The Scottish Prisoner (Lord John Grey Series)

The Scottish Prisoner (Lord John Grey Series)

by Diana Gabaldon

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“This could be the worthy Lord John Grey’s breakout novel, as readers are treated to large dollops of Outlander hero Jamie Fraser.”—Booklist
A captivating return to the world Diana Gabaldon created in her Outlander and Lord John series, The Scottish Prisoner is a masterpiece of epic history, wicked deceit, and scores that can only be settled in blood.
London, 1760. For Jamie Fraser, paroled prisoner-of-war, life is coming apart at the seams. In the remote Lake District, where he’s close enough to the son he cannot claim as his own, Jamie’s quiet existence is interrupted first by dreams of his lost wife, then by the appearance of an erstwhile comrade still fighting to rally the Irish. But Jamie has sworn off politics, fighting, and war. Until Lord John Grey shows up with a summons that will take him away from everything he loves—again. Lord John is in possession of explosive documents that expose a damning case of corruption against a British officer. But they also hint at a more insidious danger. Soon Lord John and Jamie are unwilling companions on the road to Ireland, a country whose dark castles hold dreadful secrets, and whose bogs hide the bones of the dead.
Praise for The Scottish Prisoner
“Call it what you will—historical adventure, conspiracy thriller—it’s an engrossing story, masterfully paced, with exciting plot twists, swift reversals, and robust characterizations.”The Globe and Mail
“As always, Gabaldon goes above and beyond. . . . If you love historical fiction, this book could be a good entrance point into the Outlander world.”Bookreporter

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780345533494
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication date: 11/29/2011
Series: Lord John Grey Series , #4
Sold by: Random House
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 560
Sales rank: 25,986
File size: 4 MB

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.


Flagstaff, Arizona

Date of Birth:

January 11, 1952

Place of Birth:

Flagstaff, Arizona


B.S., Northern Arizona University, 1973; M.S., Scripps Oceanographic Institute; Ph.D., Northern Arizona University, 1979

Read an Excerpt

1 April Fool Helwater, the Lake District April 1, 1760 It was so cold out, he thought his cock might break off in his hand—­if he could find it. The thought passed through his sleep-­mazed mind like one of the small, icy drafts that darted through the loft, making him open his eyes.

He could find it now; had waked with his fist wrapped round it and desire shuddering and twitching over his skin like a cloud of midges. The dream was wrapped just as tightly round his mind, but he knew it would fray in seconds, shredded by the snores and farts of the other grooms. He needed her, needed to spill himself with the feel of her touch still on him.

Hanks stirred in his sleep, chuckled loudly, said something incoherent, and fell back into the void, murmuring, “Bugger, bugger, bugger . . .”

Jamie said something similar under his breath in the Gaelic and flung back his blanket. Damn the cold.

He made his way down the ladder into the half-­warm, horse-­smelling fug of the barn, nearly falling in his haste, ignoring a splinter in his bare foot. He hesitated in the dark, still urgent. The horses wouldn’t care, but if they noticed him, they’d make enough noise, perhaps, to wake the others.

Wind struck the barn and went booming round the roof. A strong chilly draft with a scent of snow stirred the somnolence, and two or three of the horses shifted, grunting and whickering. Overhead, a murmured “ ’ugger” drifted down, accompanied by the sound of someone turning over and pulling the blanket up round his ears, defying reality.

Claire was still with him, vivid in his mind, solid in his hands. He could imagine that he smelled her hair in the scent of fresh hay. The memory of her mouth, those sharp white teeth . . . He rubbed his nipple, hard and itching beneath his shirt, and swallowed.

His eyes were long accustomed to the dark; he found the ­vacant loose box at the end of the row and leaned against its boards, cock already in his fist, body and mind yearning for his lost wife.

He’d have made it last if he could, but he was fearful lest the dream go altogether, and he surged into the memory, groaning. His knees gave way in the aftermath and he slid slowly down the boards of the box into the loose piled hay, shirt rucked round his thighs and his heart pounding like a kettledrum.

Lord, that she might be safe was his last conscious thought. She and the child.


He plunged at once into a sleep so deep and luxurious that when a hand shook him by the shoulder, he didn’t spring to his feet but merely stirred sluggishly, momentarily befuddled by the prickle of hay on his bare legs. His instincts came back to life in sudden alarm and he flung himself over, getting his feet under him in the same motion that put his back against the wall of the loose box.

There was a gasp from the small form in the shadows before him, and he classified it as feminine just in time to restrain himself from reflexive violence.

“Who’s that?” he demanded. He spoke low, his voice hoarse with sleep, and the form swayed back a little farther, exhibiting dubiousness.

He was in no mood for foolishness and shot out a hand, grabbing her by the arm. She squealed like a pig and he let go as though she were red-­hot, cursing himself mentally as he heard the startled grunts and rustlings of his fellow grooms overhead.

“What the devil’s that?” Crusoe demanded, in a voice like a clogged pipe. Jamie heard him clear his throat and spit thickly into his half-­filled pot, then bellow down the ladder, “Who’s there?”

The shadowy form was making wild motions, beseeching him to be silent. The horses were half awake, snorting with mild confusion but not panicked; they were used to Crusoe shouting in the night. He did it whenever he had the money to buy drink, waking from nightmares in a cold sweat, shrieking at his demons.

Jamie rubbed a hand over his face, trying to think. If Crusoe and Hanks didn’t already know he was gone, they’d notice in the next few seconds.

“Rats in the feed,” he shouted up. “I killed one.” It was a feeble story; there were always rats in the feed, and no one would have stirred a finger to investigate their noises in the dead of night, let alone hunt them in the dark.

Hanks made a sound of disgust, rustling his bedclothes. “The Scotchman’s buggering the horses again,” he said conversationally to Crusoe, though clearly speaking loud enough to be heard below. “Ought to speak to his lordship about it.”

Crusoe grunted angrily. “Well, whatever the fuck you’re doin’, MacKenzie, be quiet about it!” he shouted, and flung himself over on his pallet in a flurry of bother.

Jamie’s heart was pounding again, with annoyed agitation. He reached for the young woman—­no auld crone squealed like that—­but slowly this time, and she made no demur when he took her by the arm. He led her down the stone-­flagged aisle between the stalls and outside, shoving the sliding door to behind them with a rumble.

It was cold enough out to make him gasp, an icy wind flattening his shirt to his body and stealing his breath. The moon was obscured by racing cloud, but enough glow came from the sky for him to make out the identity of his intruder.

“What the devil d’ye want?” he snapped. “And how did ye ken where I was?” It had dawned on him that she hadn’t just stumbled over him in the hay, for why would a lady’s maid be poking about the stables at night? She’d come looking for him.

Betty lifted her chin.

“There’s a man what wants to talk to you. He sent me to say. And I saw you come down from the loft.”

That last sentence floated in the air between them, charged like a Leyden jar. Touch it, and there’d be a spark that would stand his hair on end. Christ. Did she have any notion what it was he’d been doing?

He caught the hint of a smirk on her face before a cloud shadow obscured it, and his ears went suddenly hot with rising blood.

“What man?” he said. “Where?”

“An Irishman,” she said. “But a gentleman. He says to tell you the green branch will flower. And to meet him on the fells, where the old shepherd’s hut is.”

The shock of it nearly made him forget the cold, though the wind was ripping through the linen of his shirt and he was shivering so hard that he found it hard to speak without his voice shaking. And that wouldn’t do.

“I’ve nothing to do wi’ any Irishmen,” he snapped. “And if he comes back, ye may tell him so.” He put a hand on the door, turning to go in. “I’m going to my bed. Good night to ye.”

A light hand ran down his back and stopped just above his buttocks. He could feel the hair there bristle like a badger’s, and not from the cold.

“Your bed’ll be cold as death by now.” She’d stepped close; he could feel the slight warmth of her body behind him, the heat of her breath through his shirt. And she still had her hand on him. Lower now. “Mine’s a good deal warmer.”

Holy Lord. Arse clenched, he moved deliberately away from her and pushed the door open.

“Good night,” he said, without turning round, and stepped into the rustling, inquisitive dark of the stable. He saw her for an instant as he turned to shut the door, caught in the flickering moonlight, her eyes narrowed like an angry cat’s.


He made no effort to be quiet, climbing the ladder back to the loft. Hanks and Crusoe were pointedly silent, though he thought neither one was asleep. God knew what they’d say about tonight’s incident, but he wasn’t disposed to be worrit over that pair. He’d enough else to think on.

Betty, for one. For if anyone on Helwater estate knew his great secret, it was she. Betty had been Geneva Dunsany’s lady’s maid before becoming maid to her sister after Geneva’s death. How much of a confidante had she been, though?

He could still feel the pressure of her hand on his backside and squirmed his arse irritably into his pallet, the straw under his blanket poking him. Damn the woman. She’d given him an eye when he’d first come to Helwater from Ardsmuir prison three years before, a paroled Jacobite traitor, but a lady’s maid had little to do with a groom, and it was easy enough not to see her long-­eyed glances when she came to tell him that Lady Geneva wanted her horse. Not so easy to avoid Lady Geneva.

He grimaced in the dark at thought of Geneva. He wasn’t feeling charitable at the moment but crossed himself nonetheless and said a brief prayer for the repose of her soul, as he did whenever she came into his mind. He owed her that much, poor lass, no matter what she’d done to him.

But why the devil was Betty playing the loon now? Geneva had been dead more than two years, and Betty herself had come back to Helwater soon after her mistress’s death in childbirth. She’d not spoken a word to him in the last six months; why go to the risk of coming to the stable at night—­and, come to that, what had the silly wee bitch intended? Climbing the creaking ladder and sliding into his bed unannounced, with Hanks and Crusoe curled under their blankets six feet away, their great ears flapping? Sneaking him into the servants’ attic?

She couldn’t have meant to wait below for him; she hadn’t known he’d come down. For that matter . . . she said she’d seen him descend the ladder, but she hadn’t come to him then. Why not?

The logical answer presented itself, with a small jolt to the pit of his stomach. She hadn’t been looking for him at all.

He sat bolt upright before the train of his thought had entirely finished, his body grasping the point at once. She’d come to meet someone else, and that meeting had been interrupted by his own inopportune appearance.

An intruder couldn’t have hidden in an occupied stall or anywhere else . . . save the vacant loose box near the door.

And that’s why she woke me, he thought, hands clenching on the blanket. She had to draw me away, so the fellow could get out. Christ, he was in there with me! His skin prickled with mingled embarrassment and fury. The notion that . . . could it be possible . . . surely he would have sensed someone . . . ?

But he wouldn’t. He’d been so desperate to find solitude in which to reach Claire for that one necessary moment that he wouldn’t have noticed a bear lurking in the shadows, provided it hadn’t tried to interrupt him.

One of the cocks in the hen coop crowed, two more on its heels. A sleepy “Oh, fuuuck” came from a nearby pallet. A loud rustle of someone sitting up, and the hawking and snorting started. Hanks smoked heavily—­when he could afford it—­and took a good quarter hour to start breathing in the morning.

Jamie breathed deep himself, thinking. Then flung back his blanket and rose to meet what was likely to be an interesting day.

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The Scottish Prisoner 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 199 reviews.
Craftydolls More than 1 year ago
If you are a fan of the Outlander series, this is a must read. Set during the period that Jamie Fraser and his wife are seperated by time, it is a closer look at his relationship with Lord John. They become embroiled in more schemes and intrigue, which leads to some interesting action scenes as well, much to the reader's entertainment. If you have not read any of the books in either series, it is still an interesting, stand alone story. But you will be hooked, once you read it!
Lauriedustin More than 1 year ago
I Liked this book alot.. though i did not find it as exciting as the OUTLANDER series.. I think i am just in love with the whole Jamie and Claire thing.. I love it when both characters are in the book.. but this book helped fill in a time gap in the series and for that reason alone I love it.. it is very much worth reading..
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed this novel much more than previous Lord John books. It connects into the Outlander series and fills in gaps. Don't miss this one.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Gabaldon continues to weave a fabulous tale that captivates the reader totally!!
Bostoncharm More than 1 year ago
Wonderful book.. well written, fantastic characters and wonderful wit. This book can stand alone.. but.. if you have not read the Outlander series and the Lord John series.. you may not appreciate the book as much. So.. start from book one.. OUTLANDER.. and enjoy the RIDE!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Claire was gone 20 years and we knew she went to school, raised her daughter and mourned Jamie. Now we find out what our Jamie was doing. Loved Scottish Prisoner.
jackielea More than 1 year ago
I have read just about every book she has written and have not yet found one I did not like! You will not be dissapointed in this novel
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A great read from a master storyteller! Looking forward to the new Outlander book. Hopefully it will be coming soon!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A must read for all Gabaldon fans
uruguayan-reader More than 1 year ago
I simply loved to read this story intertwined in the Outlander series! It is a real gift from the author to give us readers this new glimpse of Jamie's life in Helwater not told in Voyager, because we all know that Jamie and Claire's story is nearing its end as they are getting older.... So for me any new story from precedent years is a lovely treat! I am just a very recent Outlander fan, and I am so happy to have discovered these books! While I keep waiting for Ms Gabaldon next book I am enjoying myself slowly re-reading them all. This is something I haven't done in quite a long time indeed and I am quite thrilled by the emotions I feel reading these books.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
What a great read.I am never dissappointed when I. Read Diana Gabaldon books. I. can't wait for the next outlander book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Diana never lets me down
Janak More than 1 year ago
This was a wonderful addition to Diana's Outlander series. I love her writing style and this book did not disappoint. I am eagerly awaiting "My Hearts Own Blood" in 2012.
vickytren More than 1 year ago
I just love all of Diana Gabaldon's books. As a fan I would recommend them to everyone. can't wait to read the next!!!!!
jenmurph21 More than 1 year ago
I am a big big fan of the Outlander series, and I think that is why I didn't enjoy this book as much as I probably should have. The storyline and writing in this book are really good, but I kept feeling that something was missing while reading. In the Outlander series, the books center around Jamie and Claire, and I think that is what I was missing in "The Scottish Prisoner." I found it easy to put this book down and I wasn't in a rush to finish through it. I wasn't able to really get into this book, and the only parts I really cared about were the small references to Claire, and the time Jamie got to spend with Willie. I love Jamie Fraser, but he just isn't the same without Claire with him, and for me it was very evident in this book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved it!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I truly miss these characters. These books are amazing. So full of history love and humor.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This piece flows well, fits in with the rest of the plot lines and characters, and keeps you mentally prepared for when the next book in the Outlander series comes out. Diana doesn't disappoint! Fans will enjoy this immensly.
Shegeko More than 1 year ago
Read all the outlander series. They're fantastic!
Anonymous 10 months ago
Bbubbles on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Anything written by Diana Gabaldon is golden to me. The Outlander Series is by far my favorite series. Having something akin to the books in that series (including several of the main characters) to read while the next book in the series is being written is like a pacifier to a hungry baby while the bottle is being warmed in the microwave. I love the characters in this book, the story itself is captivating and at times down right hilarious, and I could hardly put it down. The ONLY reason I didn't give it 5 stars is because I can't rate it 4.99. (Outlander and Echo in the Bone, also by Gabaldon, are the benchmark for a 5 star rating.)
mickeycat on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A great Jamie fix while we wait for the next book. Also containes some scences from the upcoming book so we know a little more. Thank you Diana!
KarenCharbonneau on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Having read all of Diana Gabaldon's novels, including the Lord John series, in one fell swoop during the past year, I made certain to be the first at my public library to check out The Scottish Prisoner. It was an enjoyable immersion, to be once again alongside two of the three best-developed characters from her Outlander series, Jamie Fraser and Lord John Grey. Gabaldon's historic settings draw me in. Her characters reside in those settings realistically and she maneuvers the reader through the main plot and subplots with aplomb. This novel is not a mystery, though, or barely so, but an adventure involving Jamie Fraser and Lord John as they seek to stop an embryonic Irish Jacobite plot. Lord John is a fascinating character with all the attributes of a humorous and gentle man, unless provoked into fighting a duel or when in battle (he is, after all, an army officer). You would want him to be your friend. Jamie Fraser is . . . well . . . Jamie Fraser, one-half of a great love story, now in nadir along with his soul, while he resides in England as a paroled Scottish prisoner. Gabaldon's fans know from her Outlander series that matters will right themselves soon, so we tolerate his anguish, depression and irritation. Feel sympathy . . . want to pat him on the shoulder and whisper, "Just wait." Reading of the ups and downs of Jamie's and Lord John's friendship in this book -- one of the missing pieces -- is now better understood. Except for their different sexual proclivities,they bear the same code of honor, and so they do understand and mostly trust each other. It is Gabaldon's gift for dialogue - witty, thoughtful, sharp as a rapier's point -- that makes her such a delightful author to read. May she write for many years to come.Author of The Wolf's Sun A Devil Singing Small
KC9333 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Enjoyable novel of Political Intrigue set in England and Ireland. I love Gabaldons writing and relished the glimpse into Jaime's past but those expecting her Outlander series will be disappointed..
tvordj on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Again another wonderful book by my favourite Author. The only thing that would give this a higher rating is if it had been a Jamie and Claire book but it's been an excellent book altogether anyway. This is one of the Lord John spinoffs. I've read some of them and I do like them but this was better than the others because Jamie Fraser is a large part of it. This takes place around the middle of the same time period her third book, Voyager, covers. Jamie has been paroled to Helwater in the Lake District and working in the stables and his secret son, William has been born and is a small boy. It is just before the reign of George II ends, 1759/60 and another Jacobite Rising may be forming in Ireland. Lord John Grey has been asked by his brother to retrieve an army officer who has gone to Ireland. He must face court martial charges of treason and he is suspected of being involved in the potential uprising. Jamie is brought to London to help translate a poem written in the Irish (as opposed to Scottish) form of Gaelic, a poem found in the officer's papers. An old aquaintance of Jamie's also makes contact and wants Jamie to help the uprising. He is coerced into accompanying John to Ireland. Does Jamie support John's quest or does he support the Jacobites? He already knows the conspiracy isn't going to work because of the knowledge he's gained from Claire who has gone back to the future. He may get the chance at freedom but will he be able to leave Helwater and his son? The book follows Jamie and John's adventures and we see how their relationship starts to head towards a friendship.