Lord John and the Brotherhood of the Blade Book Review

book review historical fiction
Lord John and the Brotherhood of the Blade Book Review


Lord John and the Brotherhood of the Blade is the third book (second novel) in the Lord John series by Diana Gabaldon. The first book, Lord John and the Hand of the Devils, included three short stories about Lord John doing investigative work. The second book in the series, Lord John and the Private Matter, is the first novel about Lord John involved in investigating a murder and figuring out the truth about his cousin's fiance's private life. 


This second novel seems to be more interesting than the previous books in the Lord John series. First, the book describes John's father being a Jacobite traitor during Culloden. That seems more interesting that investigating a murder. In addition, it will delve into more of John Grey's personal life. Finally, I'm guessing it will relate to the Outlander books, which I loved reading. 


The beginning of Lord John and the Brotherhood of the Blade mentioned the situation with Jamie Fraser when his child was born. All the details from Jamie's point of view are in Dragonfly in Amber.  I was hoping the author would go into more information about what happened from John's point of view. We do get that glimpse in a few parts of the book. 


Also, it mentions at the beginning of the book that Olivia, John's cousin, is pregnant. Her husband is Malcolm Stubbs. Therefore, I surmised that this book takes place after Lord John and the Private Matter, which I just finished reading. I think this might be as interesting as the Outlander books


Synopsis of Lord John and the Brotherhood of the Blade


At the beginning of Lord John and the Brotherhood of the Blade, John Grey's family prepares for his mother's wedding to General George Stanley. Everyone in the family is happy about it. However, someone does not want them to get married. It may have to do with the mystery surrounding the death of John Grey's father, Gerard Grey, which occurred fifteen years ago. 


Gerard Grey would write in his journal every evening before retiring to bed. He kept every journal in his library. After he died, John would often grab one of the journals and read it to feel closer to his father. However, his last journal was missing after Gerard's death. John's mother always said he burned it.


One day John saw a page from his father's missing journal on Hal's desk. John recognized his father's handwriting. Both John and Hal were surprised to find it there. It was dated two weeks before the death of their father.


"It is, is it not?"  Grey asked, feeling queer.  "Father's writing?"  It was a rhetorical question; he had recognized both the hand and the style of writing at once.  Hal hadn't heard in any case; the blood had drained from his face, and he was reading the journal page - for that is what it clearly was - as though it were notice of his own execution.


Hal read the paper and then threw it in the fire. John and Hal discuss it and wonder if it has anything to do with their mother's wedding. They feared it may have been a threat from whoever stole the journal. It may also have something to do with a rumor that their father was a Jacobite traitor. John and Hal begin their mission to find out who put the journal page on Hal's desk and what else their father wrote in the journal that may reveal other Jacobite traitors. 


John and Percy


John finds a lover, which happens to be his new stepbrother. His name is Percival Wainwright. When they first met, they had an attraction to each other from the beginning. Each recognized the other from their one brief introduction at the Lavender House.


Wainwright seemed to be discreetly exercising his own curiosity with regard to Grey, flicking brief glances his way - and little wonder.  Grey smiled at him, now rather enjoying the surprise of this new "brother." (p. 45)


They confided in each other about everything.  John tells Percy the events that happened to him the day his father died.  John arrived at the scene and saw evidence that someone had murdered his father.  He then saw his mother enter the room and place the gun in his father's hand, making it seem like he had killed himself.  His mother did not see him.  John had never told anyone else this story.  Percy was the first person John had confided in this secret.


 We also hear the story of how John met Jamie Fraser for the first time, as was told in the Outlander books, but from John's point of view. John reveals many things to Percy.


John and Percy's relationship grows throughout Lord John and the Brotherhood of the Blade. Percy joins John's regiment and is in charge of teaching Percy the skills he needs to learn to be a soldier. John volunteers many times to teach Percy so that he can be near him. But, of course, they have to keep their relationship secret. While in a relationship with Percy, John cannot stop thinking about Jamie. John will always have a love for Jamie Fraser. 


My Analysis of Lord John and the Brotherhood of the Blade


I enjoyed reading Lord John and the Brotherhood of the Blade. It is not as interesting as the Outlander books. I always compare the Lord John Grey books to the Outlander series because that is the reason I'm reading the books. I wanted to get an extension of Outlander from John's perspective. Each successive Lord John Grey book does get better. So I will keep reading to finish off the Lord John Grey series


I liked how a few scenes in the book reference Jamie Fraser. John visited Jamie twice in the book at Helwater, where Jamie lived. The books in the Lord John series and the Outlander series interlock. I enjoyed the story about John Grey's father because it showed another layer of John and a little about how he grew up. I like the drama aspect of the stories more than the investigations. 


I would recommend reading Lord John and the Brotherhood of the Blade for the Outlander fans since it relates to events that happen in the Outlander books with Jamie and John. However, don't expect this book to equal the excitement of possibilities and adventure as is in the Outlander books.