• “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


Y’all have asked some good questions in the comments to the last post, but most of them will require a bit of time and thought to respond to properly. Since I’m working madly this weekend to fill up the remaining holes in the new website (which I _hope_ to reveal to public view sometime next week), I thought for today, I’d just give you a bit of Book Eight, which I notice a number of people had asked for, too. {g}

Book Eight

Copyright 2010 Diana Gabaldon

“Stay,” he said sternly to Rollo, turning back for an instant. The dog, who had not stirred from his comfortable spot at Rachel’s feet, twitched one ear.

William was standing by the roadside, looking hot, tired, disheveled, and thoroughly unhappy. As well he might, Ian thought with some sympathy. William was likely bound for England—if he was lucky—or for parole in some rough lodging somewhere far to the south. In either case, his active role as a soldier was over for some time.

His face changed abruptly at sight of Ian. Surprise, the beginnings of indignation, then a quick glance round, decision clamping down upon his features. Ian was surprised for a moment that he could read William’s face so easily, but then remembered why. Uncle Jamie guarded his own expression in company—but not with Ian. Ian’s own face didn’t show his knowledge, though, anymore than William’s now showed more than an irritable acknowledgement.

“Scout,” William said, with the briefest of nods. The officer to whom he had been talking gave Ian a brief, incurious look, then saluted William and plunged back into the trudging stream.

“What the bloody hell do you want?” William drew a grubby sleeve across his sweating face. Ian was mildly surprised at this evident hostility; they’d parted on good terms the last time they had seen each other—though there had been little conversation at the time, William having just put a pistol-ball through the brain of a madman trying to kill Rachel, Ian, or both, with an axe. Ian’s left arm had healed enough to dispense with a sling, but it was still stiff.

“There’s a lady who’d like to speak with ye,” he said, ignoring William’s narrowed eyes. The eyes relaxed a little.

“Miss Hunter?” A small gleam of pleasure lit William’s eyes, and Ian’s own narrowed slightly. Aye, well, he thought, let her tell him, then.

William waved to a corporal down the line, who waved back, then stepped off the road after Ian. A few soldiers glanced at Ian, but he was unremarkable, the double line of dotted tattooing on his cheeks, his buckskin breeches, and his sun-browned skin marking him as an Indian scout—a good many of these had deserted the British army, but there were still a good many left, mostly Loyalists like Joseph Brant who held land in Pennysylvania and New York, though there were still some ranging parties from the Iroquois nations who had come down to fight at Saratoga.

“William!” Rachel flew across the little clearing and clasped the tall captain’s hands, beaming up at him with such joy that he smiled back at her, all irritability vanished. Ian hung back a little, to give her time. There hadn’t been any, really, what with Rollo roaring and tearing at Arch Bug’s miserable auld carcass, Rachel sprawled on the floor, frozen with horror, himself lying on the floor pouring blood, and half the street outside screaming bloody murder.

William had pulled Rachel to her feet and thrust her into the arms of the first woman available, who as it happened, was Marsali.

“Get her out of here!” William had snapped. But Rachel, Ian’s nut-brown maiden—her brownness much splattered with blood—had pulled herself together in an instant, and gritting her teeth—he’d seen her do it, bemused by shock as he lay on the floor, watching things happen as though in a dream—as she stepped over auld Arch’s body, had fallen to her knees in the mess of brains and blood, wrapped her apron tight about his wounded arm and tied it with her kerchief, and then with Marsali, had dragged him bodily out of the print-shop and into the street, where he’d promptly passed out, waking only when Auntie Claire began stitching his arm.

Ian hadn’t had time to thank William, even had he been able to speak, and he meant to convey his own thanks as soon as he might. But clearly Rachel wanted to talk to him first, and he waited, thinking how beautiful she looked, her eyes the clouded hazel of thicket and green-brier, face clever and quick as flame.

“But thee is tired, William, and thin,” she was saying, drawing a finger disapprovingly down the side of his face. “Do they not feed thee? I’d thought it was only the Continentals who went short of rations.”

“Oh. I—I haven’t had time of late.” The happiness that had lit William’s face while he talked with Rachel faded noticeably. “We—well, you see.” He waved an arm toward the invisible road, where the hoarse chants of the sergeants rang like the calling of disgruntled crows above the shuffle of feet.

“I do see. Where is thee going?”

William rubbed the back of his hand across his mouth, and glanced at Ian.

“I suppose he oughtn’t to say,” Ian said, coming across and touching Rachel’s arm, smiling at William in apology. “We’re the enemy, a nighean donn.

William looked sharply at Ian, catching the tone of his voice, then back at Rachel, whose hand he was still holding.

“We are betrothed, William—Ian and I,” she said, gently pulling her hand out of his and putting it on Ian’s.

William’s face changed abruptly, losing its look of happiness altogether. He eyed Ian with something remarkably close to dislike.

“Are you,” he said flatly. “I suppose I must wish you every happiness, then. Good day.” He turned on his heel, and Ian, surprised, reached out to pull him back.

“Wait—“ he said, and then William turned and hit him in the mouth.

He was lying on his back in the leaves, blinking in disbelief, as Rollo hurtled over him and sank his teeth in some soft part of William, judging by the yelp and the brief cry of startlement from Rachel.

“Rollo! Bad dog—and thee is a bad dog, too, William Ransom! What the devil does thee mean by this?”

Ian sat up, tenderly fingering his lip, which was bleeding. Rollo had retreated a little under Rachel’s scolding, but kept a yellow eye fixed on William and a curled lip raised over bared teeth, the faintest rumble of a growl coming from his huge chest.

Sheas,” Ian said to him briefly, and got to his feet. William had sat down and was examining the calf of his leg, which was bleeding through his torn silk hose, though not badly. When he saw Ian, he scrambled to his feet. His face was bright red and he looked as though he meant either to do murder or burst into tears. Maybe both, Ian thought in surprise.

He was careful not to touch William again, but stood back a bit—in front of Rachel, just in case the man meant to go off again. He was armed, after all; there was a pistol and sword at his belt.

“Are ye all right, man?” he asked, in the same tone of mild concern he’d heard his Da use now and then on his Mam or Uncle Jamie. Evidently it was in fact the right tone to take with a Fraser about to go berserk, for William breathed like a grampus for a moment or two, then got himself under control.

“I ask your pardon, sir,” he said, back stiff as a stick of rock-maple. “That was unforgiveable. I shall…leave you. I—Miss Hunter…I–” He turned, stumbling a little, and that gave Rachel time to dart round in front of him.

“William!” Her face was full of distress. “What is it? Have I—“

He looked down at her, his face contorted, but shook his head.

“You haven’t done anything,” he said, with an obvious effort. “You…you could never do anything that…” He swung round toward Ian, fist clenched on his sword. “But you, you fucking bas— you son-of-a-bitch! Cousin!

“Oh,” said Ian, stupidly. “Ye know, then.”

“Yes, I bloody know! You could have fucking told me!”

“Know what?” Rachel stepped round Ian, looking from him to William and back again.

“Don’t you bloody tell her!” William snapped.

“Don’t be silly,” Rachel said reasonably. “Of course he’ll tell me, the minute we’re alone. Does thee not wish to tell me thyself? I think perhaps thee might not trust Ian to say it aright.” Her eye rested on Ian’s lip, and her own mouth twitched. Ian might have taken offense at this, save that William’s distress was so apparent.

“It isna really a disgrace…” he began, but then stepped hastily back as William’s clenched fist drew back.

“You think not?” William was so furious, his voice was nearly inaudible. “To discover that I am—am—the…the get of a Scottish criminal? That I am a fucking bastard?”

Despite his resolve to be patient, Ian felt his own dander start to rise.

“Criminal, forbye!” he snapped. “Any man might be proud to be the son of Jamie Fraser!”

“Oh,” said Rachel, forestalling William’s next heated remark. “That.”

“What?” He glared down at her. “What the devil do you mean, ‘that’?”

“We thought it must be the case, Denny and I.” She lifted one shoulder, though keeping a close watch on William, who looked as though he was about to go off like a twelve-pound mortar. “But we supposed that thee didn’t wish the matter talked about. I didn’t know that thee—how could thee not have known?” she asked curiously. “The resemblance—“

“Fuck the resemblance!”

65 Responses »

  1. Sorry for the novel. ^^

  2. The next book will be out in August 2013, that is my predicition, anyway! I am constantly turning on new readers to your books, it is one of my “things” at the bookstore (all booksellers have their favorite areas and authors). When asked about the next book, I say Diana takes at least three years to write a quality book and 9 times out of 10, your faithful readers will then agree with me. While I loathe the long wait, I prefer a well-written, fleshed-out book. Alas, there are plenty of so-called popular authors who crank out a book every 12-18 months and ugh, what a waste of their talent. Smart people read your books and know it is worth the wait. If it takes four years, well, we’ll wait. Thanks for the little exerpt.

    • Dear Devoted–

      Thanks very much! Your guess is at least as good as mine, as to when the next book will be out–but I do hope to be able to get SCOTTISH PRISONER out this fall.

  3. Wow!!! Cant wait. You need to come back to NZ (Wainuiomata is an awesome sleepy little town). Please Please Please let William find someone who is strong, smart and normal (as in not beautiful but pretty and normal) I think that describes ME lol. I am reading the books for the second time and cant wait to get to echo in the bone. Actually cant wait for the next book to come out.

  4. Excellent! My wife and i have enjoyed sharing the Outlander series and were wondering if there were to be more offereings. We will definitely watch for this new book. Obviously Jamie and Claire will have to pass away sooner or later, but they will be sorely missed!

  5. Diana, I love the Outlander series. I’ve collected them both in hard cover and paperback versions. They are precious, one of my most favorite things. I am anxiously waiting for Book 8, I agree with the others that it is worth the wait, your books are so well written and thought out, you can’t rush greatness ha! ha! Also love the excerpt. Would love to meet you one day!

  6. Just finished Echo last night with the realization that I’m free to dive into the discussion boards without fear of spoiling the ending!!! Yahoo! I’d heard one excerpt at your book signing for The Exile (Tattered Cover-Highlands Ranch, CO…..”Highlands” Ranch? hmmm, was that planned, Diana? ; ) I think it was also on the fall equinox!) last year but I didn’t know this one was here, too. Sweet surprise!
    This is maybe a silly question but….I’m curious, did anyone ever tell young Ian that William was his cousin or did he just assume? (I wonder if I missed it while reading cross-eyed at 2 am one night) He signed his note to William “Cousin” when delivering money and the bear (claw? tooth? I forget) from Jamie when he was at the Hunters’ home. Maybe I’ll find my anwer to this niggling question in my discussion board journey.
    Thankyou, Diana, for creating this world that is now a part of my heart,

  7. Hello Diana,
    I thoroughly enjoy your Outlander series! However, I was so severely disappointed with the graphic art book. A friend of mine promised me the sequel to An Echo in the Bone as a birthday gift. When she reported to me that it was a CARTOON I about died. I’m sure you have an excellent “audience” why switch gears completely and aim at a “different” audience? The storyline and the imagery are beyond compare in this series- but I did not add your graphic cartoon book to my library :(
    Hopefully Book #8 will be able to rest near the Echo in the Bone without any serious gaps in storyline.

    • Dear Karen–

      If you looked at the _cover_ of THE EXILE, you would have seen that it isn’t the sequel to ECHO, but part of OUTLANDER “from Jamie’s side of the story.” Surely you didn’t think I’d decided to go on telling the story in graphic novel form?!? (Or if you did, a minor glance would have assured you that wasn’t the case.) Book Eight will be along in its own good time, don’t worry.


  8. I just finished Echo today and read the excerpt for your 8th novel. I’ve been deliberately reading the series slowly for years to make it last as long as possible. I have each of your Outlander series books on my shelf and can even see myself starting the series all over again one day. I’m Canadian and come from Scottish descent. Your stories take me away and throw me into the midst of a world my relatives may have experienced, along with alot of magic and of course Jamie, Claire and family thrown in! I absolutely LOVE your books Diana. Thank you thank you thank you! I am so chomping at the bit to start the next novel. Please don’t wait too long! (No pressure!) :) ~Fay~

    • As someone who is in the midst of a seventh reading I can assure you that at least one or two re-readings will provide new information and a sincere and abiding love of the whole series.

  9. Thank you for the excerpt. I usually don’t visit author’s websites for the same reason I dislike behind the scenes special features… the people in the stories are my friends and I don’t care for anything which may shatter this illusion. Lol. It may be silly but life is more enjoyable that way. :)

  10. Reason at this sight? Just like everyone else; wanting to know how old I’ll be when your next book is written! :)

    Bought all 7 books last week and had them sent to my favorite aunt who is an avid reader. I knew that by doing so that we would have some much to talk about from now on!

    Like everyone else looking so forward to your 8th book as the upside; but the downside is that nothing and I mean nothing gets done from A – Z while I’m engrossed in your novel. Everything and everyone has to wait, get in line!!!

    As the brilliant writer that you are with the Outlander series, you’ve left so many loose ends in Book 7 so that we, your avid fans are biting at the bit! Cruel and unusual punishment! :)

  11. I enjoyed the film trailers on the web site. I didn’t realize that any of the books were made into movies. How can I find them to rent/and or buy. i am not sure I will like my mental pictures to be replaced by real ones, but I would like to try. I am tortured waiting for the story left hanging at the end of Echo. . .
    Your fond fan,

    • Dear Judy–

      Err…well, if you look carefully there at the introduction to the “Videos” link, you’ll see me say that impatient fans often take it into their own hands to make “casting videos,” which is what you’re looking at there. None of the books is presently in movie form, though they are under option. (There’s more about that in the FAQ section.)


  12. Hi Diana, thanks so much for your series which I have loved since I was 16 years old. Now that I am 31 and a mother I love it even more because I can relate much more to Claire!

    Just wanted to send you a quick note to let you know why I am No. 2 Aussie Fan, I had never shared your books with anyone (jealous nature – wanted them to myself) then when my good friend was very very sick with morning sickness and couldn’t even get out of bed I decided to finally share my secret and gave her Cross Stitch to read, well from that moment on she became OBSESSED, she bought the whole series read and re-read everything else she could find on you and the series and is at this moment planning a trip to Scotland with her Cousin and Sister in 2012. (I would love to go however my son has heart condition and at this stage I can’t leave him!!).

    Our whole circle of friends have now read your books and love them! I should have shared years ago because now we all have something else to talk about and are planning a reading holiday for when the next book comes out. Thanks again for such a great series. Could you help us with some suggestions for other series to read to tide us over???

    • Dear Brooke–

      Many thanks! Actually, there’s a thing in here somewhere called The Methadone List, which is my Highly Idiosyncratic list of Books I Like, that I feel good about recommending to people when they ask what to read while waiting for the next book. {g} Maybe you’ll find something there you like. I _think_ it’s under the “Resources” link, but couldn’t swear to it–haven’t had enough time lately to go through here and add stuff, but should have some fresh things (and a new blog post) up later this week.


  13. Diana,

    I was so glad to find this tidbit from book eight! I started reading this amazing series this past November and it became an obsession right from the start! Being a registered nurse I really have had fun imagining Claire tending to all of the madness that the 1700′s has to offer in the realm of medicine! I have also enjoyed all of the Lord John stories and I am looking forward to those that are up and coming! I can’t wait to see what happens with William and Ian, and of course with Jem and the rest of the Frazer-MacKenzies! Love this series and can’t wait for book 8!


  14. Dear Diana, I discovered the Outlander series 6 months ago and I’ve read all 7 books…twice. I actually think I’ve fallen in love with Jamie. How crazy is that? I’m in love with a fictional character. Hope my husband doesn’t find out.

    Like the rest of your obsessed Outlander fans, I’m anxiously waiting for book 8. After reading all 3 of the excerpts, I’m even more impatient. I’m also looking forward to the books about Master Raymond and Roger’s parents but for heaven’s sake FINISH the Outlander Series before writing anything else!

    I also have a small suggestion for book 8. If Roger and Bree end up in the past again with Jamie and Claire, it would be humorous if Roger sang a Beatles or Rod Stewart tune (since he has a scratchy voice) at a gathering. Can’t you just imagine the shock and awe?!

    Anyhow, get busy on book 8 and put us all out of our misery!

    Your obsessed fan, Beth

  15. hello Diana ! Have you got mails from France?I really don’t know.I’d like to thank you for your wonderful books “OUTLANDER”series that’s incredible, so inventive amazing story! I was (still is) stunned and got addict! About 10 years ago browsing among English books at SMITH’S bookstore in Paris, by a mere chance I took in my hands “Dragonfly in amber” and that was it… Since I’ve got the 1st one and then all of them. I just bought “AN ECHO” a few days ago. From time to time I have a look at your new site which is wonderful texts, photos, etc… Thanks a lot. I have to say I have Spanish roots too from my maternal grd-mother actually. I do love the story of your family. So many thanks for the wonderful time you give us when reading your books. Looking forward to the next one nr.8 !!!Take care. with kindest regards. A fan from France

  16. Have just finished rereading all seven books and had to look up your website to assure myself that you are not leaving little Jem in that darn tunnel, and where has Roger gone?

    Can’t wait for book eight. But will read the Lord John and Jamie thing to hold me over.

    My other favorite series author is W.E.B. Griffin. Have practically memorized his Marines, Army, and Police series.

    Patrick O’Brian, too.

    You are in their league.

  17. First, thank you, your books are the only ones I read over and over again.

    I am wondering about the word fuck. When Claire first calls Jamie a fucking bastard, he later demands to know what it means. Later a character or two use the word fuck as it is used nowadays. When did it come common language for them?

    • Dear Riikka–

      Well, the F-word’s been common among English people for some hundreds of years, but probably wasn’t in common use in the Scottish Highlands or in France (where Jamie had studied and was later a mercenary). Had he spend any time in England–which he hadn’t, at the time of OUTLANDER–he’d very likely have heard it. {g}

      Now, Roger and Brianna have of course heard it commonly in the 20th century, though neither one uses it lightly. But there are coarse sorts in the Carolina backwoods, at sea, etc., who would certainly use language like that on a regular basis. (The word’s always meant pretty much what it does now.)


      • Ah, thank you!

        I was just curious, as I really liked the discussion between Jamie and Claire. This info will, how could I describe it, well, keep it real.

        I read your more recent post, about people complaining “fuck” being used too much. I am not. Consistency is just important for me.

  18. I have absolutely loved the Outlander series. I am registered blind and have just finished book 7 as an audiobook. I can’t wait for book 8 to come out on audio, can you tell me Diana, if there are plans to make an audio book of ‘Bloody Men’?

    • Dear Janet–

      “Bloody Men” is just the title of that particular excerpt/blogpost, not the title of Book Eight. When the whole book is done, then yes, there will certainly be an audio version of it. I think Recorded Books (and Davina Porter) have done a WONDERFUL job with the unabridged audio versions. Are those what you’re hearing, or do you listen to the Library of Congress Talking Book versions? I understand those (read by Barbara Caruso (?)) are excellent, too, but I haven’t heard them myself.


      • Thanks Diana. The audio books I have heard are narrated by Davina Porter, she is excellent and I love listening to her. I was able to read books 1 – 4 myself, but unfortunately I lost my ability to read print when book 5 was published. I have managed to get the audio versions by downloading them from the internet or through the RNIB (Royal National Institute for the Blind) here in the UK.

        Thank you again Diana for your wonderful books, what a great talent you have.


  19. I am always amazed at the critical comments and questions?
    This series has brought your readers ( myself included) back time and again through the excellence of dialog between wonderful characters and beautifully researched history.
    So please, if you feel the need to criticize then by all means let us see your attempts at fiction at its finest!
    Thank you Diana for hours of enjoyment


Leave a Response

Please note: comment moderation is enabled and may delay your comment. There is no need to resubmit your comment.