Drums of Autumn

By Diana Gabaldon; narrated by Davina Porter

Place: Publisher & Year: Prince Frederick, Md.: Recorded Books, p1999

Genres: Historical fantasy, fantasy, historical fiction, romance, time travel fantasy

Format: Audiobook

Series: Outlander; 4

ISBN: 9781419359743

Intended audience: Adult

Recorded time: 39 sound discs (45 hr., 45 min.)

Settings: North Carolina – Wilmington & Cape Fear River, Tuscarora & Mohawk Nations, Scotland, the Atlantic Ocean

Time periods: 1767-1770 & 1968-1970

Plot summary: As Claire and Jamie seek relatives and a home in the US colonies (specifically in North Carolina), Brianna and Roger discover startling news about the two.  With the knowledge of her parents’ future deaths, Brianna decides to travel to the past to warn them.  When Roger discovers what Brianna has done, he feels compelled to follow her.

Appeal factors:

Pacing: Overall, this is a very fast paced book with lots of action, but there are sections which move more slowly – these often involve long conversations between two characters.

Characterization: Much of the story continues to be told in first person through Claire, however, the story is also told in third person through the perspectives of Jamie, Brianna, and Roger.  Other important characters found in this story from previous books include: Lord John Grey and William, Jenny and Ian (and Laoghaire), and Young Ian and Fergus.

Language: Davina Porter’s narration continues to be excellent for this series.  The accents of the various characters are well done – from the African slaves to the lords and ladies and tender Gaelic endearments.

Frame: The story both begins with drums and includes drums at the ending (early Sep. – autumn).  The drums in both of these scenes heighten a sense of uneasiness.  Claire and Jaime may have found each other across time, but they are now living on the edge of the wilderness in very uncertain times.  They also have not only each other to worry about in this book, but a whole range of people.

Story lines: Another suspenseful, adventurous epic about the love and lives of Claire and Jamie Fraser and their kin.  While the beginning and end of this book follow one story line, there are multiple story lines found within.  The primary story is of Jamie and Claire’s search for a new home and their coming to and settling the ridge.  Additional storylines include Brianna’s quest for her parents, Roger’s pursuit of Brianna, Roger’s fate, and Brianna’s time at River Run.  These story lines are wrapped up at the end of the book.

Subject headings:

From PCPL:

Scottish Americans — South Carolina — Charleston — History — 18th century — Fiction.

Families — South Carolina — Charleston — Fiction.

Time travel — Fiction.

Charleston (S.C.) — History — Colonial period, ca. 1600-1775 — Fiction.

Audiobooks.

Similar works:

Recommended by Georgine Olsen in the Author Read-alike for Diana Gabaldon in NoveList:

Sara Donati- Into the Wilderness

Marsha Canham- Midnight Honor

Nancy Bond- Another Shore

Anya Seton- Green Darkness and Smouldering Fires

Catherine Marshall- Christy

Personal notes: A beautiful ending to another epic adventure.  Although I did have to suspend my disbelief a few times in regards towards Roger and Brianna’s abilities to navigate in the unknown worlds they found themselves in.  Not to the time travel or travelers.  I also kept thinking at various points throughout this story – Poor Roger!

I’m really glad I checked out The Outlandish Companion and read the part about Roger’s genealogy before I finished the last disc.  I’m also glad to learn that I’m not the only one who has difficulty remembering all the details of these books.  These are convoluted stories (and I did wonder who Archie Hayes was when he came up towards the end).

I hope there is more about Ian in future books.

The subject heading should read North Carolina, since most of the story takes place there.  It’s only the opening scene which takes place in Charleston.

Other (diversity, themes, websites): Diversity – Scottish, Native Americans –Tuscarora & Mohawk, African slaves, European immigrants, female physician, homosexual nobleman, pirates

Diana Gabaldon’s Website

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