"Lord John and the Haunted Soldier" is a novella in the Lord John Series by Diana Gabaldon. It was first published in 2007 in the collection Lord John and the Hand of Devils, which also included two previously released Lord John novellas.


In November 1758, following the events of June in Brotherhood of the Blade, the surviving members of the gun crew manning the cannon "Tom Pilchard" at Crefeld are brought before a board of inquiry, including Lord John Grey.

Grey, who had taken command of the cannon crew upon the abrupt death of Lieutenant Philip Lister, is both troubled and insulted by the questioning, and stalks out of the inquiry. He does see the remains of the burst cannon, and briefly presents a missing piece – shrapnel that had been removed from his chest by the surgeons – but refuses to surrender it. Eventually, this piece will be the only remaining evidence that the cannons were poorly manufactured. At least one other piece of metal remains in Grey's chest, which causes Grey severe chest pains and uncontrolled shaking.

Harry Quarry warns Grey about Colonel Twelvetrees' willingness to use the cannon inquiry to goad John into action that will be used to discredit either him, his brother Hal, or both. He suggests Grey be seconded to the 65th or 78th regiments temporarily to stay out of Twelvetrees' way for a while, but Grey instead begins to investigate the cannon failures himself.

When Grey returns Lister's sword to the man's father, the elder Lister begs Grey's assistance in locating his late son's missing fiancée and child. While on these tasks, he discovers political intrigue surrounding his half-brother's government contract for supplying black powder to the military, and meets Captain Fanshawe and the other members of Edgar's consortium.

Grey writes on two occasions to his paroled charge, James Fraser; starkly honest confessions of his cares and worries that are never sent, but serve to help ground Grey's thoughts and emotions.


Book Covers


  1. Although the text uses Hal's lesser title, Melton, the events of Lord John and the Brotherhood of the Blade take place before those of The Haunted Soldier, and it was in Brotherhood that Hal resumed his ducal title, Pardloe.

See also