• “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

The Vigil of Easter

2023-03-30-easter-AZ-DGTonight is the Vigil of Easter, a service where we hear readings from the Bible regarding God’s deliverance of His people (e.g., the flight from Egypt and the path through the Red Sea), the reading of the Passion (the description of Jesus’s condemnation and crucifixion), and the Resurrection. Catechumens (the people who wish to become Catholics and have been taking instruction) will be baptized, and others confirmed. It’s a time of mingled sorrow, hope and joy—the coming of Easter.

For the moment, I thought I’d post the following snip from BEES (the chapter titled “Metanoia”), as it’s rather apropos. (Tomorrow, I’ll post a new excerpt as an Easter egg. <g>)

[Excerpt from GO TELL THE BEES THAT I AM GONE, Copyright © 2021 Diana Gabaldon]

A stack of these broadsides had been left on the breakfast table; he’d caught a glimpse of one headline as Germain had gathered them up and tapped the pages tidily into order before putting them in his bag:

THE TRIAL AND EXECUTION OF HENRY HUGHES Who Suffered Death on the Twelfth of June, Anno Domini 1779 At the County Gaol, Horsemonger Lane, Southwark For violating EMMA COOK, A Girl Only 8 Years Old

No stranger to the excesses of the daily press—the things Fergus printed were in fact not that different in character or intent from the tabloid papers of his own time—he had been struck by one factor peculiar to this time: to wit, the fact that the condemned men (and the occasional woman) were always accompanied by a clergyman on their journey toward the gallows. Not just a private pre-execution visit to give prayers and comfort, but to climb Calvary alongside the condemned.

What would I say to him, he wondered, if I should find myself called to accompany a man to his execution? He’d seen men killed, seen people die, certainly; much too often. But these were natural—if sometimes sudden and catastrophic—deaths. Surely it was different, a healthy man, sound of body, filled with life, and facing the imminent prospect of being deprived of that life by the decree of the state. Worse, having one’s death presented as a morally elevating public spectacle.

It struck Roger suddenly that he’d been publicly executed, and the milk and French toast shifted at the sudden memory.

Aye, well… so was Jesus, wasn’t He? He didn’t know where that thought had come from—it felt like something Jamie would say, logical and reasonable—but it flooded him at once with unexpected feeling.

It was one thing to know Christ as God and Savior and all the other capital-letter things that went with that. It was another to realize with shocking clarity that, bar the nails, he knew exactly how Jesus of Nazareth had felt. Alone. Betrayed, terrified, wrenched away from those he loved, and wanting with every atom of one’s being to stay alive.

Well, now you know what you’d say to a condemned man on his way to the gallows, don’t you?

Be sure to check out “Ticks and Things,” my Easter blog post from 2023. It contains an excerpt (with a minor spoiler) from Book Ten.

Photo of thunderstorm in the desert copyright © Diana Gabaldon.

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