Read The Custom of the Army by Diana Gabaldon Online


Note: Previously included in the anthology Warriors.Diana Gabaldon, bestselling author of the acclaimed Outlander series, weaves an engrossing tale of war, history, and suspense in this original novella—available exclusively as an eBook—featuring returning hero Lord John Grey.London, 1759. After a high society electric-eel party leads to a duel that ends badly, Lord John GNote: Previously included in the anthology Warriors.Diana Gabaldon, bestselling author of the acclaimed Outlander series, weaves an engrossing tale of war, history, and suspense in this original novella—available exclusively as an eBook—featuring returning hero Lord John Grey.London, 1759. After a high society electric-eel party leads to a duel that ends badly, Lord John Grey feels the need to lie low for a while. Conveniently, before starting his new commission in His Majesty’s army, Lord John receives an urgent summons. An old friend from the military, Charlie Carruthers, is facing court-martial in Canada, and has called upon Lord John to serve as his character witness. Grey voyages to the New World—a land rife with savages (many of them on his own side) and cleft by war—where he soon finds that he must defend not only his friend’s life but his own....

Title : The Custom of the Army
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780345541024
Format Type : ebook
Number of Pages : 76 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

The Custom of the Army Reviews

  • Jill
    2019-04-05 19:06

    An electric eel party, a duel, a summons to Canada as a character witness in a court-martial of a friend, the Battle of Quebec. All within this novella set in 1759.I'm a fan of Lord John Grey and though these little interludes don't actually lead anywhere, they're interesting and entertaining reading filling in the life and times of LJG. But mainly I read them for Diana Gabaldon's fine writing and rich story-telling.

  • Gretchen
    2019-03-26 16:54

    I really liked it. Shocking, right? Anyone who knows me knows that I have a soft spot for Gabaldon. And I love her long novels. But I also like her willingness to take Lord John on other adventures. A few things stood out for me in this novel:- No back stories, and little explanation for other characters. You either know about his family history, or you don't. I had a couple "wait, who?" moments. But I liked that the gaps weren't filled for the reader. - Not much Jamie, but still an appreciation for Scots. I like Lord John books best when his encounters with a certain Mr Fraser are at a minimum. John has his own life to lead, and Jamie is not his central focus. - A "real" battle. Gabaldon is great at taking actual historical events and giving her characters a role to play. This novel is no exception- Tom Byrd. Love him. Love his attention to clothing, and love John's responses to him. More please!Great short novel for those who enjoy Lord John or are looking for a quick Gabaldon fix between large books.

  • Matt
    2019-04-08 19:59

    It all begins with an electric eel party and a duel that goes horribly wrong. A night of apparent debauchery leads our famed Gabaldon character in a heap of trouble everywhere he turns. In an attempt to hide himself while he is persona non grata, Grey agrees to act as a character witness for a friend facing court martial, in CANADA. With an additional familial matter to handle while he is away, Grey embarks on an adventure to the New World and mixes it up with the British Army (currently at war with France in Quebec), while he hunts down a man keen on abandoning his duties. Gabaldon shows the reader another humourous side of Grey who, without Jamie Fraser around, is quite a civilised gentleman.Gabaldon does a great job in keeping the LJG series moving forward. With some great storytelling, time appropriate characters and wonderful narration, anyone who is a fan of the Outlander series or the full-length Lord John Grey books will not be disappointed. This book sits nicely as a stand-alone, hence its unofficial non-labelled nature between many of the other pieces of writing in the series.Great work, Madam Gabaldon. While I love your epic novels, these can be fun to devour as well!Like/hate the review? An ever-growing collection of others appears at:

  • Beth
    2019-04-12 14:00

    Ugh, WHY do I continue to read these 'novellas'? I do love Gabaldon's writing, but these non-Outlander stories are just so boring and pointless. The only reason I even read them is because I like John Grey. I wish she would quit writing all these silly novellas and just FINISH OUTLANDER already! I don't want to read anything that doesn't involve Jamie and Claire. The only mention of Jamie was one cryptic line about a 'paperweight/gemstone' that Jamie sent him, but no real information about why it was sent or what it meant. Maybe I missed that in the trillion other pointless books that have been written along the way.

  • Jane
    2019-03-29 18:00

    Where I got the book: purchased on Kindle.Lord John gets electrocuted, is threatened with marriage and meets a gay Indian. Altogether a rather forgettable plot, but I'll probably read this story again one day as I have a soft spot for Lord John. I enjoy how he maneuvers his private life and family connections around his military career, and Gabaldon's voice in the Lord John stories is surprisingly true to both the character and the times in which he lives. In the Outlander novels we see a man's world through a woman's eyes, but with Lord John Gabaldon can enter further into that world of men and war, a world that often contains no women (or only at the periphery) without losing me as a female reader. One of the aspects I really appreciated about this ebook is the chronological list of Outlander and Lord John stories showing how they fit in with one another. The ebook medium is a great place for a popular novelist to fill in gaps in the narrative and deal with those side stories that, as a writer, you're always finding for your characters but can't necessarily turn into a full novel.Very much worth the $1.99 I paid for it to get more of Gabaldon's fine handling of dialogue and action. Recommended.

  • Linda ~ chock full of hoot, just a little bit of nanny ~
    2019-04-20 20:57

    Reread dates 1/28/17-1/29/17:I didn't do a full reread as I skipped the bulk of the battle sequences. I didn't like this one when I originally read it in 2012, but felt I should at least give a go-over on this reread of the Lord John series. When placed in chronological order, it still doesn't make much sense. I think Gabaldon just really wanted an excuse to write about the British capturing Quebec and so found a way to send John there. It's still very scattered and doesn't have much of a point in and of itself.Original review (2014, read Oct 2012):I always enjoy spending time with John, but this is a gap-filler that doesn't really provide much of any substance. It starts with an eel party in England, then John gets whisked away to Canada to avoid potential trouble with the law until charges can either be cleared or swept under the rug. His purpose for coming to Canada is quickly put on the back burner and John ends up spending most of his time on random adventures. Then John returns to England accomplishing nothing. So it was good to see John again, but I don't really see the point in this short story other than to provide a few more details on things we've been told about already in other stories.

  • Nickie Kuhn
    2019-04-16 19:50

    I love everything this woman has ever written. Lord John is a favorite literary character and this story just serves to increase my opinion of him. Having read 'The Scottish Prisoner' first I was already familiar with some of the supporting characters making this a smooth read. The opening scene is hilarious. Picturing Lord John grabbing on to an electric eel at a party was just too much. I LOVED it. Following John on his adventure to America, meeting new and interesting characters and going through battle with him were, as always, fantastic fun. As with other Diana Gabaldon books, this can be read on its own, but the story is enhanced by reading the other books in the Outlander series.

  • Irina Shapiro
    2019-03-30 15:57

    I love Diana Gabaldon, but her latest efforts have been disappointing. The Scottish Prisoner left me flat and this latest novella seemed forced and pointless. So much went on, but very little of it was developed or to the point. This was listed as an Outlander Novella, which was deceiving. It had nothing to do with Outlander at all. I am eagerly looking forward to the next installment of Outlander and wish that she would finish it already and give Lord John a well-deserved break.

  • Hilary
    2019-04-19 14:48

    3.5 starsAn interesting diversion (especially as I waited for the next book in the main series to become available) and with an appreciative eye for the historical angles that determine the accuracy of events. I liked reading more about John Grey, and the Canadian setting was a bonus, but probably wouldn't go out of my way to read it again.

  • Edee Fallon
    2019-04-12 18:04

    LJG is such an I interesting character. From his clever wit to his warrior heart, I adore him completely.

  • Ish Healy
    2019-04-05 20:57

    I’m not entirely sure the purpose of “The Custom of the Army.” The pretense of the plot is as such: While attending an electric eel party (which involves connecting as many people as possible then having one brave soul touch an electric eel) Lord John Grey enters into a scuffle over a lady’s honour, which results in a duel. The next day it is revealed that the man with which Grey duelled is dead, his father demanding that Grey be tried for murder – and the lady’s father demanding that Grey enter into a marriage for the sake of his daughter’s honour. Rather conveniently at the same time a letter appears requesting that Grey serve as a witness to the court martial of one Captain Charles Carruthers, in Canada. Deciding that the wilderness of Canada is a much safer place than London society, Grey very quickly decides to flee the country. This journey gives Grey the opportunity to reunite with his new cousin-in-law, last seen in Lord John and the Private Matter, and partake in the British Conquest of New France.When I say the pretense of the plot, however, I really do mean the pretense. The reason for which Grey goes to Canada in the first place are rather flimsy and quickly forgotten. As is common with the Lord John series, matters are for the most part nicely wrapped up by the end of the story, but I found that I wasn’t really happy with the resolution. It just seemed a bit too forced, too rushed. Almost as though Gabaldon had intended to write a much longer story, but realized that for this anthology she could not do so. As such, rather than really developing the plot she just kind of winged it, wrapping everything up like an afterthought, or like a present that you buy at a gas station on the way to Christmas dinner. The characters in the story are, as always, excellently written, but the story is lacking. Where “Custom” does succeed, however, is as an in between. It provides a good connector between its predecessor, "Lord John and the Haunted Soldier" and its successor, The Scottish Prisoner.

  • Kristen
    2019-04-07 16:00

    A fun, interesting addition to the Lord John Grey series. It's probably the shortest thing written by Gabaldon that I've read so far. I couldn't believe how quickly I blew through it. As always, John has gotten himself into some new, crazy situations, and somehow he comes through them unblemished and only slightly worse for wear. He just has the best personality; I love him - not as much as I love Jamie Fraser, of course. In all things, John conducts himself with the utmost honor and respect. He has a great sense of humor, and he cares for others so genuinely. You can't help but love him.There was only one reference to Jamie Fraser in this novella. I thought that would make it less interesting to me, but that was not the case. John Grey is becoming almost as interesting to as Himself! I was fascinated by the electric eel party, never having heard of these things before. How bizarre! Now I must go and research that some more....I always find myself a bit confused on the characters in Gabaldon stories, and even in this short novella I had some difficulty. I had to refer back to the beginning of the story a couple of times, just to get the folks straight, and when the story ended my first thought was, "But wait...what about the court martial? Isn't that what this story is supposed to be about? When is that going to be?" And then when I rechecked the name, I realized how I missed it. I had glazed over the part about that guy, not realizing he was the one the court martial was all about. Kind of anticlimactic, but I did it to myself. Grrrr. I need an app that keeps all Gabaldon's characters straight for me! Diana, can you get on that for me? :)

  • Tracey
    2019-04-17 15:48

    Three words (or two, depending on how you look at hyphens): BRIGADIER LETHBRIDGE–STEWARTThat is all.No it's not.Diana Gabaldon could – should – teach classes in how to tell a damn story. You don't have to blurt out everything all at once. You can stick with a tight single character point of view and tell a tale without resorting to all the bad old devices (infodump and "as you know, Jim" and so on). You can start in the midst of things and inform the reader about what happened to lead to this moment while continuing to move the story forward without confusing the reader. You can do all of this – if you pay attention and take a lesson from Diana Gabaldon. I've been a fan of hers since before half of the members of Goodreads were born, and I've fallen into a sort of complacent familiarity–breeding–contempt attitude to her writing after all these years. It took this and a few other Lord John stories to remind me of why I love her.I also love Jeff Woodman. He's wonderful. I can see myself listening to books I would otherwise have no interest in just because he's narrating. He's a dangerous man, and is going to cost me money – Kindle editions are cheaper.

  • Julianna
    2019-04-06 14:12

    Reviewed for THC ReviewsChronologically, The Custom of the Army is set approximately one year after the events of Lord John and the Brotherhood of the Blade and its subsequent novella, Lord John and the Haunted Solider. Unlike the other Lord John Grey stories, which are primarily historical mysteries, this one doesn’t really have much of a mystery to speak of. Instead of it being a story with a clear beginning, middle, and end, it feels more like a series of vignettes in John’s life that intersect in some ways. That’s not to say it isn’t good, though. I still enjoyed it every bit as much as the other novels and novellas in the series. It just has a slightly different feel to it.The story all begins with John at an electric eel party that goes awry and ends with him unintentionally killing a man in a duel. With that man’s father, as well as the father of the young lady whose honor he was defending, breathing down his neck, John needs to find a way to lay low for a while before accepting his military promotion. Fortuitously, Charlie Carruthers, an old friend and fellow military man with whom John briefly had an affair, requests that John come to Canada, where he’s stationed, to act as a character witness in his impending court-martial. John is all too happy to oblige as a temporary escape from his own problems and immediately sets sail for the New World. There he gets his first glimpse of Native Americans, some of whom are friendly and some not so much. He also goes in search of his cousin-in-law, Malcolm Stubbs, to give him a gift from his wife, but theirs isn’t exactly a happy reunion. John meets up with Charlie and discovers exactly how he ended up being court-martialed, and last but not least, he takes part in the Battle of Quebec. It was a surprising number of events condensed down into a fairly short novella, which made it a pretty fast-paced read.The part about Charlie is probably the closest John came to any sort of mystery in this novella, and it was left somewhat open-ended, which makes me wonder if it will be resolved in a future story of the series. John also finally receives some closure with regards to his father’s murder. There are a few past characters from the series who pop up again in this one, including John’s friend Lucinda, who hosts the electric eel party, John’s cousin-in-law, Malcolm, who raised both my ire and my sympathy, and John Hunter, a doctor who’s a little on the creepy side with his obsession over human anatomy and who according to Ms. Gabaldon’s introduction was a real person. As always the author’s attention to historical detail is superb, with some other real-life players in the Battle of Quebec present, including Simon Fraser, who is also seen in one of the Outlander novels. John also gets a little side romance of a sort with Manoke, a Native American man he meets, but that relationship is more implied than anything else.Overall, I enjoyed this series of adventures in which Lord John takes part. I had two favorite things about the story, both of which have to do with John as a character. First, he, once again, shows how honorable he is in several different ways. The one thing I’ve always admired most about Jamie (who barely received a mention in this story) is his honor, and I’ve always felt that John is an equally honorable man, which is part of his appeal for me. The second is that we get to see him interacting with a couple of little ones in this story, which shows us a taste of the kind of father he’ll become. Aside from the fact that these stories can be a tad dry at times and that military history isn’t really my favorite type of historical fiction, I have no real complaints. John, himself, more than makes these stories worth the read. The Custom of the Army was originally published in the multi-author anthology, Warriors and was later republished as a stand-alone novella in eBook and audio format. It’s most recent publication is in the single-author anthology, Seven Stones to Stand or Fall, along with several other Outlander related novellas.

  • Teresa
    2019-04-09 16:48

    I found this Lord John Grey short novella immensely enjoyable and imaginative. The "electric" eel parties in mid eighteen century London something I knew nothing about (where does the author go for these outlandish things?), her imagination never ceases to amaze me. Then the account of Grey's participation in the battle of Quebec. And I am closer to The Scottish Prisoner! And Outlander is back on telly, yay!!!!!

  • Maite
    2019-04-22 15:53

    Gabaldon really knows how to entertain her readers, in this Lord John finds himself in a lot of unrequired trouble that leads to an unexpected adventure in Canada. Anytime I finish a book or, like in this case a novella, I always want to immediately start reading more. Which is not something I can say about almost any series.

  • K
    2019-04-26 14:56

    John Grey stories seem not to have any real point but I enjoy them none the less. The historical tidbits add gravity to the larger story arc and I just really like John.

  • Melanie
    2019-04-22 13:11

    After an electric-eel party (involves connecting as many people as possible while someone holds onto the eel), Lord John finds himself in a little hot water over a lady's honor. This results in a duel that ends badly and thus finds himself needing to lay low for awhile. Before starting his new commission, Lord John receives a summons to act as a character witness for an old friend, Captain Charles Carruthers in Canada. So he travels to the New World and comes across many secrets and scandals that he finds himself getting involved in. Lord John is able to reunite with his new cousin-in-law but not is all as it seems.Overall, there were parties, duels, family issues and wars fought plus much more. I am really enjoying the LJG series and the novella's offer a nice interlude between novels.

  • Donna
    2019-04-26 21:12

    Leave it to Lord John to find a lover wherever he goes, even in the middle of nowhere. What a guy!This little e-book is jam-packed full of action, which I wasn't expecting from the short description given online. The fun never stops, beginning with an electric eel party and the shocking aftermath, to Lord John's journey to the wilds of Canada where he spends his time dealing with an Indian uprising, a battle against the French to take possession of Quebec, an amorous fishing trip (two weeks!?!), his scuffle with the scoundrel who married one of his cousins, and his sad meeting with an old friend facing a court martial who may not live long enough for Lord John to testify on his behalf. I am out of breath just summarizing it.I really enjoy the Lord John novels, especially the ones when he is in town and plays the proper gentleman with a secret life. But I thought that this was a pretty good story, as well. The reader learns most of what he knows about Lord John by his actions. He is a man of honor even when he is breaking the law, as he has his own set of laws he must abide by.My only complaint about this book is that the author includes too many glaring anachronisms for someone who obviously researches her subject well, using phrases like 'keyed up' and the term bastard as an invective when it could only be used as a reference to a child born out of wedlock during that time period. It briefly slammed me out of the world she created, but still, I was immersed in it and cannot wait for the next entry in the Lord John series.

  • Opal
    2019-04-26 15:09

    The world of 1759 comes alive under Gabaldon’s pen. Between London’s electric eel parties and Canada’s frontier, everything is vividly portrayed. I was completely immersed in this world from the time I started reading.The military’s procedures is extremely detailed as well. Not so much that it becomes tedious but enough so that you get a very good idea as to how things work. I was surprised at how simple the proceeding were for a court-martial back then.John Grey has a strict sense of honor which is what sent him to Canada in the first place. His triumphs were intelligent and well-planned. Reading of his adventures were exciting and thrilling. He keeps to his honor even in the face of corruption. Grey is an intensely likable character.This was a great novella that did end rather abruptly. You can forgive that when you balance all the other great qualities the book holds. It was a very satisfying read on the whole.

  • Devi
    2019-04-03 14:01

    While the short story "Plague of Zombies" had a very clear narrative directive, "Custom of the Army" seems more aimless, in that it's more of a slice of (military) life than a definitive tale to be told. And needless to say, that was quite all right with me. I can't get enough of Grey, whether he's focused on catching his father's murderer or careening from an ill fated party (which, by the way, was crazy enough to have actually happened, at least in regards to the eel) to the British efforts against the French in Canada. Gabaldon paints both him and her scenes with a great deal of believability and realism, but also with genuine complex feeling. It's quite addictive! So addictive I'm next about to read The Scottish Prisoner! And damn me if poor old Grey doesn't get some sort of resolution in regards to the titular character, I may have to break down into lady-like uncontrollable sobbing!

  • Katherine
    2019-04-24 15:42

    I have such mixed feelings on this one. On the one hand there were some really good things about it. I loved the electric eel party and it was really nice to read about events that have been mentioned in other books in the series (or the Outlander series), but I couldn't help but feel like the story felt thrown together, like it was trying to tie up loose ends. It jumped around a lot and where I usually feel like there is some central story line that ties all the various happenings together, this one just felt like one event after another that happened in Lord John Grey's life. So, it was worth a read if you've read the series, but I wouldn't start with this one.

  • Deanna Against Censorship
    2019-04-11 21:08

    I love Lord John and all of his stories. I first fell in love with Jamie and his story. When I saw that Gabaldon was writing about Lord John I wondered why? I hesitated in reading them. Was I wrong!!!!!!!!!! This was a great little story based on an actual historical event with actual historical characters. Lord John is in the Colonies in what is now Canada during the French and Indian War. He has his encounter with a very friendly "Indian". I hope that in some book Lord John finds a true companion and love interest (that is not Jamie). Please keep all of these stories about Jamie and Lord John coming. They are FANTASTIC!

  • Christine
    2019-03-27 16:49

    I wish I would have seen the chronology at the end of the novella. I was confused by how this fit into the Outlander series. I know Diana Gabaldon says her novellas are stand alone. I would have enjoyed the story more if I wasn't trying to figure out the who and the when of this story. Lord John is an interesting character but I felt I had huge gaps in his story and it turns out, there were! The chronology is a huge help to the whole series and how Lord John is blended into Jaimie and Claire's story. I'm glad I purchased this for my kindle for that alone, lol.

  • Lauri
    2019-04-11 16:59

    I actually read this a couple of months ago - I'm surprised I forgot to review it. Another lovely short novella featuring Lord John Gray. You can't read anything by Diana without learning something, and my favorite fact from this book was that in the late 1700s, electric eel parties were all the rage. Apparently, the exotic creatures were brought in by eel-wranglers who set them up in a tank and then allowed party-goers to touch them for the shock! Crazy. Anyway, a fun novella to sustain all of us Diana fans until the next novel comes out.

  • Cindy
    2019-04-03 20:00

    I liked this side trip into the LJG world. The author takes us to Canada for a court-martial involving a friend of LJG. Prior to the Canadian adventure, there's an electric eel party, a duel, and threatened marriage. Once in Canada, LJG is drawn into (view spoiler)[ The Battle of Quebec (hide spoiler)]. I like Gabaldon's attention to detail and this short novella is a nice interlude in the Outlander/Lord John Grey world.

  • SB Morales
    2019-03-31 14:05

    Another great story staring Lord John Grey. I just love these! The John Grey character is one of my favorites always being torn between what is expected of him and what is right. This time he goes to an eel party and finds himself in a little trouble.It's nice to learn more about the other Outlander characters without the distractions of the main characters. Outlander is truly it's own world and I am so happy that Gabaldon gives us these insights to others in the world.

  • Brenda Gayle
    2019-04-17 16:51

    This Lord John Grey short story nicely explains a bit of the back-story to the Scottish Prisoner. All Gabaldon's books are so well-written and well-researched, and this is no exception. Set partially in Canada during the battle for the Plains of Abraham, Gabaldon's explanation of the batttle was far more intereting than my Grade 10 history course. Custom of the Army is a nice appetizer while I await her next BIG ENORMOUS BOOK.

  • Peggy
    2019-04-25 13:43

    3/5 stars; liked this one but I doubt if I would read it again. Lord John is one of my favorite characters in the Outlander series and I've also enjoyed reading his own series of stories. For some reason this one just didn't grab me as Brotherhood of the Blade and The Scottish Prisoner. It might be that it was just too short (although I really liked the zombie short story). It's set in the late 1750's in London and then Canada. The one plus to the story is Lord John's personality; so charming!

  • M
    2019-03-31 13:02

    A novella that explains Charlie Curuthers reasons for charging Major Siverly with court marshall and his relationship with Lord John Grey. Also reveals how Lord John met Monoke, his Indian cook. Great Battle scenes On American/Canadian border. DG is excellent at describing fighting during battles--really interesting. Good story that fills in the spaces nicely from the larger novels of the Outlander series.