Review of “The Fiery Cross” by Diana Gabaldon

Note: The Fiery Cross is the fifth novel in the “Outlander Series.”  There will necessarily be spoilers for the first four books in the series.

This series tells the ongoing saga of English nurse Claire who travels back in time and takes up with hot Highland hunk Jamie Fraser.


The Fiery Cross begins with the wedding of Jamie and Claire’s daughter Brianna (“Bree”) to Roger MacKenzie, a descendant of Jamie’s uncle, Dougal MacKenzie, and the time traveler Geillis. At this point in the saga, Bree is 23, Roger 30, Jamie 49, and Claire 54. They are all still rutting like rabbits, and in a remarkably similar way. But there’s more than sex going on in the early 1770s in North Carolina. For one thing, a number of families now reside on Jamie’s land grant, and there are many babies. So in this book a lot of time is spent on diapers, spit-up, and other daily drudges associated with the care and feeding of kids.

More importantly, the Governor has called up a Militia to help put down some anti-taxation protestors calling themselves “Regulators.” Jamie, as part of the deal to get his land, had agreed to organize and lead a regiment whenever called upon to do so. He summons his men with a “fiery cross” as was done in the Highlands of Scotland, but, seeking to avoid bloodshed, he sends Roger to try to get the Regulators to back down. Roger commits an error in judgment and may lose his life over it. And two characters return to the story, one bad, and one good, with dramatic repercussions in each case.

Discussion: This book employs more standard romance tropes than usual, but most aren’t too eye-rolling, except perhaps for this passage, in which Bree is asking her mom how she can know what her life is meant for:

“‘What about Da?’

‘What about him?’

‘Does he – is he one who knows what he is, do you think?’

Claire’s hands stilled, the clanking pestle falling silent.

‘Oh yes,’ she said. ‘He knows.’

‘A laird? Is that what you’d call it?’

Her mother hesitated, thinking.

‘No,’ she said at last. She took up the pestle and began to grind again. The fragrance of dried marjoram filled the room like incense. ‘He’s a man,’ she said, ‘and that’s no small thing to be.’”

Evaluation: If you’re following the series, and have a lot of time to read, it’s worth continuing on, to see what happens to this family, the members of which you come to know quite intimately (double entendre intentional).

Rating: 3.5/5

Published by Delacorte Press, an imprint of The Random House Publishing Group, a division of Random House, Inc., 2001

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8 Responses to Review of “The Fiery Cross” by Diana Gabaldon

  1. Nish says:

    That para you put there…so ick :D.

  2. BermudaOnion says:

    I’m pretty sure this isn’t for me.

  3. trish422 says:

    Most of the time I am 100% sure this isn’t for me – I don’t have a lot of time to read, and I’m typically not a time travel fan – but I do read reviews every now and then making me question myself.

  4. Trish says:

    And have a lot of time to read. Ha! I didn’t read the bulk of this because I’m still only halfway through 3 but agree with your assessments–entertaining but still problematic. I just can’t seem to help turning the pages though!

  5. Of course you know I love this series. I have to say that the first three books are my favorites, the fourth was pretty good, but the fifth and after – those I have a hard time keeping track of in my memory. I know I should re-read everything in order to be ready for the next book to come out, but that’s not going to happen. I did find a copy of The Outlandish Companion at the library sale though and picked it up. I’m hoping it will refresh my memory about all of the minor characters and events.

  6. sandynawrot says:

    Rutting like rabbits? LOLOLOLOL! I know I’ve read (listened to) this one, but for the life of me, your descriptions just don’t ring a bell. The fourth and fifth installments just didn’t do much for me, but I knew I had to get through them. However, after this one I burned out. Someday MAYBE I’ll get back into it.

  7. Must confess I have absolutely no intention of reading this series–but I’m enjoying your take on it!

  8. stacybuckeye says:

    I’ve made it about a third of the way through this one, TWICE! I loved the first four but had trouble staying with this one. It could be because I read the first four back to back and had to wait years for this one. This is the one I have signed by Diana, so I’d like to make it through eventually 🙂

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