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

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

by Diana Gabaldon
5 of 5 stars

The year is 1772, and on the eve of the American Revolution, the long fuse of rebellion has already been lit. Men lie dead in the streets of Boston, and in the backwoods of North Carolina, isolated cabins burn in the forest.

With chaos brewing, the governor calls upon Jamie Fraser to unite the backcountry and safeguard the colony for King and Crown. But from his wife Jamie knows that three years hence the shot heard round the world will be fired, and the result will be independence — with those loyal to the King either dead or in exile. And there is also the matter of a tiny clipping from The Wilmington Gazette, dated 1776, which reports Jamie’s death, along with his kin. For once, he hopes, his time-traveling family may be wrong about the future.

Main Characters

Claire Fraser

Claire Beauchamp Randall: Striking golden hued eyes (often compared to the color of fine whisky), very curly brown hair that refuses to be tamed, 5″6′ and a pale complexion. Independent, strong, stubborn, kind and intelligent. Trained as a combat nurse and served in WWII as a medic. Played by Caitriona Balfe on the Starz adaptation of the Outlander novels.

Jamie Fraser


James Alexander Malcolm MacKenzie Fraser (Jamie): Piercing blue “cat” eyes (slightly slanted), thick dark red multi-hued hair, 6″4′, straight nose, wide mouth and scars on his back. Stubborn, a born leader, proud, caring, protective, intelligent and funny. Skilled fighter and swordsman. Well educated and left-handed. Played by Sam Heughan on the Starz adaptation of the Outlander novels.

My Brianna Randall


Brianna Ellen Randall (Bree): 20 years old and very tall for a woman, nearly six feet. Essentially a female version of Jamie. Piercing blue “cat” eyes (slightly slanted), waist length red hair, curvy.  Independent woman going to school to be an engineer. She is the daughter of Jamie and Claire and was raised by Claire and Frank. As far as I could find, Brianna Randall has not been cast yet for the Starz adaptation of the Outlander novels.

My Roger Wakefeild


Roger Mackenzie Wakefeild: Very tall (an inch shorter than Jamie), black hair and bright green eyes. He is a scholar at heart but has deep Highlander roots. Orphaned young and raised by his uncle, Reverend Wakefeild. First-year history professor. Distant descendant of Gellis Duncan. Intelligent, curious, brave and overly kind.


Be warned, I’m an Outlander uber-fan. Now that we have that out of the way… I loved this book. Of course. The quote that sums up this books the best is this..

To fight on the winning side was one thing; to survive, quite another.

There is some pretty graphic content. If you have read this far into the series, you know that Gabaldon does not hold back. It sounds morbid, but I love that she does not water down her novels. I love the raw emotions; no matter if it is despair, joy, love or hate. Gabaldon’s words feel real.

If she was broken, she would slash him with her jagged edges, reckless as a drunkard with a shattered bottle.

I always find it interesting to read Jamie’s interpretation of modern customs. I did not realize it until I read these books, that we really have not evolved much over the past 200 yesrs. Certainly not as much as we think. When you boil it down, something as formal as the Hippocratic Oath is a vow.

“There is an oath upon her,” he said to Arch, and I realized dimly that he was still speaking in Gaelic, though I understood him clearly. “She may not kill, save it is for mercy or her life. It is myself who kills for her.”

This story brings us even deeper into the world of 18th century America. Every interaction draws more and more emotion from the reader.

“If I die,” he whispered in the dark, “dinna follow me. The bairns will need ye. Stay for them. I can wait.”

Many times through this story, I found myself smiling and thinking “Oh Jamie”. He is hell on the heart. He can’t melt it, and break it, and make it grow. I have never read a love story more moving than this series and I doubt that I ever will.

While this novel is told primarily in the first person by Claire, there are 3rd person perspectives from the other characters. I have heard some people complain that there is too much time spent reading from Roger or Brianna’s perspective. Personally, I enjoy reading about them, not as much as I like Claire and Jamie, but still… Luckily, we still get a whole lot of Claire and Jamie since Gabaldon is incapable of writing a short book (for which I am eternally grateful).

"Jesus H. Roosevelt Christ, Bloody Timmy's in the well!" Diana Gabaldon, A Breath of Snow and Ashes

“Jesus H. Roosevelt Christ, Bloody Timmy’s in the well!”
Diana Gabaldon, A Breath of Snow and Ashes

Book Info

Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Point of View: Told by Claire in the first person, alternate views  told in third person
Price: $4.99 on Amazon (as of 03/02/15)
Length: 992 pages

Ongoing Series currently including:
(Click here for a complete list of the Outlander Series reading order)

8 completed primary books (usually 600+ pages), with a 9th book in the works.
Outlander (Outlander, #1)
Dragonfly in Amber (Outlander, #2)
Voyager (Outlander, #3)
Drums of Autumn (Outlander, #4)
The Fiery Cross (Outlander, #5)
A Breath of Snow and Ashes (Outlander, #6)
An Echo in the Bone (Outlander, #7)
Written in My Own Heart’s Blood (Outlander, #8)
Untitled (Outlander, #9) – not yet released

Each of the main books follows Claire and Jamie, with additional perspectives from supporting characters.

3 Novellas
A Leaf on the Wind of All Hallows
The Space Between

Lord John Books (focus is on different characters, but share characters and intersecting story lines):
3 Novels
5 Novellas

Diana Gabaldon: Author and Co-Producer
Website | Blog | Twitter | Facebook | YouTube | Compuserve

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