Read A Breath of Snow and Ashes Online

Authors: Diana Gabaldon

A Breath of Snow and Ashes

Contents

Title Page

Dedication

Acknowledgments

Prologue

Part One

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Part Two

Chapter 8

Chapter 9

Chapter 10

Chapter 11

Chapter 12

Chapter 13

Chapter 14

Chapter 15

Part Three

Chapter 16

Chapter 17

Chapter 18

Chapter 19

Chapter 20

Chapter 21

Chapter 22

Chapter 23

Chapter 24

Chapter 25

Part Four

Chapter 26

Chapter 27

Chapter 28

Chapter 29

Chapter 30

Chapter 31

Chapter 32

Chapter 33

Chapter 34

Part Five

Chapter 35

Chapter 36

Chapter 37

Chapter 38

Chapter 39

Part Six

Chapter 40

Chapter 41

Chapter 42

Chapter 43

Chapter 44

Chapter 45

Chapter 46

Chapter 47

Chapter 48

Chapter 49

Chapter 50

Chapter 51

Chapter 52

Part Seven

Chapter 53

Chapter 54

Chapter 55

Chapter 56

Chapter 57

Part Eight

Chapter 58

Chapter 59

Chapter 60

Chapter 61

Chapter 62

Chapter 63

Chapter 64

Chapter 65

Chapter 66

Chapter 67

Part Nine

Chapter 68

Chapter 69

Chapter 70

Chapter 71

Chapter 72

Chapter 73

Chapter 74

Chapter 75

Part Ten

Chapter 76

Chapter 77

Chapter 78

Chapter 79

Chapter 80

Chapter 81

Chapter 82

Chapter 83

Chapter 84

Chapter 85

Chapter 86

Chapter 87

Chapter 88

Chapter 89

Chapter 90

Chapter 91

Chapter 92

Chapter 93

Chapter 94

Chapter 95

Chapter 96

Chapter 97

Part Eleven

Chapter 98

Chapter 99

Chapter 100

Chapter 101

Chapter 102

Chapter 103

Chapter 104

Chapter 105

Chapter 106

Chapter 107

Chapter 108

Chapter 109

Chapter 110

Chapter 111

Chapter 112

Chapter 113

Chapter 114

Part Twelve

Chapter 115

Chapter 116

Chapter 117

Chapter 118

Chapter 119

Chapter 120

Chapter 121

Chapter 122

Chapter 123

Chapter 124

Epilogue 1

Epilogue 2

Also by Diana Gabaldon

Excerpt from An Echo in the Bone

Copyright Page

This Book is Dedicated to

CHARLES DICKENS
ROBERT LOUIS STEVENSON
DOROTHY L. SAYERS
JOHN D. MACDONALD
and
P. G. WODEHOUSE

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

My ENORMOUS thanks to . . .

My two marvelous editors, Jackie Cantor and Bill Massey, for insight, support, helpful suggestions (“
What about Marsali?!?!
”), enthusiastic responses, (“
Eeew!
”), and comparing me (favorably, I hasten to add) to Charles Dickens.

My excellent and admirable literary agents, Russell Galen and Danny Baror, who do so much to bring these books to the attention of the world—and put all of my children through college.

Bill McCrea, curator of the North Carolina Museum of History, and his staff, for maps, biographical sketches, general information, and a delightful breakfast in the museum. Love them cheese grits!

The staff of the Moore’s Creek Bridge battlefield Visitors’ Center, for their kind attention and for supplying me with forty-odd pounds of new and interesting books—particularly gripping works like
Roster of the Patriots in the Battle of Moore’s Creek Bridge
and
Roster of the Loyalists in the Battle of Moore’s Creek Bridge
—and for explaining to me what an ice-storm is, because they had just had one. We do not have ice-storms in Arizona.

Linda Grimes, for betting me that I couldn’t write an appealing scene about nose-picking. That one is all her fault.

The awe-inspiring and superhuman Barbara Schnell, who translated the book into German as I wrote it, almost neck-and-neck with me, in order to complete it in time for the German premiere.

Silvia Kuttny-Walser and Petra Zimmerman, who have been moving heaven and earth to assist the German debut.

Dr. Amarilis Iscold, for a wealth of detail and advice—and periodic rolling on the floor with laughter—regarding the medical scenes. Any liberties taken or mistakes made are entirely mine.

Dr. Doug Hamilton, for expert testimony on dentistry, and what one could or could not do with a pair of forceps, a bottle of whisky, and an equine tooth-file.

Dr. David Blacklidge, for helpful advice on the manufacture, use, and dangers of ether.

Dr. William Reed and Dr. Amy Silverthorn, for keeping me breathing through the pollen season so I could finish this book.

Laura Bailey, for expert commentary—with drawings, no less—on period clothing, and in particular, for the useful suggestion of stabbing someone with a corset-busk.

Christiane Schreiter, to whose detective skills (and the goodwill of the librarians of the Braunschweig Library) we owe the German version of Paul Revere’s ride.

The Reverend Jay McMillan, for a wealth of fascinating and useful information regarding the Presbyterian church in Colonial America—and to Becky Morgan, for introducing me to the Reverend Jay, and to Amy Jones, for information on Presbyterian doctrine.

Rafe Steinberg, for information on times, tides, and general seafaring issues—particularly the helpful information that the tide turns every twelve hours. Any mistakes in this regard are definitely mine. And if the tide did not turn at 5A.M. on July 10
t
h
, 1776, I don’t want to hear about it.

My assistant Susan Butler, for dealing with ten million sticky-notes, photo-copying three copies of a 2500-page manuscript, and FedExing it all over the landscape in a competent and timely fashion.

The untiring and diligent Kathy Lord, who copy-edited this entire manuscript in some impossible time frame, and did not either go blind or lose her sense of humor.

Virginia Norey, Goddess of Book Design, who has once again managed to cram The Whole Thing between two covers and make it not only readable but elegant.

Steven Lopata, for invaluable technical advice re explosions and burning things down.

Arnold Wagner, Lisa Harrison, Kateri van Huystee, Luz, Suzann Shepherd, and Jo Bourne, for technical advice on grinding pigments, storing paint, and other picturesque tidbits, such as the bit about “Egyptian Brown” being made of ground-up mummies. I couldn’t figure out how to work that into the book, but it was too good not to share.

Karen Watson, for her former brother-in-law’s notable quote regarding the sensations of a hemorrhoid sufferer.

Pamela Patchet, for her excellent and inspiring description of driving a two-inch splinter under her fingernail.

Margaret Campbell, for the wonderful copy of
Piedmont Plantation.

Janet McConnaughey, for her vision of Jamie and Brianna playing Brag.

Marte Brengle, Julie Kentner, Joanne Cutting, Carol Spradling, Beth Shope, Cindy R., Kathy Burdette, Sherry, and Kathleen Eschenburg, for helpful advice and entertaining commentary on Dreary Hymns.

Lauri Klobas, Becky Morgan, Linda Allen, Nikki Rowe, and Lori Benton for technical advice on paper-making.

Kim Laird, Joel Altman, Cara Stockton, Carol Isler, Jo Murphey, Elise Skidmore, Ron Kenner, and many, many (many, many) other inhabitants of the Compuserve Literary Forum (now renamed as the Books and Writers Community (http://community.compuserve.com/books), but still the same gathering of eclectic eccentricity, trove of erudition, and source of Really Strange Facts, for their contributions of links, facts, and articles they thought I might find helpful. I always do.

Chris Stuart and Backcountry, for the gift of their marvelous CDs,
Saints and Strangers
and
Mohave River
, to which I wrote quite a bit of this book.

Ewan MacColl, whose rendition of “Eppie Morrie” inspired Chapter 85.

Gabi Eleby, for socks, cookies, and general moral support—and to the Ladies of Lallybroch, for their boundless goodwill, manifested in the form of food boxes, cards, and enormous quantities of soap, both commercial and handmade (“Jack Randall Lavender” is nice, and I quite like the one called “Breath of Snow.” The one called “Lick Jamie All Over” was so sweet one of the dogs ate it, though).

Bev LaFrance, Carol Krenz, Gilbert Sureau, Laura Bradbury, Julianne, Julie, and several other nice people whose names I unfortunately forgot to write down, for help with the French bits.

Monika Berrisch, for allowing me to appropriate her persona.

And to my husband, Doug Watkins, who this time gave me the opening lines of the Prologue.

PROLOGUE

T
IME IS A LOT OF THE THINGS people say that God is.

There’s the always preexisting, and having no end. There’s the notion of being all powerful—because nothing can stand against time, can it? Not mountains, not armies.

And time is, of course, all-healing. Give anything
enough
time, and everything is taken care of: all pain encompassed, all hardship erased, all loss subsumed.

Ashes to ashes, dust to dust. Remember, man, that thou art dust; and unto dust thou shalt return.

And if Time is anything akin to God, I suppose that Memory must be the Devil.

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