces moving to join the Jacobite throng. Claire confronts the limits of her knowledge. Camp conduct is much as would be expected. That evening, Claire and Jaime are attacked in the night by an English youth who thinks Jaime is assailing Claire; Jaime uses the misconception to extract information from him. After, he disciplines the sentries who let the youth slip through and accepts discipline for his own failure. He and Claire later discuss the discipline; yet later, Jaime reports taking successful covert action against the English army. Soon after, Jaime’s forces report in with the Jacobite army, which is in disarray . Claire takes the chance to set up a field hospital. All too soon afterwards, there is need for it, and Claire works diligently to save those who are brought to it. This includes Jaime, who has been trampled by a horse. It also includes some of his men, including one whose scrotum needs to be repaired. Later, Jaime reports to Claire the events of the battle, and they make love again.
“Tell it to me again, Sassenach,” Jamie had said, for the dozenth time, as we made our way along the winding trails and dirt roads . I rode Donas, while Jamie walked alongside, but now slid down to walk beside him, to make conversation easier. While Donas and I had reached an understanding of sorts, he was the kind of horse that demanded your full concentration to ride; he was all too fond of scraping an unwary rider off by walking under low branches, for example. “I told you before, I don’t know that much,” I said. “There was very little written about it in the history books, and I didn’t pay a great deal of attention at the time. All I can tell you is that the battle was fought— er, will be fought— near the town of Preston, and so it’s called the Battle of Prestonpans, though the Scots called— call— it the Battle of Gladsmuir, because of an old prophecy that the returning king will be victorious at Gladsmuir. Heaven knows where the real Gladsmuir is, if there is one.”“Aye. And?” I furrowed my brow , trying to recall every last scrap of information. I could conjure a mental picture of the small, tattered brown copy of A Child’s History of England, read by the flickering light of a kerosene lantern in a mud hut somewhere in Persia. Mentally flicking the pages, I could just recall the two-page section that was all the author had seen fit to devote to the second Jacobite Rising, known to historians as “the’45.” And within that two-page section, the single paragraph dealing with the battle we were about to fight. “The Scots win,” I said helpfully. “Well, that’s the important point,” he agreed, a bit sarcastically, “but it would be a bit of help to know a little more.”
Lord John Grey:
I caught sight from the corner of my eye of shadowy movement in the darkness and the firelight flashed from something near Jamie’s head. I whirled toward him, shouting, just in time to see him topple backward off the log and disappear into the void of the night. There was no moon, and the only clue to what was happening was a tremendous scuffling sound in the dry alder leaves, and the noise of men locked in effortful but silent conflict, with grunts, gasps, and the occasional muffled curse. There was a short, sharp cry, and then complete quiet. It lasted, I suppose, only a few seconds, though it seemed to go on forever. I was still standing by the fire, frozen in my original position, when Jamie reemerged from the Stygian dark of the forest, a captive before him, one arm twisted behind its back. Loosing his grip, he whirled the dark figure around and gave it an abrupt shove that sent it crashing backward into a tree. The man hit the trunk hard, loosing a shower of leaves and acorns, and slid slowly down to lie dazed in the leaf-meal. Attracted by the noise, Murtagh, Ross, and a couple of the other Fraser men materialized by the fire. Hauling the intruder to his feet, they pulled him roughly into the circle of firelight. Murtagh grabbed the captive by the hair and jerked his head backward, bringing his face into view. It was a small, fine-boned face, with big, long-lashed eyes that blinked dazedly at the crowding faces. “But he’s only a boy!” I exclaimed. “He can’t be more than fifteen!”“Sixteen!”said the boy. He shook his head, senses returning. “Not that that makes any difference,”he added haughtily, in an English accent. Hampshire, I thought. He was a long way from home. “It doesn’t,”Jamie grimly agreed. “Sixteen or sixty, he’s just made a verra creditable attempt at cutting my throat.”I noticed then the reddened handkerchief pressed against the side of his neck. “I shan’t tell you anything,” the boy said. His eyes were dark pools in the pale face, though the firelight shone on the gleam of fair hair. He was clutching one arm tightly in front of him; I thought perhaps it was injured. The boy was clearly making a major effort to stand upright among the men, lips compressed against any wayward expression of fear or pain. “Some things you don’t need to tell me,” said Jamie, looking the lad over carefully. “One, you’re an Englishman, so likely you’ve come with troops nearby. And two, you’re alone.”The boy seemed startled. “How do you know that?” Jamie raised his eyebrows. “I suppose that ye’d not have attacked me unless you thought that the lady and I were alone. If you were with someone else who also thought that, they would presumably have come to your assistance just now—is your arm broken, by the way? I thought I felt something snap. If you were with someone else who knew we were not alone, they would ha’stopped ye from trying anything so foolish.”Despite this diagnosis, I noticed three of the men fade discreetly into the forest in response to a signal from Jamie, presumably to check for other intruders. The boy’s expression hardened at hearing his act described as foolish. Jamie dabbed at his neck, then inspected the handkerchief critically.
Chapter 37: Holyrood. At Edinburgh the next month, Claire is summoned to Stuart. He directs her to speak with Colum MacKenzie. He apologizes for earlier events and asks her for a way to meet his impending death from disease with dignity . She accedes. The next day, there is a demonstration of swordplay and news of events. Later, Claire goes out collecting supplies and is summoned along with Jaime to attend on Colum. He asks for Jaime’s advice about whether or not to throw in with the Jacobites. Later, there is a diplomatic function at which it is announced that Colum has died— and Dougal will align the MacKenzies with the Jacobites— and so must the Frasers be.
I stopped dead at sight of the enormous visitor, the shock of recognition still mingled with absolute incredulity. Charles had kept on, and now glanced back with some impatience, beckoning me to join him before the fire. I nodded to the big man. Then I walked slowly around the end of the sofa and gazed down at the man who lay upon it. He smiled faintly when he saw me , the dove-gray eyes lighting with a spark of amusement. “Yes,” he said, answering my expression. “I hadn’t really expected to meet you again, either. One might almost believe we are fated.” He turned his head and lifted a hand toward his enormous body-servant. “Angus. Will ye fetch a drop of the brandy for Mistress Claire? I’m afraid the surprise of seeing me may have somewhat discomposed her.” That, I thought, was putting it mildly. I sank into a splay-footed chair and accepted the crystal goblet Angus Mhor held out to me. Colum MacKenzie’s eyes hadn’t changed; neither had his voice . Both held the essence of the man who had led clan MacKenzie for thirty years, despite the disease that had crippled him in his teens. Everything else had changed sadly for the worse, though; the black hair streaked heavily with gray, the lines of his face cut deep into skin that had fallen slack over the sharp outlines of bone. Even the broad chest was sunken and the powerful shoulders hunched, flesh fallen away from the fragile skeleton beneath. He already held a glass half-filled with amber liquid, glowing in the firelight. He raised himself painfully to a sitting position and lifted the cup in ironic salute. “You’re looking very well … niece .” From the corner of my eye, I saw Charles’s mouth drop open. “You aren’t,” I said bluntly. He glanced dispassionately down at the bowed and twisted legs. In a hundred years’ time, they would call this disease after its most famous sufferer— the Toulouse-Lautrec syndrome. “No,” he said. “ But then, it’s been two years since you saw me last. Mrs. Duncan estimated my survival at less than two years, then.” I took a swallow of the brandy. One of the best. Charles was anxious. “I shouldn’t have thought you’d put much stock in a witch’s curse,” I said.
Jamie tells Colum not to join the Jacobites:
Charles’s Rising was balanced on a knife edge; the allegiance of a large clan such as the MacKenzies of Leoch might encourage others to join the brash Young Pretender, and lead to his success. But if it ended in failure nonetheless, the MacKenzies of Leoch could well end with it. At last Jamie turned his head deliberately, and looked at me, blue eyes holding my own. You have some say in this, his look said. What shall I do? I could feel Colum’s eyes upon me, too, and felt rather than saw the questioning lift of the thick, dark brows above them. But what I saw in my mind’s eye was young Hamish , a redheaded ten-year-old who looked enough like Jamie to be his son, rather than his cousin. And what life might be for him, and the rest of his clan, if the MacKenzies of Leoch fell with Charles at Culloden. The men of Lallybroch had Jamie to save them from final slaughter, if it came to that. The men of Leoch would not. And yet the choice could not be mine. I shrugged and bowed my head. Jamie took a deep breath, and made up his mind. “Go home to Leoch, Uncle,” he said. “And keep your men there.”
Chapter 38: A Bargain with the Devil. Edinburgh suffers illness in the autumn damp, but military and political actions continue. The illness afflicts Jaime, and as Claire treats him, Fergus arrives with dispatches. Claire handles them and later considers her own seeming immunity to many diseases. She is confronted by Jack, who offers her intelligence in exchange for her assistance treating his brother. She agrees and takes what measures she can to comfort herself.
Claire gets a visit from BJR:
“All right,”I said. “We can’t be overheard now. What do you want of me?”“Your skill as a physician, and your complete discretion. In exchange for such information as I possess regarding the movements and plans of the Elector’s troops,”he answered promptly. That rather took my breath away. Whatever I had been expecting, it wasn’t this. He couldn’t possibly mean …“You’re looking for medical treatment?”I asked, making no effort to disguise the mingled horror and amazement in my voice. “From me? I understood that you …er, I mean …”With a major effort of will, I stopped myself floundering and said firmly, “Surely you have already received whatever medical treatment is possible? You appear to be in reasonably good condition.”Externally, at least. I bit my lip, suppressing an urge toward hysteria. “I am informed that I am fortunate to be alive, Madam,”he answered coldly. “The point is debatable.”He set the lantern in a niche in the wall, where the scooped basin of a piscina lay dry and empty in its recess. “I assume your inquiry to be motivated by medical curiosity rather than concern for my welfare,”he went on. The lanternlight, shed at waist height, illuminated him from the ribs downward, leaving head and shoulders hidden. He laid a hand on the waistband of his breeches, turning slightly toward me. “Do you wish to inspect the injury, in order to judge the effectiveness of treatment?”The shadows hid his face, but the splinters of ice in his voice were tipped with poison. “Perhaps later,”I said, as cool as he. “If not yourself, for whom do you seek my skill?”He hesitated, but it was far too late for reticence. “For my brother.”“Your brother?”I couldn’t keep the shock from my voice. “Alexander?”“Since my elder brother William is, so far as I know, virtuously engaged in stewardship of the family estates in Sussex, and in need of no assistance,”he said dryly. “Yes, my brother Alex.”I spread my hands on the cold stone of a sarcophagus to steady myself. “Tell me about it,”I said.
Jack Randall strikes a bargain with Claire:
The note of triumph in his voice was faint, but unmistakable. “I,” he said softly, “I have had him as you could never have him. You are a woman; you cannot understand, even witch as you are. I have held the soul of his manhood, have taken from him what he has taken from me. I know him, as he now knows me. We are bound, he and I, by blood.” I give ye my Body, that we Two may be One …“You choose a very odd way of seeking my help,” I said, my voice shaking. My hands were clenched in the folds of my skirt, the fabric cold and bunched between my fingers. “Do I? I think it best you understand, Madam. I do not beseech your pity, do not call upon your power as a man might seek mercy from a woman, depending upon what people call womanly sympathy. For that cause, you might come to my brother on his own account.” A lock of dark hair fell loose across his forehead; he brushed it back with one hand. “I prefer that it be a straight bargain made between us, Madam; of service rendered and price paid— for realize, Madam, that my feelings toward you are much as yours toward me must be.” That was a shock; while I struggled to find an answer, he went on. “We are linked, you and I, through the body of one man— through him. I would have no such link formed through the body of my brother; I seek your help to heal his body, but I take no risk that his soul shall fall prey to you. Tell me, then; is the price I offer acceptable to you?”
Chapter 39: Family Ties. Claire meets Jack, as appointed, and examines Alex as she can. He has tuberculosis and congestive heart failure. Meanwhile, support comes in for the Jacobite cause, and Claire passes Jack’s intelligence to Jaime. Reports come of Jacobite victories, and Stuart purposes to march on England. Stuart sends the Frasers to seek the aid of their head-of-clan.
“It is a task of the greatest import, my James, and one that only you can do. It is true that men flock to my Father’s standard; more come every day. Still, we must not haste to feel secure, no? By such luck, your kinsmen the MacKenzies have come to my aid. But you have to your family another side, eh?”“No,” Jamie said, a look of horror dawning on his face. “But yes,” said Charles, with a final squeeze. He swung around to face Jamie, beaming. “You will go to the north, to the land of your fathers, and return to me at the head of the men of clan Fraser!”
Chapter 40: The Fox’s Lair. En route, Claire and Jaime discuss the Fraser chief as Murtagh accompanies them. The talk is not pleasant; Lovat is not a kindly old man, but crafty enough to deserve the name “Old Fox.”Claire reflects on orders Jaime has left for his men as they continue to approach. The meeting is strained, and Jaime warns Claire to be wary. Later, she sees a woman, Masiri, struck, and that evening, Jaime reports to her what transpired between him and his grandfather. The next two weeks pass in similar fashion.
Greetings from Lord Lovat:
“Ah?” said Lord Lovat, giving me the benefit of a cold blue eye. “I’d heard you’d married an Englishwoman.” His tone made it clear that this act confirmed all his worst suspicions about the grandson he’d never met. He raised a thick gray brow in my direction, and shifted the gimlet stare to Jamie. “No more sense than your father, it seems.” I could see Jamie’s hands twitch slightly, resisting the urge to clench into fists. “At the least, I had nay need to take a wife by rape or trickery,” he observed evenly. His grandfather grunted, unfazed by the insult. I thought I saw the corner of his wrinkled mouth twitch, but wasn’t sure. “Aye, and ye’ve gained little enough by the bargain ye struck,” he observed. “Though at that, this one’s less expensive than that MacKenzie harlot Brian fell prey to. If this sassenach wench brings ye naught, at least she looks as though she costs ye little.” The slanted blue eyes, so much like Jamie’s own, ran over my travel-stained gown, taking in the unstitched hem, the burst seam, and the splashes of mud on the skirt. I could feel a fine vibration run through Jamie, and wasn’t sure whether it was anger or laughter.
Chapter 41: The Seer’s Curse. Claire is met by Masiri. The latter is cursed with foresight and asks Claire why it ought to be so and whether she ought to reveal what she knows , whether it will do any good. Later, the Frasers confer about whether they ought to fight; Claire offers a spot diagnosis to the old Fraser that allows him to avoid taking the field himself. He sends his son instead, allowing himself an out. When Claire and Jaime rejoin the Jacobite army, they find that Lovat has listed Jaime’s men as his own, and those men are imprisoned for desertion for following the orders Jaime left them.
A spiritual meeting:
“What do you see , Maisri?” I asked, and stood waiting, facing her, hands dropped to my sides. She stared at me hard, above and below, behind and beside. At last she smiled faintly, nodding. “I see naught but you, lady,” she said softly. “There’s only you.” She turned and disappeared down the path between the trees, leaving me among the blowing flakes of snow. Doom, or save. That I cannot do. For I have no power beyond that of knowledge, no ability to bend others to my will, no way to stop them doing what they will. There is only me. I shook the snow from the folds of my cloak, and turned to follow Maisri down the path, sharing her bitter knowledge that there was only me. And I was not enough.
Chapter 42: Reunions. Jaime arrives in anger at the treatment of his men. He is directed to seek their pardon from Stuart and informed that Dougal is now in favor with the Young Pretender. While Jaime does so, Claire tends the men as best she can. As she makes to raise funds to do so, she encounters Mary once again; she is staying with family so that she can visit Alex in his extremity. She takes Claire to him, and she examines him. The next few days sees her do much the same, and she encounters Jack again. He provides intelligence in exchange for her continued treatment of his brother. Orders come to release the Fraser men, offering her a chance to deliver the intelligence personally.
Where Lovats son Simon, helps Jamie get his men out of jail for desertion:
“MacKenzie still wants Lallybroch, no? And if he thinks Father and I might have an eye on reclaiming your land, he’ll be more eager to help you get your men back, aye? Cost him a lot more to fight us for it than to deal wi’ you, once the war’s over.” He nodded, happily chewing his upper lip as he contemplated the ramifications of the situation. “I’ll go wave a copy of Father’s list under his nose before ye speak to him. You come in and tell him you’ll see me in hell before ye let me claim your men, and then we’ll all go to Stirling together.” He grinned at Jamie complicitously.
Which Claire and Mary talk, Alex being sick:
“So you’ve seen Alex?” I asked. I wondered how the young curate had fared, since I had last seen him. I also wondered how he had found the courage to write to Mary. “Yes. He didn’t ask me to come ,” she added quickly. “I c-came by myself.” Her chin lifted in defiance , but there was a small quiver as she said, “He .… he wouldn’t have written to me, but he thought he was d-dying, and he wanted me to know … to know …” I put an arm about her shoulders and turned quickly into one of the closes, standing with her out of the flow of jostling street traffic. “It’s all right,” I said to her, patting her helplessly, knowing that nothing I could do would make it right. “You came, and you’ve seen him, that’s the important thing.” She nodded, speechless, and blew her nose. “Yes,” she said thickly, at last. “We’ve had … two months. I k-keep telling myself that that’s more than most people ever have, two months of happiness … but we lost so much time that we might have h-had, and … it’s not enough. Claire , it isn’t enough!”“No,” I said quietly. “A lifetime isn’t enough, for that kind of love.” With a sudden pang, I wondered where Jamie was, and how he was faring. Mary, more composed now, clutched me by the sleeve. “Claire, can you come with me to see him? I know there’s n-not much you can do …”
Chapter 43: Falkirk. Claire is among the Jacobite encampment before it moves out; she accompanies the troops when it does. They prepare for battle, and she is sent to a sanctuary; a small party soon joins her, among which is one too badly wounded to survive. He is passed on to the next life before the sanctuary is surrounded; the English allow Claire to depart in their care in exchange for their safe passage out, and Jaime promises a rescue.
In which Rupert is mortally wounded by the red Coats:
“Weel, grieve for me and ye will, Dougal,” he said, when he’d finished . “And I’m glad for it. But ye canna grieve ’til I be deid, can ye? I would die by your hand, mo caraidh, not in the hands of the strangers.” Dougal jerked, and Jamie and I exchanged appalled glances behind his back. “Rupert …” Dougal began helplessly, but Rupert interrupted him, clasping his hand and shaking it gently. “You are my chief, man, and it’s your duty,” he whispered. “Come now. Do it now. This dying hurts me, Dougal, and I would have it over.” His eyes moved restlessly, lighting on me. “Will ye hold my hand while I go, lass?” he asked. “I’d like it so.” There seemed nothing else to do . Moving slowly, feeling that this was all a dream, I took the broad, black-haired hand in both of mine, pressing it as though I might force my own warmth into the cooling flesh. With a grunt, Rupert heaved himself slightly to one side and glanced up at Jamie, who sat by his head. “She should ha’ married me, lad, when she had the choice,” he wheezed. “You’re a poor weed, but do your best.” One eye squeezed shut in a massive wink. “Gi’e her a good one for me, lad.” The black eyes swiveled back to me, and a final grin spread across his face. “Goodbye, bonnie lassie,” he said softly. Dougal’s dirk took him under the breastbone, hard and straight. The burly body convulsed, turning to the side with an coughing explosion of air and blood, but the brief sound of agony came from Dougal.
Dougal uses Claire as a hostage:
“You have one minute to come out and give yourselves up,” it said, “or we fire the thatch.” I glanced upward in complete horror . The walls of the church were stone, but the thatch would burn in short order, even soaked with rain and sleet, and once well caught, would send flames and smoking embers raining down to engulf us. I remembered the awful speed with which the torch of twisted reed had burned the night before; the charred remnant lay on the floor near Rupert’s shrouded corpse, a grisly token in the gray dawn light. “No!” I screamed. “Bloody bastards! This is a church! Have you never heard of sanctuary?”“Who is that?” came the sharp voice from outside. “Is that an English-woman in there?!”“Yes!” shouted Dougal, springing to the door. He cracked it ajar and bellowed out at the English soldiers on the hillside below. “Yes! We hold an English lady captive! Fire the thatch, and she dies with us!” There was an outbreak of voices at the bottom of the hill, and a sudden shifting among the men in the church . Jamie whirled on Dougal with a scowl, saying, “What …!”“It’s the only chance!” Dougal hissed back. “Let them take her, in return for our freedom . They’ll not harm her if they think she’s our hostage, and we’ll get her back later, once we’re free!” I came out of my hiding space and went to Jamie, gripping his sleeve. “Do it!” I said urgently. “Dougal is right, it’s the only chance!”
Chapter 44: In which Quite a Lot of Things Gang Agley. Claire accompanies the English forces south to supposed safety. Her perceived involvement with the Frasers makes her of interest, and she is delivered at length to Duke Sandringham; Mary meets her there briefly. The Duke interrogates her, revealing that he had sent the assailants against her in Paris; Mary is an unfortunate bit of collaborative damage. She sees hope in the form of an old friend as she is imprisoned. The hope seems thwarted as the man is slain. Mary arrives to comfort Claire soon after, and Claire explains her circumstances. After, she muses on Sandringham’s involvement until Jaime arrives to spirit her and Mary away. He also gets revenge on Mary’s rapist along the way, and Murtagh, having come in Jaime’s company, discharges his oath.
Claire's capture puts her face to face with The Duke:
The Duke paced slowly back and forth before the fire, watching me, still with a slight smile on his features. I fought the growing warmth and comfort that spread through my aching legs, threatening to drag me into the abyss of fatigue that gaped open at my feet. This was no time to let down my guard. “Which are you?” the Duke inquired suddenly. “An English hostage, a fervent Jacobite, or a French agent?” I rubbed two fingers over the ache between my eyes. The correct answer was “none of the above,” but I didn’t think it would get me very far. “The hospitality of this house seems a trifle lacking by comparison with its appointments ,” I said, as haughtily as I could manage under the circumstances, which wasn’t all that much. Still, Louise’s example of great-ladydom had not been entirely in vain. The Duke laughed, a high, chittering sort of laugh, like a bat that has just heard a good one. “Your pardon, Madam. You’re quite right; I should have thought to offer you refreshment before presuming to question you. Most thoughtless of me.” He murmured something to the footman who appeared in answer to his ring, then waited calmly before the fire for the tray to arrive. I sat in silence, glancing around the room, occasionally stealing a look at my host. Neither of us was interested in making small talk. Despite his outward geniality, this was an armed truce, and both of us knew it. What I wanted to know was why. No stranger to people wondering who in hell I was, I rather wondered myself where the Duke came into it. Or where he thought I did. He had met me twice before, as Mrs. Fraser, wife of the laird of Lallybroch. Now I had turned up on his doorstep, posing as an English hostage named Beauchamp lately rescued from a gang of Scottish Jacobites. That was enough to make anyone wonder. But his attitude toward me went a long way past simple curiosity.
Hugh Munro tries to save Claire:
Then the hunched figure sprawled flat, and the shouting died, though a few more blows were given for good measure before the small gang of servants stood back. A few words of conversation were exchanged , inaudible from my vantage point , and two of the men stooped and seized the figure beneath the arms. As they passed beneath my third -floor window on their way toward the back of the house, the torchlight illuminated a pair of dragging, sandal-shod feet, and the tatters of a grimy smock. Not Jamie. One of the stable-lads scampered alongside, triumphantly carrying a thick leather wallet on a strap. I was too far above to hear the clink of the tiny metal ornaments on the strap, but they glittered in the torchlight, and all the strength went from my arms in a rush of horror and despair. They were coins and buttons , the small metal objects. And gaberlunzies. The tiny lead seals that gave a beggar license to plead his poverty through a given parish. Hugh Munro had four of them, a mark of favor for his trials at the hands of the Turk. Not Jamie, but Hugh. I was shaking so badly that my legs would hardly carry me, but I ran to the door and pounded on it with all my strength. “Let me out!” I shrieked. “I have to see the Duke! Let me out, I say!”
Chapter 45: Damn All Randalls. Claire, Jaime and the rest return to Scotland circuitously, and Claire delivers Mary to Alex. Jaime agrees to attend upon Mary and Alex the next day, and they find him ill. Jack arrives, and Alex weds Jack to Mary with the Frasers as witness. Jaime is far from pleased.
Jamie is forced to be a witness:
Jamie himself appeared to be coming to similar conclusions. “Aye,” he said softly. “I do see. Do ye ask aught of me?” Alex nodded , closing his eyes briefly . He lifted the vial I handed him and drank, shuddering briefly at the bitter taste. He opened his eyes and smiled at Jamie. “The indulgence of your presence only. I promise I shall not detain you long. We are waiting for one more person.” While we waited, I did what I could for Alex Randall, which under the circumstances was not much. The foxglove infusion again, and a bit of camphor to help ease his breathing. He seemed a little better after the administration of such medicine as I had, but placing my homemade stethoscope against the sunken chest, I could hear the labored thud of his heart, interrupted by such frequent flutters and palpitations that I expected it to stop at any moment. Mary held his hand throughout, and he kept his eyes fixed on her, as though memorizing every line of her face. It seemed almost an intrusion to be in the same room with them. The door opened, and Jack Randall stood on the threshold. He looked uncomprehendingly at me and Mary for a moment, then his gaze lighted on Jamie and he turned to stone. Jamie met his eyes squarely, then turned, nodding toward the bed. Seeing that haggard face, Jack Randall crossed the room rapidly and fell on his knees beside the bed. “Alex!” he said. “My God, Alex …”
Jamie takes a stand:
“Well,” I said, attempting a smile, “at least we know Frank is safe, after all.” Jamie glowered down at me, ruddy brows nearly touching each other. “Damn Frank!” he said ferociously. “Damn all Randalls! Damn Jack Randall, and damn Mary Hawkins Randall, and damn Alex Randall— er, God rest his soul, I mean,” he amended hastily, crossing himself. “I thought you didn’t begrudge—” I started. He glared at me. “I lied.” He grabbed me by the shoulders and shook me slightly, holding me at arm’s length. “And damn you, too, Claire Randall Fraser, while I’m at it!” he said. “Damn right I begrudge! I grudge every memory of yours that doesna hold me , and every tear ye’ve shed for another, and every second you’ve spent in another man’s bed! Damn you!” He knocked the brandy glass from my hand— accidentally, I think— pulled me to him and kissed me hard. He drew back enough to shake me again. “You’re mine, damn ye, Claire Fraser! Mine, and I wilna share ye, with a man or a memory, or anything whatever, so long as we both shall live. You’ll no mention the man’s name to me again. D’ye hear?” He kissed me fiercely to emphasize the point. “Did ye hear me?"
Chapter 46: Timor Mortis Conturbat Me. Jaime and Claire rejoin the Jacobite army. It is in dire straits, undersupplied and of poor morale. They turn over the idea of poisoning Stuart and reject it. Dougal overhears it, though, and rises in anger; Jaime kills him. They flee, Jaime securing his property before taking Claire to the standing stone circle and thrusting her— and her unborn child— through it into his future.
Where Dougal tries to kill Claire:
Dougal whirled to face Jamie then , dropping into a fighter’s crouch, the dirk held blade upward. “Let it be, then,” he said, breathing heavily. He swayed slightly from side to side, shifting his weight as he sought the advantage. “Blood will tell. Ye damned Fraser spawn. Treachery runs in your blood. Come here to me, fox cub. I’ll kill ye quick, for your mother’s sake.” There was little room for maneuver in the small attic. No room to draw a sword; with his dirk stuck fast in the tabletop, Jamie was effectively unarmed. He matched Dougal’s stance, eyes watchful, fixed on the point of the menacing dirk.
Where Jamie kills Dougal:
Dougal stepped back, staggering, face congested and pouring sweat, the hilt of the dagger socketed at the base of his throat. Jamie half-fell, gasping, and leaned against the table. His eyes were dark with shock, and his hair sweat-soaked, the rent edges of his shirt tinged with blood from the scratch. There was a terrible sound from Dougal, a sound of shock and stifled breath. Jamie caught him as he tottered and fell, Dougal’s weight bringing him to his knees. Dougal’s head lay on Jamie’s shoulder, Jamie’s arms locked around his foster father.
Claire signs Jamie's deed, giving Lallybroch to Jenny's son:
“Deed of Sasine” it said, at the top of the sheet. It was a short document, laid out in a few black lines, conveying title of the estate known as Broch Tuarach to one James Jacob Fraser Murray, said property to be held in trust and administered by the said James Murray’s parents, Janet Fraser Murray and Ian Gordon Murray, until the said James Murray’s majority. Jamie’s signature was at the bottom, and there were two blank spaces provided below, each with the word “Witness” written alongside. It was dated 1 July, 1745— a month before Charles Stuart had launched his rebellion on the shores of Scotland, and made Jamie Fraser a traitor to the Crown.
Claire is pregnant again and Jamie makes her go back to the future:
“Claire,” he said quietly. “Tomorrow I will die. This child … is all that will be left of me— ever. I ask ye, Claire— I beg you— see it safe.” I stood still, vision blurring, and in that moment, I heard my heart break. It was a small, clean sound, like the snapping of a flower’s stem. At last I bent my head to him, the wind grieving in my ears. “Yes,” I whispered. “Yes. I’ll go.” It was nearly dark. He came behind me and held me, leaning back against him as he looked over my shoulder, out over the valley. The lights of watchfires had begun to spring up, small glowing dots in the far distance. We were silent for a long time, as the evening deepened. It was very quiet on the hill; I could hear nothing but Jamie’s even breathing , each breath a precious sound. “I will find you,” he whispered in my ear. “I promise. If I must endure two hundred years of purgatory, two hundred years without you —then that is my punishment , which I have earned for my crimes. For I have lied, and killed, and stolen; betrayed and broken trust. But there is the one thing that shall lie in the balance . When I shall stand before God, I shall have one thing to say, to weigh against the rest.” His voice dropped, nearly to a whisper, and his arms tightened around me. “Lord, ye gave me a rare woman, and God! I loved her well.”
Chapter 47: Loose Ends. Hindsight begins with Claire concluding her story of the Jacobite past to Brianne and Roger in the Scotland of 1968. Brianne rejects the story, but Roger is intrigued and finds further verification for it in her wedding ring. Roger reports to Claire the results of the battle, and she muses on events. She also reveals to him his own familial entanglement with the affair; Dougal, rather than another MacKenzie, was his ancestor, and another time-traveler was his mother. That time-traveler was initially from 1968, and the search for her begins.
What Jamie inscribed in the wedding ring and Roger believes Claire :
“There are words in it,”she said wonderingly. “I never realized that he’d …Oh, dear God.”Her voice broke, and the ring slipped from her fingers, rattling on the table with a tiny metal chime. Roger hurriedly scooped it up, but she had turned away, fists held tight against her middle. He knew she didn’t want him to see her face; the control she had kept through the long hours of the day and the scene with Brianna had deserted her now. He stood for a minute, feeling unbearably awkward and out of place. With a terrible feeling that he was violating a privacy that ran deeper than anything he had ever known, but not knowing what else to do, he lifted the tiny metal circle to the light and read the words inside. “Da mi basia mille …”But it was Claire’s voice that spoke the words, not his. Her voice was shaky, and he could tell that she was crying, but it was coming back under her control. She couldn’t let go for long; the power of what she held leashed could so easily destroy her. “It’s Catullus. A bit of a love poem. Hugh.…Hugh Munro—he gave me the poem for a wedding present, wrapped around a bit of amber with a dragonfly inside it.”Her hands, still curled into fists, had now dropped to her sides. “I couldn’t say it all, still, but the one bit—I know that much.”Her voice was growing steadier as she spoke, but she kept her back turned to Roger. The small silver circle glowed in his palm, still warm with the heat of the finger it had left. “…da mi basia mille …”Still turned away, she went on, translating, “Then let amorous kisses dwell On our lips, begin and tell A Thousand and a Hundred score A Hundred, and a Thousand more.” When she had finished, she stood still a moment, then slowly turned to face him again. Her cheeks were flushed and wet, and her lashes clumped together, but she was superficially calm. “A hundred, and a thousand more,” she said, with a feeble attempt at a smile. “But no maker’s mark. So that isn’t proof, either.”“Yes, it is.”Roger found there seemed to be something sticking in his own throat, and hastily cleared it. “It’s absolute proof. To me.”Something lit in the depths of her eyes, and the smile grew real. Then the tears welled up and overflowed as she lost her grip once and for all. “I’m sorry,”she said at last. She was sitting on the sofa, elbows on her knees, face half-buried in one of the Reverend Mr. Wakefield’s huge white handkerchiefs. Roger sat close beside her, almost touching. She seemed very small and vulnerable. He wanted to pat the ash-brown curls, but felt too shy to do it. “I never thought …it never occurred to me,”she said, blowing her nose again. “I didn’t know how much it would mean, to have someone believe me.”
Roger learns he's the ancestral son of Dougal MacKenzie:
Roger bent over the chart, then looked up, moss-green eyes thoughtful. “This one? William Buccleigh MacKenzie , born 1744, of William John MacKenzie and Sarah Innes. Died 1782.” Claire shook her head. “Died 1744, aged two months, of smallpox.” She looked up, and the golden eyes met his with a force that sent a shiver down his spine. “Yours wasn’t the first adoption in that family, you know,” she said. Her finger tapped the entry. “He needed a wet nurse,” she said. “His own mother was dead— so he was given to a family that had lost a baby. They called him by the name of the child they had lost—that was common— and I don’t suppose anyone wanted to call attention to his ancestry by recording the new child in the parish register. He would have been baptized at birth, after all; it wasn’t necessary to do it again. Colum told me where they placed him.” “Geillis Duncan’s son,” he said slowly. “The witch’s child.”
Chapter 48: Witch Hunt. Claire and Roger try to track down the other traveler in 1968. They find she is a devotee of arcane knowledge, taking classes at a local folklore center; Claire appropriates some of her research materials as Roger gleans information from the traveler’s husband; they pick up Brianne along the way, and Roger mollifies her temporarily. She is incredulous at his belief of her mother’s story.
Where Roger and Claire look for Geillis:
“No, thanks very much. I just got a bit hot back there; thought I’d step down for a little fresh air.”“Oh, aye.” The secretary nodded understandingly. “The radiators.” She pronounced it “raddiators.”“They get stuck on, ye know, and won’t turn off. I’d best see about it.” She rose from her desk, where the picture of Gillian Edgars still rested. She glanced down at the picture, then up at Roger. “Isn’t that odd?” she said conversationally. “I was just looking at this and wondering what it was about Mrs. Edgars’s face that struck me all of a sudden. And I couldn’t think what it was. But she’s quite a look of you, Mr. Wakefield— especially round the eyes. Isn’t that a coincidence ? Mr. Wakefield?” Mrs. Andrews stared in the direction of the stair, where the thump of Roger’s footsteps echoed from the wooden risers. “Taken a bit short, I expect,” she said kindly. “Poor lad.”
Where Claire puts Bree in a position to listen to facts:
“Not me,” Claire interrupted. “You. I have something else to do.” This was too much, Roger thought. He pulled the car over without signaling and skidded to a stop at the side of the road. He glared at her. “Something else to do, have you?” he demanded. “I like that! You’re landing me with the job of trying to entice a drunken sot who will likely assault me on sight, and luring your daughter along to watch! What, do you think she’ll be needed to drive me to hospital after Edgars has finished beating me over the head with a bottle?”“No,” Claire said, ignoring his tone. “I think you and Greg Edgars together may succeed where I couldn’t, in convincing Bree that Gillian Edgars is the woman I knew as Geillis Duncan. She won’t listen to me. She likely won’t listen to you, either, if you try to tell her what we found at the Institute today. But she’ll listen to Greg Edgars.” Her tone was flat and grim , and Roger felt his annoyance ebbing slightly. He started the car once more, and pulled out into the stream of traffic.
Chapter 49: Blessed Are Those. Claire, Brianne and Roger make for a nearby stone circle, Claire reviewing her findings along the way. They find the traveler and her husband, the latter slain, there just in time to see her pass through the stones. Her passage jars them mightily, and they are some time in recovering their senses enough to summon authorities . Later, Roger remarks to Claire that Jaime had not led his men from the field, but that one Fraser escaped— likely Jaime.
Roger and Claire find Geillis sacrificing her current hubby to go thru stones:
The slim figure stood between them and the fire, silhouetted like an hourglass. As his sight cleared, he realized that she was dressed in a long, full skirt and tight bodice— the clothes of another time. She had turned at the call, and he had a brief impression of wide eyes and fair, flying hair, lifted and tossed in the hot wind of the fire. He found time, struggling to his feet, to wonder how she had dragged a log of that size up here. Then the smell of burned hair and crackled skin hit his face like a blow, and he remembered. Greg Edgars was not at home tonight. Not knowing whether blood or fire was the necessary element, she had chosen both. He pushed past Brianna, focused only on the tall, slim girl before him, and the image of a face that mirrored his own. She saw him coming, turned and ran like the wind for the cleft stone at the end of the circle. She had a knapsack of rough canvas , slung over one shoulder; he heard her grunt as it swung heavily and struck her in the side. She paused for an instant, hand outstretched to the rock, and looked back. He could have sworn that her eyes rested on him, met his own and held them, beyond the barrier of the fire’s blaze. He opened his mouth in a wordless shout. She whirled then, light as a dancing spark, and vanished in the cleft of the rock.
Roger tells Claire Jamie lived through Culloden:
“I found something.” He raised the book in a brief, futile gesture. “About … Jamie.” Speaking that name aloud seemed to brace him, as though the big Scot himself had been conjured by his calling, to stand solid and unmoving in the hallway, between his wife and Roger. Roger took a deep breath in preparation. “What is it?”“The last thing he meant to do. I think … I think he failed.” Her face paled suddenly, and she glanced wide-eyed at the book. “His men? But I thought you found—”“I did,” Roger interrupted. “No, I’m fairly sure he succeeded in that. He got the men of Lallybroch out; he saved them from Culloden, and set them on the road home.”“But then …”“He meant to turn back— back to the battle— and I think he did that, too.” He was increasingly reluctant , but it had to be said. Finding no words of his own, he flipped the book open, and read aloud: “After the final battle at Culloden, eighteen Jacobite officers, all wounded, took refuge in the old house and for two days, their wounds untended, lay in pain; then they were taken out to be shot. One of them, a Fraser of the Master of Lovat’s regiment, escaped the slaughter; the others were buried at the edge of the domestic park.”
“One man, a Fraser of the Master of Lovat’s regiment, escaped .…”