The Scottish Prisoner Book Review

book review historical fiction
The Scottish Prisoner Book Review

The Scottish Prisoner is the fourth and last book in the Lord John series by Diana Gabaldon.  I read the first three books.  The reviews for each are Lord John and the Hand of the DevilsLord John and the Private Matter, and Lord John and the Brotherhood of the Blade.  The first book is the shortest and comprises several novellas.  The second and third books are novels.  Each successive novel gets longer with more time to develop the characters and story.  Finally, I'm on the last book of the series, which has as many pages as an average Outlander book. 

The first scene in the book is Jamie Frasier in the stables at Helwater.  He was stationed at Helwater as a groom on parole after he was released from Ardsmuir Prison by Lord John Grey.  Two years ago, Jamie's son was born.  With this being the first scene, I'm excited and anticipating that this book will be more interesting than the previous books since it will reveal more of Jamie's life.  In addition, this story will develop the relationship between Jamie and John more personally.


I'm anticipating that this book will be more like the Outlander books in that the characters would have more adventure and personality.  In the previous books in the Lord John series, I thought John Grey was dull.  I like John, but most of his experiences are about investigations in the army.  I would rather see life adventures.  I can't wait to hear more about Jamie's life.


Synopsis of The Scottish Prisoner

Two people approach Jamie Fraser separately to investigate situations regarding the Jacobites.  Jamie does not want to be involved, but he has no choice.  The first person to come to him is his old friend, Tobias Quinn, wanting him to help begin another Jacobite Rising in Ireland.  The second proposition is from John Grey's brother, Hal, who wants him to investigate Gerald Siverly and bring him to court to prosecute him for corruption.  Jamie wants to do neither of these assignments.  He'd rather stay at Helwater and be with his son, William.

Quinn's proposition

Tobias Quinn, an Irishman, had come to see Jamie Fraser at Helwater. Quinn claims that the Jacobite Cause is still alive in Ireland and needs Fraser's help.  His scheme was for Fraser to go to Ireland and help restore a Catholic monarch to the throne of Ireland.  Quinn asks Fraser to raise and lead an army to accomplish this goal.

It wasn't that he disliked the man; quite the opposite.  But to see this bit of the past rise up before him like a ghost from blood-soaked ground roused feelings he'd gone to great trouble to bury - and memories were stirring that he didn't want back.  Beyond that . . . instinct had given over muttering in his ear and was talking plain and clear.  Quinn had been one of Charles Stuart's intimates, but never a soldier.  He'd fled to France after Culloden, or so Jamie had heard.  What the devil was he doing here now?"  (p. 30)

Jamie said no, but Quinn kept following Jamie around.  First at Helwater, then in London, and finally in Ireland.  Quinn went so far as to befriend John Grey to get close to Jamie to convince him to help with the Jacobite Rising.

Hal and John's Proposition for The Scottish Prisoner

Charles Carruthers had written a comprehensive document with all the incriminating evidence he had to convict Major Gerald Siverly of corruption.  Unfortunately, Carruthers died before he could bring the court-martial; however, he entrusted the document to John Grey, knowing he would do the right thing.

Hal and John are planning how to execute this mission.  One piece of the document had a page with strange writing.  It looked gibberish to them.  Hal inquired of his wife, Minnie, who used to be a spy for her father.  She said the script was Erse, a Scottish language Highlanders speak.

This new information brings in Jamie Fraser.  Hal wanted to have Jamie interpret the Erse writing and help John apprehend Siverly in Ireland.

He'd recognized it as a coded Jacobite document at once, he'd seen any number of such things during his spying days in Paris.  But having no idea who had written it or what the code said, he had chosen not to mention that aspect; of there were hidden Jacobites operating in Ireland - and Tobias Quinn had told him there were - it was not his business to expose them to the interest of the English. (p. 158)

Hal sent men to go to Helwater and transport Jamie to London.  However, Jamie had no idea what was happening when a few men came to Helwater and forced Jamie to go with them.  When Jamie finally got to London, Hal told him that he had ordered him to go to Ireland with John Grey to investigate Gerald Siverly.

During the investigation in Ireland, John and Jamie work together like equals.  It's not like every other time they were together when John was the officer over Jamie in prison or as a parole officer when Jamie was at Helwater.  Their relationship is different now.  They work together and respect each other.

My Analysis of The Scottish Prisoner

In the book's first part, Jamie and John are in different countries, going on with their separate lives.  So each of their stories is told from their point of view.  However, when Jamie and John are on a quest together, the story is told more from John's point of view, which seems appropriate since The Scottish Prisoner is part of the Lord John Series.  Nevertheless, we still hear what Jamie is thinking.

This book finishes the Lord John Series.  Next, I will read Drums of Autumn, the fourth book in the Outlander Series.  I'm happy to be finally done with the Lord John Series.  Outlander is much more entertaining.  In the Lord John series, all the books are about John investigating a case regarding the army.  In contrast, the Outlander books are about Jamie and Claire's romance, adventures, and life. 

I read the Lord John books and learned more about John.  I'm glad I read them for more clarity and curiosity.  However, I do not believe they are necessary to understand the Outlander books.  However, I recommend reading the Lord John series for fans of Outlander.