A Breath of Snow and Ashes (Outlander Series #6)

A Breath of Snow and Ashes (Outlander Series #6)

Audiobook(CD - Unabridged, 47 CDs, 56 hrs.)

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A worldwide sensation with more than 12 million copies in print, Diana Gabaldon's Outlander series has produced #1 best-selling novels and earned a fiercely devoted fan base. Another spellbinding entry in the series, A Breath of Snow and Ashes continues the saga of 18th-century Scotsman Jamie Fraser and his 20th-century, time-traveling wife, Claire. The year is 1772, and the rift between Britain and its American colonies has put a frightening word into the minds of all concerned: revolution. In the backwoods of North Carolina, violence has already reared its ugly head, as cabins have been burned to the ground. To preserve the colony for King George III, the governor pleads with Jamie to bring the people together and restore peace. But Jamie has the privilege, although some might call it a burden, of knowing that war cannot be avoided. Claire has told him that the colonies will unite and rebel, and the result will be independence, with all British loyalists either dead or exiled. And there is an additional problem. Claire has discovered a newspaper clipping from 1776 that tells of Jamie's death. With its epic scope, historical details, and sweeping romance, A Breath of Snow and Ashes is everything Gabaldon's fans love and more.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781419361531
Publisher: Recorded Books, LLC
Publication date: 09/27/2005
Series: Outlander
Edition description: Unabridged, 47 CDs, 56 hrs.
Pages: 48
Sales rank: 156,951
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 5.30(h) x 5.70(d)

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

A Breath of Snow and Ashes

By Diana Gabaldon

Random House

Diana Gabaldon
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0440335655

Chapter One

An Interrupted Conversation

The dog sensed them first. Dark as it was, Ian Murray felt rather than saw Rollo's head lift suddenly near his thigh, ears pricking. He put a hand on the dog's neck, and felt the hair there ridged with warning.

So attuned as they were to each other, he did not even think consciously, "Men," but put his other hand to his knife and lay still, breathing. Listening.

The forest was quiet. It was hours 'til dawn and the air was still as that in a church, with a mist like incense rising slowly up from the ground. He had lain down to rest on the fallen trunk of a giant tulip tree, preferring the tickle of wood-lice to seeping damp. He kept his hand on the dog, waiting.

Rollo was growling, a low, constant rumble that Ian could barely hear but felt easily, the vibration of it traveling up his arm, arousing all the nerves of his body. He hadn't been asleep-he rarely slept at night anymore-but had been quiet, looking up into the vault of the sky, engrossed in his usual argument with God. Quietness had vanished with Rollo's movement. He sat up slowly, swinging his legs over the side of the half-rotted log, heart beating fast now.

Rollo's warning hadn't changed, but the great head swiveled, following something unseen. It was a moonless night; Ian could see the faint silhouettes of trees and the moving shadows of the night, but nothing more.

Then he heard them. Sounds of passage. A good distance away, but coming nearer by the moment. He stood and stepped softly into the pool of black under a balsam fir. A click of the tongue, and Rollo left off his growling and followed, silent as the wolf who had been his father.

Ian's resting-place overlooked a game trail. The men who followed it were not hunting. White men. Now that was odd, and more than odd. He couldn't see them, but didn't need to; the noise they made was unmistakable. Indians traveling were not silent, and many of the Highlanders he lived among could move like ghosts in the wood-but he had no doubt whatever. Metal, that was it. He was hearing the jingle of harness, the clink of buttons and buckles-and gun barrels.

A lot of them. So close, he began to smell them. He leaned forward a little, eyes closed, the better to snuff up what clue he could.They carried pelts; now he picked up the dried-blood cold-fur smell that had probably waked Rollo-but not trappers, surely; too many. Trappers moved in ones and twos.Poor men, and dirty. Not trappers, and not hunters. Game was easy to come by at this season, but they smelled of hunger. And the sweat of bad drink.

Close by now, perhaps ten feet from the place where he stood. Rollo made a tiny snorting sound, and Ian closed his hand once more on the dog's ruff, but the men made too much noise to hear it. He counted the passing footsteps, the bumping of canteens and bullet boxes, foot-sore grunts and sighs of weariness.

Twenty-three men, he made it, and there was a mule-no, two mules with them; he could hear the creak of laden panniers and that querulous heavy breathing, the way a loaded mule did, always on the verge of complaint.

The men would never have detected them, but some freak of the air bore Rollo's scent to the mules. A deafening bray shattered the dark, and the forest erupted in front of him with a clishmaclaver of crashing and startled shouts. Ian was already running when pistol shots crashed behind him.

"A Dhia!" Something struck him in the head and he fell headlong. Was he killed?

No. Rollo was pushing a worried wet nose into his ear. His head buzzed like a hive and he saw bright flashes of light before his eyes.

"Run! Ruith!" he gasped, pushing at the dog. "Run out! Go!" The dog hesitated, whining deep in his throat. He couldn't see, but felt the big body lunge and turn, turn back, undecided.

"Ruith!" He got himself up onto hands and knees, urging, and the dog at last obeyed, running as he had been trained.

There was no time to run himself, even could he have gained his feet. He fell facedown, thrust hands and feet deep into the leaf mold, and wriggled madly, burrowing in.

A foot struck between his shoulder blades, but the breath it drove out of him was muffled in wet leaves. It didn't matter, they were making so much noise. Whoever had stepped on him didn't notice; it was a glancing blow as the man ran over him in panic, doubtless thinking him a rotted log.

The shooting ceased. The shouting didn't, but he made no sense of it. He knew he was lying flat on his face, cold damp on his cheeks and the tang of dead leaves in his nose-but felt as though very drunk, the world revolving slowly round him. His head didn't hurt much, past the first burst of pain, but he didn't seem able to lift it.

He had the dim thought that if he died here, no one would know. His mother would mind, he thought, not knowing what had become of him.

The noises grew fainter, more orderly. Someone was still bellowing, but it had the sound of command. They were leaving. It occurred to him dimly that he might call out. If they knew he was white, they might help him. And they might not.

He kept quiet. Either he was dying or he wasn't. If he was, no help was possible. If he wasn't, none was needed.

Well, I asked then, didn't I? he thought, resuming his conversation with God, calm as though he lay still on the trunk of the tulip tree, looking up into the depths of heaven above. A sign, I said. I didna quite expect Ye to be so prompt about it, though.

Dutch Cabin
March 1773

no one had known the cabin was there, until Kenny Lindsay had seen the flames, on his way up the creek.

"I wouldna ha' seen at all," he said, for perhaps the sixth time. "Save for the dark comin' on. Had it been daylight, I'd never ha' kent it, never." He wiped a trembling hand over his face, unable to take his eyes off the line of bodies that lay at the edge of the forest. "Was it savages, Mac Dubh? They're no scalped, but maybe-"

"No." Jamie laid the soot-smeared handkerchief gently back over the staring blue face of a small girl. "None of them is wounded. Surely ye saw as much when ye brought them out?"

Lindsay shook his head, eyes closed, and shivered convulsively. It was late afternoon, and a chilly spring day, but the men were all sweating.

"I didna look," he said simply.

My own hands were like ice; as numb and unfeeling as the rubbery flesh of the dead woman I was examining. They had been dead for more than a day; the rigor of death had passed off, leaving them limp and chilled, but the cold weather of the mountain spring had preserved them so far from the grosser indignities of putrefaction.

Still, I breathed shallowly; the air was bitter with the scent of burning. Wisps of steam rose now and then from the charred ruin of the tiny cabin. From the corner of my eye, I saw Roger kick at a nearby log, then bend and pick up something from the ground beneath.

Kenny had pounded on our door long before daylight, summoning us from warm beds. We had come in haste, even knowing that we were far too late to offer aid. Some of the tenants from the homesteads on Fraser's Ridge had come, too; Kenny's brother Evan stood with Fergus and Ronnie Sinclair in a small knot under the trees, talking together in low-voiced Gaelic.

"D'ye ken what did for them, Sassenach?" Jamie squatted beside me, face troubled. "The ones under the trees, that is." He nodded at the corpse in front of me. "I ken what killed this puir woman."

The woman's long skirt stirred in the wind, lifting to show long, slender feet shod in leather clogs. A pair of long hands to match lay still at her sides. She had been tall-though not so tall as Brianna, I thought, and looked automatically for my daughter's bright hair, bobbing among the branches on the far side of the clearing.

I had turned the woman's apron up to cover her head and upper body. Her hands were red, rough-knuckled with work, and with callused palms, but from the firmness of her thighs and the slenderness of her body, I thought she was no more than thirty-likely much younger. No one could say whether she had been pretty.

I shook my head at his remark.

"I don't think she died of the burning," I said. "See, her legs and feet aren't touched. She must have fallen into the hearth. Her hair caught fire, and it spread to the shoulders of her gown. She must have lain near enough to the wall or the chimney hood for the flames to touch; that caught, and then the whole bloody place went up."

Jamie nodded slowly, eyes on the dead woman.

"Aye, that makes sense. But what was it killed them, Sassenach? The others are singed a bit, though none are burned like this. But they must have been dead before the cabin caught alight, for none o' them ran out. Was it a deadly illness, perhaps?"

"I don't think so. Let me look at the others again."

I walked slowly down the row of still bodies with their cloth-covered faces, stooping over each one to peer again beneath the makeshift shrouds. There were any number of illnesses that could be quickly fatal in these days-with no antibiotics to hand, and no way of administering fluids save by mouth or rectum, a simple case of diarrhea could kill within twenty-four hours.

I saw such things often enough to recognize them easily; any doctor does, and I had been a doctor for more than twenty years. I saw things now and then in this century that I had never encountered in my own-particularly horrible parasitical diseases, brought with the slave trade from the tropics-but it was no parasite that had done for these poor souls, and no illness that I knew, to leave such traces on its victims.

All the bodies-the burned woman, a much older woman, and three children-had been found inside the walls of the flaming house. Kenny had pulled them out, just before the roof fell in, then ridden for help. All dead before the fire started; all dead virtually at the same time, then, for surely the fire had begun to smolder soon after the woman fell dead on her hearth?

From the Hardcover edition.

Excerpted from A Breath of Snow and Ashes by Diana Gabaldon Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Breath of Snow and Ashes (Outlander Series #6) 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1076 reviews.
Bwitchd3 More than 1 year ago
You would think that by the sixth book in the series, Gabaldon would become tiresome and the plot points would begin to repeat or continue to hit dead ends...but this is far from the truth. This book sucks you in and entrances you with answers to previous questions, conclusions to old problems and reemergence of old friends, as well as new questions, new problems, and new people, both good and bad who help and threaten the family that you have grown to love and root for. This series helped me learn what love truly is. It isn't some unattainable perfect union. It's hard work. It's dirty, fascinating, intoxicating, comfortable, volcanic, and most of all it's true. Jamie and Claire fight, argue, and really get under each others skin, but at the end of the day they are there for each other and they would die for each other. They make unhesitating sacrifices for their family and are put into some odd situations. Everyone should read this series, both men and women. Claire is someone that every woman can relate to on some level. Jamie a man that most men aspire to be, and could learn from to some extent. This book is funny, like all the others, and then will turn around and have you jumping out of your seat in the middle of the battles, then drop you like a hot potato into tears. This book has something for everyone.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Gabaldon paints her books with thick color. Her characters are so well-developed that I feel I know them all very well. A Breath of Snow and Ashes closes some questions left from earlier volumes, and rounds out some character detail. I don't want to give anything away here, but it was a thoroughly satisfying read. Happily, it also leaves an opening for further Jamie/Clair volumes. After reading this 6th book in the series, I started with Outlander and am re-reading them all. They're giving me as much pleasure the second time around.
shoover More than 1 year ago
A Breath of Snow and Ashes continues the adventurous story of Jamie and Claire Fraser and their family and friends. A Breath of Snow and Ashes takes us on a roller coaster ride of emotion this time. Have a tissue box ready because you'll need it at the end. For the first time Diana has left her readers an actual cliff hanger. Of course this just makes you want more. As always I feel as if I have transported through time and am right their with everyone. A part of the action, feeling their sorrows, joys and laughter. Definately not a disappointment, however before reading this book if you haven't read the first 5: Outland, Dragonfly in Amber, Voyager, Drums of Autumn, and The Fiery Cross you must do so to understand their journey.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Once again, Gabaldon spends far too much time in the minutia of the lives of Jamie, Claire, Brianna, Roger, and their friends and family and far too little on telling the actual story. I loved this series up until 'Fiery Cross', but in that book and this one it's become apparent that she's fallen in love with the characters too much to let the story play itself out to an inevitable conclusion, so we're left with 700 pages of filler to 250 of plot. 'A Breath of Snow and Ashes' is worth reading if you're a committed Gabaldon fan, but not if you're expecting a book along the lines of 'Outlander', 'Dragonfly in Amber', or 'Voyager'.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Audiobook is a great way to enjoy the sixth and most recent volume in Diana Gabaldon's popular Outlander series. A Breath of Snow and Ashes has an episodic structure rather than one overarching story line. The spoken word format makes the listener slow down and enjoy the rich details in the story. Gabaldon rounds out her descriptions with authentic sights, smells, sounds and textures.
Davina Porter is a skilled dramatic reader who adapts nuanced accents for each character. Her Jamie Fraser is surprisingly convincing. Her Claire Fraser is spot on, and since Claire is the narrator for much of the books, the listener feels like he or she is really in Claire's head. Claire's daughter Brianna and the troublemaker Donner are the only off-notes, because they are Americans and apparently Porter's accents don't extend that far.
If you've read A Breath of Snow and Ashes, the audio version is a great way to "reread" and pick up subtleties you missed on the first go round while waiting for Book 7. If you've finished up to The Fiery Cross (Outlander), try the audio version. Be warned, this is an unabridged version of a hefty book that runs to 48 CDs and a serious time commitment. But, worth every second.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Something I unknowingly stumbled into, this series has blown me away. The author has the ability to make you feel like you are experiencing first hand what the characters are, like you ARE the character. Addicting, I found myself reading for 4 hours at a time and wanting more. I don't want it to end. A true romance/adventure story that makes you want to immediately buy tickets and go to Scotland.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Ms Gabaldon is an outstanding writer. Her books are long but she writes so well and develops her characters so well, that I am never ready for the story to end.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I am a big fan of the first three books in the Outlander series. I seem to remember reading somewhere that Mrs. Gabaldon originally intended for the series to be just a trilogy. To be honest I feel that maybe that wouldn¿t be such a bad idea. I kept on reading all the new installments and waiting to see the same passion and adventure that attracted me to the Outlander from the beginning, but I¿m afraid that after book 3 it just isn¿t there. I picked up ¿The Breath of snow and ashes¿ in hopes of finding than something special and was once again disappointed. Don¿t get me wrong, it¿s nice to know what the characters have been up to and I did finish the book out of loyalty, but the very same things I got out of it could have been compressed in to a book half the size and the rest was just pointless filler. I would be surprised to find a person who hadn¿t read the previous books enjoying this one. Would not recommend it to anyone other than the diehard fans who want to catch up on the lives of the characters.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I am having trouble maintaining my interest in this book. I feel obliged to finish it having read all the previous books, but this particular installment seems rife with disjointed, mundane events. I promised myself I would no longer finish books that don't hold my interest. Life is too short to waste on mediocrity. However, I'll finish this one out of obligation to the series.
msayyid More than 1 year ago
Do not get discouraged reading this book. Yes it is VERY long but its worth it. Gabaldon intertwines suspense and touching stories till the very last page (until epilogue II.) This book is probably the most heartbreaking (in a sort of good way) of the whole series. A lot of the loose ends and mysteries she created in the previous books of the series were answered in this edition. Some of her older themes of kidnapping are repeated I suppose but nonetheless she achieves originality when you are least suspecting it. There are just so many twists and turns it'll leave you yelling "WHAT?" out loud.
tjh86 More than 1 year ago
I was a late-comer to the Highlander series. I started them a few months ago and can't put them down! Wonderful series.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Does no one at the publishing house dare to edit the work of Diana Gabaldon? It is far to lengthy and repetative. I flipped through so many pages that contained no useful purpose. The concept of travelling through time is all but forgotten and therfore the suspence is simply not there. We have all become use to being subjected to gritty, sexual violance in many of todays novels. I think it's time to get back to some quality writing. I could barely bring myself to finish this book
harstan More than 1 year ago
Though officially war has not been declared, blood has fallen in Massachusetts Bay. On Fraser¿s Ridge, North Carolina Jamie Fraser already knows the outcome of the Revolutionary War because his spouse Claire told him having journeyed from the future to his past knowing the details about the Revolutionary War because she read about it in the American history books. --- Tension is high so Colonial Governor Tryon asks Jamie, leader of those residing along Fraser Ridge, to help keep the peace there. He is not sure how to respond because Jamie knows that those who support the monarchy will either die or flee in exile yet Jamie still hopes he can avoid bloodshed. There is also the matter of knowing that three plus years from now The Wilmington Gazette December 1776 reports that Jamie and his family died in a fire. Jamie knows that the devil is in the details, but how can a mortal change history even if the events have not yet occurred. Now in 1773 he must take sides knowing that soon people he cares about will die. --- The latest Gabaldon time travel historical tale is a superb entry because of the dilemmas facing the hero who knows the outcome of the upcoming war and is aware of the deaths of himself and his beloved family yet must make difficult choices. For instance, perhaps he should relocate elsewhere so that the Frasers and others are nowhere near the mid December 1776 inferno, but that also means neglecting his responsibilities. Jamie, Claire, and the others are at their best when knowing what is coming, but sometimes an ethical person must choose a losing perhaps deadly position. Ms. Gabaldon is at her epic best with this powerful saga. The paragraphs above fail to even hint at the vast deep look at North Carolina on the verge of war because it is impossible to describe the scope of this work in a few paragraphs. ---Harriet Klausner
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
KH33 More than 1 year ago
Love all of the books in this series, can't wait for the next one I miss having Jamie and Claire in my evenings.
Salcj More than 1 year ago
This book is awesome. Full of humor and intricate relationships!! Loved it!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
If you haven't read Outlander, what are you waiting for? This series is the best thing in print right now. This is addictive, all incompassing, suck you in action with strong charectors who have a history you want to know. There's something here for everyone, be it mystery, suspense, history, charector development, or romance. Every Outlander book, Snow and Ashes included, is a reader's page-turning dream. I highly recommend them all.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Swept away, back in time, the author does not hold back as she captures the 1700's in great detail, the way they were. She doesn't sugar coat it. There is cruelty. There is violence. Amongst it all there is love, deep love. It was a bit longer than I traditionally like however, you can't please everybody ). The author writes in great deail, HUGE detail! lol Just the same, there are certain parts in which you can't put the book down, you just can't. You have to know what happens next, even if it's bedtime and you have to tape your eyes open to read it ) Gabaldon talks about witchcraft and shows us how easy it was for people to label something or someone as witchcraft just because they didn't understand it. Makes you wonder, if we don't still do a little of that today. After all with all this reinvented law of attraction stuff, why not? I can quite imagine being in the 18th century and just talking about the law of attraction, let alone using it. I'm sure I too would have been labeled a witch and burned at the stake... anyhoo. Diana Gabaldon has a way with words and you can envision yourself in the characters shoes! The ride she takes you on is quite amazing. It's almost uncomparable! This is definately the best of the series so far! All you unanswered questions are answered here! Roger, BRianne, Claire, and Jamie!! All I can say is WOW. The characters can't get any better than this!! If you like a Breath of Snow and Ashes, then you will want to check out the entire series, each book seems to complement the others perfectly!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I received and advanced copy of this book and loved it! Historical detail is superb and the love story proves that Gabaldon is a multi-dimensional writer. The last book I loved this much was 'A Year Since Yesterday' by a new author George Zintel. Books like these make shutting the television off a great decision. Get them both!
Mel-Loves-Books 19 days ago
“‘I don’t regret anything.’ I said, watching the shadows creep in from the corners of the room. ‘Not one bloody thing.’ ‘Nor do I, mo nighean donn,’ he said, and his fingers stilled, warm against my skin. ‘Nor do I.’” A Breath of Snow and Ashes is the sixth novel in the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon. I love this series with my whole heart and this novel as of now is my favorite of the series so far. Reading these novels is like coming home for me. I feel truly attached to these characters. The books are so well written and this one in particular was very tough to put down. I give this book a bazillion hearts and stars.
Anonymous 4 months ago
Anonymous 4 months ago
Difficult to put the book down!
Anonymous 7 months ago
Anonymous 8 months ago
I am always amazed that each Outlander novel cannot be put down. The love, adventure, historical items, and the relationships help to make them repeatable classics! I am on my second go around with Claire, Jamie, and the bunch! Looking forward to #9!!!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago