Shannon Stacey

An Echo in the Bone: spoilers in comments

I finished reading Gabaldon’s An Echo in the Bone over the weekend. Because so many people read blogs through readers now, and they don’t always recognize the “more” function, I’m not going to put spoilers below the fold. I’m going to post a few thoughts in the comments instead, because you have to deliberately read those.

If you’ve read it and been stifled by cries of No spoilers, feel free to spoil away!


There are SPOILERS for Echo in the comments of this post.

42 comments to “An Echo in the Bone: spoilers in comments”

  1. Shannon
      · September 28th, 2009 at 9:45 am · Link

    A few brief thoughts (because I don’t do long-winded coherency and I’m rushed at the moment):

    * I enjoyed this one more than I have any since…The Fiery Cross, maybe? (Honestly, the series lost much of its luster for me when they moved to America. But I persevere for Jamie.)

    * WAY too much of Lord John’s POV, and, while I’d like to be emotionally attached to William, we haven’t really been given the opportunity, which made his POV scenes a little eh, too. I really felt a little lost in Lord John’s world, probably because I don’t read that series.

    * There were several medical scenes I had to skip over. The finger amputation? ACK! How many freakin’ pages of THAT did we need?

    * I’m so glad William knows Jamie’s his dad now. I have a thing with secret baby books where I don’t really start enjoying them until the secrets out so…that was a long wait.

    * There was ZERO emotional impact re: Jamie’s death and Claire’s marriage to Lord John. So very ho-hum.

    * There have always been threads left dangling, but this book didn’t even end. It just…stopped.

    * I liked Ian and Rachel’s story, but I’m anxious about William’s seeming affection for Rachel. I do NOT want one of the boys killing the other.

    * The whole ship being attacked, on another ship, then it’s attacked, then in the militia, Ticonderoga, then in Scotland, printing press, Ian thing, she’s back, he’s not was like whiplash.

    * Roger and Brianna bored me. And the whole thing with yet another time traveler and Jem being taken and Roger going back to find him when he’s not really back there…please. Too much.

    * I, personally, liked the info-dump letters to the future.

    * I didn’t remember who 80% of the people were in this book. I usually try to reread the series before each knew book, but I didn’t have time. I just pretended I remembered who they were. Considering the next book will really be the end of this book, I’ll be rereading this one before the next comes out.

    Overall, I really liked it and considered it $16.50 well-spent.

  2. Charlene
      · September 28th, 2009 at 10:08 am · Link

    Huh. I kinda quit reading when the series moved to America. Maybe I should pick it up again. Although I’m not sure I want to read about Jaime dying and Claire marrying somebody else.

  3. Lea
      · September 28th, 2009 at 10:08 am · Link

    Hi Shannon:

    I was a huge “Outlander” fan until Fiery Cross and then I just felt it was time to lay Jamie and Claire to rest. I didn’t pick up the 5th book and your synopsis doesn’t inspire me to read this one either. Don’t get me wrong, I think Ms. Gabaldon is a huge talent, “Outlander”, “Dragonfly In Amber”, and “Voyager”, remain among my all time favorite keeper reads.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts, it was very helpful.


  4. Shannon
      · September 28th, 2009 at 10:10 am · Link

    Charli, he’s not really dead.

    And the first three are still my favorites. (Except for the bits set in the future…and in France. I hated the parts in France.)

    But I love Jamie & Claire so much I can’t quit them.

  5. nightsmusic
      · September 28th, 2009 at 10:39 am · Link

    Jamie’s dead, but he’s not dead? She thinks he’s dead yet again and once more, makes another stupid mistake and marries poor Lord John who everyone seems to use throughout this series?

    I’m really glad I didn’t spend the money. Outlander, of all the books, is still my favorite. When my eyes started crossing through Fiery Cross, I lost a lot of my interest and though I’ve bought the rest, I’ve taken weeks to read through them. I can tell now I probably would have taken months with this one.


  6. Shannon
      · September 28th, 2009 at 10:43 am · Link

    Well, there’s this momentary drama in which Claire’s going to be arrested as a spy, and by marrying Lord John, she can save not only herself, but keep Fergus, Marsali and the kids safe. Sadly, there’s no build up there, nor is that danger addressed again, but I guess it sounded like a good excuse at the time.

    But yes, he’s presumed dead once again, so she hops in the sack with Lord John.

    What bugs me is that we can have five pages detailing every disgusting aspect of amputating a finger, but Jamie’s dead/the British are coming/marry Lord John/oh look, Jamie’s back didn’t merit more attention.

  7. Shannon
      · September 28th, 2009 at 10:45 am · Link

    Strangely, I couldn’t put this book down. :lol: It was very compelling, and I DID enjoy it. Really.

  8. Angela James
      · September 28th, 2009 at 10:45 am · Link

    I’m with nightmusic. He’s dead but he’s not dead and Claire thinks he is? Is the series going on so long we’re recycling plot threads now?

  9. nightsmusic
      · September 28th, 2009 at 10:59 am · Link

    Wait. She jumps in the sack with Lord John? Literally? He didn’t even jump in the sack with his first wife! *sigh* You know, if you took out all the non-character stuff, these books would be half the size and probably a lot more interesting. As time’s gone on, I realized, I knew as much about the revolutionary war, I’ve participated in enough medical procedures…I just wanted the characters. But to start recycling old plots again? And now having characters act ‘out of character?’

    She did say on her site there is one final book. For some reason, I still don’t believe she’ll wrap things up. I don’t know that she can.

  10. nightsmusic
      · September 28th, 2009 at 11:02 am · Link

    Maybe I should clarify that so it doesn’t sound so denigrating. I think she’s an excellent writer, but I have a friend who writes like she does (thank God, she’s under a word limit with her publisher) where she just can’t bring herself to cut the ties with her characters and so writes stories for her friends that go on forever. But she gets it out of her system that way. I think… :wink:

  11. rebyj
      · September 28th, 2009 at 1:45 pm · Link

    Yay spoiler thread!!

    Thank, Shannon for hosting this! You liked the info dumping? BLARGH! I didn’t. I wanted more STORY like Outlander.

    I am a big fan of the series and I have even read most of the Lord John books and still thought he was in this one way too much and confusingly so at times.

    For a non-romance there sure are some hot sex scenes with Jamie and Claire. I love that people of their age can be written as sexually active.

    The amount of historical information got overwhelming especially when it was so complicated and convoluted to place Claire and Jamie in contact with the real historical figures. Most notably, Benedict Arnold, who after all the pages and pages of info , didn’t really play that large of a part in this book. I’m assuming he will in the next.

    Ya know, I don’t care how much I love a man, I’m not sleeping with a gay man who loves him too. The first sex scene between Lord John and Claire could POSSIBLY be attributed to their shared love of Jamie (although that’s a weak reason) the hand job was just way too much. Jamie’s reaction to learning of their sexual activity was underwhelming, “OH aye? Why?”

    I really loved Ian in this book and his interactions with William. I wonder how long that damn dog is going to live. It has to be what? 15 or so?

    I think the loss of the character driven stories of the earlier books was kind of highlighted when Claire visits Marsali to help Henri-Christian and she’s holding him and acknowledges that in missing Brianna’s kids that she forgot she had four grandchildren still there. It was like an afterthought on the author’s part. “OH I forgot to write this relationship in, must insert acknowledgement of grandchildren. ”

    Roger and Brianna, well their whole story was just weak up until the last bit of the book and when it picked up, BOY did it pick up! Their insertion back into the modern world was underwhelming. But awesome story line built up for the next book, although the standing stones/ time travel is starting to feel like revolving doors lol.

    I liked it, I’m sure I will like it more when I re-read it. I read the entire series a couple times a year. And I am really looking forward to the audio book especially if Davina Porter is narrating again. This series of books is incredible to listen to on audio.

    Now to relax and sit back and wait 4 years for what is being said is going to be the final book!

  12. Shannon
      · September 28th, 2009 at 1:59 pm · Link

    Well, I wouldn’t say I loved the info-dump letters, but when it takes 8000 words to cut off a finger, showing what was told in the letters might have made it a 4500 page book.


    I have some more thoughts on the Claire/Lord John thing, but I’m totally on the run right now.

    Oooh, maybe I should listen to the audio books instead of rereading!

  13. nightsmusic
      · September 28th, 2009 at 2:08 pm · Link

    Wait! Jamie’s dead, but he’s not dead and Claire gave Lord John a hand job (which was their big roll in the hay) and now Jamie knows?

    You know, these would be oh…350 word books if she stuck to the characters.

    Making me even more convinced that I’m making the right choice in picking up little bits and pieces of what happened in the book and not reading it.

    As for Davina Porter, she’s awesome!! I’m not big on audio books, only because I tend to zone out, but not when she’s reading. Maybe I should do that with this one instead of reading it. I can fast forward through the info dumps :tomato:

  14. rebyj
      · September 28th, 2009 at 2:42 pm · Link

    Claire and John have sex AND she gives him a hand job. :thumb:

  15. nightsmusic
      · September 28th, 2009 at 2:46 pm · Link

    rebyj, your thumbs up made me spew my coffee!! :lol: :lol:

  16. Charlene
      · September 29th, 2009 at 9:45 am · Link

    I’m convinced. I’m catching up on the Outlander backlog from the library, and then I’ll read Echo.

    Which I think Shan should summarize like these:

  17. Shannon
      · September 29th, 2009 at 11:51 am · Link

    OMG, those summaries were hilarious! :lmao:

    And I don’t care if every single person in the series dies in the next book, but she better not kill Rollo!

    As to the marriage of Claire and LJG:

    It could have been good. The potential for emotional awesomeness was huge (especially as we the readers knew Jamie wasn’t dead), but instead it was…a blip. This is a series known for in-depth detail and yet none of the possibilies were explored. And how did Fergus take it? Instead it was a slap and a tickle and then Jamie was back.

    “Oh, aye? Why?” and the book is over.


    I enjoyed some of the subplots but, after all these books/years/locations, the incestuous character tree got on my nerves a little bit.

    Add 2 Quakers. The brother’s in love with LJG’s niece, and the sister’s shaping up to be in a love triangle with Ian and William. All these people running around in different locations, doing different things, and this?

    It’s like Six Degrees of Jamie. Only it’s more like One and a Half Degrees.

    So here’s a question:

    In the next (and presumed final?) book, if Jamie dies first, do you think Claire will go back through the stones? (Assuming Roger, Brianna and the kids haven’t come back through the revolving door.)

  18. Cheryl McInnis
      · September 29th, 2009 at 11:52 am · Link

    Claire sleeps with Lord John?????
    I just can’t picture that in my mind. Jamie sleeping with Lord John…..
    I can picture that just fine :groucho:
    I was going to wait for the library to get a copy of Echo, but maybe I need to run out and get it today!

  19. rebyj
      · September 29th, 2009 at 4:30 pm · Link

    Remember the first book? Claire is at the boarding house brushing her hair out and Frank sees Jamie standing outside her window watching her. SO, however they die or in what order, the author has GOT to explain THAT!

    I HOPE Diana Gabaldon still has the passion for these stories that her readers still have. It was kind of waning in this book but surely she’ll pull all the stops out for the final book. It’s been an epic ride and I want to read the final page of the last book with a happy sigh and think “Perfect ending”! :heart:

    Cheryl, a love scene between Lord John and Jamie would be a shocker but yeah, more believable than Claire and Lord John’s love scene!

    Shannon it SO should have been fleshed out more. Delete a few historical passages and insert more drama and action with the marriage and the dangers surrounding Claire when she married Lord John. Really, her grief for Jamie was what? 2 paragraphs? grrrrr I wanted MORE!

  20. Shannon
      · October 1st, 2009 at 9:00 am · Link

    Remember the first book? Claire is at the boarding house brushing her hair out and Frank sees Jamie standing outside her window watching her. SO, however they die or in what order, the author has GOT to explain THAT!

    I’ve always assumed he dies first and that’s his ghost, waiting for her. I can’t think of another explanation that works, because HE can’t go through the revolving stones, right?

  21. nightsmusic
      · October 1st, 2009 at 9:29 am · Link

    Yes, that was Jamie’s ghost and no, despite everyone to the contrary, constantly after her with the “Oh, I just want to see how Jamie would react to the 20th century wouldn’t you all love to see him go through the stones yada this and yada that” Diana insists he can NOT travel through the stones or time, that he has ‘other gifts’ like the fact that he sees things. So yes, unless she wants to totally ignore that part and act like it never happened, he goes first.

    As to your question about would Claire go back should Jamie die first, he has insisted more than once that she wouldn’t be safe without his protection because everyone already thinks at times that she just might be that witch they accused her of and he’s afraid someone would kill her for that so he HAS to go back if he goes first. My thought though, if she gets too old, going back would kill her (she said after the last trip she didn’t know if she’d survive another). If she stays, some superstitious idiot might kill her, she’s in a no win situation at that point. So, how does she resolve that unless she decides to bring Bri and company back permanently which will only put them in danger again.

    Good gravy! This series could go on for another 20 books in that case!! :beam:

  22. nightsmusic
      · October 1st, 2009 at 9:31 am · Link

    Crap, bad fingers! Bad, BAD!! That should be SHE has to go back…having a doberman pressing the keys doesn’t help…

  23. Tina
      · October 4th, 2009 at 11:50 am · Link

    So Jamie goes first, then Claire returns to the 20th/21st C and Jamie’s ghost follows her there and she can see him and we’ll be able to enjoy his reaction to the future.
    Is that too far fetched?
    I think Claire and Jamie separating before a Transatlantic trip is more unbelievable, also Claire and Lord John.
    That was a little unexpected, but a good laugh.
    Also good was Jenny’s appearance after William stalks off.

  24. dru
      · October 5th, 2009 at 11:22 am · Link

    Well. I’m befuddled! Is it easier to read this blog than to read the book itself? From these comments, I think I’ll wait.

  25. Rose
      · March 16th, 2010 at 9:06 pm · Link

    I just finished “Echo”. Love the story..Hate the ending. I think Diana has jumped the shark!

  26. Jesi
      · March 23rd, 2010 at 6:29 am · Link

    Jamie as a ghost in the future happens before Claire ever goes back in time. He knew who she was because he had lived through everything already with her, but she hadn’t arrived at the point in time where she went into the past and met Jamie. So it has nothing to do really with the order of their death’s or Claire possibly going back forward in time after Jamie dies (If he does actually die before her.) If you watch a lot of Doctor Who like I do or have seen the movie Somewhere In Time you’ll get it…because it’s kinda hard to explain without being able to draw up a timeline or something.

  27. fran
      · March 31st, 2010 at 1:08 am · Link

    I couldn’t sleep turning pages on most of this one. Then I was disappointed because NOTHING was wrapped up at the end. I agree that the book “just stopped”. I really enjoyed rin tin tin so if Rollo dies, his year-old son better appear from somewhere. the feel good happy endings are what make the books so popular, so I guess there will plenty to look forward to. Then we await her next series.

  28. ikchula
      · April 7th, 2010 at 6:25 pm · Link

    Looking forward to An Echo in the Bone –I have not read but listened to all of the Gabaldon books–I think I enjoyed it better than reading as it’s like a radio show –unfotunately have to wait in line for the discs–so I am relistening to the series.–reading everyone’s notes makes me curious—

  29. loborders
      · June 4th, 2010 at 4:11 pm · Link

    I stumbled across this series this past winter and have read/listened to them from the beginning, one right after another. I am almost to the end of Echo. I enjoy listening to the audio myself. It actually keeps me from staying awake all night reading as quickly as my eyes will move and THEN trying to stay awake the next day at work.

    There does seem to be a bit of over-reacting throughout the whole series, also a whole lot of surviving through unbelievable injuries – even Rollo has been injured badly twice and must be getting old. If there is a pup after him, but it wont be the same for Ian. However, I remind myself – that’s why it is called fiction. It is still fun to retreat into the world of these books.

  30. Megan
      · June 25th, 2010 at 12:37 am · Link

    Thank u every one for ur comments. they have all been very helpful. I am currently on the fourth book in the Outlander series. And I personally think the first three books were amazing but that nothing can compare to the first book in the series. After reading comments on the fourth through seventh books I know that I will continued to read the books because no matter what, I stick by a series once I have read the first book and loved it. I know after reading comments about things that I will be upset and dissapointed about some of the things in the fourth through seventh books. I also know like in the third book I will be aggravated by to much detail and long stretchs of time. Before this series I didn’t believe in too many details but now I realize I was soo wrong. I’m going to be upset about Claire marrying someone else after Jamie’s “death” but I have faith that the author will make it all right in what is supposedly the last book. Although who knows because I thought she said this book was supposed to be the final book. Oh well. Am going to finish the rest of the books and can’t wait for the final book :!: :razz:

  31. Tina
      · June 29th, 2010 at 4:33 pm · Link

    An Eco in Bone is the worst of all the books… I loved the entire series until now. It seems Diana did not put enough thought into the book and rushed it to print for some reason… it doesn’t even read like it’s her… some alien wrote this. I have read every book 6 times but could barely get through this one… will not read it again. Horrible!

  32. nancy
      · July 26th, 2010 at 3:51 pm · Link

    Echo was a big disappointment! Too much detail over trivial things, characters and storylines from past books that I could not remember how to connect to the current context, then the end as everyone has said after 800 pages of building up to the heart of the story is told quickly without much detail despite the impact these major events have on the tale. It was almost as if Ms. Gabaldon got tired and wanted to close it down as quickly as she could. Just finished reading and I feel ripped off!
    Ms Gabaldon has proved she is a masterful storyteller in her first books wish she would remember that and make each book stand on it’s own.

  33. Jess
      · October 9th, 2010 at 2:03 pm · Link


  34. Jamie
      · October 28th, 2010 at 4:02 am · Link

    I too, am SO disappointed in this book! There are way too many useless characters, and I have to admit, I’ve skipped a ton of pages. **snor** borrrrring! I am praying book number 8 redeems the series!

  35. Cin
      · November 4th, 2010 at 7:44 pm · Link

    Audiooks narrated by Davina Porter are the way to go. The m richness of Gabaldons writing really comes through. Audio also keeps me from skipping through the pages. I am surrently listening to “An Echo tin the Bone” and it is amazing….

    Now my question: Does anyone thing Roger, Brianna et al are going to go back through the stones.

  36. Joan
      · May 19th, 2011 at 4:36 pm · Link

    Love this series! But, I could NOT finish An Echo In The Bone. I tried, and tried, but just couldn’t do it. The extensive battle scenes and historial travelogue seems to overshadow the plot and character action. I read as far as Jem being kipnapped and then just couldn’t bring myself to waste anymore precious time on the book. I’d love to know in detail what happens after that point in the book. I doubt I will ever finish #7. I hope number 8 is much better and more like the first three books and A Breath of Snow and Ashes. This one was so borning and lumbering in pace. What happened to the Gabaldon of old?

  37. Steph
      · May 25th, 2011 at 9:17 pm · Link

    I love these books…absolutely, positively love them. The ending left you with multiple cliffhangers which gets you thinking what’s gonna happen next? First off, I am very upset with claire. That isn’t what she’s about, or their (jamie and claire’s) relationship. Diana could of done a much better job on that. One option could have been Claire and LJG connecting on a very charged emotional level; on the brink of maybe going through with it, but stopped short for their love and respect of Jamie. It would of showed truer to their characters. At this point I feel like LJG and Claire are lost and not worthy of Jamie (who is great). Second I am so happy for Ian. I feel like this kid always gets stuck with the short end of the stick and finally somethings happening in his favor (and not because he has to or feels responsible, but really wants to). Third, so much craziness regarding this gold that it gets irritating to read after awhile. same thing always..someone finds out about the gold, kidnaps, threatens or kills another and everyone is affected somehow. recycled plot. Fourth, William finding out who his father is awesome, and Jenny being their to witness his “Fraser” outburst makes it even better (i wonder what role she’s gonna play in the next book?). Finally I do like the part where Jamie and the grandkids can somehow “sense” each other. that is something new that holds a lot of thought and mystery.

    I really do hope this upcoming book is the last. I also hope that Diana stays true to character, ties everything up perfectly, and leaves us with a feeling that the journey was beyond worth it.

  38. DW
      · August 30th, 2013 at 2:14 pm · Link

    These comments are awesome. Claire seeing the Scottish mystery man in the first book has driven me crazy for years. I’m glad I’m not the only one. I hope she doesn’t forget about that. I loved, loved, loved these books until Fiery Cross, then got bored and haven’t read any since. I just hate to say it, but I wasn’t terribly interested in 50 year old Jamie and Claire. It bothered me a lot that they lost 20 years together at the top of the 2nd book. I hate it when writers keep the story going for no good reason. Most series don’t need more than 4 books. Wrap it up!

  39. Geraldine
      · December 15th, 2013 at 8:54 pm · Link

    Poor Jamie. I don’t like the idea of Claire with Lord John, ew. Next he’ll be sleeping with Willie, any way to get closer to Jamie. Claire wouldn’t do it, she barely had anything to do with Frank the 2nd time around. I’m reading Echo in the Bone right now but really, I would like to see this story end. Claire and Jamie are getting old and need to light somewhere in peace.

  40. Laurie Rosin
      · November 11th, 2014 at 9:38 pm · Link

    So, I really don’t want to sound like a hater. My first thought about Outlander, though, was the story crashed after the wedding/honeymoon (yes, Jaime and Claire). That much upheaval and drama was more than enough for one book, so all the rest with Black Jack at Wentworth and then crossing over to France, ending in Paris with all of that “historical” ambience made me give up and snore. I agree with the commenter who said her writer friend couldn’t bear to end it with a character, and Ms. Gabaldon appears to suffer from the same malaise and lacks an editor who will slap an editorial forehead and yell, “Enough, already!!!” Any time the story picks itself up and plummets off a convenient cliff (Pirates? Not once, but reapeatedly? Sure! Royal Navy? Why not! A shrouded witch-hunt ending with a sad little romp with one of the Louis of France? Go for it! How about a hurricane-induced introduction to the New World? Please!). No. Puh-leeze! I think the author doesn’t know how to cut the cord of any story line. I’m nothing if not thorough, though, and as a “mostly” invalid who spends most of my time in bed, I took these novels on as a dare by a friend who loves them. There are things about the story that keep me going. But. I can’t close my eyes when character after character has long white hands, narrow feet with long toes, shakes him/herself like a dog (repeatedly), adds “no?” at the end of nearly every character’s utterance, whether it’s in pre-Culloden Scotland, 60’s Scotlad or the US, 18th c. France, any island, or the US colonies…EVERYBODY says it! It takes a really rare kind of storyteller to muster the skill to craft characters with individual voices, to limit gestures or characteristics to a few specific instances and, in historical plunges through time, an ear for linguistic nuance. I really think Gabaldon overreaches her skills, and her readers’ credulity, with the number of folks and historical locales she dumps in the mix, and her editor has obviously failed to help her husband her impulses, to invest her energy in fewer, but more finely-drawn characters in fewer, but more realistic bumps in the road, as opposed to hurling them over the cliff, dragging them back up on top and hurling them down again and again until, dizzy and punch-drunk, the book finally heaves to a close. As a person with a lot of time on my hands, maybe I can’t read books as a simply escapist undertaking. Personally, I had to force myself through number 6 and gave up entirely on number seven…too many irons in the fire, too many settings, too many unbelievable and unpalatable characters and situations (Lizzie and the twins?! Are you kidding me?!) for my poor brain. And, I think Jamie’s huge, beautiful shoulders couldn’t bear the weight of all of this schizophrenic miasma any more, either.

  41. Laura Kaye
      · February 1st, 2015 at 9:06 pm · Link

    I love the books and have re-read them many times but the more I go back through them, the more disappointed in Jaime I become. He puts everyone ahead of Claire. Also, he had a pattern of ending up with naked women and claiming he had no choice. (The brothel with Charles Stuart, Geneva, the Indian women). I’ve starte to question if he really loves Claire that much anymore. I

  42. Ashley
      · December 15th, 2015 at 1:48 am · Link

    I am very curious to know what kind of sex Claire and Jamie were messing around with in chapter 50 of An Echo in the Bone, while in the garden at the fort. Was it scandelous? New? Ak. Can someone help me out?

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