• “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


Now, if you don’t want to know _anything_ about this book before reading it–stop right here. {g} This is the original catalog-copy for THE SCOTTISH PRISONER; the general description of the book that I wrote for use by editors (who write the flap-copy and back-cover copy), agents (who write descriptions for their own catalogs for use at international book-fairs), and publishers (who write brief descriptions of new books for the catalogs their sales reps use when describing new books to their accounts). This is the basic description of the book, on which all those things are based. So, for those of you who want to know just what SCOTTISH PRISONER is…read on!

There are only two compensations to Jamie Fraser’s life as a paroled Jacobite prisoner-of-war in the remote Lake District: he’s not cutting sugar cane in the West Indies, and he has access to William, his illegitimate (and very secret) son, otherwise known as the ninth Earl of Ellesmere. His quiet life comes suddenly apart with the appearance of Tobias Quinn, an Irishman and an erstwhile comrade from the Rising.

Some Jacobites were killed; others, like Jamie, imprisoned or transported. Others escaped. And many of them didn’t give up. Quinn still burns with passion for the Stuart Cause, and he has a Plan. A singularly dangerous plan, involving Jamie Fraser and an ancient relic of Irish kingship—the sacred cup of the Druid King.

Jamie has had enough of politics, enough of war—and more than enough of the Stuarts. He’s having none of it.


In London, Lord John Grey has brought home from Quebec a packet of papers that might as well have come equipped with a fuse, so explosive are their contents. Material collected by a recently deceased friend, the papers document a damning case of corruption and murder against a British officer, Major Gerald Siverly. For the sake of his friend, and his own honor as a soldier, John is determined to bring Siverly to justice.

John’s brother Hal, the Duke of Pardloe, takes this cause as his own, and enlists the help of his wife, Minnie, a retired spy in her own right. The Greys show Minnie a mysterious document from the dangerous docket—what appear to be verses, written in a language they don’t recognize. Minnie does recognize the language. It’s Erse, she tells the brothers. The language spoken by Irishmen and Scottish Highlanders.

Erse. The word gave Grey a very odd sensation. Erse was what folk spoke in the Scottish Highlands. It sounded like no other language he’d ever heard—and barbarous as it was, he was surprised to learn that it existed in a written form.

Hal was looking at him speculatively.

“You must have heard it fairly often, at Ardsmuir?”

“Heard it, yes. Almost all the prisoners spoke it.” Grey had been governor of Ardsmuir prison for a brief period; as much exile as appointment, in the wake of a near-scandal. He disliked thinking about that period of his life, for assorted reasons.

“Did Fraser speak it?”

Oh, God, Grey thought. Not that. Anything but that.

“Yes,” he said, though. He had now and then overheard James Fraser speaking in his native tongue to the other prisoners, the words mysterious and flowing.

“When did you see him last?”

“Not since last spring.” Grey spoke briefly, his voice careful.

Not careful enough; Hal came round in front of him, examining him at close range, as though he might be an unusual sort of Chinese jug.

“He is at Helwater, is he not? Will you go and ask him about Siverly?” Hal said mildly.



“I would not piss on him, was he burning in the flames of hell,” Grey said politely.

One of Hal’s brows flicked upward, but only momentarily.

“Just so,” he said dryly. “The question, though, is whether Fraser might be inclined to perform a similar service for you.”

Grey placed his cup carefully in the center of the desk.

“Only if he thought I might drown,” he said, and went out.

But needs must when the devil drives—and Lord John and Jamie are shortly unwilling companions on the road to Ireland, a country whose dark castles hold dreadful secrets, and whose bogs hide the bones of the dead.

158 Responses »

  1. “I would not piss on him, was he burning in the flames of hell” LOVE THAT LINE, can I steal it?

    I usually say (about my ex-daughter-in-law) that I wouldn’t spit on her if she were burning on my front porch, but I like your line better!!!

    Of course, we all know that Lord John doesn’t mean it. He loves Jamie and works hard at not showing it. I think that’s what’s so intriguing about these characters, that they can still be friends, knowing what they do about each other.

  2. Jamie in his prime! I think he is in his 30s .. ish in Scottish Prisoner? Can’t wait to find out more about what he gets up to ! And if Claire can’t be his companion, well LJ will be very interesting !

  3. Yeeeeaaaaaaaayyyyyyyyyyyyyyy!
    Did not know what to expect about this new book (except that it would be excelent, of course) Now I’m really excited, cant wait. I love all the mystery in the Lord John Books, now sweet sexy Jamie is in this one too! Do I dare say it?… Might this one possibly be my new fav?…… (giggle giggle tremble tremble)… can’t wait to find out!

  4. I can’t wait! When will it be released?

  5. Will you be at the Sedona Book Festival Oct. 1st? I cannot wait until the next book comes out! Still shocked and realing from the ending of Echo!!! I began reading the Outlander series this past July and am in the middle of my first reread. I am utterly hooked. The world you create with your writing is exquisitely heart-wrenching, and populated with the most amazing people ever. Brava!!!

    • Dear Susan–

      Yes! Will definitely be at the Sedona Book Festival Oct. 1! I’ll be speaking at 2 PM (it’s at Yavapai College campus), and will be there to sign books afterward. The Well Red Coyote will have books for sale, but I’ll be happy to sign books people bring from home, too.


  6. Love it!! I can’t wait till the end of November.

  7. Brilliant ! The Outlander series are my all time favourite novels. When I read them I feel as if I have returned home. And yes, I did travel throughout the highlands of Scotland with my knapsack and my camera – Glorious Indeed. Write On Diana !!! We love you :<)

  8. I have read and enjoyed all the Outlander series of books and am looking forward to the next one. Whilst working as an RN at an aged care facility in Townsville, Australia, I shared the stories with an elderly resident who read the first four books before her eyesight failed. After this I would give her a precis of the stories, which she enjoyed, but unfortunately she passed away before finishing the series. I would like you to know that your books brought a lot of pleasure and enjoyment to a lovely elderly lady – and to me. Thank you. I’m sure I am not the only Australian who, once started, has difficulty putting the books down!

  9. I had my doubts about this book, anticipating an unwelcome excess of Jamie Fraser. The story description confirms my worst fears. The first word that came to mind was contrived. Oh well. At least I can enjoy the much too small part that involves John Gray and his family. BTW, what exactly was the near- scandal that landed John at Ardsmuir?

    • Marianne,
      You will have to read ‘Brotherhood of the Blade’ to learn of the near-scandal that landed Lord John at Ardsmuir. ‘Brotherhood of the Blade’ is by far my favourite Lord John. You will love it!
      Antipodean Janet

  10. Well goodness gracious me Marianne! Maybe you should go back and re-read “Brotherhood of the Blade” for yourself. Methinks you jump a little too quickly to your conclusion that The Scottish Prisoner will offer an (unwelcome) excess of Jamie – you might want to leave yourself room to be a little more generous, following it’s publication.

    • I have read Brotherhood of the Blade, more than once. That has exactly the right amount of Jamie, minimal to be exact. This one has the two of them going to Ireland together. Please.

      • Dear Marianne–

        Well, you’re certainly welcome to like or not like any character–but the fact is that these two men’s lives are entangled. You know what their relationship was at the end of BROTHERHOOD, and (presumably) what it is in A BREATH OF SNOW AND ASHES and AN ECHO IN THE BONE. Plainly, there’s a missing piece of the puzzle that explains how they got from the one to the other, and that’s SCOTTISH PRISONER.


  11. What is “Plague of Zombies”? I saw it on a question on the Daily Lines?
    Marianne the scandal that sent LJ to Ardsmuir, I believe was what happened at the Hellfire Club.
    (LJ and the Hand of Devils. One of the other books in the LJ series.)
    I guess not everybody can Luuuuvvvv Jaime… I do have a very high regard for LJ, he has a wonderful sense of humor, and a great vocab, ala Diana…The more I get to know him, the more I like him! Looking forward to “Prisoner”!

    • Dear Iseabail–

      “Plague of Zombies” is a novella, which will be published in an anthology (called DOWN THESE STRANGE STREETS, edited by George RR Martin and Gardner Dozois) on October 4th.

      Now, chronologically (in terms of the Lord John stories), “Zombies” _follows_ THE SCOTTISH PRISONER–it’s set in 1761, which SP is set in 1760. I did build it so that it could be read alone or–if you can’t wait {g}–before reading SCOTTISH PRISONER (it has one very minor spoiler, but it won’t ruin the novel for you).

      Physically, “Plague of Zombies” takes place on Jamaica.

      (It’s published before SCOTTISH PRISONER because it’s published by a different publishing company.)

      And Marianne will be happy–Jamie occurs only in Lord John’s thoughts in that one. {g}


      • Diana,
        Thanks for the info on Zombies. Will read it after Scottish Prisoner, something to look forward to! I really don’t want Marianne to be happy…the rest of us are greedy for any and all of Jaime, and Lord John…ect…let’s not focus on her being happy! Thanks!

  12. I want more! I have also read all of the Lord John books and love them. Can’t wait. By the way, I love George R R Martin as well. I’m reading book 3 in his Game of Thrones series. But, at the same time, I am listening to Dragonfly in Amber in the car for about the third time. Just finished listening to Outlander for the third time. Just love it.

  13. I have read all the Outlaner books. I find myself draw to Celtic music and stories. I’ve been telling my family that if there is such a thing as reincarnation, I may have been Celtic in a previous life. Both my parents are French….in researching my ancestry, this year, I have discovered that my grandfather’s great-grandmother, is a Fraser! Her father was a Pierre and grandfather Malcohm! Now I know why this has such a pull on me!

  14. I can’t wait to read this new book, Lord John has been one of my favorite persons in the books and he deserved his own book series!
    From what I’ve read so far it’s going to be special, so thank you so much, for the countless hours of reading pleasure….

  15. Are there any hopes to read it translated into Italian ?

  16. Even though I don’t care much about reading a Grey story –I do love anything about Jamie. But I am curious how it fits into what was already written– obviously Jamie never mentions this adventure to Claire– which is odd.
    But of course– I will read it.

  17. I’m hooked already. Pre-ordered from Amazon. I’ve read all the John Gray books because they mentioned Jamie and Claire and were a connection. I swear this is the best series I’ve ever read. Can’t wait for #8 even though I know it can’t be as good as the earlier books….I mean the odds are…but so far Diana has not disappointed.

    Have any other books created such a following? I don’t think so.

  18. *jumps up and down like a little kid waiting for Christmas and it’s just days away* Oh boy, oh boy!!

  19. This was a fantastic day! Havent been much of a reader over the past 20+ years since college. But over the past few years have read your books and I have thoroughly enjoyed them. Someone told me that once you start to read the frst chapter of the first book you wont be able to stop. They were right. Each book leaves you wanting more and what is to come. It was an honor to be able to sit in on your reading and meet you in person. Thank You.

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