• “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

Happy Birthday, Claire!

#Excerpt #OUTLANDER #HappyBirthdayClaire

[From OUTLANDER, Chapter 25]

“I believe you,” he said firmly. “I dinna understand it a bit—not yet—but I believe you. Claire, I believe you! Listen to me! There’s the truth between us, you and I, and whatever ye tell me, I shall believe it.” He gave me a gentle shake.

“It doesna matter what it is. You’ve told me. That’s enough for now. Be still, _mo nighean donn_. Lay your head and rest. You’ll tell me the rest of it later. And I’ll believe you.”

I was still sobbing, unable to grasp what he was telling me. I struggled, trying to pull away, but he gathered me up and held me tightly against himself, pushing my head into the folds of his plaid, and repeating over and over again, “I believe you.”

At last, from sheer exhaustion, I grew calm enough to look up and say, “But you _can’t_ believe me.”

He smiled down at me. His mouth trembled slightly, but he smiled.

“Ye’ll no tell _me_ what I canna do, Sassenach.” He paused a moment. “How old are ye?” he asked curiously. “I never thought to ask.”

The question seemed so preposterous that it took me a minute to think.

“I’m twenty-seven…or maybe twenty-eight,” I added. That rattled him for a moment. At twenty-eight, women in this time were usually on the verge of middle-age.

“Oh,” he said. He took a deep breath. “I thought ye were about my age—or younger.”

He didn’t move for a second. But then he looked down and smiled faintly at me. “Happy Birthday, Sassenach,” he said.

It took me completely by surprise and I just stared stupidly at him for a moment. “What?” I managed at last.

“I said, ‘Happy Birthday.’ It’s the twentieth of October today.”

“It is?” I said dumbly. “I’d lost track.” I was shaking again, from cold and shock and the force of my tirade. He drew me close against him and held me, smoothing his big hands lightly over my hair, cradling my head against his chest. I began to cry again, but this time with relief. In my state of upheaval, it seemed logical that if he knew my real age and still wanted me, then everything would be all right.

Jamie picked me up, and holding me carefully against his shoulder, carried me to the side of the fire, where he had laid the horse’s saddle. He sat down, leaning against the saddle, and held me, light and close.

A long time later, he spoke.

“All right. Tell me now.”

I told him. Told him everything, haltingly but coherently. I felt numb from exhaustion, but content, like a rabbit that has outrun a fox, and found temporary shelter under a log. It isn’t sanctuary, but at least it is respite. And I told him about Frank.

“Frank,” he said softly. “Then he isna dead, after all.”

“He isn’t _born_.” I felt another small wave of hysteria break against my ribs, but managed to keep myself under control. “Neither am I.”

He stroked and patted me back into silence, making his small murmuring Gaelic sounds.

“When I took ye from Randall at Fort William,” he said suddenly, “you were trying to get back. Back to the stones. And…Frank. That’s why ye left the grove.”


“And I beat you for it.” His voice was soft with regret.

“You couldn’t know. I couldn’t tell you.” I was beginning to feel very drowsy indeed.

“No, I dinna suppose ye could.” He pulled the plaid closer around me, tucking it gently around my shoulders. “Do ye sleep now, _mo nighean donn_. No one shall harm ye; I’m here.”

I burrowed into the warm curve of his shoulder, letting my tired mind fall through the layers of oblivion. I forced myself to the surface long enough to ask, “Do you really believe me, Jamie?”

He sighed, and smiled ruefully down at me.

“Aye, I believe ye, Sassenach. But it would ha’ been a good deal easier if you’d only been a witch.”


51 Responses »

  1. You know, I’ve read Outlander 5 times (the last time in 2014) and just re-reading this passage transports me completely from my work cube into Scotland. I’ve got a copy on my Kindle and a paperback version on my desk and I’m itching to dive in for a sixth visit! I’m not sure how you do it, Diana, but THANK YOU!

  2. I don´t remember how I first came across these wonderful books.. They make me read, research, learn about things, places and characters that I didn’t even known ever existed. In one word: fascinating. Takes me through space and time every time I read its lines and makes me wonder if there is a connection between me and the beatiful land of Scotland, even from the far land where I live.
    Thank you Diana for this wonderful journey..

    José Fernández – Venezuela

  3. Hi Diana. I was Beth Gay back in about 2000 when you were the Honoured Guest at the Scottish Weekend in Moultrie, Georgia. I am reading your series of books for, I think, either the 2nd or 3rd time, and today ran across the scene you read to the assembled guests at our Saturday night Gala Banquet.

    It was the scene in which Jamie almost becomes the King of Ireland.

    Everyone adored the scene…except our Library Director. She just fuzzed up as it was concerning sex.
    Now, THE REST OF THE STORY: She claimed to be so embarrassed by the story you read that I understand she told it to everyone in town…including the Library Board Chairman and Mayor of Moultrie, Bill McIntosh.

    At the end, Bill said, “Melody, how did she spell the mare? Melody, said, “M-A-R-E.”

    Bill said, “Oh, I had a moment of panic that it was spelled “M-A-Y-O-R.”

    I’ll never forget going on Sunday to get your rental car…and discovering you had left your proof copy in your bedcovers. The B & B lady had already discarded it, not having a clue what it was. I about had a stroke…but did rescue it from the trash and mailed it back to you as soon as the post office opened on Monday.

    Anyway, I thought you’d get a kick out of the MAYOR comment.

    Claire and Jamie and all the rest of the characters seem to me to be actually living folks! Thank you for giving me family!


    • Dear Beth–

      Haha! I remember you most fondly, Beth–and I LOVE the story of the Library Director and the Mayor. [g]

      Good to hear from you again!



  4. Read the complete series after I started watching the TV show. Of course the books are much better but I enjoyed the show also.

    I wondered why you didn’t pick up with William and make the books after Outlander about him.

    • Dear Sharon–

      Well…William isn’t even _born_ until somewhere in the middle of VOYAGER, and we don’t see him as a near-adult (i.e., interesting) until AN ECHO IN THE BONE. For another thing–it isn’t his story. He’s an important part of it–and you certainly see his life–but it’s Jamie and Claire’s story.



  5. This was in today’s Washington Post newspaper, speaking of ancient circles and forgotten civilizations. Wonders really do never cease:


  6. I love the Outlander books. My Avon lady recommended them and when I purchased Outlander I was completely hooked. I’ve read all 8 and am in the middle of reading the first a second time. I love the TV show and feel as if the book has come to life. It’s as if you’re “watching” the book in screen, if that makes any sense. I must admit that when I finished book 8 I litteraly cried my eyes out. I felt as if I lost dear friends. I was overjoyed when I checked your website and you assured us that you are writing a 9th book. How long will we have to wait for it? You say it takes you about 4 years to write just one. I’m hoping you are almost done. Thank you for these wonderful books. I cherish them.

    All the best,

    • Hello Michele,

      If it is so, 4 years fo a new book then I think Diana should start writing a new book every year, so we’ll have a new one every year too.. :-) the string of books would never end to our delight..


      José Fernández
      Valencia – Venezuela

  7. Polish TV showed the first episode of Outlander series yesterday. My sister, who lives there,
    was in raptures when she texted me this afternoon ( I live in Canada).
    Both her and her husband were absolutely enchanted by the show.

    Thanks to you, Diana, there’s one more thing my sister and I have in common;
    absolute love of your books, and now the show.

    Thank you,

  8. nov10/2014
    diana. good sunny but chilly (-17C.) here in Edmonton, Alberta Canada. I don’t know if you will ever read this but it feels good to be able to thank-you for some of the finest writing that i have read so far ( I am 71 yrs. old and was born a Libra as well). after watching the first half of the first book on tv. i have decided not to watch anything more. i simply enjoy the books much more. i understand that you are planning one more book in the Outlander series but i, for one, simply don’t want to read anymore. this family has suffered so much in every way that i thought IMOHB ended this very long story well. i don’t know what you have planned, but i honestly don’t think i will be one person who will be reading it. the Fraser family deserve some closure and happiness.
    i will be looking to see what else you have written and published. all the best. much happiness and good health. sincerely, jeanne

  9. Being German, Italian, English-Scottish/Irish I often arbitrarily muss about what that all means to me in my everyday life.

    This wonderful story telling of Claire and her family and journey brought to focus with the past generations that0 contibuted to my existience.

    Being an avid reader of sci fi especially time travel plus historical based adventures made me an instant fan of Outlander, Claire, and so on.

    The last seris I read was The Earth Children, strong herione and hero advanture.

    As I watched the first few episodes of Starz version of your books, and I knew I would read all the books. Looking forward to 9.

    Take good care of yourself Diana, enjoy this beautiful adventure you have launched yourself and your fans on.

    Hope you continue to write about strong Men and woman…..

    And HAPPY Birthday Claire

  10. I have an interest in astrology and have recently had a look at the charts for Jamie and Claire, Sam and Catriona, and quite frankly, am staggered at the synchronicity between the characters and the actors. From my limited understanding, it appears that Sam and Catriona were born to be these characters. Anybody else looked at this?? Diana…any comment? Hope you had a great Christmas and hope 2015 is a productive one for you!

    • Dear Jennifer–

      Yes, the similarities were quite astonishing. [g] Meant to be, I suppose!



      • Dear Diana – thank you for your prompt and ‘interesting’ response…now you’ve really got me thinking!! Not for public discussion though. :-)
        Many thanks

  11. My daughter, Marsali, shares a birthday with Claire…albeit a few years after (2011)

  12. Dear Diana, Never, ever, have I enjoyed any stories or books as much as the Outlander series. I just finished Book #8, the Moby, and cried my eyes out at the end. I kept thinking after the last time Brianna and Roger were mentioned….. where are they ??? Then the last chapter … really stirred my emotions. I certainly hope # 9 is not long coming out, I can’t wait!!! Thank you, Thank you… and I am loving the TV series on Starz…. Sincerely, Linda

  13. Diana why did you choose October 20th for Claire’s birthday? That day is also my lovely, beautiful, wonderful Mom’s birthday.

  14. I read Outlander many years ago and was hooked and have waited patiently for each book to come out over the years. I’m concerned that I may not be able to read the final book because our much loved Jamie dies or so I’ve been told. Can you tell me that the ending will make it worth reading and not be too terribly sad? I really love this book series. I’m an avid reader and appreciate the books so much.

    • Dear Donna–

      I wouldn’t worry, if I were you. It’ll be a good ending. But we’re nowhere near the final book, you know…



      • I’m happy the show has been a success for the readers and you also Diana. It’s obvious to someone who reads alot that you don’t simply sit down and start to write. The books are a testament to all the effort you put into research, your characters personalities and the storyline as a whole. Thanks for the joy you given us readers.

  15. In “Written in My Own Heart’s Blood” there is a brief description of a gentleman named Heughan. Is that a nod to Sam Heughan? Warmly, Deborah

  16. Dear Diana,
    I began reading the Outlander series in 1992. At the time I was going through a heartbreaking divorce. Your books saved me. So much so that I forced my friend Maureen to read them too. She told me she had a bone to pick with me because a) she stayed up late reading and b) she couldn’t put them down. Together through the years we have enjoyed them so much. When we heard that the series was to be on the STARZ network we both called and had it added to our cable service. It’s so worth the money. I have recommended your books to people over the years many, many times. Truthfully, they are the best books I’ve ever read. Now, my husband is hooked on the tv series. We love to watch it together. The sex scenes make him blush but he loves them none the less. I loved the scene where you are at the gathering on the catwalk and the cook makes the comment that she saw you in that dress the year before. What a hoot! I am so in awe of you intelligence and imagination. You have brought so much entertainment and pleasure to so many people. Please don’t ever stop. I look forward to book #9. My love for Claire and Jamie will never die as my hopes to see Caitriona and Sam become a couple.
    Warmest regards for your good health and happiness,

  17. Question about “my brown one” (?) – It was great to see your online excerpt online here because it has Jamie saying “mo nighean donn”. This finally reconciles with what I’m hearing on the show – it sounds like ‘money and down’ – but my book print says ‘mo duinne’. Am I just too crazy trying to ‘phonetic’ Gaelic, lol?

  18. Happy Birthday Claire and my Husband James McIntyre!
    Diana you rock and you know it, which rocks even more! I have so enjoyed every word I’ve gotten my hands on!!!
    The depth and breadth of your work is so engaging, uplifting and thought provoking!
    Thank you!

  19. Me gustaria saber a que se refiere Jamie en La cruz ardiente cuando dice que Claire en una Antigua y que si lo averiguan la mataran

    Google Translation:
    I would like to know what Jamie is referring to in The Burning Cross when he says that Claire is in an Ancient and that if they find out they will kill her.

    • Google translation to Spanish:

      Hola Maria,

      Jamie se refería al hecho de que Claire es una viajera del tiempo, lo que significaba que podía ser una bruja para las personas en muchos períodos de tiempo. A menudo, estas personas supersticiosas quemaron o apedrearon a mujeres que pensaban que tenían poderes mágicos.

      Diana’s Webmistress

      Hi, Maria,

      Jamie was referring to the fact that Claire is a time traveler, which meant she could be a witch to people in many time periods. Often these superstitious people burned or stoned women who they thought had magical powers.

      Diana’s Webmistress

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