I read this novella back in October, and I’ll admit it wasn’t my favorite of Diana Gabaldon’s work. A Plague of Zombies is book 3.5 in Gabaldon’s Lord John Grey Mystery series – an offshoot of her best-selling Outlander book series. In this novel, Lord John is sent to Jamaica after the events in the previous book, The Scottish Prisoner, in which John and James Fraser cement their friendship while on a quest to avenge John’s friend’s death. John’s new assignment sends him to Jamaica to squash a slave rebellion, and act as a punishment and reprieve from the embarrassing events in the previous novel. In the synopsis according to Goodreads:
Lord John Grey, a lieutenant-colonel in His Majesty’s army, arrives in Jamaica with orders to quash a slave rebellion brewing in the mountains. But a much deadlier threat lies close at hand. The governor of the island is being menaced by zombies, according to a servant. Lord John has no idea what a zombie is, but it doesn’t sound good. It sounds even worse when hands smelling of grave dirt come out of the darkness to take him by the throat. Between murder in the governor’s mansion and plantations burning in the mountains, Lord John will need the wisdom of serpents and the luck of the devil to keep the island from exploding.
Like Gabaldon’s other novellas, this one starts out very promising, but ends very abruptly. While I enjoyed this new foray into the supernatural, and learning more about Jamaica’s colorful history, the ending left much to be desired. This story takes place before the events in The Drums of Autumn (Outlander #4), during Voyager. As I’ve previously stated, you don’t have to read the Lord John books to enjoy Outlander, but I believe doing so enhances the reading experience. Even though I wasn’t thrilled with the ending, I would still recommend this novella, but only if you want to know more about John’s time in Jamaica before Jamie and Claire’s arrival.
This is my eighteenth completed review for the Historical Fiction Challenge