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

"How old were you, the first time you saw a man killed?" Roger asked abruptly.

"Eight," Jamie replied without hesitation. "In a fight during my first cattle raid. I wasna much troubled about it."

Jamie stopped quite suddenly, and Roger had to step to the side to avoid running into him.

"Look," Jamie said, and he did. They were standing at the top of a small rise, where the trees fell away for a moment, and the Ridge and the north side of the cove below it spread before them, a massive chunk of solid black against the indigo of the faded sky. Tiny lights pricked the blackness, though; the windows and sparking chimneys of a dozen cabins.

"It’s not only our wives and our weans, ken?" Jamie said, and nodded toward the lights. "It’s them, as well. All of them." His voice held an odd note; a sort of pride—but rue and resignation, too.

All of them.

Seventy-three households in all, Roger knew. He’d seen the ledgers Jamie kept, written with painful care, noting the economy and welfare of each family who occupied his land—and his mind.

"Now therefore so shalt thou say unto my servant David, Thus saith the Lord of hosts, I took thee from the sheepcote, from following the sheep, to be ruler over my people, over Israel." The quote sprang to mind and he’d spoken it aloud before he could think.

Jamie drew a deep, audible breath.

"Aye," he said. "Sheep would be easier."

Back to the Book Nine webpage.

This excerpt from Book Nine was posted by Diana as one of her "Daily Lines" on January 2, 2015, on her Facebook page.

This page was last updated on Sunday, October 25, 2015 at 10:12 p.m. (PT) by Diana’s Webmistress.