• “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

“More Important Than Food” (Book Nine)

From Book Nine of my OUTLANDER series. Note that this excerpt may contain spoilers:

Facebook hashtags: #DailyLines, #BookNINE, #ImWorkingOnIt, #AllInGoodTime, #JamieAndClaire, #SomeThingsNeverChange

"…the night we made Faith."

I lifted my head in surprise.

"You know when she was conceived? I don’t know that."

He ran his hand slowly down my back, fingers pausing to rub circles in the small of it. If I’d been a cat, I would have waved my tail gently under his nose.

"Aye, well, I suppose I could be wrong, but I’ve always thought it was the night I came to your bed at the Abbey."

For a moment, I groped among my memories. That time at the Abbey of Ste. Anne, when he’d come so close to self-chosen death, was one I seldom revisited. It was a terrifying time of fear and confusion, despair and desperation. And yet when I did look back, I found a handful of vivid images, standing out like the illuminated letters on a page of ancient Latin.

Father Anselm’s face, pale in candlelight, his eyes warm with compassion and then the growing glow of wonder as he heard my confession. The abbot’s hands, touching Jamie’s forehead, eyes, lips and palms, delicate as a hummingbird’s touch, anointing his dying nephew with the holy chrism of Extreme Unction. The quiet of the darkened chapel where I had prayed for his life, and heard my prayer answered.

And among these moments was the night when I woke from sleep to find him standing, a pale wraith by my bed, naked and freezing, so weak he could barely walk, but filled once more with life and a stubborn determination that would never again leave him.

"You remember her, then?" My hand rested lightly on my stomach, recalling. He’d never seen her, or felt her as more than random kicks and pushes from inside me.

He kissed my forehead briefly, then looked at me.

"Ye ken I do. Don’t you?"

"Yes. I just wanted you to tell me more."

"Oh, I mean to." He settled himself on one elbow and gathered me in so I could share his plaid.

"Do you remember that, too?" I asked, pulling down the fold of cloth he’d draped over me. "Sharing your plaid with me, the night we met?"

"To keep ye from freezing? Aye." He kissed the back of my neck. "It was me freezing, at the Abbey. I’d worn myself out tryin’ to walk, and ye wouldna let me eat anything, so I was starving to death, and—"

"Oh, you know that’s not true! You—"

"Would I lie to ye, Sassenach?"

"Yes, you bloody would," I said, "You do it all the time. But never mind that now. You were freezing and starving, and suddenly decided that instead of asking Brother Roger for a blanket or a bowl of something hot, you should stagger naked down a dark stone corridor and get in bed with me."

"Some things are more important than food, Sassenach." His hand settled firmly on my arse. "And finding out whether I could ever bed ye again was more important than anything else just then. I reckoned if I couldn’t, I’d just walk on out into the snow and not come back."

"Naturally, it didn’t occur to you to wait for a few more weeks and recover your strength."

"Well, I was fairly sure I could walk that far leaning on the walls, and I’d be doin’ the rest lying down, so why wait?"

Links to more excerpts (aka "Daily Lines") from Book Nine are on my Book Nine webpage.

This excerpt was first posted on my official Facebook page on June 9, 2016.

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39 Responses »

  1. Diana Gabaldon, I am wondering how your inspiration leads you with our beloved characters – history and your attention to detail of the times aside, are you excited still by their story, and where you lead them, because we trustingly follow, hanging on every word and holding our combined breath against any ill befalling them. Your gift is amazing and long may you continue to embrace us. How lucky we are with #Samheughan and #Caitrionabalfe bringing Jamie and Claire to us – even after many years of reading and re-reading the novels their skills have firmly bedded sound and vision of Jamie and Claire in my mind. Thank you all

  2. One of my favorite instances in Claire’s story of Jamie is given deeper details eight books later! I love finding the connections that span story lines throughout the books. It characterizes Claire and Jamie’s relationship: tender – tough, unpredictable, full of stories within stories that keep extending to and including their “families”, intricately woven with history and historical figures – it is a rich tapestry that pulsates with life as it tells an amazing story of love. Thank you for it all.

  3. I have just started re-reading the Outlander series for the third time. I am enjoying it more now than the first two times! Thank you for the fun, romance, and adventure, Diana.

  4. I have been reading the Outlander series since February and just finished #8. It’s silly I know, but i miss Jamie & Claire being a part of my daily life. I cannot wait for #9. My adult daughter and I have both been reading the books and it has been a wonderful experience for us to share back and forth. In two weeks, we will be making our second trip to Scotland and we both now feel we understand the country’s history and people a bit better. My husband, her Dad. is named Angus so we smiled at the various Angus characters in the books. Thanks for such an engaging series. We cannot wait for the next book….but which one of us will get it first?

  5. These moments are so intimate, love them. Anticipating when I’ll be able to read the whole scene, realizing it is still sometime until that day.
    THINKING out loud that life has been so busy for myself and family as of late, that I need to make more of these moments myself. Thank You Diana for the reminder and the wonderful glimpse of Claire and Jamie. Never enough

  6. I am so happy that you have continued with the story!! The TV show is being done wonderfully and I always look forward to more adventures with Claire and Jaime. Hopefully, you won’t separate them again. I actually cried when they were reunited in the books! Happy creating!


  7. Mi muy apreciada Diana Gabaldon éste año tendré la dicha de poder leer el libro 9 de la saga forastera? Lo espero con ansias.
    Atentamente Blanca Ríos

    [Google translation:]
    I greatly appreciate Diana Gabaldon.

    This year will I have the joy of reading book 9 of the outsider[Outlander]saga? I’m waiting excitedly.

    Sincerely Blanca Rios

  8. I look forward to book nine. This excerpt is tantalizing.

  9. Can’t wait!

  10. I have been following Jamie and Claire since 1991. They have become like family and, of course, being of scottish heritage, he has stolen my heart! You must continue this series. I don’t know if I could part from all their stories and adventures. I love this story!!!!!
    Hands down, my most favorite writer

  11. Why why why will the TV people not incorporate the charming wit and humor of the book? When I see really truly funny dialogue between J/C I cringe when I realize how that dialogue will be portrayed on TV. I want less of the bodice ripping/sex moaning and more of the history and science !!!!

  12. I agree particularly with the last contributor regarding the lack of inclusion of many of the humourous dialogues between Jamie and Claire in the TV series. Because we are seeing the strength and evolution of their powerful relationship as they age, things other than sex will be part of that. It is apparent in the books that they are very comfortable with each other and share so much. I suppose this doesn’t make for exciting TV but I hope future TV seasons can represent these other elements, as well as the sexual, with as much veracity, tenderness and humour as good relationships (and your books) demonstrate.
    Thanks for a wonderful and affirming world.

  13. I love this excerpt so much, counting the days till Bees,

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