Lord John and the Hand of Devils

By Diana Gabaldon

Place: Publisher & Year: New York: Delacorte Press, 2007

Genres: Historical fiction, mystery

Series: Lord John Grey series

ISBN: 9780385311397

Intended audience: adults

Number of pages: 302

Setting: England and Germany

Time period: Eighteenth century

Plot summary: The book is a compilation of three different stories – “Lord John and the Hellfire Club”, “Lord John and the Succubus”, and “Lord John and the Haunted Soldier”.   In each story, Lord John is presented with a mysterious death and is compelled to discover the truth behind it.

Appeal factors:

Pacing: A steady pace is maintained throughout the three stories.  Each story begins in the middle of an action or situation which enables a brisk pace to be maintained throughout the book.

Characterization: Each story is told in third person through Lord John Grey’s eyes and has its own important secondary characters.  Characters found in multiple stories include Harry Quarry and Tom Byrd, Lord John’s valet.

Frame: The ideology of eighteenth century England is ever present for Lord John, which makes him extremely careful with what he reveals to whom.

Story line: These three intriguing stories offer a glimpse into life during the eighteenth century placing particular focus upon crimes of the heart.

Subject headings:

From PCPL:

Nobility — England — Fiction.

Seven Years’ War, 1756-1763 — Fiction.

Historical fiction.

Similar authors: I performed a few different searches in NoveList to find books similar to this one which were not written by Gabaldon:

18th Century and Soldiers

The Proud and the Free by Howard Fast

Brave enemies: a novel by Robert Morgan

Prince of Hanover: a novel by Helene Lehr

The Blooding of Jack Absolute by C.C. Humphrey

Redcoat by Bernard Cornwell

Historical mysteries set in 18th London

Sir John Fielding mysteries (series) by Alexander Bruce – features a blind detective

Benjamin Weaver novels (series) by David Liss – features a Jewish detective

Benjamin Franklin mysteries (series) by Robert Lee Hall – features Benjamin Franklin

Homosexuals and the 18th Century

The Music of the Spheres by Elizabeth Redfern

Allegro Postillions by Jonathan Keates (A NoveList Best)

The Virtuoso by Margriet de Moor

Life Mask by Emma Donoghue (A NoveList Best)

Personal notes: I thoroughly enjoyed this book.  By the end of the third story, I am amazed at how much I now care for this character considering I didn’t care too much for him from the Outlander series.

I have to say I’m confused by the NoveList’s subject heading for US history – French and Indian war.  This is probably a carry over subject heading from a different Lord John book, since I don’t think it’s a valid entry for any of the stories in this collection.

[Annotated 6/28/09]

Other (themes, diversity): Diversity – homosexual soldiers


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