• “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

“For Murtagh and Ian”

Below is an excerpt from Book Nine of the OUTLANDER novels. Note that there are SPOILERS…

"Oh, ye’ve got your beads after all," Jenny said, surprised. "Ye didna have your rosary in Scotland, so I thought ye’d lost it. Meant to make ye a new one, but there wasna time, what with Ian…" She lifted one shoulder, the gesture encompassing the whole of the terrible months of Ian’s long dying.

He touched the beads, self-conscious. "Aye, well… I had, in a way of speaking. I… gave it to William. When he was a wee lad, and I had to leave him at Helwater. I gave him the beads for something to keep—to… remember me by."

"Mmphm." She looked at him with sympathy. "Aye. And I expect he gave them back to ye in Philadelphia, did he?"

"He did," Jamie said, a bit terse, and a wry amusement touched Jenny’s face.

"Tell ye one thing, a brathair—he’s no going to forget you."

"Aye, maybe not," he said, feeling an unexpected comfort in the thought. "Well, then…" He let the beads run through his fingers, taking hold of the crucifix. "I believe in one God…"

They said the Creed together, and the three Hail Marys and the Glory Be.

"Joyful or Glorious?" he asked, fingers on the first bead of the decades. He didn’t want to do the Sorrowful Mysteries, the ones about suffering and crucifixion, and he didn’t think she did, either. A magpie called from the maples, and he wondered briefly if it was one they’d already seen, or a third. Three for a wedding, four for a death.

"Joyful," she said at once. "The Annunciation." Then she paused, and nodded at him to take the first turn. He didn’t have to think.

"For Murtagh," he said quietly, and his fingers tightened on the bead. "And Mam and Da. Hail Mary, full o’ grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou amongst women and blest is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus."

"Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death, Amen." Jenny finished the prayer and they said the rest of the decade in their usual way, back and forth, the rhythm of their voices soft as the rustle of grass.

They reached the second decade, the Visitation, and he nodded at Jenny—her turn.

"For Ian Òg," she said softly, eyes on her beads. "And Ian Mòr. Hail Mary…."

Back to the Book Nine webpage.

This excerpt was posted by Diana (as one of her Daily Lines) on her Facebook Page on April 21, 2015 at 4:10 a.m.

This page was last updated on Sunday, October 25, 2015 at 9:48 p.m. (PT) by Diana’s Webmistress.