• “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

“Did he speak?”

Whew… just back from a working cruise down the Danube (and getting up in the middle of each night on the river in order to write a script for the Prequel, needed in two weeks. Luckily, I made it. <g>). So—just in time for a brief excerpt in honor of Jamie’s birthday tomorrow (and a quick “Happy Birthday!” to Sam Heughan, whose birthday is/was today):

EXCERPT from BOOK TEN (UNTITLED), Copyright © 2024 Diana Gabaldon

[Jamie and Roger sitting outside the malting shed, discussing Jamie’s imminent departure to find Lord John.]

raven-copeterson“Are you afraid?” he said. Jamie gave Roger a sharp look, but shrugged and settled himself before replying.

“Does it show?”

“Not on you,” Roger reassured him. “On Claire.”

Jamie looked astonished, but after a moment’s contemplation, nodded slightly.

“Aye, I suppose it does. She sleeps wi’ me, ken?” Evidently Roger’s expression didn’t show complete comprehension, for Jamie sighed a little and leaned back against the wall of the malting shed.

“I dream,” he said simply. “I can mind my thoughts well enough whilst I’m awake, but… ken, the Indians say the dream world is as real as this one? Sometimes I think that’s true—but I often hope it’s not.”

“You tell Claire about your dreams?”

Jamie grimaced briefly.

“Sometimes. Some….. well, ye’ll maybe ken that sometimes it helps to open your mind to someone, when ye’re troubled, and some dreams are like that; just saying what happened lets ye step back from it. Ye ken it’s only a dream, as they say.”

“Only.” Roger said it softly, but Jamie nodded, his mouth relaxing a little.

“Aye.” They were silent for a few moments, and the sounds of the wind and the local birds kept them company.

“I’m afraid for William,” Jamie said abruptly. He hesitated, but added, in a low voice, “And I’m afraid for John. I dinna want to think of the things that might—might be done to him. Things I may not be able to save him from.”

Roger glanced at him, trying not to look startled. But then he realized that Jamie didn’t avoid things, nor the mention of them. He had simply accepted the fact that Roger knew the things that had been done to Jamie, and exactly why he might fear for his friend.

“I wish I could go with you,” he said. It was impulsive, but true, and a genuine smile lighted Jamie’s face in response.

“I do, too, a Smeoraich. But the folk here need ye—and they’ll need ye a good deal more, should I not come back.”

Roger found himself wishing that Jamie would avoid some things now and then, but reluctantly conceded that things must be said now, no matter how uncomfortable. So he answered the question Jamie hadn’t asked.

“Aye. I’ll mind them for ye. The family; the weans. And all your bloody tenants, too. I’m not milking your kine, though, nor yet looking after that damn sow and her offpsring.”

Jamie didn’t laugh, but the smile was still there.

“It’s a comfort to me, Roger Mac, to ken ye’ll be here, to deal wi’ whatever might happen. And things will.”

“Now I’m afraid,” Roger said, as lightly as he could.

“I know.” Luckily Jamie didn’t expand on this, but turned to practicalities.

An Deamhan Gael can mind herself,” he assured Roger, referring—Roger thought—to the White Sow. “And wee Frances will take care for the kine. Oh— as for Frances herself— ”

“I won’t let her marry anyone until you come back,” Roger assured him.

“Good.” Jamie let out his breath and his shoulders slumped. “ I think I will. But the dead ha’ been talking to me.” He caught Roger’s lifted eyebrow. “Not—well, not only—my own dead. That’s often a comfort to me, should my Da or Murtagh or Ian Mor come by. Once in a long while… my mother.” That made him shy; he looked away.

Roger made a small noncommittal sound and waited for a moment, then asked, “you said, not only your own dead…?”

“Ah.” Jamie straightened up and set his feet solidly in the dirt. “The others. Men I’ve killed. Sometimes killed for cause. Others—in battle. Strangers. Men who—” he broke off and Roger saw his whole body tighten. Jamie looked away, down the path that led to the lake, as though something might be coming. The feeling was so strong that Roger looked too, and was relieved to see no more than a small covey of quail dust-bathing under a bush.

“Jack Randall came to me, two nights ago.”

Roger’s stomach contracted so suddenly that he said “Oof!” out loud. Jamie stared at him, then laughed.

“Aye, that’s what I said, too,” he assured Roger. “A few other things, besides, but I wilna repeat them wi’ Jemmy in earshot.”

There was a long pause, filled with birdsong from the trees that shaded the malting shed, punctuated by the distant cries of ravens.

“I suppose,” Roger said at last, “that it doesn’t matter what you said to him—but what did he say to you? Did he speak?”

Jamie looked down at the ground, and Roger could see the pulse beating at the side of his neck.

“No. He just laughed.”

[end section]

Visit my official Book Ten (Untitled) webpage for more excerpts from this book.

And Many Thanks to CO Petersen, who made this photo of a flying raven and allowed it to be used under a Wikimedia Commons license!

If you like, please leave a comment below. Note that your text will be public on the web. Comments are moderated, which means that myself or my Webmistress have to approve them, which may take a few hours or a few days. Thanks!

27 Responses »

  1. Thank you for this, Diana! I share a birthday with JAMMF, May 1. I’ve always loved my birthday, and you can imagine my delight when reading the books and realized that of 365 days, you chose May 1 for Jamie’s birthday! I love this excerpt. It just made my day knowing that book 10 is truly manifesting! I’m also relieved and excited to know you are writing some scripts for BOMB! You’re a delightful speaker and just such a gifted writer. I have a degree in English and am in my 30th year of education. I have shared some of your work with my students!

    With gratitude,

  2. That excerpt was a great gift for all your readers. Always looking forward to reading more from you.

  3. Diana, I enjoyed reading your excerpt. It is very well written and definitely leaving me wanting more. Enjoy your trip and I look forward to reading more.

  4. Dear Ms. Gabladon, Please, Please, Please consider continuing the series to include every book to the very end. It seems there are plans to condense everything in the 8th season. But your fans (including me) are so invested in the whole story. I am certain your fans would be overjoyed for a few extra episodes! Best wishes and heartfelt thanks for the story! You are amazing!

  5. Take your time with book ten. The longer it takes you to write it, the more we will enjoy reading it.

    I was disappointed to hear the series on STARZ will end with Season Eight. BEES was my favorite book so far, and I’m sure the next one will be even better. Any chance the decision to end at Eight might change? I imagine it’s difficult to keep the same actors and actresses engaged for so long.

    Take care,

    Norm Stephens

  6. I love Outlander. It’s a pleasure to read excerpts from the new book. It’s my favourite saga, and James and Claire are awesome characters. I live in Argentina and an American friend of mine, who lives close to Albuquerque, brought me “The Scottish prisoner” signed by you, several years ago. It’s one of my dearest possessions! Love from Buenos Aires

  7. I always love the man-to-man talks between Jamie and Roger. Love them! And you make emotions so tangible. This conversation gave me shivers at so many points. I’ll probably be up at night myself worrying for them all. But I can’t stop myself from reading the new excerpts. (This is my first book droughtlander. How do people survive this?! It’s excruciating!) …I do also appreciate, very much, your Methadone List ;) Love and Thanks from Canada!

  8. I just love the Outlander books and the show. You have brought to life a beautiful love story with lots of history. I can’t wait for book 10. I was wondering how the show can end with book 9, Bees when there is more to the story in book 10. I’ll be very sad when the books and the series end. Thank you so much for this wonderful story. Connie

    • I listen to people who only watch the series and not read the books theorizing the ending, knowing good n well Miss Diana will not give away Jamie and Claire’s purpose before book 10 comes out. Readers have invested decades into their love story. I’m curious if BOMB will give the actual ending in the beginning.
      Thank you, Miss Diana for giving us stories that transcend time. You are appreciated, ma’am.

  9. Have always wanted to say THANK YOU. For your books. For Outlander and all the wonderful characters both human and animal. For all the stories, both big and little. What joy they have brought to me. I am a nurse so I love the medical pieces. I love that time in history. The people and their differences and likenesses, their faults and strengths and weaknesses make each one so real. The pets and livestock all come to life and add so much to the story. The small home events like card playing and making lead balls by the fire are refreshing and joyful. Thanks again.

  10. Dear Diana,
    I came looking for when the part 2 of the next Outlander season would air, but got pulled into all things Outlander here. I just finished Bees and wanted to share how much it meant to me. As an East Tennessean, I have always heard of the Overmountain men and their strategic victory at Kings Mountain, but your story made it so real for me. I drive every day on Mary Patton Hwy, but I did not know who she was until you introduced me to her. I have friends who actually live on Powder Branch Road!! Your story has brought our local history alive. I can’t wait to see the annual play at Sycamore Shoals this year. Blessings to you!

    Kind Regards,
    Connie Middaugh

  11. Diana please, tell to Italian people that you won’t take long time to print the 10th book!!!!! LOL
    Love you from Italy

  12. Hi Diana,

    I just wanted you to know that I absolutely love you Outlanders series. I love knowing another book is coming soon. To get ready for the new book I have started reading the series all over again. This is the 4th time I have read through this series. You are such a gifted writer. I can’t sit for the next book but in the meantime I am going to enjoy your first books.

    Thank you

  13. Oooo, this made my hair stand on end. Yikes. =8-O

  14. Could you please give Jamie a break from Jack Randall? Must you keep dragging his rape and torture along forever?

  15. Grazie, attendo con pazienza il finale, grazie ancora per questa piccola “grande” ancicipazione

    ——-From Google Translate——–

    Thanks, I wait patiently the ending, thanks again for this small “big” angity

  16. Reading this gave me the chills. It’s been a while since I read Tell the Bees, and I had forgotten what it feels like. Yes, do take your time. I like a nice, long Outlander book.

  17. Hi Diana, Every word you write is magic. I have all your books and sincerely hope that I can stay alive long enough to read Novel 10. I am 83 years old, so here’s hoping.

  18. I’ve never read a collection of books or watched a tv series that had crying my eyes out so much as OUTLANDER! Even so, I keep going back for more and more. I’ve read the books through several times, and watched the tv series through just as much. I end up going through boxes and boxes of tissues! I recently retired, and my mornings alone while my family is at work are spent either reading or watching the Outlander series, and weeping incessantly. It’s like I’m living the characters’ lives right along with them. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for opening up a whole new world to be a “part” of!

  19. I’m curious, who was the young girl that died in France and why did Jaime feel responsible? Also, since Jaime was really left handed, why didn’t he use that hand to write instead of suffering so with the right?
    Please don’t let book 11 be the last in the series.
    I hope people will still be reading Outlander 200 years from now!!

  20. Thank You Diana! Desperately needed some new Outlander and can’t wait for you to publish! Fan Forever!

Leave a Response

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