Lord John and the Brotherhood of the Blade (Lord John Grey Series)

Lord John and the Brotherhood of the Blade (Lord John Grey Series)

by Diana Gabaldon


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780385337502
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication date: 08/26/2008
Series: Lord John Grey Series , #3
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 528
Sales rank: 58,079
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.20(h) x 1.10(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

Chapter One

All in the Family

London, January 1758 The Society for Appreciation of the English Beefsteak, A Gentlemen’s Club

To the best of Lord John Grey’s knowledge, stepmothers as depicted in fiction tended to be venal, evil, cunning, homicidal, and occasionally cannibalistic. Stepfathers, by contrast, seemed negligible, if not completely innocuous.

“Squire Allworthy, do you think?” he said to his brother. “Or Claudius?”

Hal stood restlessly twirling the club’s terrestrial globe, looking elegant, urbane, and thoroughly indigestible. He left off performing this activity, and gave Grey a look of incomprehension.


“Stepfathers,” Grey explained. “There seem remarkably few of them among the pages of novels, by contrast to the maternal variety. I merely wondered where Mother’s new acquisition might fall, along the spectrum of character.”

Hal’s nostrils flared. His own reading tended to be confined to Tacitus and the more detailed Greek and Roman

histories of military endeavor. The practice of reading novels he regarded as a form of moral weakness; forgivable, and in fact, quite understandable in their mother, who was, after all, a woman. That his younger brother should share in this vice was somewhat less acceptable.

However, he merely said, “Claudius? From Hamlet? Surely not, John, unless you happen to know something about Mother that I do not.”

Grey was reasonably sure that he knew a number of things about their mother that Hal did not, but this was neither the time nor place to mention them.

“Can you think of any other examples? Notable stepfathers of history, perhaps?”

Hal pursed his lips, frowning a bit in thought. Absently, he touched the watch pocket at his waist.

Grey touched his own watch pocket, where the gold and crystal of his chiming timepiece—the twin of Hal’s—made a reassuring weight.

“He’s not late yet.”

Hal gave him a sideways look, not a smile—Hal was not in a mood that would permit such an expression—but tinged with humor, nonetheless.

“He is at least a soldier.”

In Grey’s experience, membership in the brotherhood of the blade did not necessarily impute punctuality—their friend Harry Quarry was a colonel and habitually late—but he nodded equably. Hal was sufficiently on edge already. Grey didn’t want to start a foolish argument that might color the imminent meeting with their mother’s intended third husband.

“It could be worse, I suppose,” Hal said, returning to his moody examination of the globe. “At least he’s not a bloody merchant. Or a tradesman.” His voice dripped loathing at the thought.

In fact, General Sir George Stanley was a knight, granted that distinction by reason of service of arms, rather than birth. His family had dealt in trade, though in the reasonably respectable venues of banking and shipping. Benedicta Grey, however, was a duchess. Or had been.

So far reasonably calm in the face of his mother’s impending nuptials, Grey felt a sudden drop of the stomach, a visceral reaction to the realization that his mother would no longer be a Grey, but would become Lady Stanley—someone quite foreign. This was, of course, ridiculous. At the same time, he found himself suddenly in greater sympathy with Hal.

The watch in his pocket began to chime noon. Hal’s timepiece sounded no more than half a second later, and the brothers smiled at each other, hands on their pockets, suddenly united.

The watches were identical, gifts from their father upon the occasion of each son’s twelfth birthday. The duke had died the day after Grey’s twelfth birthday, endowing this small recognition of manhood with a particular poignancy. Grey drew breath to say something, but the sound of voices came from the corridor.

“There he is.” Hal lifted his head, evidently undecided whether to go out to meet Sir George or remain in the library to receive him.

“Saint Joseph,” Grey said suddenly. “There’s another notable stepfather.”

“Quite,” said his brother, with a sidelong glance. “And which of us are you suggesting . . .?”

A shadow fell across the Turkey carpet, cast by the form of a bowing servant who stood in the doorway.

“Sir George Stanley, my lord. And party.”

General Sir George Stanley was a surprise. While Grey had consciously expected neither Claudius nor Saint Joseph, the reality was a trifle . . . rounder than anticipated.

His mother’s first husband had been tall and dashing, by report, while her second, his own father, had been possessed of the same slight stature, fairness, and tidy muscularity which he had bequeathed to both his sons. Sir George rather restored one’s faith in the law of averages, Grey thought, amused.

A bit taller than himself or Hal, and quite stout, the general had a face that was round, cheerful, and rosily guileless beneath a rather shabby wig. His features were nondescript in the extreme, bar a pair of wide brown eyes that gave him an air of pleasant expectation, as though he could think of nothing so delightful as a meeting with the person he addressed.

He bowed in greeting, but then shook hands firmly with both Greys, leaving Lord John with an impression of warmth and sincerity.

“It is kind of you to invite me to luncheon,” he said, smiling from one brother to the other. “I cannot say how greatly I appreciate your welcome. I feel most awkward, then, to begin at once with an apology—but I am afraid I have imposed upon you by bringing my stepson. He arrived unexpectedly this morning from the country, just as I was setting out. Seeing that you will in some sense be brothers . . . I, er, thought perhaps you would pardon my liberty in bringing him along to be introduced.” He laughed, a little awkwardly, and blushed; an odd mannerism in a man of his age and rank, but rather endearing, Grey thought, smiling back despite himself.

“Of course,” Hal said, managing to sound cordial.

“Most certainly,” Grey echoed. He was standing closest to Sir George, and now turned to the general’s companion, hand extended in greeting, and found himself face to face with a tall, slender, dark-eyed young man.

“My Lord Melton, Lord John,” the general was saying, a hand on the young man’s shoulder. “May I present Mr. Percival Wainwright?”

Hal was a trifle put out; Grey could feel the vibrations of annoyance from his direction—Hal hated surprises, particularly those of a social nature—but he himself had little attention to spare for his brother’s quirks at the moment.

“Your servant, sir,” he said, taking Mr. Wainwright’s hand, with an odd sense of previous meeting.

The other felt it, too; Grey could see the faint expression of puzzlement on the young man’s face, a faint inturning of fine dark brows, as though wondering where . . .

Realization struck them simultaneously. His hand tightened involuntarily on the other’s, just as Wainwright’s grip clutched his.

“Yours, sir,” murmured Wainwright, and stepped back with a slight cough. He reached to shake Hal’s hand, but glanced briefly back at Grey. His eyes were also brown, but not at all like his stepfather’s, Grey thought, the momentary shock of recognition fading.

They were a soft, vivid brown, like sherry sack, and most expressive. At the moment, they were dancing with mirth at the situation—and filled with the same intensely personal interest Grey had seen in them once before, at their first meeting . . . in the library of Lavender House.

Percy Wainwright had given him his name—and his hand—upon that occasion, too. But Grey had been an anonymous stranger then, and the encounter had been necessarily brief.

Hal was expressing polite welcome to the newcomer, though giving him the sort of coolly professional appraisal he would use to sum up an officer new to the regiment.

Grey thought Wainwright stood up well to such scrutiny; he was well-built, dressed neatly and with taste, clear-skinned and clean-featured, with an attitude that spoke of both humor and imagination. Both traits could be dangerous in an officer, but on a personal level . . .

Wainwright seemed to be discreetly exercising his own curiosity with regard to Grey, flicking brief glances his way—and little wonder. Grey smiled at him, now rather enjoying the surprise of this new “brother.”

“I thank you,” Wainwright said, as Hal concluded his welcome. He pulled his lingering attention away from Grey, and bowed to Hal. “Your Grace is most . . . gracious.”

There was an instant of stricken silence following that last, half-strangled word, spoken as Wainwright realized, a moment too late, what he had said.

Hal froze, for the briefest instant, before recovering himself and bowing in return.

“Not at all,” he said, with impeccable politeness. “Shall we dine, gentlemen?”

Hal turned at once for the door, not looking back. And just as well, Grey thought, seeing the hasty exchange of gestures and glances between the general and his stepson—horrified annoyance from the former, exemplified by rolling of the eyes and a brief clutching of the shabby wig; agonized apology by the latter—an apology extended wordlessly to Grey, as Percy Wainwright turned to him with a grimace.

Grey lifted one shoulder in dismissal. Hal was used to it—and it was his own fault, after all.

“We are fortunate in our timing,” he said, and smiled at Percy. He touched Wainwright’s back, lightly encouraging him toward the door. “It’s Thursday. The Beefsteak’s cook does an excellent ragout of beef on Thursdays. With oysters.”

Sir George was wise enough to make no apology for his stepson’s gaffe, instead engaging both the Greys in conversation regarding the campaigns of the previous autumn. Percy Wainwright appeared a trifle flustered, but quickly regained his composure, listening with every evidence of absorption.

“You were in Prussia?” he asked, hearing Grey’s mention of maneuvers near the Oder. “But surely the Forty-sixth has been stationed in France recently—or am I mistaken?”

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Lord John and the Brotherhood of the Blade (Lord John Grey Series) 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 143 reviews.
msayyid More than 1 year ago
Read this book if you are in desperate need of any Outlander connection. As usual Gabaldon's writing style is superb, she paints her characters with extreme detail and startling depth while also plotting a mystery. The gay romance is beautiful and built upon layers of complication depicting an impossible love triangle (between three men). I've always liked Lord John Grey (except when he made his first move on Jamie at Ardsmuir) but I grew to love and sympathize with him in this book. I read this novel AFTER reading "An Echo in the Bone" and therefore was really rather grateful for all the clarification regarding Grey's elusive past and involvement with the infamous, Percival Wainwringht. Percy really keeps you on edge throughout the novel and you keep thinking "Okay what is he going to do next?" I kept thinking he was evil and never really trusted him. He is a very entertaining character. You get a good taste of the Seven Years War and the vivid recollections of war that come with most of Gabaldon's novels. Alas I can NOT give this novel 5 stars due to my lack of ardor while reading it. I got through it towards the end but enjoyed most of it. Gabaldon is a gifted writer and story teller and if you can not wait for her next book then this book will give you comfort.
la-bibliophile More than 1 year ago
A good read- sensous, action-filled though psychological novel, with brief glimpses of Jamie. Though the Lord John series is not quite as good as the Outlander series (but what could compete with Jamie- even for those of us who despise "romance" novels?), this series is an excellent way to wean yourself off the Outlander books, or to keep yourself occupied until the next Outlander book comes out. I wouldn't recommend this book for your average book club unless there aren't any homophobes, but otherwise, I'd recommend this book to anyone who likes historical fiction.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Diana Gabaldon has a magical way of drawing in her readers. The characters were well developed and understood. The Brotherhood of Blade is a fine example of historical accounts that, in many sad ways, still exsist today. 1758, a time of war in England is also a time of misery for those who would hide their identity, their sexual difference of preference from that the law permits via church and government. The book details the inside thoughts of those in fear of an inevitable exicution by grisly torture should they be revealed and exposed. The story is captivating. Having already read Lord John and the Private Matter, I had a sense of clear undestanding and backround to enjoy this read fully. Having said that, I am sure the book stands well on its own which is a quality in writing that I truly appreciate. I believe the sexual content, a bit descriptive was, infact, necessary for the reader to be able to imbibe and understand the writers passion. I enjoyed this read and would recommend it to any adult.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. To the reviewer who thought this was an adult book, I agree. But I think all her books are adult. Her descriptions of people are so full and well-rounded that they are a joy to read even if the story weren't riveting. I found the description of the gay lifestyle in the 1700s very interesting it was something I was unfamiliar with. Be sure to read Lord John and the Private Matter first, it makes this book more understandable.
harstan More than 1 year ago
Being a gay man in 1758 England is difficult as caught sodomites are hung in a grisly manner. The government does not call attention to a group of conspirators who will be tried for treason so instead accuse them of sodomy. Lord Major John Grey, brother to Hal, the Duke of Pardloe, keeps his sexual orientation hidden for fear a wrongly placed whisper means death. While in the Hal¿s Office, a page of their dead father¿s journal is found on his desk. Hal tells John he was exiled to Aberdeen when his father died because there were rumors that their father was a traitor who was going to be arrested and rumors of his being a sodomite were on everyone¿s lips. John takes solace in his new relationship with Percy, the stepson of the man about to marry his mother. Percy joins the same regiment that John and Hal belong to so that they have another reason to be brothers. John has recently been attacked several times their mother believes the incidents are tied to their father¿s murder. John is content to be with someone he cares about and not delve into the homicide even if it ties to the present. After their regiment deploys to the German front to fight the French, clues surface that could solve the decade old murder mystery. --- The latest Lord John book is more a historical drama than a mystery. Readers obtain a glimpse at life in mid eighteenth century England for someone who is gay. John is an honorable person who relishes his sexual orientation although he hates having to hide it (not out of shame but out of a real fear for his life). The murder mystery is interspersed throughout the story line as that subplot serves to enhance the look at the life of a homosexual in historical England. Diana Gabaldon¿s provides a powerful Lord John tale that is unforgettable especially with its relevancy today. This author can't write a bad book as they are all fascinating and memorable. --- Harriet Klausner Harriet Klausner
Englander More than 1 year ago
Already having earned gradute degrees in both Marine Biology and Ecology, Diana Gabaldon should probably qualify for degrees in far more subjects based on the extensive research that she must have done in this and all her other books including the Outlander series. Her works have priority in my library - all are well worth reading again and again.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A must read if you have read the Outlander series. Especially if you are having Jamie and Clare withdrawal.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Besides the well researched history woven into a great storyline, I love Gabldon's use of vocab.
Pam529 More than 1 year ago
I've read her Voyager series three times and I expect I will reread the Lord John series many times as well. Engaging, fun, historical fiction.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love the Lord John books, however, I love anything by Diana Gabaldon. There is not one book of hers that I have not added to my collection, and read numerous times and this one is just as good.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
really interesting addition to the series
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
As with all of the Outlander series, I have really enjoyed the Lord John Grey series. The Brotherhood of the Blade is my favorite of the Lord John stories. The reader really gets a better idea of who Lord John is.
surreality on LibraryThing 29 days ago
Plot: It's styled as a mystery, but the most mysterious bit about it is that the mystery set up on the first 50 pages disappears completely, and only resurfaces two chapters before the end so it can be solved as an afterthought. The middle part of the story is a romance, with some war background thrown in for good measure. Far too many complications, far too many side plots that come to nothing and only add confusion.Characters: There are far too many of them, and only very few actually add anything to the plot. To add insult to injury, these side characters also tend to get very little characterization, so they're completely pointless and just add a few pages to the book. The central characters are better, but they don't get the attention they should be getting because the story is so chock-full of other characters. Style: The mystery is a catastrophe. Badly set up, far too complex, clues are magically produced and it all is so far-fetched that you mentally disengage very quickly. The romance is better, but doesn't get enough space to really develop; there are a lot of opportunities to explore it which aren't taken up. Plus: Gay romance, at times surprisingly explicit for a mainstream novel. And not at all badly done. Minus: Think of the opening scene in War and Peace, the party with countless names and far too much background information, where you have no chance of figuring out who is going to be important later on. Most of this book feels like that.Summary: It's a story with an identity crisis. A mystery? A romance? A war novel?
amberwitch on LibraryThing 29 days ago
The second book in the Outlander setting featuring Lord John. His mother is about to remarry, after many years widowhood. Both Johns mother and older brother receives cryptic letters containing pages from the dead Dukes journal, and Johns investigation into the matter unearths an old conspiracy which Johns father was the victim of. John and his brother are preparing to bring their regiment to the Prussian front, and their stepfather to be has bought a commission in their regiment for his stepson, Percival. John and Percy has met previously at a Molly house, and soon become sexually involved.Wonderful time piece, whose Georgian era ambiance is well described.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Another great read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Thanks, but no thanks.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed this book greatly. It was romantic and dynamic. I will say that the last 150 pages or so began to drag, to then come to a rather abrupt end. I will most definitely be continuing the series.
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If you loved the outlander series, you will enjoy the Lord John series
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