In 1757, England is poised to control three continents when Lord John Grey, a loyal soldier returned from Scotland, is commissioned by the crown to investigate.

His pursuit is complicated by a family matter: He discovers that his cousin's betrothed, Trevelyan, has syphilis. And as he investigates the killing, Lord John finds strange ties between Trevelyan and the murder. His search leads him from taverns to brothels and even to the high seas and officials of a powerful company.

Diana Gabaldon showcases her impeccable knowledge of the period and unique storytelling skills. The book opens in a men's room. Not your usual first page, but with it Gabaldon sets the stage for a fascinating mystery.

As always, the way she presents history is as engrossing as the plot. She breathes life into it by capturing everything about an era, including the vernacular. A reader always feels connected to her novels—which is one reason why Gabaldon is considered one of the finest writers in the historical fiction genre. (Oct., 320 pp., $23.95)

Reviewed by: 
Kathe Robin