• “The smartest historical sci-fi adventure-romance story ever written by a science Ph.D. with a background in scripting 'Scrooge McDuck' comics.”—Salon.com
  • A time-hopping, continent-spanning salmagundi of genres.”
  • “These books have to be word-of-mouth books because they're too weird to describe to anybody.”
    —Jackie Cantor, Diana's first editor

“Need your help…”

arby-samspup-3monthsWell, aside from incessant travel, a new puppy (our son’s, but he comes over to run around in our big backyard), 2-300 emails a day, and the Rancho Mirage Writers Festival (at which I accidentally had breakfast with Alan Dershowitz)…you know, not that much…

But I’m digging my way through the email and engagements—but also writing, so thought I’d share a bit of Book Ten, for fun.

[EXCERPT FROM UNTITLED BOOK TEN, Copyright © 2023 Diana Gabaldon – possible spoiler, but not likely]

William opened his eyes and lay still. He’d got used to not knowing quite where he was upon wakening, save when he slept in the woods. Woods at night are mysterious places, and his inner ear heard sounds all night, some deep part of his brain evidently recognizing and dismissing things like wind through leaves, the falling of acorns or the patter of rain on the canvas of his lean-to, but still sensitive enough to apprise him of the heavy pad of a walking bear nearby—to say nothing of the branches snapping in its path.

The result of this behavior on the part of his brain was to keep him aware of his circumstances all night and thus unsurprised at dawn, even if he never woke all the way.

He’d slept like a log last night, though, worn out from his journey, plied with good, hot food and as much alcohol as he could drink. His memory of going to bed was confused, but he was lying now on the floor of an empty room—he felt the smooth boards under his hands, something warm over him. Light filtered through a burlap-covered window…

And quite suddenly, the thought was just there in his mind, without warning.

I’m in my father’s house.

“Jesus,” he said aloud, and sat up, blinking. All of the day before came flooding back, a jumble of effort, sweat and worry, climbing through forest and cliffs, and finally seeing a large, handsome house emerge, its glass—glass. In this wilderness?—windows twinkling in the sun, incongruous amid the trees.

He’d pushed himself and the horse past fear and fatigue, and then—there he was, just sitting on the porch. James Fraser.

There had been other people on the porch and in the yard, but he hadn’t noticed any of them. Just him. Fraser. He’d spent miles and days deciding what to say, how to describe the situation, frame his request—and in the end, had simply ridden right up to the porch, breathless, and said, “Sir, I need your help.”

He drew a deep breath and rubbed both hands through his disordered hair, reliving that moment. Fraser had risen at once, came down the steps, took him by the arm. And said, “You have it.”

“You have it,” he repeated softly, to himself. Yesterday, that had been enough—the relief of knowing help was at hand. The relief was still with him, but other things had crept in while he slept.

The thought of Papa was still a blade in his chest and a stone in his belly. He hadn’t forgotten, even under the onslaught of people and the comfort of a lot of whisky.

There had been an avalanche of people, flooding out of the house, running from the yard and from what seemed to be a party going on under a huge tree. He’d noticed only three people in the swirling mass: Mother Claire, little Fanny, and a few moments later, his sister.

Sister. He hadn’t expected to find Brianna here. He’d been too stunned, by fear, dread, apprehension, fury and desperation, all happening at once, to even try to imagine his reception at Fraser’s Ridge. And, he admitted to himself, because I could scarcely stay in the saddle, and if I’d tried to make the speech I’d thought out, I’d have fallen on my face before I got the first sentence out.

But he had got it out, and he’d got his answer.

The encouragement of that was enough to get him on his feet. The thing that had covered him was a homely piece of knitting the color of vomit, and he folded it carefully and set it aside. He looked about for a utensil of some sort, and found a battered tin pot, placed by the door with a large bottle beside it, with a label tied round its neck, reading “Drink Me.” He pulled the cork and sniffed. Water. Exactly what he needed, and he drank thirstily, holding the bottle with one hand and unbuttoning his breeches with the other.

He’d just about finished when the door opened. He choked, spraying water, and tried to cover himself with his other hand.

“Good morning, William,” Fanny said. “I brought you something to break your fast. But there’s porridge and bacon downstairs. When you’re wead-ready.” She was holding a thick slice of buttered bread and a wooden cup that smelled like beer, and looked amused.

“Thank you, Fanny,” he said, buttoning his breeches with what dignity he could summon. “Ah…how have you been?”

“Very well, thank you,” she said, and straightened her back, thrusting a pair of new small breasts into sudden prominence. “I’ve learnt how to talk. Prroperly,” she added, rolling her ‘r’s slightly.

“So I perceive,” he said, smiling. “Your voice is lovely, Frances. Is that beer?”

“It is. I made it,” she said proudly, and handed him the cup.

It was small beer, and noticeably sour, but he was still thirsty and it went down without effort. So did the bread and butter, which he wolfed in a few bites. Frances watched him with approval.

“Why is it that women like to feed men?” he asked, swallowing the last mouthful. “We’re very grateful, of course, but it seems a good deal of effort for little gain.”

She’d gone a bit pink in the face, and he thought she looked like a small flower, the sort you found hiding in the grass in a spring meadow.

“Mrs. Fraser says women want to keep things alive, and men want to kill things,” she said, taking the empty cup. “But we need men to do that for us, so we feed them.”

“Indeed,” he said, rather startled at hearing this sort of opinion attributed to Mother Claire.

“Are you going to kill the man who took Lord John?” she asked seriously. Her flush had faded, and her eyes were serious. “I listened. I heard what you told Mith-Mister Fraser.”

He took a deep breath, and felt the fresh-scented air of the woods cleanse him of the last traces of fatigue.

“Yes, Frances,” he said. “I am.”

[end section]

Click to visit my Book Ten webpage for information on this book, and to read more excerpts from it.

Some folk asked for a photo of my son’s (Sam Sykes) new puppy (above). This is Arby, aged three months. His mother was (we’re told) a French bulldog, and his father is, um, unknown (but I kind of suspect one of the local coyotes, given his long legs and markings). Very sweet and smart!

He’s got those sort of watered-silk markings on his back legs that some French Bulldogs have—though his actual coat looks a LOT more like a coyote…

This excerpt was posted on my official Facebook page on February 10, 2023.

10 Responses »

  1. AHH! This is too excellent! I’m so excited for this book! Bees was a masterpiece and I can hardly wait till book 10! Thanks for the drop!

  2. Thanks for it and hope and hope not that the story comes to an end.

  3. Dear Diana.
    I have read the entire Outlander series and have been obsessed since book one. I am so very eager to hear when the sequel to ‘Go Tell The Bees’ is to be released. I’m aware that your more lengthy books can take ever such a long time from commencement to completion but I would so like to be able to put in a forward order at my local booksellers for book number 10.
    Your books have also led me to delve deeply into the American War of Independence the struggle for liberty and the fascinating characters that eventually helped to shape the colonies. I thank you for bringing to life something I had little knowledge of.
    Waiting in anticipation for the continuing saga of the Outlander series.

    Ellen Stevenson.

  4. I’m 80 ,hope to be alive to read book 10 , I have all outlander books in hared cover . Wat I do is print pictures’ from series and put in my books. some day I hope some one will like that .
    Diana is my fevered writer . when is this book 10 going to be on sale ?

    • Hi, Julia,

      Diana is 71 years old. Not much younger than you are.

      As stated on the website and her social media, she is working on that book now. It takes 3-5 years to write the large novels of the Outlander series, ever since OUTLANDER was published in 1991. These books are equal to about 3 ‘regular’ novels. Plus Diana does an enormous amount of historical research for each one, which takes time as well.

      It will be worth the wait.

  5. I am an Outlander Extreme fan. Trying to complete my collection of outlander books.
    I also have all of the DVDs up to this point.
    Watch each season as is comes out. And read books over between seasons. Rewatch all episodes. Hard to wait for more. I am 63. Your books and my two dogs have kept me from spending my days lonely. I prefer their company over most people! Lol. Thank you!

    • Rita,

      The Poisoned Pen bookstore in Scottsdale sells new copies of all of Diana’s current titles, signed by her at no additional cost. You pay the list or sale price of the book plus shipping. They have the anniversary editions of her first four books in hardcover; those books are out of print in their original hardcover editions. And the anniversary editions are beautiful. Diana has that arrangement with the Pen so that readers who want a signed copy may easily order one. (Diana does not have the staff or the time to sign people’s books that are mailed to her. And lately her schedule is so hectic she is doing very few in-person signings.)

      I too have taken comfort from Diana’s books, with my dog and cat! Also the works of Ursula K. Le Guin (The Earthsea Cycle) and Tanith Lee (THE BIRTHGRAVE is one of my favorite all-time books). Plus I’m working to get my own books finished and hopefully published. At 69 years old, it is so hard to meet eligible men where I live, but still hopeful. :-)

      Hug your pups for me,

      Diana’s Webmistress

  6. Diana,
    I just finished “Bees” and was delighted when I looked up your name and found an excerpt of a book 10. I’ve read all of the Outlander Series and want more! I am looking so forward to book ten. I cried like a baby during the end of the last battle in “Bees.” (the book which I also patiently waited for.). I’m 78 also hoping to be around for book 10.. Happy writing and Gods blessings to you and your family❣️

    • Hi,

      So glad you love Diana’s books. You’re “hoping” to be around in a few years? Hey, plan on it, is my advice.

      Diana is 71 years old, by the way.


      Diana’s Webmistress

  7. I too have read and re-read the series several times. I just finished Bees for the 3rd.time. I turn 89 in January! I tell all my children, I plan to stay around until the last book is finished and I read the end of the story!
    I love the books, and see so many things that remind me of experiences in my own life.

    Thank you Diana for the gift of these books.

    Gene Watson, Santa Fe, NM

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