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Lord John and the Brotherhood of the Blade

Friday, April 24, 2015

Lord John and the Brotherhood of the Blade (2007) Diana Gabaldon

Lord-John-Brotherhood-BladeSet in London in 1758.

This is not my favorite Lord John story, although events that happen here are both the culmination of past mysteries, and the impetus for events in later stories.

“But your brother is not now Duke of Pardloe?”
Despite himself, Grey smiled, albeit wryly. “He is. But he will not use the title, nor have it used. Hence the occasional awkwardness.”

Lord John’s mother is to be remarried, and the step-son of his new step-father is someone Lord John recognizes from his last visit to the Lavender House. So when Percy decides to purchase a commission on Hal’s regiment, Lord John isn’t at all disappointed about spending more time with his new step-brother.

But both Hal and their mother have received pages torn from their father’s final journal–the last he wrote before his putative suicide, and a journal that Hal was told had been burned (Lord John was too young to have been told of these matters, and had been sent off to his Scottish relatives almost immediately.

(W)hat was galling him was not that Hal had never mentioned the wager, but the fact that his brother had never told him openly that he believed their father had not been a traitor.

There are so many little touches to the story that make you feel like you know the characters. Take this description of Lord John’s brother’s office.

Hal’s office resembled nothing so much as the den of some large beast of untidy habit, and while both Hal and his elderly clerk, Mr. Beasley, could lay their hands on anything wanted within an instant, no one else could find so much as a pin in the general chaos.

That single paragraph tells me so much about Hal.

I’m sure I noted this the last time I read this book, but it again struck me.

He would not have been surprised in the slightest to hear that she had broken her neck in some hunting accident, or died in leaping a horse across some dangerous chasm. The sheer ordinariness of death in childbirth… that seemed somehow wrong, obscurely unworthy of her.

Even today we tend to gloss over just how dangerous childbirth can be, but back then it was exceedingly common–almost expected–for women to die giving birth. It’s something to think about.

Although this isn’t my favorite story, there is much within it that I like and enjoy, and can still heartily recommend it.

“Men are made in God’s image, or so I am told. Likewise that we differ from the animals in having reason. Reason, therefore, must plainly be a characteristic of the Almighty, quod erat demonstrandum. Is it reasonable, then, to create men whose very nature— clearly constructed and defined by yourself— is inimical to your own laws and must lead inevitably to destruction? Whatever would be the point of that? Does it not strike you as a most capricious notion— to say nothing of being wasteful?”
Plainly, the notion of a reasonable God— let alone a thrifty one— had not struck Percy before.

Rating: 8/10

Published by Delacorte Press

 

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