Lord John and the Hellfire Club (#0.5 Lord John Grey), by Diana Gabaldon

Three stars (of five)

Those readers familiar with Gabaldon’s Outlander series will remember mention of Lord John Grey twice in VOYAGER. In the early portion of the novel, Grey is assigned to time overseeing things at Ardsmuir prison, where he and Jamie Fraser crossed paths. This novella is set in and around the time of Grey’s period there, with loose references to Fraser and Grey’s attraction to him. Grey receives word from an acquaintance that he wishes to pass along some information. However, said acquaintance is murdered before he can deliver his news. Grey takes on an 18th century Sherlock Holmes role to solve the case, which leads him to the seedy underbelly of a gentlemen’s club with odd rituals. Quick witted and full of both detail and historical narration, Gabaldon does a great job for those wanting context for Grey’s life and a quick read. Bring on the rest of the Grey series to better hone that context.

The Lord Grey series, which begins with this novella, is a wonderful collection best read after completing the first three Outlander novels (should the reader wish to undertake this herculean task). Grey makes an appearanc twice in VOYAGER, at very different times in the novel and time itself. A little backstory on Grey can only help the avid reader gain a better perspective and possess a more detailed knowledge of the man and his role in the larger OUTLANDER storyline. When he returns to Gabaldon’s Outlander collection, any reader who has tackled the entire Grey series will be better prepared and have a stronger context for the nuances sprinkled throughout.

Kudos, Madam Gabaldon for this teaser novella. I look forward to learning a great deal more about Grey’s life, his past, and his proclivities, as well as the true nature of his connection with Jamie Fraser.