• “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

“You little bastard!”

2024-06-01-book-ten-excerptSaturday, June 1, 2024

Well, much to my astonishment, it’s World Outlander Day! <cough> I began writing what turned out to be OUTLANDER on March 6th, 1988, and it was first published (in the U.S.) on June 1st, 1991. And… um… here we all are! (Thirty-three years…??!! later…)

My HUGE Thanks to the dozens of wonderful agents, editors, publishers, copy-editors, artists and art directors, translators and film-makers around the world who have done such a wonderful job in moving the contents of my head into the hands of so many lovely readers over the years (that sounds a little weird, but I can’t think of a more succinct way of putting it…)—and my heartfelt thanks also to you many lovely readers from multiple countries, without whom… well without y’all, it wouldn’t be World Outlander Day, now would it?

Here’s a brief excerpt from BOOK TEN, to celebrate— and there will be a couple of other exciting announcements to follow soon.

Slainte mhath!


[Excerpt from (Untitled) BOOK TEN, Copyright © 2024 Diana Gabaldon]

Jamie glanced at me, then fixed his gaze on William.

“So his lordship is—to the best o’ your knowledge—being held aboard a ship called Palace, in the hands of a man called Richardson, whom ye ken yourself as a right bastard who’s tried to kill you more than once—and now he’s said he means to kill Lord John?”


“But ye dinna ken why he should want to do that?”

William rubbed his hands hard over his face and shook his head.

“I told you what bloody Wainwright told me. How would I know whether it’s the truth? It sounds—” He flung out his hands in a violent, hopeless gesture.

Jamie and I exchanged a quick glance. How, indeed? It sounded like insanity to William; it sounded much worse to me, and to Jamie.

Jamie cleared his throat and set both hands on his desk.

“I suppose that bit doesna really matter, aye? Whether we believe it or not, I mean. The only thing to do is to find where his lordship is, and get him back.”

It was said so simply that I smiled, despite the situation, and William’s bunched shoulders dropped a little.

“You make it sound so easy,” he said. His voice was still dry, but the note of strain in it had gone.

“Mmphm. How long have ye been on the road, lad?”

“Don’t call me ‘lad’,” William said, automatically. “Two months, more or less. Looking for my fa— for Lord John, or for my uncle. I can’t find him, either.” He’d dropped his haversack on the floor beside his chair, and now dipped a hand into it and came out with a wodge of stained and folded papers, which he dropped on Jamie’s desk, letting out a sigh as he did so, as though the papers weighed heavily in his hand.

“Aye. Well, twenty-four hours willna alter your prospects of findin’ either one,” Jamie said, eyeing the papers. “Eat, wash, and rest now. We’ll talk more, and lay our plans tomorrow.”

He turned his head to look out the window, then glanced thoughtfully back at William. It was late afternoon, but the yard and the nearby trees were still alive with people celebrating the wedding of the Hardmans and Higgenses that had taken place in the morning, and I could tell what he was thinking. So could William.

“Who do you mean to tell… them—” he nodded toward the window, “—that I am? A lot of them saw me. And Frances knows.”

Jamie leaned back a little, looking at his son. His son, and I felt, rather than saw, the warmth that touched him at the thought.

“Ye dinna have to say who ye are.” He caught William’s skeptical glance at his face. “We’ll say you’re— my cousin Murtagh’s lad, if ye like.”

I swallowed a startled laugh that went down the wrong way, and two pairs of dark blue eyes looked austerely down two long, straight noses at me.

“I’ve done with lies,” William said abruptly, and shut his mouth, hard. Jamie gave him a long, thoughtful look, and nodded.

“There’s no way back from the truth, ken?”

“I don’t have to speak Scotch, do I?”

“I’d pay money to see ye try, but no.” He took a deep breath and glanced at me. “Just say your mother was English, and she’s dead, God rest her soul.”

“If anyone asks,” I said, trying to be reassuring. Jamie made a brief Scottish noise.

“They’re Scots, Sassenach,” he said. “Everyone will ask. They just may not ask us.

Music was beginning to gather, fiddlers and drummers and zitherers coming down from the woods; there would be dancing as soon as it grew dark.

“Ye’re tired and hungry, a bhalaich,” Jamie said, looking up from the scattered sheets of paper, “and I dinna think ye want company just now.” He nodded slightly, indicating the noises coming through the open window. “Go upstairs, aye? To the third floor— there’s no one staying up there at present; ye can hear yourself think and rest for a bit. Someone will bring ye a greim-bidh, aye?”

“A snack,” I added, smiling. “Though perhaps you’ll want to wash first?”

William nodded, took a breath that went down to the soles of his boots, and stood up.

“Thank you, sir,” he said to Jamie, bowing slightly.

“Surely you needn’t go on calling him ‘sir’,” I said, glancing from one man to the other. “I mean… not now.”

“Aye, he does,” Jamie said dryly. “All the other things he might call me are things he can’t—or won’t. ‘Sir’ will do.” Flicking a hand in dismissal of the matter, he rose from his chair, grimacing slightly at the effort needed to do it without bracing himself with his hands.

“You know,” William said, in a conversational tone, “there was a time when you called me ‘sir’.” He didn’t wait to see if there was a response to this, but went out and down the hall, his steps light on the boards.

“Why, you little bastard!” I said, though I was more amused than shocked, and so was Jamie, from the twitch at the corner of his mouth. “Fine thing to say to someone you’ve just asked for help!”

“Aye, well, I suppose it depends who ye say it to.” Jamie lifted one shoulder and dropped it. “He was six, the last time I called him that.”

Read more excerpts released so far on my official Book Ten (Untitled) webpage.

This excerpt (aka “Daily Lines”) was first posted by me on June 1, 2024, World Outlander Day. I also posted it on my my official Facebook page.