Lord John and the Plague of Zombies (Lord John Grey #3.5), by Diana Gabaldon

Four stars (of five)

In Gabaldon’s final piece (to date) of Lord John-centred writing, she succeeds in weaving another great tale with her ever-resourceful Lord John Grey at the helm. In Jamaica on official business, Lord John is soon drawn into a phenomena new to him; the emergence of zombies. Waking one night by a visitor whose human form is questionable, Grey wonders if there is more to this myth than strict lore. When the Governor is found murdered, the scene leads many to believe a pack of zombies may be behind the crime. However, Grey is not so sure and mounts clues to turn the investigation in another direction. With many wishing him gone (from office as well as from the earth), the Governor’s demise leaves many suspects for Grey to ponder. That said, the power of zombies appears stronger than even and Grey seeks to learn more about them if for no other reason than to quench his curiosity. Another great novella by Gabaldon to keep the reader on the edge of their seat and with an eye on packs of unknowns lurking the streets at night.

Gabaldon’s OUTLANDER series is one of my great guilty pleasures. Her plethora of characters leaves a great opening for many interesting branch-off stories or novellas. That said, her character Lord John Grey, whose role in the Outlander series is minor in the first three novels, is one perfectly suited for a series of novels. An 18th century Sherlock Holmes on one hand and a tyrannical man whose lust for Jamie Fraser fuels a powerful hatred in the main novel series cannot be discounted. Gabaldon has done a masterful job of painting a calmer and more likeable side to Grey in this series, as well as jumping on the ‘zombie’ bandwagon made overly popular by THE WALKING DEAD. A great novella for fans of the series or newbies alike, it makes for a highly entertaining read for the curious reader.

And so another segment of the OUTLANDER series is complete. Lord John has played the role of a bridging character, his adventures and interactions with Jamie Fraser held between the two periods of Claire’s appearance through the Standing Stones. While given a brief glimpse of LJG in VOYAGER, as both Governor of Ardsmuir and Governor of Jamaica, these novels and novellas serve to offer more insight and surely pave the way for new and exciting adventures to come. I had read the entire LJG series before, piecemeal, but it is only now that I read them all sequentially that the thread makes a lot more sense. Well-written and highly entertaining, Gabaldon has a great handle on her characters and the stories they weave.

Kudos, Madam Gabaldon for this off-shoot series and all that you write. I am obsessed and will forge ahead, back with the Outlander gang to see what’s to pass in the American Colonies.