Twenty years have gone by since Jamie sent Claire back through the stones, so that she and their unborn child would be safe from the aftermath of Culloden. Claire spent those years in Boston with her first husband, Frank Randall, raising “their” daughter Brianna and going to medical school to become a surgeon. After Frank died, Claire returned to Scotland, told Brianna about Jamie, and —with the help of Roger Wakefield—went about the task of learning the fates of everyone she left behind. Knowing he meant to die on Culloden Moor, the last thing she expected to find out was that Jamie survived the battle… but he did. Then they discover an article written by in 1765, put out by an Edinburgh printer named A. Malcolm. Certain that Malcolm is Jamie, Claire must choose between staying in the 20th century with her daughter, or returning to the 18th century to be reunited with the man she loves.
Aaaaaand she chooses Jamie… with Brianna’s blessing. (The book was released 27 years ago, and the series is about to enter its 5th season… so most people probably know this already.)
Like the previous book, the storyline covers two different timelines. Claire’s 20th century storyline, and the 18th century storylines. Voyager has multiple narrators, adding Jamie and Lord John Grey as first-time narrators for certain portions of the story, as well as Roger, and (of course) Claire. Jamie and Lord John’s narrations cover the 20 years of Claire’s absence. It is through their points-of-view that readers discover details of Jamie’s life without Claire. Glimpses into Claire’s past are given during key moments of her narration, as well, usually when an event is taking place that calls the memory to mind for her. While readers certainly aren’t privy to every little thing that happened during those decades, they are made aware of the important events that happened to Jamie and Claire.
This is important, because it illustrates that Jamie and Claire aren’t the same people anymore, and why. I didn’t really pay attention to that the first few times I read it, but now—being almost the same age as Claire is in the book—I’ve actually experienced the way a person evolves over decades. 40-something me bears little resemblance to the twenty-something me I used to be. The core of what makes me who I am hasn’t changed, but my experiences in life have taught me things I wouldn’t have been able to grasp as a young adult. The same is true of Jamie and Claire—both are mature adults who have lived vastly different lives, partly because of when they lived, partly because of how they had to live without each other. When they reunited, they basically had to get to know one another for the first time all over again. I loved the way this was shown in their interactions with one another, how they both felt hesitant and nervous even in their initial conversation, because it would be awkward and uncomfortable having to figure out how to act around someone you haven’t seen in twenty years.
Several familiar characters make a reappearance in Voyager, and their reactions at seeing Claire were either heartwarming (Fergus’ delight at seeing Claire), distinctly upsetting (Jenny, how could you?!), or shocking (well, I was shocked about her the first time I read it, at least).
Many new characters are introduced as well. The most significant of these are Ian Murray (Jamie and Claire’s nephew) and Marsali Fraser (Laoghire’s daughter, and Fergus’ wife). Both go on to play larger roles as the series progresses—especially Ian—and it was enjoyable to revisit their first appearances in the story. The bulk of the story is driven by their search for Ian, in fact, who is abducted and taken on a ship.
One of my favorite things about Voyager is the way humor is liberally sprinkled into the dialogue. I often found myself laughing over a piece of dialogue I’d just read (how fun is that?) and it made for an even better reading experience.
“Has he come armed, then?” she asked anxiously. “Has he brought a pistol or a sword?”
Ian shook his head, his dark hair lifting wildly in the wind.
“Oh, no, Mam!” he said. “It’s worse. He’s brought a lawyer!”
A LOT of things happen in this novel, perhaps more so than any other book in the series. That’s largely due to the fact that (a) it covers the largest span of time, even though only key events are shown for their years of separation, and (b) the events that take place as they search for Ian. I would say that this novel is more adventure-oriented, with a less focus on historical aspects than the rest of the series. That’s not to say it isn’t there at all, but the action definitely takes the lead in this novel.
Highly recommended for readers who love reading genre-crossing big, lengthy novels in a continuing series full of history, romance, action, adventure, and of course… time travel.
Books in the series:
About the Book
From the author of the breathtaking bestsellers Outlander and Dragonfly in Amber, the extraordinary saga continues.
Their passionate encounter happened long ago by whatever measurement Claire Randall took. Two decades before, she had traveled back in time and into the arms of a gallant eighteenth-century Scot named Jamie Fraser. Then she returned to her own century to bear his child, believing him dead in the tragic battle of Culloden. Yet his memory has never lessened its hold on her… and her body still cries out for him in her dreams.
Then Claire discovers that Jamie survived. Torn between returning to him and staying with their daughter in her own era, Claire must choose her destiny. And as time and space come full circle, she must find the courage to face the passion and pain awaiting her…the deadly intrigues raging in a divided Scotland… and the daring voyage into the dark unknown that can reunite—or forever doom—her timeless love.
BONUS: This edition contains an excerpt from Diana Gabaldon’s Drums of Autumn.
About the Author
DIANA GABALDON is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the wildly popular Outlander novels—Outlander, Dragonfly in Amber, Voyager, Drums of Autumn, The Fiery Cross, A Breath of Snow and Ashes (for which she won a Quill Award and the Corine International Book Prize), An Echo in the Bone, and Written in My Own Heart’s Blood—as well as a collection of Outlander fiction, Seven Stones to Stand or Fall; the related Lord John Grey books Lord John and the Private Matter, Lord John and the Brotherhood of the Blade, Lord John and the Hand of Devils, and The Scottish Prisoner; two works of nonfiction, The Outlandish Companion, Volumes 1 and 2; the Outlander graphic novel, The Exile; and The Official Outlander Coloring Book. She lives in Scottsdale, Arizona, with her husband.