“In the light of eternity, time casts no shadow.”
[Excerpt from WRITTEN IN MY OWN HEART’S BLOOD, to be published June 10th.]
It was perhaps four o’clock ack emma. Or before sparrow-fart, as the British armed forces of my own time used to put it. That sense of temporal dislocation was back again, memories of another war coming like a sudden fog between me and my work, then disappearing in an instant, leaving the present sharp and vivid as Kodachrome. The army was moving.
No fog obscured Jamie. He was big and solid, his outlines clearly visible against the shredding night. I was awake and alert, dressed and ready, but the chill of sleep still lay upon me, making my fingers clumsy. I could feel his warmth, and drew close to him, as I might to a campfire. He was leading Clarence, who was even warmer, though much less alert, ears sagging in sleepy annoyance.
“You’ll have Clarence,” Jamie told me, putting the mule’s rein in my hand. “And these, to make sure ye keep him, if ye should find yourself on your own.” “These” were a heavy pair of horse pistols, holstered and strung on a thick leather belt that also held a shot-bag and powder-horn.
“Thank you,” I said, swallowing as I wrapped the reins around a sapling in order to belt the pistols on. The guns were amazingly heavy—but I wouldn’t deny that the weight of them on my hips was amazingly comforting, too.
“All right,” I said, glancing toward the tent. “What about—“
“I’ve seen to that,” he said, cutting me off. “Gather the rest of your things, Sassenach; I’ve nay more than a quarter-hour, at most, and I need ye with me when we go.”
I watched him stride off into the melee, tall and resolute, and wondered—as I had so often before—_Will it be today? Will this be the last sight I remember of him_? I stood very still, watching as hard as I could.
When I’d lost him the first time, before Culloden, I’d remembered. Every moment of our last night together. Tiny things would come back to me through the years: the taste of salt on his temple and the curve of his skull as I cupped his head, the soft fine hair at the base of his neck thick and damp in my fingers…the sudden, magical well of his blood in dawning light when I’d cut his hand and marked him forever as my own. Those things had kept him by me.
And when I’d lost him this time to the sea, I’d remembered the sense of him beside me, warm and solid in my bed, and the rhythm of his breathing. The light across the bones of his face in moonlight and the flush of his skin in the rising sun. I could hear him breathe, when I lay in bed alone in my room at Chestnut Street—slow, regular, never stopping—even though I knew it _had_ stopped. The sound would comfort me, then drive me mad with the knowledge of loss, so I pulled the pillow hard over my head in a futile attempt to shut it out—only to emerge into the night of the room, thick with woodsmoke and candlewax and vanished light, and be comforted to hear it once more.
If this time…but he had turned, quite suddenly, as though I’d called his name. He came swiftly up to me, grasped me by the arms and said in a low, strong voice, “It willna be today, either.”
Then he put his arms around me and drew me up on tiptoe into a deep, soft kiss. I heard brief cheers from a few of the men nearby, but it didn’t matter. Even if it should be today, I would remember.
Oh boy did this ever stir up memories for me ….when my Husband squadron was deployed or on a exercise and I drove him to the flight line on returning home …I left his coffee cup as is and I would put my lips to where his had been …I kept a stinky flight suit out of his flight bag and would put it over my bedroom chair just to smell him …. funny the things we do to keep them with us .
Happy Hogmany to you too Diana! What joy you bring to us with your writing. You truly have a gift and we are blessed that you share it with us all. On a happy note, I had mentioned to you earlier in another post that I had Jamie and Claire to take my mind off things when my mum had gone in for breast cancer surgery. You had written that you would pray for us and I was really touched. Well it’s a few months later and my mum is now cancer free! So thank you again!
Oh and Elaine, I’m an ex-pat from Dundee now living in Canada. Lang may your lum reek ana! It’s going to be an excellent year for us as all I think!
Happy birthday Diana! All the happiness and love to you! Have a great day!
Herzlichen Glückwunsch zum Geburtstag (= Happy Birthday!)
And all the Best 2U!
Thank you for your wonderful saga. I can never wait for the next one. When I finish one I spend weeks wondering what each of the characters are doing. I have just discovered the bulge stories and have thoroughly enjoyed them I am now going to reread the series before reading the new release.
I just adore your books. I am reading the entire collection all over again to get ready for your last book in June (maybe later for me because I am in french Canada….Quebec).
Can`t wait to see the movie…but I agree with one of your readers….for the role of Jamie I would see someone like Kevin McKidd…don`t you
What a tremendous talent you have.
Dear Diana (nice name! [g])==
Well, no, I don’t. Mr. McKidd’s doubtless a fine actor, but he’s nearly 50! Jamie’s 22 in the first book. And fortunately we have an absolutely wonderful Jamie in Sam Heughan; I’ve seen quite a bit of his acting and some bits from the OUTLANDER production and can assure you you’ll enjoy it. [g]
One of the things I enjoy most about the Outlander series is the camaraderie when I find myself with others who also love these books. When someone asks “Have you ever read the Outlander series?”, it feels like I’ve been given a Masonic secret handshake! I attended your talk at the Fergus Highland Games last year, and it was as if all of us were connected. Since that time, my elder daughter has become consumed by the books, giving us yet another point of connection. I just showed her the trailer – it looks wonderful! Thank you!
Happy Belated Birthday!
I was able to watch some of The Gathering in Los Angeles and was lucky to be watching when Sam and Cait came out. They are terrific as Jamie and Claire. They seem dedicated to the life changing roles they have undertaken. The four of you make a great team for the series. You as the creator are obviously most knowledgeable but it is pretty amazing how both seem to grasp the substance of Jamie and Claire. Ron, too. Should be spectacular production.
I’ve just finished my first time with you, Diana, listening over the past weeks – in my car and while housekeeping – to Breath of Snow and Ashes and Echo in the Bone , and getting into trouble with my local library over keeping the audiobook sets far too long…and now, finally having found your website, realizing that I must borrow the entire Outlander series of books over the next few months to be ready for your next book.
Having assiduously avoided time travel fiction in the past because fantasy has never appealed as much as real probability, I’m now hooked…and I realize why.
It’s that mystery of Time – ephemeral and bewildering and seductive. I find myself rejecting the notion that what’s past is over. I can still conjure up the sound of my late husband’s voice after 21 years, treasure the image of a fortyish son as a cornsilk hair and blue-eyed babe in arms, and listen to my mom, who may have been a very old lady having lived between ’06 and ’08. but whose strength and the lilt of personality have not even diminished.
Do you recall the CS Lewis tales when the Pevensee children vaulted through the picture frame into an alternate universe, plunged into several years of adventures, and then returned to reality through the frame, finding that the “real” world had moved forward only one second in time since they’d left? For me, truth lay in the contrast between what we call Time and what we call Eternity – an unending Now.
In the meanwhile, thank you for Claire, Jamie, Bree, Roger, Ian, even Rollo. What a trip!
I just finished watching the trailer for the TV show and I realized I’d better ask you about descriptive services. I have purchased your books for a blind couple I know, and they are thoroughly enjoying them. Many movies have SAP mode tracks embedded in them, which describe the scene to a blind person. It is supposed to be available for TV too, and I wanted to make sure you knew that there are probably a bunch of blind readers who would enjoy description. It is not your responsibility, and it may not even be possible for television, but I thought I would tell you about it because, without a doubt, you will have access to the ears that count in this regard.
My friend told me her husband stayed up all night reading. He’s just getting to ‘Voyager.’ Thank you for the beautiful way in which you bring human feelings to a page and make me realize that I’m not so different from others after all.
I will mention it! Thank you–I’d never heard about this before (I don’t watch much television).
I love your books and I can wait for the next one and the new show.
Wrote so fast I wrote it wrong. Wow just can not wait.
The gift you have to move so many by your words is a blessing. I am fortunate that my life has crossed your path. I read and re read Outlander over and over. The book has fallen apart (literally) it is in 3 pieces! I always find something new and fall in love all over again. Thank you for a marvelous escape for over 15 years for me.
Thank you, Maria!
Diana, I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart. A good friend at work introduced me to outlander and we (the book series and I) have been inseperable…the books travel with me no matter where I go…I have no idea how many times I have read all 7 of them..but they are tattered and much loved. May God continue to bless you and you in turn continue to bless us p.s. I knew you were good people when I heard u had weinie dogs.. happiness to you.. marycathryn
I simply can’t get enough of your books !!! I can’t wait to read your latest addition to the saga . You make your characters come alive and make me want to care about each one and follow him/her through time and history …only wish you could write them more quickly to keep up with my interest … I have reread them numerous times and never get bored with them as I eagerly await the next book …. I appreciate all the time and research you put into each one … I just can’t get enough ! ❤️❤️❤️❤️