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Lord John Grey is an English soldier and diplomat. At age sixteen, he meets the infamous Jamie Fraser before the Battle of Prestonpans, and the two do not meet again until he becomes the governor of Ardsmuir, a Scottish prison. They form a tenuous friendship, which soon becomes complicated by the fact that Lord John has fallen in love with Jamie.

Lord John is a main character in the Outlander novels and the protagonist of a subseries of historical mysteries, the Lord John novels and novellas. The Lord John stories take place during the period of time that Jamie is paroled at Helwater.

Personal History[]

John William Bertram Armstrong Grey was born to Gerard Grey, Duke of Pardloe and Earl of Melton, and his wife Benedicta Grey, née Armstrong. Grey has three elder brothers: Harold "Hal" Grey, from his parents' marriage, and Paul and Edgar DeVane, half-brothers from his mother's first marriage. Hal is about nine years older than John, and although it is unclear just how much older John's half-brothers are, John was about ten when Edgar married.

Grey is a fine swordsman, having first begun lessons at the age of three. At a young age, he once struck Hal on the leg with a sword, doing no lasting damage but leaving a scar. He was enrolled for The Society for the Appreciation of the English Beefsteak, a gentlemen's club, upon his birth by his godfather, who began taking him there for lunch every Wednesday starting when he was seven. As an adult, Grey continues to frequent the club, preferring it to White's, of which he is also a member.

On Grey's twelfth birthday, he was given a pocket watch by his father, identical to the one his brother received on his own twelfth birthday. The next day, Grey's father was found dead by his mother, having been murdered in the night. Not knowing who had committed the murder and wanting to protect her family, Grey's mother covered it up, making it appear as though Pardloe had committed suicide; at the time, he had been suspected as a Jacobite supporter, and his death was perceived by some as an admission of guilt. The family was dishonored by the allegations, and an attempt to have the dukedom of Pardloe revoked was briefly made.

Thoroughly shamed, Grey's elder brother Hal chose to be referred to by his lesser title, the Earl of Melton, rather than take on one that was associated with such a scandal. As the head of the family, Melton's choice was accepted by his mother, who became known as the Dowager Countess instead of the Dowager Duchess. If John had followed suit, he would have been called the Honourable John Grey, as befitting an earl's younger son. However, John insisted on continuing to be called Lord John, as befitting a duke's younger son. Immediately after his father's death, Grey was sent to Aberdeen, Scotland, to stay with his mother's family and avoid the scandal, although it was not until much later in his life that Grey came to realize this was done for his own protection.

Outlander Series[]

Dragonfly in Amber[]

In September of 1745, sixteen-year-old Lord John Grey first sees Jamie Fraser by the light of a campfire in the Carryarick Pass while on campaign with his elder brother's regiment. Young Grey recognizes him as the notorious Highlander called Red Jamie, and while he hesitates to attempt capturing the criminal alone, he makes his decision to kill the man when he notices an Englishwoman in the man's company, and assumes she is there against her will. Grey fails to kill Jamie, and feels unbearably foolish when he learns that the woman is in fact Fraser's wife – after having divulged military intelligence about the nearby English army in exchange for the lady's honor. Fraser lets John live, and has him tied to a tree where his fellows will find him in the morning. Grey's parting words include the pronouncement of a debt of honor between them, and he avows that, should he have the chance to discharge that debt, he will do so, and then kill Fraser.


On February 15, 1755, Lord John arrives in Ardsmuir, Scotland, to replace Colonel Harry Quarry as governor of Ardsmuir Prison. He was sent there after his involvement in a near-scandal.

When he learns from Quarry that one of the prisoners under his care is Jamie Fraser, Grey immediately relives the mortification of their encounter nearly a decade before. Despite Quarry's suggestion that Grey meet with Fraser, whom the Jacobite prisoners consider their leader, to discuss matters concerning the prisoners' welfare, Grey stubbornly resolves not to face Fraser again.

This notion becomes short-lived when Grey receives word of a man in the nearby village raving about gold in a mixture of French and Gaelic. Grey realizes he must seek Fraser's assistance, as Fraser is the only man in the prison who speaks both languages, and would have no way of acting on the information obtained. There is also the tantalizing idea that if he, Grey, were able to locate the fabled Frenchman's gold meant for Charles Stuart during the Rising and hand it over to the Crown, he might escape his banishment sooner. Though Fraser agrees to translate, the dying man's words make little to no sense, and he dies early the next morning. Thereafter, Grey finally heeds Quarry's advice and has Fraser summoned to meet with him in his quarters every month, with the endgame of discovering more information about the gold.

The two men, though their acquaintance is necessarily formal, develop a certain rapport – they recognize each other as fellow soldiers, and both enjoy discussing literature and playing chess. However, their fragile bond is shattered when Grey, who has found himself attracted to Fraser and falling in love with him, makes a tentative move on the prisoner. Fraser rejects him utterly, and severs all contact with him. Later, Fraser takes the blame for the presence of an illicit bit of Highland tartan in the prison block, and Grey has no choice but to have Fraser flogged as punishment.

Upon the completion of the fortress renovations at Ardsmuir in 1756, Grey is charged with transporting the prisoners to the American colonies. In Fraser's case, however, he makes an exception, and arranges to have him paroled at Helwater, to be quartered with the Dunsany family, who have a long acquaintance with Grey. Throughout Jamie's parole, Lord John visits Helwater periodically to ensure Fraser's welfare.

In September 1764, Lord John tells Jamie he will marry Isobel Dunsany and become William's stepfather. Jamie offers his body to Lord John, but he declines. Instead, with gratitude, Jamie kisses him on the mouth.

In early 1767, Lord John meets Claire again on a ship to the West Indies, though he does not recognize her as Jamie's wife; he only knows her as Mrs. Malcolm and does not see her in the daylight. Later, after Claire has escaped the ship and Lord John has assumed his new position as governor of Jamaica, Lord John meets Jamie at a ball for his arrival as governor, and finally sees Claire for who she really is. During the ball, John meets with Jamie in private to give him a miniature portrait of his son, William, and Claire observes them, unseen, as they embrace with great feeling. After his initial shock at discovering her true identity, John talks privately with Claire and explains how Jamie came to have a son and how he, John, came to be stepfather to the boy.

Lord John offers the use of his pinnace to Jamie and Claire as they search for their nephew, Young Ian.

Drums of Autumn[]

In the autumn of 1768, Lord John arrives unannounced at Fraser's Ridge with his stepson, WilliamJamie's illegitimate son. He reveals that his wife, Isobel, died while on the passage to Jamaica with William, and he travels now to his wife's estate in Virginia. Fraser's Ridge is not precisely on the way from Charleston to the estate in Virginia, but Lord John wanted to stop and see Jamie, for various reasons.

While visiting, Lord John contracts the measles, and Claire treats him while Jamie takes William on a hunting trip to protect him from infection. John and Claire speak frankly while Jamie is gone, a tense conversation that perhaps helps them understand each other better. He leaves once he has recovered and William returns with Jamie from hunting.

About a year later, John returns to North Carolina, this time to Cross Creek, where a pregnant Brianna awaits news of Roger and her parents. Lord John stops at River Run in the course of searching for Roger Wakefield, as Jamie had asked him to do months ago, but Brianna apprises him of the developments in the search for Roger. Instead of moving on to Wilmington, Lord John stays on at River Run and keeps Brianna company while they wait for Jamie and Claire to return, hopefully with Roger.

After witnessing Lord John paying a late night visit to the slave quarters, and guessing at his homosexuality, Brianna tries to blackmail Lord John into marrying her, threatening to expose him as a "pederast" if he refuses. Lord John insists she explain how she came to resort to blackmail to solve her problems, and they have a long discussion about her predicament and John's own history. Eventually, John agrees to fake an engagement with her, in order to throw off her other potential suitors while they wait for news of Roger. It is during these months at River Run that Brianna and Lord John become close friends.

In the spring, Lord John hears of Stephen Bonnet's arrest and sentence to hang, and tells Brianna of it. She insists she wants to see Bonnet before his execution, and Lord John reluctantly agrees to take her to him. While in the cellar of the building where Bonnet is being kept, Sergeant Murchison knocks a blow to Lord John's head, rendering John apparently dead. Brianna discovers he is not, and gets Bonnet to carry John's lifeless body out and away from the building, which is set to explode. They get out in time, and Bonnet escapes while John survives.

Lord John is still recovering from his injuries when Jamie and Claire return from their journey in May. Claire inspects the healing wound to John's head, on which another physician performed surgery. Claire returns John's ring to him, which had helped maintain the ruse of his engagement to Brianna.

The Fiery Cross[]

Lord John does not appear in person in The Fiery Cross, but he and Jamie exchange several letters throughout the novel. Jamie writes to John and tells him that Brianna's son is named Jeremiah Alexander Ian Fraser MacKenzie, "Ian" being the Scottish version of "John", and informs him of his task of forming a militia and leading them to do the governor's bidding. Jamie asks John to look after his family, should anything happen to him.

Later, Brianna finds a letter from Lord John in her father's study, but not the one that the family had all shared earlier. She reads that John has been helping Jamie find out about Stephen Bonnet's whereabouts, at Jamie's request. He has also been on the lookout for an astrolabe for Jamie, but one of these does not appear until some time later, and not from Lord John, but his stepson, William.

A Breath of Snow and Ashes[]

In 1775, Grey writes to Jamie Fraser to warn him that Fraser's name is associated with the American rebels and urges him to disassociate himself from such people. Jamie replies that the continued correspondence poses a danger to Grey and thus this link between them must be severed.

In July 1776, Grey is in Wilmington where his stepson William is with his regiment as a lieutenant. Grey meets Brianna MacKenzie and her family, and tells Brianna that William is in fact Jamie's son and her half-brother, but urges her to keep the secret. Jamie visits Grey at an inn, and the two watch Brianna and William talking to each other on the street. As Brianna will be going back to the future in a few months, Jamie asks Grey for a jewel for her to pass through the stones, and Grey gives him his gold ring set with a sapphire – Hector's ring.

An Echo in the Bone[]

In July 1776, Grey meets Percy Wainwright – who now uses the name Beauchamp and is a French spy – in Wilmington. Percy wants him to convey a message to the British government that he is willing to provide information on one of Washington's chief officers that could be used to turn that officer, in exchange for the Northwest Territory, which once belonged to France. He also asks him questions about Jamie Fraser, claiming that he is looking for some man and wants to question Fraser, and mentions Grey's step-son William. Grey tells him to stay away from him and his son.

In November 1776, Grey returns to London, where he looks into Beauchamp and finds out that many files pertaining to him have gone missing. However, he learns that a French nobleman is looking for a man named Claudel Fraser, and Beauchamp has been tasked with the search.

Grey also receives a letter from William in which he claims to be in love with Grey's niece Dottie and wants Grey to present his suit for her hand to Dottie's father Hal. Grey doesn't believe William's claims and confronts Dottie in an attempt to figure out what the two are up to, however, he eventually does speak to Hal on William's behalf.

In late December 1776, Grey goes to France to continue his search for information regarding Percy Beauchamp and his connections, which include Denys Randall-Isaacs who currently accompanies William on an intelligencing expedition in Canada. He visits Baron Amandine and meets Dr. Franklin, a prominent Philadelphian. Grey returns to London in March 1777, and he and Dottie leave for Philadelphia in early April, to rescue Dottie's brother Henry who has been seriously wounded and is held prisoner there.

Grey and Dottie arrive in Philadelphia in June 1777. Grey visits the house of Mrs. Mercy Woodcock, a young and married African woman, who nurses Henry. Grey notices that a bond has developed between his nephew and Mrs. Woodcock, and is worried that should she become a widow – her husband is a rebel – Henry might want to marry her, which would cause a family scandal.

On July 4, Grey looks for Dr. Benjamin Rush, who might be able to operate on Henry, whose condition is still serious. Grey finds himself in a taproom where Dr. Rush and other prominent rebels celebrate the first anniversary of the Declaration of Independence. He then notices Percy Beauchamp and the two walk to Southeast Square, where Percy tells Grey the story of Fergus's parents.

The same day, Grey writes letters to his brother Hal, Harry Quarry, a London associate Arthur Norrington who investigates Percy, and to Jamie Fraser. Grey remembers that Claire Fraser experimented with ether, and hopes that she might be inclined to come to Philadelphia to operate on Henry. However, he learns that the Frasers left the Ridge months earlier, intending to visit Scotland.

In September 1777, Grey and Dottie watch British troops commanded by General Howe marching triumphantly into Philadelphia.

In November, William arrives and tells Grey about an excellent Continental surgeon who could help Henry – Denzell Hunter, whom William could fetch from Valley Forge under a flag of truce, along with Hunter's sister and nurse Rachel.

At Christmas, Denzell operates on Henry and becomes engaged to Dottie – they have met in London and fallen in love, and Dottie followed Denny across the ocean.

In April 1778, Claire Fraser comes to Grey's house in Philadelphia, having learned that some months earlier he bought oil of vitriol, which she requires for making ether. They strike a bargain and Claire operates on his nephew Henry.

Grey then learns that the Euterpe has sunk, and as Jamie Fraser is believed to have been on board, Grey delivers Claire news of her husband's death. Grey himself is shattered.

Captain Richardson pays Grey a visit and informs him that he intends to arrest Claire for espionage. Grey proposes to Claire – he can protect her, as well as Fergus's family – and they marry at Grey's house, with William being best man to Grey. Grey and Claire mourn Jamie together and become intimate.

In June, Jamie Fraser, who wasn't aboard the sunken ship, arrives at Lord John Grey's house, followed closely by British soldiers. Grey tries to help him escape, but they are interrupted by William who sees Fraser and realizes the striking resemblance between Jamie and himself. To Grey's horror, Jamie reveals the truth about William's paternity. William is furious with both Fraser and Grey.

As the soldiers come into the house, Jamie pretends to be taking Grey hostage, and William delays the soldiers further, allowing them escape.

Grey and Fraser leave the city, and Jamie thanks Grey for taking care of Claire in his absence. Knowing that Jamie will sooner or later find out that Grey and Claire had sex, Grey admits to him that "he has had carnal knowledge" of Fraser's wife.

Written in My Own Heart's Blood[]

On June 16, 1778, Lord John Grey tells Jamie Fraser that he had sex with his wife Claire when they believed Jamie was dead. Jamie assaults him, but they are interrupted by a group of Continental army soldiers who take Grey prisoner, and Jamie lets them. Grey is believed to be a spy, which can get him hanged. However, he is relieved that Jamie is still alive and that Grey himself isn't married to Claire anymore. With help from his niece Dottie and her fiancé Denzell Hunter, Grey escapes the next day. However, he soon encounters another group of rebels, introduces himself as Bertram Armstrong, an American patriot, and finds himself swearing an oath of allegiance to the United States.

While with the Continental army, Lord John encounters Germain Fraser, who promises to keep his identity a secret. However, when General Fraser inspects his troops, Claire notices Grey among the soldiers. Grey surrenders to Jamie and is escorted to his tent, where Claire treats his eye. During the Battle of Monmouth, Percy Beauchamp visits Grey and warns him that his stepson William Ransom is in danger from Captain Ezekiel Richardson. Grey escapes and reaches the British army's camp, where he is reunited with his brother Hal and William. After the battle, William disappears and Lord John and Hal pay Jamie a visit to ask for a letter of introduction to General Arnold. They are searching for William and Hal's son Benjamin, who was taken by rebels months earlier and is rumored to be dead.

They then go to Lord John's house in Philadelphia, where they meet Dottie and William. They inform Dottie and William on the developments regarding Benjamin, and William offers to look for his cousin.

In August, the Greys participate in Dottie's Quaker wedding.

In September, Lord John and Hal are in New York, as John prepares for a journey south, to look for Amaranthus Cowden – a woman who claims to be Benjamin's widow and the mother of his child. Dottie joins Grey, and they arrive in Charleston in late September. When Dottie realizes that she is pregnant, Grey takes her back to New York to her husband Denzell Hunter.

In January 1779, Grey meets William in Savannah when his son calls upon Lieutenant Colonel Campbell to speak on behalf of Jane Pocock, a prostitute arrested for murder. Lord John tries to help him, but their attempts to save the girl fail, and William turns for help to Jamie Fraser. After William and Jamie find Jane dead, Grey visits Campbell to claim her body and meets Claire with Fanny Pocock. Claire gives an account of a conversation she had with Ezekiel Richardson a few days earlier, and warns Grey that Richardson is aware of Grey's homosexuality. They meet again the next day, at Jane's funeral.

On January 15, Grey and Hal find Amaranthus Cowden, who decides to go with them.

Lord John Series[]

"Lord John and the Hellfire Club"[]

In autumn of 1756, Lord John is dining at The Society for the Appreciation of the English Beefsteak with Harry Quarry. Harry teasingly toasts him about his return from exile – Ardsmuir Prison – a post they have in common. John's eyes keep wanting to look to the corridor, seeing a flash of red hair, a color that reminds him of someone he knew it couldn't be.

Quarry introduces the man as his cousin by marriage, Robert Gerald. Gerald is invited to join them for drinks while Quarry asks what had taken place in the corridor. Gerald explains that he had been made an offer from George Bubb-Dodington, an offer he refused. Upon leaving, Grey finds himself alone with Gerald in the vestibule. Gerald requests a favor of Grey – to meet after dark at the Royal Exchange, and Grey agrees, though he does not yet know the nature of Gerald's difficulty.

Grey fills his afternoon with errands, and Quarry joins him for company. The pair find themselves near the Exchange taking coffee, comparing London and how busy it is to their shared exile in the Highlands. The conversation turns to Fraser; Quarry speaks highly of the man, yet admits that Fraser wasn't a man to underestimate. He confides in Grey about the 'accidental' death of a Sergeant, which Quarry has documented as a 'misadventure' because, even if he could prove it was Fraser, he liked the Scot more than the sergeant.

The conversation between the men is interrupted as Quarry makes note of his cousin arriving. As they move to greet him, someone – using the surge of the crowd – strikes Gerald down with their blade. By the time that Quarry and Grey manage to push through the throngs of people, Gerald lay dying upon the ground. While Quarry rages at the crowd demanding answers, Grey tries to get even a hint of the perpetrator's identity from Gerald. Gerald's lips move to speak, but the words do not come as he dies. Grey vows to avenge Gerald.

Over the next two days, Grey makes inquiries and speculations, thoroughly inspecting every corner of Front Street, but to no avail. The most he can determine is that the attack was planned. Grey and Quarry make attempts to speak with the hall porter at the Beefsteak to determine what Bubb-Dodington had spoken to Gerald about the day of his death. However, the man was temporary staff and already gone. Grey tries canvassing all of Gerald's acquaintances for any rumors of enemies or falling outs that might reveal some hint of who would want to kill him, but no one can think of any reason someone would wish Gerald dead.

Grey receives an invitation to a party hosted by Sir Richard Joffrey and Lady Lucinda Joffrey, from Quarry, who has attached his own note to Grey to come, as he had news. Grey also receives a note from Bubb-Dodington requesting some of his time – as convenient – at the Joffreys'. Upon review of Quarry's note, he finds a broadsheet attached containing a rather invidious poem that gives undertones of speculation to Gerald's sexuality, and justice being served with his death.

Almost as soon as Grey arrives, Quarry takes him aside to speak in private. Quarry tells him how more of that broadsheet and others like it had been put all around the city, and that people were making accusations that Gerald was a pederast and a member of a notorious sodomitical society. These rumors only fuel Quarry's outrage.

Grey deduces that the murderer sought to discredit Gerald's name, as well as silence him – but why ruin the reputation of a dead man? Quarry, at a loss, looks around at the other guests; Grey does likewise, and is caught off guard by the sight of his former lover, George Everett. But Everett is a momentary distraction, and Grey is introduced to Lady Lucinda, who is doing her best to keep up appearances, in spite of her distress over her cousin's murder.

Feeling no longer obligated to keep silent about Gerald's last request, Grey tells Quarry and Lucinda that Gerald felt he could not confide in anyone else, and asked Grey to meet him. Quarry is shocked at the meeting's intended location, and offended that his cousin didn't confide in him.

Grey reminds Quarry that the original pretext for their meeting at the party was some news Quarry had. Quarry explains that he had learned that the offer Gerald had refused was an invitation to an event at Sir Francis Dashwood's home in West Wycombe. Lady Lucinda advises Grey, who is unfamiliar with the place, that Sir Francis entertains there for the purpose of seducing the powerful, much as many of the upper crust do. They consider that "the West Wycombe assemblage" might have been interested in Gerald's access to the prime minister.

While Quarry is drawn to the dance floor, Lucinda reveals to Grey that Quarry was exiled to Scotland after calling out a colonel for cheating at cards. She points out Sir Francis Dashwood across the room, and Grey recalls hearing about Dashwood's association, the Hellfire Club, that meets at Medmenham Abbey. After Lady Lucinda departs to join her husband, Grey moves through the crowd listening to the conversations, all about Gerald's death and the rumors about him. While recoiling from Justice Margrave's comments of castration as a punishment for sodomy, he is greeted by Everett. Their conversation is cut short when Bubb-Dodington makes his introduction to Grey, and invites him to come to Medmenham Abbey. Grey makes his excuses to leave the conversation and rejoins Lady Lucinda and Harry Quarry, who is still ranting in outrage about Dashwood. Grey notices the way Quarry's lips move to say 'Dashwood' and realized that's what Gerald was trying to say when he died.

With Dashwood's name now implicated, Grey accepts the invitation to Medmenham Abbey. For the first three days, Grey notices that there is an air secrecy, and other than women coming to dine, the house-guests are all men. The most Grey can determine for sure is that Dashwood didn't murder Gerald – at least not directly – as he has an alibi. Grey inquires bluntly of Everett both what Dashwood would want with him and about Gerald's death. Everett makes the point that by association, Grey was doing harm to his own reputation.

After a day of nervous anticipation, Grey retires as usual, passing the candle before the window to the signal to Quarry – who had insisted on accompanying him, but to remain at a distance – that all is well. Grey feels obscurely comforted by Quarry being outside, more so than by Everett's presence in the next room.

He is awakened to find his bed surrounded by what look like hooded monks, who pull Grey out of bed in silence, strip him, and help him into a robe of his own. He is led out to the garden, then through a curious portal carved to resemble the female privates. The 'monks' begin their chants, and Grey tries not to laugh at it all. Dashwood speaks, giving rites similar to mass but to invoke the Master of Darkness, and an ape dressed as a bishop is brought out, jumping onto the altar and slobbering over everything.

As the now drunken group makes to depart, Grey is seized and pulled back, and bent over a marble basin. Dashwood intones a prayer in reverse Latin, putting something warm and sticky over Grey's head. Grey's attempts to struggle result in his getting punched hard in the stomach, knocking the breath out of him. Now blood-stained, he is forced to drink wine with a distinct taste of opium in it, then taken to a room and pushed inside the door, which is locked behind him.

As the little opium he had ingested wears off, he is shocked to find a young, naked and quite dead woman in the room with him. Grey is trying to puzzle out the point of this, when the door finally opens and Everett enters the room. Grey demands to know what this is all about. Everett takes the rope from Grey's robe, leaving him exposed, and wraps it tight around the girls neck to make it appear that she had been strangled. Everett explains that it's part of the initiation to the brotherhood – the rites, the baptizing in blood, and then the new pledge is locked with a young woman for his pleasure before she is then to be sacrificed at the pledge's hands while an elder brother acts as witness.

Everett confesses that he had gone through the rites as well, and ultimately confesses to the murder of Robert Gerald; Everett had approached Gerald as a prospective lover, but Gerald rejected him. Once the Hellfire Club selected Gerald as a new member, Everett knew he could not risk that Gerald would tell the brotherhood what he was – a sodomite – and he decided to eliminate him as a liability. Because Grey had been investigating Gerald's death and now knew the truth, Everett admits that he cannot let Grey live, either. Everett explains that the broadsheets had nothing to do with Gerald's death; they were just the Club's attempts to agitate Sir Richard. Grey, meanwhile, has been plotting his defense while Everett has been talking, and chooses a glass of wine as his best weapon.

They struggle for a minute, Grey with his broken glass and Everett with a knife, until Grey manages to kick Everett hard enough that he staggers backward, right into Harry Quarry's outstretched sword. Grey is unsure how much Quarry had heard, let alone what he might have made of it.

Beyond the memories of it that he would carry, Lord John Grey would also carry a scar from Everett's blade down the side of his neck.

Lord John and the Private Matter[]

In June 1757, Lord John notices a concerning sore on the Honorable Joseph Trevelyan's private member. This is concerning as Trevelyan is engaged to Grey's own cousin Olivia Pearsall. While waiting for Harry Quarry Grey meets Malcolm Stubbs, learning about the death of fellow regiment member Timothy O'Connell. Stubbs casually mentions having met Olivia which turned the subject momentarily to Trevelyan. Stubbs speaking a great deal regarding Trevelyan's activities and social prominence. Grey finding a way to shift the conversation not wishing to speak of or think of Trevelyan at the moment. Grey offers to join the widow walk after he dines with Quarry. Grey confides in Quarry his worry about Trevelyan. Quarry offers a simple solution - find where Trevelyan goes whoring or just take him to a brothel and pay extra to learn the truth.

During the widow walk Stubbs discloses that during his meal he was told they would be sent to France. While Stubbs was disappointed, Grey is relieved that he'd not be taken too far from Helwater or more importantly Jamie Fraser. When they arrive at the home of Mrs. O'Connell they are instead greeted by Finbar Scanlon the owner of the apothecary shop and the landlord. Scanlon lies saying Mrs. O'Connell is out and, to Grey, is acting suspiciously. Mrs. O'Connell, however is home and looking rather roughed up. Scanlon informed them the bruises were the fault of her husband. The bulge of her pregnant belly however is far from the fault of her husband as they well know he'd only recently returned to London. She tells them that Tim had taken up with another woman over a year ago and it'd been just as long since she'd seen him till the night he showed up. She attempted to refuse the widow money they offered - an action that Grey and Stubbs both took to be of guilt of some kind - till Grey called it a pension as the widow of the sergeant.

Grey speaks with Quarry about the situation of O'Connell's wife and Scanlon. Quarry tells Grey that O'Connell had been suspected of possibly stealing documents. And that under Hal's direction a footman employed by Trevelyan was to watch O'Connell's every move but, Jack has been missing since around O'Connell's death. Due to a series of unfortunate events the task of investigating O'Connell's death and possible involvement with the missing documents falls on Grey's shoulders. Their conversation turns to his personal investigation into Trevelyan - who claims he promised his mother on her deathbed to have nothing to do with prostitutes. Quarry finds that rather impossible as he'd discreetly asked around and found that Trevelyan goes to a brothel in Meacham Street - one Quarry goes to sometimes too. Quarry offers the solution of just going straight to the brothel and questioning the whores since Trevelyan goes there at least twice a month. They determine to go to the brothel together.

With the arrival of Tom Byrd, younger brother of the missing Jack, Grey finds himself with a new valet and assistant in his investigation. Grey discovers a heel-print in O'Connell's forehead when inspecting the body. Grey finds himself in the middle of a cat fight as Mrs. O'Connell - now Mrs. Scanlon - and Iphigenia Stokes - O'Connell's mistress. Grey and Tom are able to conclude that Stokes family is Greek. Tom points out that the heel print had to be made by a rounded wooden heel. Grey meets with Quarry reviewing with him everything that he had thus found in his investigation. Quarry points out that wooden heel shoes are often worn by sailors. Which from memory Grey had thought some of Stokes' family were sailors. They determine it would be best to have the Stokes and Scanlons followed up on.

At his mother's home Grey realizes it's Wednesday and he'd not as intended missed her weekly party. Grey gets drawn into conversation with Lady Mumford, Hector's mother. The one benefit of this is he was excused from rescuing his mother from speaking to her very tall guest, a Hanoverian gentlemen dressed in uniform. Grey finds himself in the company of Trevelyan and the very loud Von Namtzen. Grey thanks Trevelyan for sending Tom to assist him. Trevelyan, however had not sent Tom and was outraged that Tom came and pressed himself upon John falsely. Grey, not wishing Tom to get in trouble, ensures Tom stays out of sight and tells Trevelyan that Tom had disappeared from the property. To avoid the subject of Tom, Grey instead turns the conversation to Trevelyan's pending marriage. He watched Trevelyan as he departed, pausing to say goodbye to Olivia, wondering if someone knowing himself afflicted with the French disease would discuss an upcoming wedding with such insouciance. But any thought of this was countered by Quarry's findings that Trevelyan frequents a brothel.

Grey's outing with Quarry became delayed till Saturday. They were greeted welcomingly by Madam Mags. Quarry quickly left Grey to meet with a whore of his own. Leaving Grey pondering what all Quarry heard pass between him and George Everett at the Hellfire Club. Mags brings him to Nessie, one of her young whores. Once Mags has left Grey learns from Nessie, that Mags is really Magda and is German. At first Nessie refuses to have him learning he had been stationed at Ardsmuir. Grey makes it clear that he does not have intentions of sleeping with her. He keeps her talking with the story of how she ended up in London. He asks her about Trevelyan, but she has not been with him and instead she goes to check with the other whores that weren't with clients. John recalled Culloden and Hector as he drank alone in the room. He woke hung over in the dark, naked, and in bed with Nessie. He chose to not wake her or try to leave and laid back down with her. Her hair reminding him of the Woman, Fraser's wife's hair. He knew her name just didn't care to use it knowing Fraser would never stop loving her. Just as he would never stop loving Hector. Briefly, in wine-fueled thought, Grey considered having Nessie as she hardly had breasts and had a narrow ass like a boy. He however pushes the thought aside as she was neither of the persons he wants and drifts back to sleep.

The following morning Nessie tells all that she had learned of Trevelyan, after payment for the information is negotiated. He did not go with any of the whores, but instead would go into Mags' room and later a woman in Mags' clothes walks out with a big lace cap - but it's not Mag. The lady dresses in green then goes to a chair waiting out back and is taken away. Nessie tells him she's not sure where the lady goes just that she leaves past dark and is back just before dawn. She offers to get Rab, a chairman that asks for her when he's the coin, who's been a chairman for this lady in green to tell her more. Grey gives her some extra money to ensure that Rab has money to see her very soon. While they leave Grey updates Quarry on what he was able to find out. Quarry suggesting getting Constable Magruder to inquire about a woman in green velvet.

Grey and Olivia speak over breakfast about Tom, her future as the head of a house, and John's bachelorhood. Grey contemplated his investigation of O'Connell's death. The investigation into the Stokes showed them to be of Greek sailors. Olivia asks if John was ever in love. He tells her he was and after further prodding explained he could not wed his lover as they died - leaving out that his lover was a man. Grey receives a letter from Magruder about O'Connell's coat that had been found at a pawnbroker shop. In the description of the article included where the coat had been un-stitched on one side in the lining. Grey determined this was probably where O'Connell had been hiding the papers. Grey also receives a note from Quarry asking him to meet at St Martin-in-the-Fields wearing his old uniform. Upon Rab's arrival Grey sets aside his mail to learn what the chairman could offer. As Grey and Rab negotiated the cost of his information Rab offers half his price to Nessie and declares he intends to marry her - once she buys the freedom from her contact. Rab tells Grey that the lady in green goes to the Lavender House on Barbican Street. With how Rab spoke he didn't have any idea the lady in green wasn't a lady or the true nature of Lavender House, but Grey knew the house and that this investigation was going to take him to this place from his past.

Seeing no choice in the matter Grey dressed in disguise himself as he walked to Lavender House. While walking he heard a distance set of voices being raised - one being familiar. Grey stepped in rescuing Tom from one of the Mollies who was making very forward and unwanted advances on the young valet. Grey tries to tell Tom to leave, but Tom insists on seeing him to his destination. Grey tells Tom to leave once they get to Lavender House. Grey introduces himself to the doorman as George Everett and asks to speak to the proprietor. While waiting he is swarmed by a number of men. Goldie-Locks makes some forward flirtatious remarks where Percy Wainwright is polite introducing himself and kissing Grey's hand. He inquires of the group of a "lady in green velvet" but none knew of her. Before he could make more inquiries Richard Caswell, the proprietor, takes Grey to his office to speak.

Grey and Casewell have a verbal duel as Grey attempts to get information about Trevelyan. Recalling that Caswell likes to know everything about everyone and will sell that information they settle on a price - the truth of how Everett died. Caswell takes Grey up to a private room that Trevelyan keeps on a permanent basis and reveals that Trevelyan entertains a woman rather than a man in the room. He reveals the lady has dark hair, wears a very expensive perfume, and has a taste for the German wine he keeps in stock for Trevelyan. It becomes obvious that by the lengths they go to hide who she is in their arrivals and departures that she is a lady with a great deal to lose - leading Grey to believe she may be married. Caswell did confirm that in late April a servant came for Trevelyan and Trevelyan and his lady left together that day. As Caswell fulfilled his end of the bargain Grey revealed all the details of Everett's death and the events at the Hellfire Club. Before departing Grey gave into a young man and his own desires.

Grey investigates the German wine, thinking it is the one link he might be able to follow as the win was at Mags' and Lavender House and he learned that Trevelyan's lover favors it. His mother suggests checking Fraser et Cie for his wine. In their talk Grey asks if she thinks Olivia would be upset if she doesn't wed Trevelyan revealing he's at the least learned the man is having an affair. She suggests he keep any discoveries to himself. She tells him that at Olivia's age she doesn't know anything of the true nature of marriage and is currently only truly in love with her wedding dress. She sends him on his way, Grey completely forgetting he was holding her copy of "Fanny Hill" that has a rather personal dedication to Benedicta sighed just 'J'.

Grey meets with Quarry as Quarry requested, to meet with someone that Sir Richard Joffrey had directed Quarry to that knows all about the Calais business and might be helpful. Grey finds himself in the awkward situation of coming face to face with "Goldie-Locks", Neil Stapleton, in this meeting working as assistant to Hubert Bowles. Stapleton shows concern that Grey may let slip his true nature to his employer, Grey silently ensures that he has no intentions to do such a thing. Grey assumes the meeting is about O'Connell's death and potential espionage though Bowels leaves it open to interpretation. Bowles reveals that the investigation into the other suspects have been pointing to O'Connell as the culprit and that O'Connell was seen at Lavender House the day before his death. Having to save face - so to speak - Grey explains his own private inquiries of Trevelyan had led him to Lavender House rather than anything about O'Connell. Bowles dismisses the idea the Stokes were involved in O'Connell's death. They discuss that O'Connell went to Lavender House looking for someone named Meyer but before a servant could tell him if there was someone of that name O'Connell was gone. The group determine they need to discover who this Meyer is as he may be the spy master. Bowles provides Grey with a letter bearing the Royal Seal to empower him to make his inquiries about O'Connell's death without question. The meeting leaves Grey feeling unsettled.

Grey visits the wine-shop of Fraser et Cie where he spent perhaps more than intended on wines but found the mysterious German wine and a list of other customers that purchased it. Having still made minor progress in his investigation in Trevelyan, Grey knew one thing the engagement needed to be terminated. Grey determines Trevelyan would need to dissolve the engagement himself to save all face. While avoiding potential robbery Grey let his focus return to O'Connell. He is certain given how long the investigation was taking the death was more personal than business, bringing him back to Scanlon and the former Mrs. O'Connell. Tom locates Grey as he's walking - appalled at the state of Grey's suit - and tells him a woman in a green velvet dress was bond dead.

Ignoring inquiries about his clothes Grey sets to questioning about the deceased and looking over the body. Grey determined the dress is the same that is worn by the mysterious lady in green that leaves Mags' brothel and travels by chair to Lavender House. In his investigation he finds that the victim has suffered a gunshot and beyond that she is actually a he. Quarry offered the thought given how the man was in drag and shaven - all over - he could be a he-whore. Constable Magruder dismissed that saying the man is too old for that since most didn't live to more than twenty. Grey ponders the contradictions of the murder, someone obviously wanted to disguise the individual but bashing the face yet had them dressed in such a distinctive gown.

Grey receives notice early the following morning that that Scanlons had fled the area. And given how thoroughly the shop had been emptied they'd been tipped off that they would be arrested and left but not in a rush. Grey tried to figure out if their fleeing had something to do with the murder of the man in the green dress, which occurred the same day. Determined to find evidence Grey set out going first to Trevelyan's home and then to Trevelyan's business at the docks. There he is brought to Trevelyan's office and declares the engagement is at its end. Grey presents him with a scrap of the green velvet and reveals that a 'woman' was found murdered in that dress and the 'magistrate' was involved. All these things Trevelyan shows small tells of concern as they drink sherry. Trevelyan begins to react badly as Grey implies he has a connection to the dead 'woman', Mr. Scanlon, and to Lavender House.

Grey however is taken at disadvantage as Trevelyan pokes a hole into the name he'd casually dropped in regards to there being an official investigation noting the man in question is currently in Bath. To counter this Grey reveals that he is aware that Trevelyan is poxed and thus he forbids the marriage to take place. Trevelyan tries to turn it as Grey's mistake and misguided delusion. Trevelyan going so far as offering a coach to take Grey to a Doctor who has a history of treating nervous disorders. Grey makes it clear that he is not insane and the engagement must end. Trevelyan asking for three days to find an adequate reason to give for the engagement being terminated that would not harm his nor Olivia's reputations. Grey agrees giving him the time as he had wanted Trevelyan to find a way out of the engagement from the start.

After leaving the warehouse Grey called upon von Namtzen to learn about the German wine and the list of buyers he'd gotten. Von Namtzen points out that the names are Austrian directing Grey to Reinhardt Mayrhofer the heir of a Baron that lives in London. Grey suffers from mercury poisoning, leaving Grey to believe Trevelyan poisoned him either intentionally or accidentally at the warehouse. Luckily he has not lost too much time with the poisoning it just being the next day. So he sets out to find the truth of what has really been going on and how all the pieces fit together. With Tom and von Namtzen's assistance Grey uncovers that Mayrhofer is the murdered man in green, and that Maria Mayrhofer along with Scanlon, Jack, and Trevelyan were about to escape by sea using Trevelyan's connections to do so.

Grey sends Tom to pack a bag so they can pursue as necessary and requests von Namtzen to stay and look over the papers on Mayrhofer's desk. Leaving Grey with three choices; go to the East india Company offices, Trevelyan's chief business man Royce, or Neil the Cunt. he chose the latter of the options waking Stapleton from his sleep to get the information for the names and dates of ships sailing for East India company to leave this month. With a threat of revealing his true nature to his employer Stapleton was willing to assist and stop the flirtatious game. Stapleton was able to get the names of two ships. The Antioch, sailing in three weeks, and the Nampara, sailing the day after tomorrow. With the information he needed in hand Grey returned Stapleton to his home and went to his mother's to gather Tom.

Grey and Tom chase after Trevelyan - finding themselves shanghaied on the Nampara bound for India. On board they finally learn the truth about O'Connell and Mayrhofer's deaths. Trevelyan turns over the stolen documents to Grey explaining that he'd obtained them while trying to set Mayrhofer up as the spymaster to O'Connell. Grey meets Maria Mayrhofer, suffering from malaria. Grey learns in the course of things that Trevelyan married her after her husband was murdered. Maria confesses to murdering her husband after learning he murdered their newborn son and he threatened to expose her affair. Trevelyan explains that he and jack are the ones that bashed the man's face in and dumped the body. Scanlon confessed that he and several of his friends and family beat O'Connell to death both for what he did to Francine and for being a traitor. Scanlon offers to use his agreement with Trevelyan to get passage back to London so that the proper authorities will know the truth, at least about where the documents were.

Eight days pass and Maria's condition had not improved. Trevelyan scarcely leaving her side. Scanlon putting on a good face saying she will recover. And Jack worried - though not for Maria but for Trevelyan. A ship is spotted and Grey hopes it might be a way back to England. Scanlon goes below to check with Trevelyan about possibly stopping to board the ship and sail back. As Grey hurries to get his letter to send back he slips hitting his head, waking to Jack watching over him. Grey becomes more aware that Jack harbors feelings for Trevelyan though Grey is uncertain if they are returned. From his own personal knowledge he tells Jack that no matter what Trevelyan will never forget or stop loving Maria - especially if she dies. Grey offers Jack a position at his mother's home if he wished to return to London with he and Tom. The Scorpion, a troopship, has come alongside them and Tom rushes in to announce news from The Scorpion that they'd won Bengal.

On August 18,1757 Lord John Grey has returned to London and is attending a party at his mother's home for the victory in Bengal. Jack had chosen to return with Grey and Tom, though at first was quit to the point of taciturnity. The festivities however, seeming to have a cheering effect as Grey noticed Jack smiling at a young maid. The public hysteria over the victory had eclipsed the other news and gossip. So no word had been spread about Mayrhofer, Trevelyan, or about his jilted fiancee Olivia. For this Grey is thankful. He reflects on the last time he saw Trevelyan, at the bedside of Maria. Trevelyan saying that word would eventually be sent he'd died at sea. Which if Maria dies would be true and he would carry her over the edge and and die with her. However, if she lived they would live out their life in India. Returning to the party Malcolm Stubbs approaches Grey asking to marry Olivia before the regiment leaves. Grey gives his consent though politely refuses to make it a double wedding by marrying Stubbs' twin sister. Harry catches Grey for a moment telling him that word has come of their next assignment, however von Namtzen has requested Grey be assigned as liaison to his regiment.

"Lord John and the Succubus"[]

In the autumn of 1757, Grey has joined Stephan von Namtzen's regiment in Prussia, where he serves as a liaison officer. While there, rumors of a succubus emerge, leading Grey to investigate the deaths of British and Prussian soldiers. During his time in Prussia, Grey's friendship with von Namtzen grows, and he continues to speculate about the German's sexuality.

Lord John and the Brotherhood of the Blade[]

In January 1758, having returned to London, Grey meets General Sir George Stanley, his mother's fiancé, and, formally, Percy Wainwright, Stanley's stepson from his second marriage. Grey and Wainwright become romantically involved, despite Grey's continued feelings for Jamie Fraser. Wainwright also joins the 46th Regiment, which is assigned to fight under Duke Ferdinand of Brunswick in the Rhine Valley during 1758. While in the Rhine Valley, Wainwright is caught in flagrante delicto with another man, by Grey and two other soldiers. In the aftermath, the man is then discreetly shot by his commanding officer, Captain von Namtzen, while Wainwright is arrested and sent back to London to await a court-martial. Before returning to London, Grey fights at the Battle of Crefeld on 23 June 1758, where he takes charge of a gun crew that has lost its commanding officer. During the battle, the cannon blows up, severely injuring Grey. Once back in London and on the mend, Grey arranges to have Wainwright escape from prison and flee to Ireland. He also discovers the identity of his father's murderer, and clears his family's once-tarnished name. It is during the course of this novel that Geneva Dunsany gives birth to a son, William Ransom, shortly before both she and her husband die.

"Lord John and the Haunted Soldier"[]

In November 1758, months after the Battle of Crefeld, a Royal Commission of Inquiry is convened to investigate the cannon that blew up under Grey's command. Grey is called to stand before a tribunal led by Colonel Reginald Twelvetrees during the investigation, the accusations of which lead him to investigate the matter himself.

"The Custom of the Army"[]

While at an electric eel party in 1759, Grey enters into a duel, which ends in the death of the other man. In order to avoid the ensuing scandal, and the demand that he marry the woman in whose name the duel took place, Grey flees London for Canada, on the grounds of appearing as a character witness for his friend and former-lover, Charlie Carruthers. While in Canada, Grey joins General Wolfe's forces during the siege of Quebec, and partakes in the Battle of the Plains of Abraham. He also takes a two-week fishing trip with an Indian guide, Manoke, who becomes his lover. It is at this point that he is officially made a Lieutenant Colonel in the army, because of his involvement in the Battle of Crefeld.

The Scottish Prisoner[]

After returning to England, Grey receives a package in April 1760 which contains documents that once belonged to Carruthers, which explicitly detail the illegal actions of an English soldier. Grey must embark upon a mission to arrest him and return him to England to face a court martial, a course of action which requires the assistance of Jamie Fraser and a trip to Ireland. During the course of the novel, Grey pieces together the relationship between Fraser and William Ransom, while he and Fraser begin to rebuild their friendship. It is also during this novel that Grey enters into a duel with Edward Twelvetrees, whom he kills.

"A Plague of Zombies"[]

In June 1761, Lord John journeys to Jamaica in response to a plea for help from the island's governor. Upon his arrival, Lord John learns of the murder of a local planter, one Mr. Abernathy of Rose Hall, and the maroons are the suspected culprit. He also has to deal with the matter of a missing superintendent, snakes mysteriously invading the governor's house, and another grisly murder, possibly involving zombies. In the course of his investigation, John meets the widow Abernathy and Philip Twelvetrees, cousin of Edward Twelvetrees, whom John killed the year before.


"Besieged" follows Lord John's involvement in the siege of Havana in 1762.


A romantic or a novelist might count the world well lost for love. So far as Grey's own opinion counted, a love that sacrificed honor was less honest than simple lust, and degraded those who professed to glory in it.

John is described by Claire as a sensitive, kindly, and honorable man, and in fact values his honor above nearly all other things in life. He is known, however, to behave rashly on occasion, and he is a fierce commander on the battlefield.

As a closeted homosexual, during a time when sodomy was a crime punishable by death, John is adept at schooling his features and behavior in order to conceal his attraction to men. In turn, he is skilled at detecting the most subtle changes in the demeanor and expression of others.

Physical Appearance[]

Lord John is described as a man of slight build and shorter-than-average height (about 5'6"), with thick blond hair and large, long-lashed, light blue eyes. Several characters observe that his features, of fine bones and fair skin, are "saved from girlishness only by the firm set of mouth and jaw".[7] John has observed to himself that his beard grows in nearly the same color as his hair, but thick as well, and he keeps his face clean-shaven as a rule. He declines to wear a wig, preferring to wear his own hair, though this is usually bound back to combat its naturally wavy unruliness.

After a lifetime of soldiering, John has numerous scars on his body, including several crisscrossed over his left breast, a jagged one down his left forearm, and a deep one across the top of one thigh.[8]


Hal Grey[]

John's relationship with his brother, Hal, is one of great trust and respect. The brothers lost their father when John was still a boy; consequently, Hal acts as a fatherly elder brother, looking after John while helping him make his own way. After their father's death, John lived away from home and Hal for two years, staying with his mother's people in Aberdeen. Even after John had returned to England, the brothers did not interact much, as Hal was busy building up the regiment. During the campaign against the Scottish Jacobites in 1745-6, John accompanied Hal and his regiment to the Highlands, where John had his first taste of military life and warfare. It was there, after the Battle of Culloden and the death of John's friend and lover, Hector, that Hal explained that John must see his friend's body, in order to accept his death, grieve him, and move on.

John took up his commission with Hal's regiment, the 46th, and since then the brothers have grown closer, sharing their talent for soldiering.

On the matter of John's sexuality, Gabaldon has suggested that Hal almost certainly knows of John's preference for men, but that the brothers would never speak of it. She has hinted that even if Hal wasn't directly responsible for John's exile to Ardsmuir (in the wake of a near-scandal involving George Everett), he almost certainly had a hand in it.[9]

Harry Quarry[]

It is suggested that Harry Quarry is a longtime friend of the Grey family[10] (John recalls seeing Quarry at his father's funeral), but Grey apparently first meets him in Ardsmuir, Scotland, having arrived to replace the colonel as Governor of the prison. Quarry teases Grey subtly, knowing the embarrassment that the young Major suffered at the hands of Jamie Fraser before the Battle of Prestonpans, but otherwise briefs Grey on the running of the prison and imparts some advice regarding its inmates.

After Grey leaves Ardsmuir and returns to London, he is at first reluctant to interact with Quarry, but reminds himself that the Colonel is the only man with whom he shares the experience of Ardsmuir, and thus agrees to dine with him at the Beefsteak, of which they are both members. Shortly thereafter, the affair of the Hellfire Club, during which Quarry saves Grey's life, cements the camaraderie between the two. They frequently work together to solve various mysteries that crop up around London and the regiment.

Hector Dalrymple[]

Hector was Grey's first love, a twenty-year-old lieutenant in the 46th Regiment. He was the son of Lady Mumford and her late husband. Grey's attempts to capture Jamie Fraser prior to the Battle of Prestonpans were done in part to impress Hector, who in turn was one of the few people who didn't mock him for his own capture. Hector died during the Battle of Culloden, and his death haunted Grey for some years afterwards.

George Everett[]

In the years following Hector's death, Grey became acquainted with George Everett. He introduced Grey to Lavender House, and during that time the two developed a sexual relationship. Gabaldon has confirmed that Everett was involved in the near-scandal that sent Grey to Ardsmuir in 1755, but only to the extent that "there was a near-scandal, and it involved George Everett".[11]

They meet again when Grey returns to London after his turn as prison governor, and discuss the Hellfire Club whilst staying at Medmenham Abbey along with the club's other members. It is here that Grey reveals to Everett that he knows Everett was responsible for Robert Gerald's murder, and consequently Everett attempts to kill Grey. He comes close, but is killed by Harry Quarry before he can succeed.

Jamie Fraser[]

After his first encounter with Jamie Fraser in the Carryarick Pass, which continues to be a source of mortification to Grey, he does not meet the man again until he is appointed the new governor of Ardsmuir Prison, where Fraser is a captive of war, though still a natural leader among the other Jacobite prisoners. Though they develop a mutual liking for one another through their monthly discussions of literature and chess matches, Grey's feelings far surpass those of a friend, let alone a soldier's for his prisoner, and makes the mistake of acting on his attraction. Fraser rejects him completely, and their relationship is shattered.

When Grey arranges for Fraser to serve his parole in England, rather than be transported to the colonies, Fraser is deeply suspicious and refuses to interact with Grey beyond the barest minimum. Still, Grey returns to London and does his best not to think of Jamie Fraser, with varying degrees of success. Upon receiving word of Geneva Dunsany's death in childbirth in early 1758, Grey travels to Helwater to pay his respects, and draws certain conclusions when he notices Fraser's thinly veiled grief.

On another visit, while in pursuit of information about extant Jacobites, Grey also asks Fraser's advice on the matter of his step-brother – and lover – Percy Wainwright, who faces court-martial and possible execution for the crime of sodomy. Grey's sense of honor, he explains, could not abide his allowing Wainwright to be punished for a crime he, Grey, is also guilty of. Fraser, disgusted by this revelation, scornfully dismisses Grey's dilemma along with the notion that men can love each other, as a man may love a woman. After Fraser suggests that Grey's predilections extend to molesting young boys as well, Grey swears he would challenge Fraser to answer for that were the other man armed. Fraser retorts that Grey could not master him, and, furious, Grey assures Fraser that, should he wish it, he could take Fraser to his bed and make him scream. Fraser's reaction is instantaneous and violent; Grey dodges the blow and escapes, though not before seeing in Fraser a devastating vulnerability, and realizes that Fraser must have been victim to some similar threat, and worse.

Grey does not see Fraser again for nearly two years. In spring of 1760, Grey's brother Hal summons Fraser to London for his assistance in deciphering a message written in Erse, a then-common term for the Gaelic language.

In September 1764, Lord John tells Jamie he will marry Isobel Dunsany and become William's stepfather. Jamie offers his body to Lord John, who declines. Jamie kisses him.

In February 1767, At the governor's mansion, Claire sees Jamie leave the main event to speak privately with Lord John Grey, where Lord John gives him a portrait of young William, and is shocked to see the latter's look of longing toward Jamie as they embrace.

While traveling during October 1768, to John's late wife Isobel's plantation Mount Josiah in Virginia, John makes the side trip with William to Fraser's Ridge wanting Jamie to have a chance to see his son in person.

in 1769 when John receives word from Jamie that he is in search of a man named Roger Wakefield John utilizes his connections to help find the man. Which is search brings him to River Run where he meets Jamie's daughter Brianna and despite her attempt to blackmail him into standing in as her fiancee he agrees out of a sense of duty to Jamie.

John maintains a correspondence with Jamie, helping him whenever and however he can be it looking for Stephen Bonnet, sending advanced funds based on sales of gems, obtaining various objects such as oil of vitriol for Claire or white phosphorous for Brianna.

Even when it starts become clear that as the rebellion is turning into a full blow war John and Jamie will be on opposite sides there is little that John wouldn't do for Jamie. In July 1776, without hesitation, when Jamie says he is in need of gemstones John gives him the sapphire ring that once belonged to his first love Hector. And when his step-brother/ex-lover Percy Wainwright brings up Jamie and William John is quick to tell him to stay away from them both.

In April 1778 when he received word that the Euterpe sank with Jamie on it it truly broke John's heart. In his mourning he still did, what he thought would be, one final service to Jamie by protecting his wife and family from Captain Richardson by marrying Claire.

Stephan von Namtzen[]

Lord John first meets Stephan von Namtzen, a Hanoverian captain, in London at one of his mother's musicales. His first impression of the German is that he is loud and uncouth, but it is improved by later events, in which von Namtzen assists Grey in the pursuit of the man who poisoned him, as well as the truth about a matter which may have deadly consequences for the army. These finally being resolved, von Namtzen invites Grey to be seconded to von Namtzen's regiment in Prussia. There the two men become friends, and Grey suspects that the German may be inclined to more than that in their relationship, but does not act on it.

While in Prussia on a later campaign, Grey hears that von Namtzen suffered an accident which resulted in the amputation of one of his arms. Grey next visits the Hanoverian at the latter's hunting lodge, a place called Waldesruhe, while recovering from an injury sustained during battle, only to find that Stephan has taken to engaging in dangerous enterprises – much to the horror of his servants. Grey talks to Stephan about the incident involving Percy Wainwright and one of von Namtzen's Hanoverian officers, which leads to talk of stories about King Friedrich's male lover. After, Grey asks to see the stump of Stephan's left arm, and kisses it. Though the moment is intimate, and Grey feels more certain about Stephan's personal inclinations, he decides not to act further, having realized that Stephan's state of mind is still fragile and not up to the task of acknowledging that part of himself.

Grey next sees von Namtzen, again in London, in 1760, while the Hanoverian is in town to place his children with his sister after the death of his wife. When they retire together to Stephan's rooms, Stephan makes the first move on Grey, and they have sex.

Percy Wainwright[]

Grey briefly meets Percy Wainwright in a London club for gay men, Lavender House, in June 1757. They meet again in January 1758, learning that they will become brothers by marriage, as Percy's step-father is to marry Benedicta Grey. Grey and Percy become close friends and lovers, and Percy joins Major Grey's regiment as a lieutenant.

In spring of 1758, they go with the army to Prussia, where Percy is caught having sex with a German soldier by Grey and two other witnesses. Percy is arrested for sodomy and awaits court-martial.

Hurt and angry with Percy's recklessness, but also worried for him, Grey visits Percy in prison. Percy tells Grey that he loved him, but his feelings weren't be reciprocated, as Grey is still in love with another man (Fraser), and asks Grey to save his life for the sake of kindness that was between them. Grey is expected to testify against Percy, and knows that lying before the court-martial would destroy his reputation. However, he realizes that he cannot let Percy be hanged for a crime that Grey is also guilty of, but was simply never caught, and decides to help Percy escape from prison and flee the country.

Grey meets Percy again in July 1776 in Wilmington in North Carolina. Percy is now a French spy and uses the name Beauchamp, having married Cecile Beauchamp, one of the sisters of Baron Amandine. Percy wants Grey to convey an offer to the British government. He also mentions Jamie Fraser and Grey's stepson William in the conversation, and Grey asks him to stay away from him and his son – he clearly doesn't trust Percy.

In July 1777, Grey meets Percy in Philadelphia, and Percy tells him that he believes Baron Amandine's sister and Comte St. Germain were Fergus's parents.

In late June 1778, Percy warns Grey that Captain Richardson poses danger to William.

Charlie Carruthers[]

Grey and Charlie Carruthers were both young officers in different regiments. They fought together in Scotland. In the years following Hector's death, when Grey was trying to numb the pain with sex, they had a few brief encounters.

In spring of 1759, Grey receives a letter requesting his presence as Carruthers's character witness at a court-martial in Canada, due to Carruthers being charged with failure to suppress a mutiny. Grey arrives in Canada and finds Carruthers in ill health—he dies before the date for court-martial is set, and Grey burns his body and scatters his ashes.


Grey meets Manoke, an Indian scout working for the English army, when he arrives in Canada to testify at Charlie Carruthers's court-martial in 1759. Manoke is described as amused with Grey's appearance; he calls him "Englishman" and often smiles at him. One morning, Grey wakes up and finds Manoke lying on his bed, and the Indian kisses him and leaves. Having some time to kill, as the date of the court-martial hasn't been set, Grey joins Manoke on a two-week fishing expedition during which they become lovers.

In 1778, Grey tells Claire Fraser that he has for many years enjoyed a physical relationship with Manoke, who works as his cook at Mount Josiah plantation in Virginia. There is true liking between him and the Indian, but no sense of possession – Grey compares Manoke to a beautiful deer that comes to his plantation from time to time, and says that its coming is a gift, but when the deer leaves, there is no sense of abandonment.

Claire Fraser[]

During the Jacobite Rising of 1745, Grey's brother Hal takes his regiment to Scotland, and sixteen-year-old John goes with him. In September 1745, while scouting for the British army, Grey comes across a band of Scots, led by notorious rebel Red Jamie Fraser. Grey notices an English lady among them and thinks that she is being held against her will, so he attacks Fraser, but is overpowered. Fraser then takes advantage of Grey's chivalry and forces him to reveal the location of his regiment by threatening the lady, who turns out to be Fraser's own wife, Claire.

Between 1755 and 1756, Grey is the governor of Ardsmuir Prison and befriends Jamie Fraser, who is one of the prisoners. Grey eventually falls in love with Jamie and sometimes thinks about Jamie's dead wife, usually with feelings of jealousy and mild dislike, mentally referring to her as "the woman."

Grey meets Claire for the second time in early 1767, during an outbreak of typhoid fever aboard the Porpoise, a ship carrying Grey—the new governor of Jamaica—to the West Indies. Claire uses the name Mrs. Malcolm and Grey doesn't recognize her. At the time, he respects Mrs. Malcolm's efforts to stop the spread of illness.

Several days later, Jamie and Claire attend Lord John's reception in Jamaica, and Grey is shocked to learn that Jamie's wife is still alive. Later in the evening, Claire witnesses Jamie and Grey embracing, and realizes that Grey has feelings for her husband. Grey explains to her how he and Jamie became friends, and that he is the stepfather of Jamie's illegitimate son William.

In October 1768, Lord John brings William to the Fraser's Ridge and contracts measles. While Jamie takes William for a trip to prevent the boy from contracting the illness, Claire treats Lord John. Initially, Claire is jealous of the easy conversation he makes with Jamie, a reminder of all the years John had Jamie and she did not, but she and John form something of a bond as Grey's illness runs its course over several days. Grey tells Claire that he has often wondered what Jamie had seen in her, and remarks that she has Jamie's courage.

In March 1770, Grey meets Brianna Fraser, Claire and Jamie's pregnant daughter, at River Run. They become friends and get conspicuously engaged to protect Brianna from other suitors. Grey tells Brianna that he has feelings of affection for her mother, and Brianna says that Claire considers Grey a good man and likes him.

Upon the Frasers' return in May, Claire is grateful to Lord John for looking after their daughter in their absence.

In September 1773, John sends Claire a gift of handcrafted glass globes and oil of vitriol for producing ether.

In July 1777, John writes a letter to Jamie in which he asks Claire to come to Philadelphia to perform a surgery on his wounded nephew Henry Grey. However, he is unaware that the Frasers have already left the Ridge.

In April 1778, Claire arrives in Philadelphia where she is to operate on her grandson. In order to make ether for the surgery, she requires oil of vitriol and learns that Lord John Grey purchased a quantity of it several months earlier. Claire pays Grey a visit and Grey reveals that he bought the vitriol for her, hoping that she would operate on his nephew. They strike a bargain.

Several days later, Lord John receives news that the ship supposedly carrying Jamie to America has sunk. Grey also encounters Captain Richardson who intends to arrest Claire for spying. Grey asks Claire to marry him in order to protect her, and she agrees. During their marriage, Claire and John become intimate, and there is mutual respect and kindness between them. One night, they are both very drunk, mourning Jamie, and have sex.

In mid-June 1778, Jamie arrives at Lord John's house, very much alive, making John's marriage to Claire invalid. Both John and Claire are overjoyed by Jamie's appearance, and quite relieved that they are no longer married to each other. Hours later, Grey is beaten up by Jamie for—among other things—sleeping with Claire. When Claire and John meet again after a few days, she takes care of his swollen eye.

On June 28, 1778, Claire is shot during the Battle of Monmouth, and John visits her a few days later.

In January 1779, Claire learns from Richardson that he manipulated Grey into marrying her, hoping that Claire would become his asset and spy on Lord John and his brother Hal. Richardson also makes it clear that he is aware of Lord John's homosexuality, and Claire warns Grey.


  • John is the English form of Iohannes, the Latin form of the Greek name Ιωαννης (Ioannes), itself derived from the Hebrew name יוֹחָנָן (Yochanan) meaning "YAHWEH is gracious".[12]
  • William comes from the Germanic name Willahelm, which was composed of the elements wil "will, desire" and helm "helmet, protection".[13]
  • Bertram is derived from the Germanic element beraht "bright" combined with hramn "raven" to result in the meaning "bright raven".[14]
  • Armstrong comes from the Old English earm and strang, meaning "strong arm".[15]
  • Grey has two possible origins: 1) an Anglo-Saxon, Old English nickname for someone with grey hair or a grey beard, derived from the Old English pre 7th Century word "graeg", grey; 2) from the place called "Graye" in Calvados, Normandy, so called from the Old Gallo-Roman personal name "Gratus" meaning "Welcome" or "Pleasing", with the suffix "acum" meaning settlement or village.[16]


  • In Dragonfly in Amber, sixteen year old Lord John gives his name as 'William Grey' when captured by Jamie during a botched rescue attempt. Diana explains in The Outlandish Companion that while writing Voyager, there were too many Williams to keep track of in a small space, and she decided to make 'William' Lord John's middle name. (In the canon, it makes sense that Lord John would use an alias; he also attempts to hide his privileged status by adopting a Hampshire accent.[17]
  • Lord John appears "in person" in 16 of Diana Gabaldon's Outlander-related works, more than any other character. Jamie Fraser appears in 14, while Claire Fraser appears in 10.
  • In 1746 John was attacked in the army's camp and raped. He never tells anyone but began carrying a dagger on him at all times. He considers it to be his lucky dagger during many adventures in the future.

TV Series[]

Australian actor David Berry portrays Lord John Grey as an adult starting in Season Three of the Outlander television adaptation.[18] English actor Oscar Kennedy portrayed sixteen-year-old Lord John (using the alias "William Grey") in Season Two of the series.[19]


Season Two

Season Three

Season Four

Season Five


22galeria John Grey has a photo gallery.




  1. Written in My Own Heart's Blood, chapter 25.
  2. Gabaldon, Diana. "David Berry as Lord John Grey!." MSG: 86983.84. Diana Gabaldon. Books and Writers Community. Compuserve. Published 30 August 2016. Accessed 1 December 2017. 
  3. Age as of the end of Go Tell the Bees That I Am Gone.
  4. He is never called "Lord Grey".
  5. Go Tell the Bees That I Am Gone, chapter 45.
  6. 6.0 6.1 David Berry, the actor who portrays Lord John in the TV series, is 6'1" and has brown hair. In the books, John is blond and slightly shorter than average.
  7. Drums of Autumn, Chapter 58
  8. An Echo in the Bone, chapter 95.
  9. Gabaldon, Diana. "The Custom of the Army (SPOILERS!)." MSG: 66876.109. Diana Gabaldon. Books and Writers Community. Compuserve. Published 27 March 2010. Accessed 18 July 2016. 
  10. Gabaldon, Diana. "BOTB Question." MSG: 58071.7. Diana Gabaldon. Books and Writers Community. Compuserve. Published 28 November 2007. Accessed 18 July 2016. 
  11. Gabaldon, Diana. "questions - SPOILER alert." MSG: 49955.220. Diana Gabaldon. Books and Writers Community. Compuserve. Published 9 January 2006. Accessed 18 July 2016. 
  12. Behind the Name: John – accessed 19 June 2014
  13. Behind the Name: William – accessed 17 March 2014
  14. Behind the Name: Bertram – accessed 10 May 2016
  15. Behind the Name Surnames: Armstrong – accessed 10 May 2016
  16. The Internet Surname Database – accessed 19 June 2014
  17. Gabaldon, Diana. "LJG and his accent." MSG: 63980.11. Diana Gabaldon. Books and Writers Community. Compuserve. Published 27 May 2009. Accessed 1 December 2017. 
  18. Outlander finds its Lord John Grey — exclusive – August 29, 2016.
  19. Outlander Starz Twitter – Oscar Kennedy Casting Announcement, November 16, 2015