• “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.”
    —ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY
  • “These books have to be word-of-mouth books because they're too weird to describe to anybody.”
    —Jackie Cantor, Diana's first editor

Jamie, or John?

Oookay, then!

Sorry to be so late in getting this post up; I’ve been in New Mexico for the last week, and the internet connection there was Just Abysmal; could barely keep it open long enough to tweet, let alone upload anything longer.
First things first: Upcoming appearances.

I’m flying to New York on Monday, and will be appearing (briefly) at the RWA convention, held at the Marriott Marquis. Appearances will be:

The Literacy Signing, where most of the published authors taking part will be available to sell/sign books—this is from 5:30-7:30 on June 28th, at the Marriott Marquis. This event _is_ open to the public, and I _believe_ that you’re allowed to bring in up to three of your own books from home to be signed, if you like.
The opening panel of the convention, where I’ll be taking part in a discussion with two other Random House authors, Steve Berry and Tess Gerritsen. This is part of the convention and open only to convention attendees. It’ll be from 8:30-10:00 AM on June 29th.

Then on July 5th—publication date for the cool new 20th-anniversary OUTLANDER edition!—I fly to Laramie Wyoming, where I’ll be doing the keynote speech for the Sir Walter Scott conference at the University of Wyoming. The conference program is here http://www.uwyo.edu/scottconf2011/program.html , but I don’t yet have a detailed personal schedule. I _will_ be doing at least one public book-signing, though; will post time and place as soon as I get them.

On July 8th, I fly _back_ to New York, for ThrillerFest, at the Hyatt. There, I’ll be doing a Livestream event with James Rollins (Powell’s Books is supplying books to be sold during this event—and I certainly _hope_ they’ll have the 20th-anniversary edition!) from 2-4:00 PM on July 8th.

On the evening of July 8th, I’ll be doing a joint signing with several other authors for a collaborative mystery novel called NO REST FOR THE DEAD. (This is one of those for-charity efforts—proceeds for this one go to cancer research—where a number of well-known authors take turns writing chapters, and the editor then goes through and kind of smooths things out so the story is coherent. Or so we hope, anyway.)

The signing will be held at 7:00 PM at the Center for Fiction, (17 East 47th Street, New York, NY 10017), and authors attending will include Peter James, Marcia Talley, John Lescroart, RL Stine, Diana Gabaldon,Jeffery Deaver, Gayle Lynds and Andrew Gulli. (Just for my own part, I’m fine with people bringing their own books to be signed, too.) This is open to the public.

Aaaand, on July 9th, I’ll do a Spotlight Interview (at the Hyatt) for ThrillerFest, Kathleen Antrim being the interviewer. That’s from 1:00-1:50 PM. And then I’ll do a book-signing for the convention (open only to convention attendees) from 5:00-6:00 PM at the convention bookstore in the hotel.

Then I rush home on the 10th {g}, and do the Official Launch Party for the 20th-anniversary OUTLANDER on July 11th, at The Poisoned Pen bookstore in Scottsdale. 7:00 PM!

Righto. Now, I had promised to show you the two openings I have for SCOTTISH PRISONER. As it stands, I’m opening the book with Jamie’s point of view—but I _could_ open with Lord John’s first chapter instead, and do Jamie’s second.  I did it this way because I’d like people to realize right away that this is Jamie’s book, as much as Lord John’s—but it _is_ a Rather Unusual {cough} way to open a book.

So—those of you who don’t read excerpts should stop Right Here.

Those of you who _do_…here you go, and hope you enjoy them! Let me know what you think: Jamie first, or Lord John?

THE SCOTTISH PRISONER
(Copyright 2011 Diana Gabaldon)
Chapter 1:

Helwater, the Lake District
April 1, 1760

It was so cold out, he thought his cock might break off in his hand. If he could find it. The thought passed through his sleep-mazed mind like one of the small, icy drafts that darted through the loft, making him open his eyes.
He could find it now; had waked with his fist wrapped round it and desire shuddering and twitching over his skin like a cloud of midges. The dream was wrapped just as tightly round his mind, but he knew it would fray in seconds, shredded by the snores and farts of the other grooms. He needed her, needed to spill himself with the feel of her touch still on him.
Hanks stirred in his sleep, chuckled loudly, said something incoherent, and fell back into the void, murmuring, “Bugger, bugger, bugger…”
Jamie said something similar under his breath in the Gaelic, and flung back his blanket. Damn the cold.
He made his way down the ladder into the half-warm, horse-smelling fug of the barn, nearly falling in his haste, ignoring a splinter in his bare foot. He hesitated in the dark, still urgent. The horses wouldn’t care, but if they noticed him, they’d make enough noise, perhaps, to wake the others.

Wind struck the barn and went booming round the roof. A strong chilly draft with a scent of snow stirred the somnolence, and two or three of the horses shifted, grunting and whickering. Overhead, a murmured “‘ugger” drifted down, accompanied by the sound of someone turning over and pulling the blanket up round his ears, defying reality.

Claire was still with him, vivid in his mind, solid in his hands. He could imagine that he smelled her hair in the scent of fresh hay. The memory of her mouth, those sharp white teeth …he rubbed his nipple, hard and itching beneath his shirt, and swallowed.

His eyes were long accustomed to the dark; he found the vacant loose-box at the end of the row and leaned against its boards, cock already in his fist, body and mind yearning for his wife.
He’d have made it last if he could, but he was fearful lest the dream go altogether and he surged into the memory, groaning. His knees gave way in the aftermath and he slid slowly down the boards of the box into the loose piled hay, shirt rucked round his thighs and his heart pounding like a kettle drum.

[end section]

(more stuff in this chapter, of course)

Chapter 2: The Fate of Fuses

London
Argus House

Lord John Grey eyed the ribbon-tied packet on his knee as though it were a bomb. In fact, it couldn’t have been more explosive had it been filled with black powder and equipped with a fuse.
His attitude as he handed it to his brother must have reflected this knowledge, for Hal fixed him with a gimlet eye and raised one brow. He said nothing, though, flicking loose both ribbon and wrapping with an impatient gesture and bending his head at once over the thick sheaf of densely-written sheets that emerged.

Grey couldn’t stand to watch him read through Charles Carruthers’s post-mortem denunciation, recalling each damning page as Hal read it. He stood up and went to the window of the study that looked out into the back garden of Argus House, ignoring the swish of turning pages and the occasional blasphemous mutterings behind him.

Hal’s three boys were playing a game of tigers and hunters, leaping out at each other from behind the shrubbery with shrill roars, followed by shrieks of delight and yells of “Bang! Take that, you striped son of a bitch!”

The nurse seated on the edge of the fish-pool, keeping a tight grip on baby Dottie’s gown, looked up at this, but merely rolled her eyes with a martyred expression. Flesh and blood has its limits, her expression said clearly, and she resumed paddling a hand in the water, luring one of the big goldfish close so that Dottie could drop bits of bread to it.

John longed to be down there with them. It was a rare day for early April, and he felt the pulse of it in his blood, urging him to be outside, running bare-foot through young grass. Running naked down into the water… The sun was high, flooding warm through the glass of the French windows, and he closed his eyes and turned his face up to it.

Siverly. The name floated in the darkness behind his eyes, pasted across the blank face of an imagined cartoon major, drawn in uniform, an outsized sword brandished in his hand, and bags of money stuffed into the back of his breeches, obscene bulges under the skirt of his coat. One or two had fallen to the ground, bursting open so that you could see the contents–coin in one, the other filled with what looked like poppets, small wooden doll-like things. Each one with a tiny knife through its heart.

Hal swore in German behind him. He must have reached the part about the rifles; German oaths were reserved for the most stringent occasions, French being used for minor things like a burnt dinner, and Latin for formal insults committed to paper. Minnie wouldn’t let either Hal or John swear in English in the house, not wanting the boys to acquire low habits. John could have told her it was too late for such caution, but didn’t.

He turned round to see Hal on his feet, pale with rage, a sheet of paper crumpled in one hand.

“How dare he? How dare he?”

A small knot he hadn’t known was there dissolved under John’s ribs.

“You believe Carruthers, then?”

Hal glared at him.

“Don’t you? You knew the man.”

He had known Charles Carruthers–in more than one sense.

“Yes, I believed him when he told me about Siverly in Canada–and that–” he nodded at the papers, thrown in a sprawl across Hal’s desk, “–is even more convincing. You’d think he’d been a lawyer.”
He could still see Carruthers’s face, pale in the dimness of his attic room in [town], drawn with ill-health but set with grim determination to live long enough to see justice done. Charlie hadn’t lived that long, but long enough to write down every detail of the case against Major Gerald Siverly, and to entrust it to him.

He was the fuse that would detonate this particular bomb. And he was all too familiar with what happened to fuses, once lit.

[end section]

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364 Responses »

  1. Please start with Jamie. I love his passion for both life and Claire.

    • Um..I have to go with Jamie…BUT! I’m completely STOKED you’re using my last name!!!!! Very curious about Charles Carruthers! I love my name….got it from my Scottish husband, literally, he was born in Lanark, grew up in Carluke :)

    • Jamie……..all the way!!!! I do love Lord John, but I do read the books for Jamie. It reminds of the
      begining of Voyager (?) when Jamie wakes up assuming he’s dead.

    • While both sound very interesting there is no doubt it must start with Jaime. The love that he has for Claire to still be wanting and needing her after all those years tells how deep it is.

    • Against my initial thoughts, I would have to say opening with Lord John’s chapter seems a better intro. It has all the makings of sex, betrayal, intrigue, what better to open with? I love Jamie and his undying love for Claire and his chater probably has some real heart stoppers, tear jerkers and betrayal of it’s own but, I get more of a sense of “this story is going to pull me in” from Lord John’s opening chapter. JMHO

      • Why is my respeonse still awaiting Moderation? In a nutshell, I thik Lord Joh should open.

      • I absolutely agree, and thats what makes me think of John more. You are slowly lured into the story and pulled into his head– it is intriguing. I think that the Jamie chapter is a bit too abrupt for new readers.

    • I like both excerpts very much, but, you will want to start with Jamie.

    • Although my heart belongs to Jamie, I think that John’s chapter has more of a delineated jumping off point. can’t wait either way!

    • Oh, God, yes–start with Jamie! Please!

    • Jamie for sure!

    • Jamie, please!!

    • Ahh, tough decision, but I think that it should start with Lord John. It seems to be a better intro. We all love Jamie and know him well, Lord John, not so much. Leading with him is a better hook. AND I know that I’m in the vast minority here.

      • I totally agree. While the scene with Jamie is a good one, I think the book should start with Lord John. Starting with such an explicit scene makes it seem as if the author’s intentionally trying to shock the audience right away, whereas opening with Lord John and Hal gets us back into the setting first and eases us into the scene with Jamie. Not to mention, the series is about Lord John, so it should probably lead with him, and the scene has a great hook!

    • Please, please start with Jamie… he’s been in our hearts forever and I for one can’t wait ’til we “meet” again… please write faster… lol

    • Start with Jamie! I am dying to read his reaction to John’s announcement about having “carnal knowledge” of Claire. I’m currious if John will live that confession and if it will change Jamie’s relationship with Claire.

      • Dear Linda–

        SCOTTISH PRISONER doesn’t follow ECHO–it’s from 1760, during Jamie’s stay at Helwater.

        –Diana

      • I’m so intrigued about the aftermath of John’s confession to Jamie as written in the second excerpt, I’m writing my own fan fiction version of what I would like to see happen. Even though I’m an established writer on FanFiction.net, I won’t be posting it anywhere on the internet when it’s completed out of respect for Diana’s policy regarding fan fiction. But it’s a piece of storytelling I just have to create. It’s a long wait until sometime in 2012 when book eight will be published and we do find out what happens to John, Jamie, Claire, and William, of course.

  2. Jamie – all the way Jamie!!!

  3. I lean towards the John opening because it seems to set up the plot more. The Jamie scene just makes my heart hurt for him.

    • I think that the Jamie opening sounds more like a prologue, whereas the Lord John opening feels like it is setting up the book; Opening the book with John would be more of a continuation of the previous two books, where Lord John’s story is heard first. Plus, getting to Jamie second makes me want to scream with anticipation, so I think giving John the opening would be kind of “the calm before the storm”. Because, face it, we’re all head-over-heels in love with Jamie… Who better to roll out the red carpet than John?

  4. Jamie’s perspective is definitely eye catching and heart wrenching, but I agree with Elaine – Lord John’s view 1st.

  5. I vote for Jamie. For one thing, for people like me who don’t “love” John, this may help bring them into the series a little easier. And for those who open a book and read a few paragraphs before buying, it will give them something to gain their interest. I certainly more interested now!

    Nic

    • I agree – Jamie’s opener will garner more immediate attention and John’s will set up the plot in due course. Any salesman knows you need the customer’s interest before you can sell the goods.
      C.

    • “it will give them something to gain their interest”… Except for people like me who go, c**p, not sex again! Don’t get me wrong, I love the stuff, but it reading about it gets tiresome. What I’m always more interested in knowing is “What happens next?”, and think the LJ opening is more intriguing.

      • I agree (although I don’t generally say “not sex again!”). The Jamie scene is a bit to hard core to start with, and the Lord John scene draws us into the story wanting more explanation/understanding.

  6. I like the Lord John opening because it tells more of a story whereas Jamie is just longing for Claire. Jamie’s opening might get people’s attention but not neccesarily for the story. (ahem) I also just finished your short story in “Warriors” which leans me more towards the Carruther’s story since it is fresh in my mind.
    That said I do love both of the excerpts so either way I will be buying Scottish Prisoner.

  7. Hi Diana,
    How fun to have an opinion!

    I prefer the Jamie opening!

    Based on the premise that I’m new to this series: The LJG opening is definitely full of intrigue; and questions – but if I’d never read your books before – that alone (probably) wouldn’t entice me to read more. The Jamie opening _does_ grab me! I’d be wanting to know more about this man… and why he wasn’t with his wife who he, obviously, must love.

    But, in as much as I have read the series many times – I still prefer the Jamie opening: I think it is because we are immediately pulled into the intense drama of Claire’s loss that Jamie keeps well hidden from the other characters in the series. We the readers, can identify with Jamie’s pain.

    Well, that’s my 2 cents!
    I hope the FF of Prisoner continues to go well! I’m looking forward to the 20th Anniversary copy (enroute from Poison Pen) arriving in my mailbox!

    Cornish cousin Leslie

  8. I vote for Lord John’s opening. I think since it’s a ‘LORD JOHN AND THE…” book, John should open it. And then the fact that Jamie is in it (for those still living under a rock and haven’t heard yet) will just be that much more glorious when he shows up. Also, we know that LJ books run a bit differently than Jamie books, so it’d be nice to set we readers up in the proper milieu.

    I adore them both, and cannot wait to read Scottish Prisoner, so I will really vote for whichever will get it in my hot little hands the fastest!!

    • It is not Lord John and the… It is however Scottish Prisoner. Everyone, get with the program. :P

      • Nicole,

        Actually, Ms. Gabaldon herself has stated that Scottish Prisoner is the third of the Lord John books. So, it is not inappropriate to reference Scottish Prisoner as a Lord John book.

      • Actually, if you read the list of books on this very website, it is titled ‘Lord John and the Scottish Prisoner.’

        • Dear Danelle–

          That _was_ the original/working title–but the US publisher has decided to call it just THE SCOTTISH PRISONER (A Lord John Novel), because the book is at least half Jamie’s story.

          –Diana

  9. Jaime’s bit is a real grabber, ahem. It definitely leaves an impression.

  10. I’ll put in my two cents and vote for the Lord John chapter first. I think that the Jamie chapter is wonderful (if not terribly heartbreaking), but I think that it makes more sense to open with Lord John since this is “A Lord John Novel”. Though, quite frankly, I’ll take it either way. Your good judgement hasn’t let me down yet!

  11. I think both would work great but I can’t really decide which one would be better. If you want more of an eye catcher than you should use Jamie’s chapter first but John’s would be great too because it is more his book than Jamie’s.

  12. I think Jamie as he and Claire are the reason we continue to read the books, even though I love Lord Johns englishness, we have met him through the Fraser’s.
    Either way it will be a fantastic read jusdt like the rest.
    When does the Australian launch begin?

  13. As much as I adore the Jamie scene, and think it would bea fantastic first scenen for a book, I think John’s scene should be first, both as the natural continuation of Custom of the Army, and to set the stage for the rest of the book. I can’t wait to read it. Thank you so much for all your writing. Pat

  14. I am a Jamie AND LJG fan, so…I can’t even pretend to prefer one opening over the other. But I like that you ask! :)
    Thanks for sharing…

    • I completely agree with Bethany. I love both Jamie and Lord John and it’s difficult to choose. Since all of your books are completely perfect in every way, I think that anything you choose to do will be best. Thanks for asking our opinion and sharing these first chapters. I can’t wait to read the whole thing!

      • I believe I am in agreement with Bethany & Lara & half of the other responses, I love both! Jamie’s grabs you immediately & LJG’s brings you back in a little slower, but I will devour it either way. Thanks for sharing

  15. I say absolutely – start with the Lord John chapter.

  16. Lord John for me. It creates interest and a sense of what next. The book will have no trouble selling with just its title which is all Jamie. I have missed both men and cannot wait for this to come out :)

  17. Hmm… much as the Jamie opening is a helluvan eye (and heart!) catcher, I lean more toward the John opening, as means of setting up the story.

    Pat

  18. If it is part of the LJG series then his chapter setting up the plot makes sense. Opening with Jamie certainly makes a stronger connection between the two series and is heart-wrenching for those of us who know his backstory and pine for more of the Outlander story . In the end, I’m with Bethany and appreciate you sharing this dilemma with us, certain that I will be haapy no matter what your final choice.

  19. I vote John. I like the flow and who doesn’t like a “bombshell” on the first page!

    • Leaning toward Lord John; although I am longing for news of Jamie, I think it makes more sense to start with John, knowing that the “Scottish Prisoner” portion will soon follow, and I add my thanks for asking.

  20. Jamie, first. He _is_, after all, The Scottish Prisoner. I’d imagine it as picking up the thread of Jamie, familiar and beloved, and weaving in the next chapter with Lord John, back and forth, until the whole cloth of the story is revealed. Brilliant writing, Diana!

  21. The John opening works best for those who have read the other LJG books; others would be immediately lost without an early explanation of the situation (which I’m sure you would do as in the Outlander series). The Jamie opening certainly does grab one’s attention, but might put off those with more delicate sensibilities. It’s great for those of us who long for more of Jamie and have wondered about his life while Claire was gone. Either way, I will buy and read the book while patiently waiting for Book 8. :)
    Btw, I wonder how many books (outside of erotica) have the word “cock” in the first sentence?

  22. I don’t know!! Ugh. I love Jamie so much. And I am not as much a lover of Lord John.
    And yet I still lean heavily toward the Lord John set up. I really wanted to know more after reading that!
    So I vote lord John first and get to Jamie ASAP!!!

  23. Putting Jamie first will draw the Outlander fans who have yet to delve into the LJG books, but the “bomb” being dropped in the first paragraphs of the LJG chapter feels more in line with the series, to me. I would go with the Lord John chapter.

    Both are fantastic, though. I can totally appreciate the conundrum.

  24. As much as I ache for anything to do with Jamie I have to vote for the opening with Lord John. I think it may anchor the plot. The anticipation of knowing that there is something wonderful (AKA Jamie) coming in the book makes me want to read it right now. I am however in agreement with others, your books are perfect and no matter how you choose to start it , it will be amazing!

  25. I like the Lord John starter as it begins to esablish the plot. Jamie ties into the story so he should be second. Also some new readers not familiar with Jamie and Claire, may wonder what the story is about if that scene is first. The “bombshell” is great as it solidifies Jamie’s undying love for his wife, in a nutshell. She is a big part of his character and should be reinforced early on.

  26. I prefer the opening to begin with Jamie as it sets one in the correct time frame to begin this story, as it is obiviouly set in the past and where in the past. Consequently, it is easier to visualize where they rather than trying to figure it out for several chapters, which makes it easier to actually follow the story.

  27. After reading both I am leaning toward John’s beginning…it is a Lord John book so logic would dictate that it would start there…and for some reason it makes more sense to me in the sequence. Jamie’s chapter and story will be in the book…so no worries there. Have a safe and good trip to New York and have fun!

    Bright Blessings,

    lauren

  28. Alot of great points by all…as much as I love and miss reading about Jamie, for the content of the Lord john series, I agree that his chapter should go first…look forward to reading what they were up to during this point in time!

  29. Dear Diana,

    I agree with Lauren. I think it woud be better to beginn with Lord John, because it woud be a very hard and rigorouse transition the other way round. In this case I think it sounds more harmonious.
    I’m sorry if my English is not perfect, but I’m from Germany. :)

    Best wishes and I love your books.
    Jessica

  30. Does the Lord John chapter end there? And then Jamie’s chapter would come ([g])? If so, I think I’d vote for Lord John first, lull the reader in with a mystery and then…
    On the other hand, for those that already know Jamie and not first-time readers, that Jamie opening *is* a gut wrencher. But then first-time readers could maybe use a little jolt.
    Okay, I’ll go with the Jamie chapter!

  31. I vote for the Jamie opening. It’s not long, it is (I trust) relevant to the inner conflicts faced by one of the two main characters, and it’s a hell of an interest-grabber, if I do say so myself. [g]

    No, it’s not a happy scene — but for new readers, it might be a good way to give them an inkling of the depth of feeling and memory Jamie is dealing with.

  32. Since the title is “Scottish Prisoner”, I vote for the Jamie chapter. After all, he is the prisoner. It all begins and ends with Jamie and Claire no matter what Lord John does. I am looking forward to reading the book with all details!!

    I wish this was a survey about what comes first in the next Outlander book – that will be a day to remember for sure. But, we take what we can get. As always, I love your books and I am still rereading them and I always learn more that I missed the first four or five times.

    Waiting (ahem) patiently for #8.

  33. A difficult choice, without a doubt. I like the Lord John first, though. It sets up the conflict beautifully.

  34. Jamie. Go for it!!

  35. Jamie! If that doesn’t draw readers in, I don’t know what would!

    allana

  36. I vote for leading with Lord John.

  37. Jamie’s section to start. Aside from the obvious attention grabbing content, it introduces him beautifully. We immediately begin to learn about The Scottish Prisoner and I’m sure the rest of the chapter leaves us curious to see how Jamie’s story will merge with John’s.

  38. Please please – JAMIE! :)

  39. Being that you said this book was as much about Jamie as Lord John and the fact that I love Jamie (not as much John) – I have to go with starting the book with the Jamie chapter. Everyone seems to love a heart-breaking love story and newbies will wonder what happened that these two are not together. The intrigue of the John chapter could follow and if the reader isn’t hooked by then, well, they just aren’t going to read the book at all. Just my humble opinion…
    Now my question to you, dear Diana, are you glad or sorry you asked??? *g*

  40. Are these two events happening simultaneously? Or can they be? If so, what about opening exactly as you have it here, with this very brief, poignant glimpse of Jamie, to establish his presence in the book, then cut (in the same chapter) to the LJG material, and then, presumably in chapter two, return to the “more stuff” in Jamie’s chapter? We’d get to have both …

  41. I’m with Crystal. Start with the LJ section but move on to Jamie ASAP.

  42. BTW when do you find time to write with all those appearances? :)

  43. I say go with the Lord John chapter first.

    I am sitting here now wondering WTH is going on with the stack of papers that John just gave Hal to read! I want to know!!!!!!!!! :)

    As for marketing value, especially for new readers, what do I know. But I will be buying the book either way, and my vote is the Lord John chapter. :)

    Can’t wait!

    Thanks, Diana.

    Judie

    • Judie,
      Read the last Novella published, it will explain who Carruthers is at least and where/how LJ received this package.
      “Lord John and the Custom of the Army” [novella, originally publi shed in WARRIORS, edited by George R.R. Martin and Gardner Dozois.]
      Susan

      • THANK YOU for the book title… I have all of both except that one…. will find it and get it before the big road trip….
        ;))))))))))))

  44. I’m torn, If its for new readers they will take to the John’s segment first more intro to the plot. If its for the devoted they will love the Jamie’s passage. Personally, I would wait to see how the story plays out, while I was writing. Which of them talks to me the most.

  45. Dear Diana,

    It’s thoughtful of you to ask us, your readers. Everyone here contributed quite valid arguments for both openings.
    In case you are taking a poll, I cast my vote for the Jamie opening. What more could a girl want than a man thinking about his private appendage in the first lines of a book?

    It’s a treat either way. {g}

  46. I vote for Jamie’s scene. It grabs you and pulls you in, especially for those of us that miss him so dearly! Looking forward to it either way! :-)

  47. My head tells me the Jamie opening is the best to grab readers attention from the beginning. My heart tells me the John opening because I am a huge fan of his Lordship and find him just as fascinating as Jamie. Hard core followers of the Outlander series will read it regardless, but it may help those who don’t like LJG or can take or leave him, to continue reading if you start out with Jamie. I think even those who have never read Outlander, but pick up the book and browse it, would be more likely to keep reading with the Jamie opener. Jamie would be the “hook” so to speak.

    I see you will be at the Marriott Marque. I was just in New York and stayed there. It is excellent hotel, I was very impressed. I don’t know if you have stayed there before, but the hotel has a rather unusual elevator system. Or it was to me, but I don’t travel near as much as you do, so maybe it won’t be new to you.

  48. Dear Diana,

    It’s thoughtful of you to ask us, your readers. Everyone here contributed quite valid arguments for both openings.
    In case you are taking a poll, I cast my vote for the Jamie opening. What more could a girl want than a man thinking about his private appendage in the first lines of a book?

    It’s a treat either way. {g}

    Anne-Marie

  49. I think the Jamie beginning is most fitting; most of Lord John’s actions are framed by his intense feelings for Jamie, and most of Jamie’s by his intense feelings for Claire. To have the book start in this way draws us in immediately.

  50. Of Course I can hardly wait for the new book whomever starts it…but my vote would be for John for the same reasons and sediments that have already been noted. I was delighted to find out that I will find out ‘the rest of the story’ having just finished reading ‘ A Custom of the Army’. Perhaps putting Jamie’s scene first it will help the reader to realize that this book is as much about Jamie as it is about John seeing as John got first billing in the title…but ‘no’ I think for the story’s sake, John should go first. Whatever Diana, its all good.

    • I agree with Mary but no matter who you start with I will be buying the book.
      But I miss Jamie and Clare and wish you would finish the next book. You left so many cliff hangers in the last book.
      Thank you.

  51. While I LOVE Jamie, I agree that Lord John’s opening sets up the plot.

  52. For sure, the scene with Jaime. It pulls at the heartstrings and grabs the readers attention. After all, the love between Jaime and Clair is the heart of the series even though there is that triangle with LJG.

  53. Although I am dearly in love with Jamie, I vote for going with the LJG chapter first. Either way I’m sure the book will be as great as they all are. Can’t wait for my 20th anniversary copy of OUTLANDER. It will be a belated birthday gift to myself (being released the day after my bday).

    Thanks for all the hard work you put into all your books! I discovered them by chance when I read an interview with you in a Borders brochure of recently released books. Once I tracked down a copy of OUTLANDER I was hooked and didn’t stop until I’d read all three that had been released at that point and have reread all of them multiple times, as each new one is published.

  54. I vote for Jamie as the opening chapter. Thanks for asking. Can’t wait for the next novel! Whichever comes first I’m getting it. Thanks for your wonderful writing.

  55. Jamie. ‘Nuff said.

  56. Start with Lord John scene– it’s a Lord John book. Both are great chapters and fabulous writing, but putting the Jamie chapter second will surprise and reward those who have doubts about the LJ books being as good as the Outlander series, but bought it anyway!

  57. Jamie will always be first in my heart, so I would like to see him first in this book. Waiting is so hard!

  58. Hi Diana,
    Beginning the book with Lord John’s chapter seems the most logical. As alluring and heated as Jamie’s emotional need for Claire is, it doesn’t lead the reader into the plot, but adds to his a character. However, Lord John’s visit to Hal’s and the intrigue it brings will pull the reader in and want to read more of the book.
    I adore Jamie. I could marry him myself, and it breaks my heart to imagine him alone and hurting. I can’t wait to see where the scene goes from there.
    I adore Lord John too. He always has his hand in some mystery, and I love a good mystery.
    You have a very difficult decision on your hands. I’ll wait and see, and I am sure either way, the book will be enjoyed.
    Lynda

  59. Lord John. It sets up plot nicely and grabs you quick. The Jamie scene only grabs you if you’re already a Jamie fan, and hopefully you keep acquiring new readers who give you a try.

  60. I think it’s the pacing. Do you want to start off fast, with a bang? Jamie. Or do you want to draw us into your story, it felt like you’re setting up the scene so you could give us more later on. John. Personally, I’m a Jamie-fan, so I would vote for my bias instead of any literary reason.

  61. Diana – On a completely different note I just watched Thor at the movies yesterday and have to say that Mr Hemsworth would make a delectable Jamie.

    • I have had the same thought since I saw Thor when it opened! Chris Hemsworth is on the cover of a recent Mens Health magazine and the pics of him inside are beautiful and show his beard and eyebrows are reddish. Nose might not be long enough but his mouth and eyes and his personality on screen are pretty close. He’s 27 and I think he could be vulnerable enough to play the 23 yr old Jamie!

      • Alifiya,
        I felt the same about casting Hensworth (Thor) the moment I saw the trailers on TV!
        My husband and I shouted the exact same image at nearly the same moment.
        Diana………………take a look at this hunk of a man and see if you agree.
        Pam-a-lamb

  62. I vote for the Lord John opening as feel it is a continuation of the Lord John series and thus should take precedence! Thank you for being so generous to your fans! Looking forward to seeing you in Fergus in August!

  63. Lord John, definitely!

  64. Well, I’m sure I wont say anything new, but I didn’t read all the previous reviews, so, here goes. I think that you are definitely right that Jamie’s opening will either make people slam the book shut or run to the register with it. It might be off-putting to those who are unfamiliar with Jamie and Claire’s relationship. John’s opening isn’t quite so exciting or…. whatever the appropriate word is [g], but does have plenty of intrigue. I’m very interested by John’s vision of Siverly and what on earth it means. John’s books are mysteries, and that is a good opening for a mystery novel no doubt. It seems that fairly often that your latest book is the one that caught people’s eye for the first time, and then they went back and read the rest of them. I’m not sure how I would feel about a particular author if the first thing I read of their work was a scene involving masturbation, no matter how well written (and it is very tastefully written, I might add). We know about Jamie, we know that he is half a man without Claire, and we are interested to know the things that happen to him while Claire is Away. But we know about quite a few of those things from the Outlander series. And, I know you said that it is Jamie’s book as much as it is John’s, but it _is_ a Lord John Grey book. I would start with John.

    • I think you bring up a great point, in that we know how Jamie’s story continues in the Outlander series, even if we are missing a great many details, but the matter that John is dealing with is a complete mystery to us.

  65. My vote is for Jamie first, mostly because I prefer the Outlander series and am eager to hear more about Jamie and Claire. Either way, can’t wait to read the new books coming. Thank you for sharing!

  66. Hola, Diana.

    Cuando planteaste la pregunta, lo primero que pensé en frío fue que debería estar primero el capítulo de John, puesto que se trata de su propia serie. Pero luego leí ambos textos y, definitivamente, creo que lo mejor es empezar con Jamie. Dios mío, me destrozó el corazón!!

    Lord John apela a la racionalidad, te mete en la intriga y te da una idea de qué va a ir el libro. Pero Jaimie… oh, Jamie te agarra las entrañas, te estruja los sentimientos, te altera las emociones y te hace desear más, todo, no soltar el libro hasta el final, aún sabiendo cómo va a terminar.

    Esperaré con ansias que se publique en español. Por cierto, lamento no haberte respondido en inglés, pero temo que hubiera limitado mucho mi expresión. No sé si hablas algo de mi idioma, quizás por tu herencia paterna, pero si no es así siempre quedan los traductores instantáneos.

    Éxitos, siempre.

    Un caluroso saludo desde Perú!!

  67. I really like the Lord John series a lot, and while I love the boldness of Jamie’s chapter, I think that the first chapter should still belong to Lord John Grey. It is also a strong chapter. And then I think, as a reader, coming to Jamie’s very distinct voice and the subject matter after a chapter with Lord John will still be very touching and provocative. We all love Jamie, but he does have his own series.

  68. Jamie.

    I’ve not yet read the LJG series…I hope to, but Jamie and Claire come first for me. I would read The Scottish Prisoner (A LJG novel) most likely before even reading the first LJG novels, only to have a bit more of Jamie’s point of view.

    I would assume that there are others who have read the Outlander series who may not have picked up the LJG novels yet either. Choosing Jamie to begin this story would, in my opinion, garner their interest even more so than if it started off strictly as another LJG novel.

    And, as I stated the name of the book already, why not begin ‘The Scottish Prisoner’ _with_ the Scottish Prisoner himself?

    Also, as someone who’s not familiar with the previous LJG novels, I did not fully comprehend what LJG’s chapter was about. Jamie beginning the tale at least tells me where he is, and at what point in the Outlander novels time-line _this_ book is to take place. Diana is so good at making each book come off as stand alone stories. I did not feel that this one could, starting with LJG’s point of view.

    Finally, for me, as I stated above, it’s all about Jamie and Claire for me. With all the books, and with any future books I shall ever read, I will always choose Jamie! :)

  69. I prefer the Lord John opening.

  70. I have to say that opening with either is perfectly fine with me, though I am a secret admirer of LJ and absolutely LOVE his character. I’m just glad to finally be getting this part of the story. A hundred thousand thank yous for giving us this long-awaited portion of our favorite saga.

  71. Jamie all the way for me !! as much as I do love LJ… Jamie’s scene has more.. wow factor !!!

    but I guess you will decide in the end Diana and this is just the teasing you love to give us :)

    Cheers Jo-Anne ( Australia )

  72. Jamie.

    I was prepared to think it should start with John, but after some thought, I think the opening with Jamie will draw the reader in immediately, especially since I am quite certain that someone or something is going to enter this scene right about where it now ends. Why Jamie? Well, we now know the book is going to be called Scottish Prisoner and_that_he is so it seems right to start there, with him. Why not John? Honestly, John would work as well. Questions are posed to the reader right away with both, but jumping right in with the prisoner allows the reader to know him and his situation before he is drawn into the mystery with Lord John.

    Book ordered and I can’t wait! katmolly

  73. While I love Jamie Fraser as much as most women (and likely many men) who read your books, and that is certainly a titillating opener *cough*, I think you should start with Lord John. He is the title character, after all. I am looking forward to this book! Lord John is in my Top 5 favourite fictional characters of all time. :)

  74. Lord John – no doubt about that!

  75. I would go with Lord John first. It tracks the way you start the other Lord John books in the series and seems to set up the plot better. I love Jamie and Claire and can’t get enough of them, but I think for this series, it makes more sense to start the book with John. It’ll be a great surprise for your readers when they realize the book is as much about Jamie as it is about John.

  76. I vote Jamie! Great scene that really captures your attention, and a great start for those of us who have a love/hate relationship with John. Either way, I wil definitely be buying the book:)

  77. Hi Diana,

    How generous of you to post snips of the two possible opening scenes – you spoil us! I read the Jamie snip when you posted it in the Compuserve forums, and it is heartbreaking. For me, the emotions in that scene would color my reading of what comes next, so for what it’s worth I’m going to vote for the John scene first.

    Will you tell us what you ultimately decide, or will we need to wait and see? :o)

  78. John, then Jamie.
    Save the power inpact for the finish!

    • I would go with jamie’s first, as he pulls you in and then you can do john’ss plot starter later. I for one one only kinda like lord john and love the relationship that jamie and clair have for eachother!

  79. Lord John’s opening the book explains more and is safer. I prefer this one, as Jamie’s is so raw and painful…I have my 20 year old daughter reading the series now and we are supporting your finishing book eight asap! The Scottish Prisoner has a space on my bookshelf already waiting.

  80. I vote Lord John to begin, as that would be consistent with the other books in the LJG series and sets up the intrigue.

    Each time I begin one of your books I wonder how far in before we get a good sensual scene. Although this is a bit different, having sexual thoughts/actions on the first couple pages is a bit jarring. I like the anticipation of knowing that it’s in there somewhere.

  81. Hi Diana,

    I vote Lord John.

    As much as I love the Outlander series and Jamie in particular, I really do like the Lord John books. Lord John makes me laugh and I like the mysteries. Starting with the Lord John section feels more like a natural beginning to a book to me then the Jamie section. The Jamie section certainly grabs your attention, but, it feels more like starting in the middle. Also, since it is a Lord John it should start with him.

    Thank you for the chance to read these bits.

  82. I would have to say JOHN. I think the last sentence he thinks is a really great segway into Jamies part and would make a better fit to the writing. (Sorry about the spelling lol)

    • Dear Pip–

      But neither of these excerpts _is_ a complete chapter; these are just the opening scenes–each one leads to a larger explication; first of Jamie’s circumstances, then of John’s. So I wouldn’t be segueing from “He knew what happened to fuses, once lit” into Jamie’s scene, even if I opened with Lord John.

      –Diana

      • Diana,

        Since you are the authoress and have done such a wonderful job with all of your books so far, I think you should make the choice. I’ve read both beginnings and I cannot decide. I’ve read all of the Lord John books — at least twice — and all of the Outlander series — at least twice — and at this point all I want is the next book. Truly, I don’t care who you start with, just do what you need to do to get the next book out so I can read it!!!

        Pat T

  83. Jamie’s opening would get my attention more. I am not really a fan of the Lord Grey stories, although learning about how Jamie spent some of his time away from Claire and becomes friends with John as always been of interest to meet. How opposites attract.

  84. I’m going to have to vote to start with John. I’m afraid that people new to your books might get put off by opening with Jamie’s story, and those of us who already love you (and them) can manage to wait. As I will, with baited breath.

  85. The Jamie chapter certainly gets your attention. :-) I can see why you would want to lead with it.

  86. Bottom line I love Jamie, and any scene this graphic makes me love him more. However, this is Lord John’s spotlight. I think he deserves the respect of opening the novel.

  87. I love anything Jamie, however, I believe Lord John’s story should go first. Don’t get me wrong, I am team Jamie all the way. But, I believe that much of a juicy story should not be the start of the book.

  88. My first thought was to put Lord John first. Then I read through all of the responses and flip-flopped several time. But in the end, Lord John should be first.

  89. One more vote for Lord John! I’m already intrigued :)

  90. I think you should start with John! After all, its his series! It wouldn’t seem right to start with Jamie, even though we all can’t wait to get to that part!

  91. Definitely the LJG scene. This is, after all, a LJG book. His scene sets up what (I believe) will become the plot here. And as much as I love the emotional scene with Jamie in it… It just seems too easy and too obvious, if that makes sense. At that point in the book, I’m not sure it is what’s needed (I think it’d fit in better later in the book.) Thanks for sharing these tidbits!

  92. Love them both, but I have to say even tho I love Jamie just a little bit more, I think the Lord John bit should open the book. Save the best for last kinda thing…
    No matter how it starts I’ll be one to run to the register with it!

  93. Jamie, please. Lord John’s scene is good, but my heart is torn for Jamie. You captured my interest from the first sentence.

  94. I vote for the Lord John excerpt, as it leads into the following chapter. But I love the Jamie excerpt and, as your writing has never failed to lead me deeper into a story, I’m eager to read the book no matter which excerpt you choose to lead with! Thanks so much for asking our opinion ;-)

  95. My vote is for the Lord John opening. I love both openings. You’ve never been wrong yet so either one is great! Thanks for letting us be a part of your decision. What fun! Can’t wait for the book!

  96. Dear Diana,
    I have read this series over and over again to the point that the characters have become burned in the recesses of my mind. Their lives are like sunrises and sunsets, known to me, but still fascinating as if I have just read about them for the very first time. Sometimes I wish you could have this done in some kind of movie or short TV series, but I am afraid that medium would not do such a work of art as this justice! I hope, no, I pray that you do not ever end this touching embodiment of life you have created, that it goes on, leaving all of us burning evermore deeply searching for another tomorrow, today. It is amazing isn’t it when you delve deep into such descriptive characters and bring not only with them personalities, but a heartbeat that does not diminish with time, but grows stronger, louder, rhythmically beating to the point of a deafening noise where it over takes your own. So, thank you, Diana, for having the drive, tenacity, and love of these characters, that you have not gotten bored with them, but that you have continued on to let them live as we do.

    Your faithful fan,
    Sherrie
    Postscriptum: About who’s point of view should go first, hmmm, I say trust your instincts, Jamie and Claire would have!

    • Diana,
      Please DO take us to a conclusion to the Jamie and Claire story! It has been 20 years and some of us are reaching old age now. I would love to know how the “ghost” in Outlander comes full circle. Please don’t let this become a “Time/Life” series that doesn’t end. I expect that the conclusion to such an epic love will be your best writing yet. Just hope I’m still around to read it.

      • Yes, I too am a little worried that I might die before I get to experience the END.

        And what about the bit with the ‘White witch in Voyager when Lord John took Jamie out of Ardsmuir prison to interpret for the dying kinsman who had hidden the gold. The dying kinsman stated that the ‘white witch ” was coming for both Lord John and Jamie.” What the heck does that mean! There have been repeated referenced throughout the ‘Outlander Series’ about how Claire’s powers will be greatly enhanced once she has white hair. Will she be able to flit about through time and stir things up. Since Echo we know that she must feel a strong loyalty and affection for Lord John as well.
        On another note:
        I have even told my children that if I was lying in a coma that I would really like them to play all the Outlander audio books to me, a couple of times through before switching off the life support. My funny yet wicked son said that he would hit ‘shuffle’ to torment me into waking up!
        Please, please Diana…… more……..

        • I’m more kind of afraid of an end. Cannot think of loosing them (kind of).
          Please stop writing not to soon ;-).

          • I have just finished Lord John and the hand of devils trillogy – WoW! I am so enthrawled with the Outlander series that I did no think I would like the Lord John series ( his realtionship with Jamie frustrates me. It is so convoluted and complex.) I thoroughly enjoyed them. He is from a different “world” but it intertwines with Jamie’s in a fascinating way. I am looking forward to the next and I like the Lord John opening – I think it sets up the intrigue and will eventually draw the two together.

            BTW I cannot wait for “..My Heart’s Own Blood” – You almost killed me with the way “Echo ” left off.
            If you ever have reason to come to Las Vegas, You have many fans!!

            Thank you for your amazing imagination and dedication to your art! I will read anything you write.

            Patti Waters-Decker ( in Las Vegas)

  97. Absolutely Jamie! Thanks for sharing!

  98. John, I’m already hooked!!

  99. I think Jamie’s prisoner status underscores the title and invites new readers in, I like the contrast with the family environment later.

  100. I have to go with Lord John’s beginning too. It sets a familiar tone for the book like the other Lord John books. Then… it would be exciting to jump into Jamie’s point of view!

  101. OOOOOH so hard to pick!!! I like both, love the Jamie part – has me in fits!!! And the LJG is intriguing…I must say having not really warmed to him in the outlander series, until the last one…. I have come to like him much more having read his own series. So stronger vote for Jamie but the other would do just as good and then we, the early readers at least, know what is coming next!

  102. A comment on your RWA appearance – Another fav writer of mine, Lauren Willig, will be at the conference and posted something fun on her blog: A quirky guide to New York. I thought the caffeine and food tips might be especially appreciated :) http://www.goodreads.com/author_blog_posts/1310716-lauren-s-guide-to-new-york

    ~Rach

    Oh, and as much as I’m a Jamie fan, and in fact have only read 1 LJ book, I still lean to opening the book with his chapter as it does seem to be the logical opening for people who have been following his series and are expecting to continue on. Since Jamie is a guest in his book (though I do realize an intrinsic one) it makes sense for the plot element to be introduced first and the human interest to come second. Though I don’t think you can go wrong either way!

  103. Haha, i love the “naughty” Jamie scene – i vote for that one!! What a crazy way to open a book, but you can DEFINITELY pull it off. LJG has the entire series focused on him, so giving Jamie the spotlight in the opening chapter is a nice way to bring in the readers who might not be sold on the LJG series (but they should be, it’s great!).

  104. I’d start with Jaime.

  105. Jamies! If the book is about him then it should start with him… And it’s a rather gripping **ahem** start to the book I think, plenty of time to get the nitty gritty later. But of course I will love it either way because you wrote it, so no matter.

  106. Start with Lord John. I agree with the opinions of the other readers.

  107. Hi I agree that John’s gives more indication of the plot, whereas Jamie’s invokes a much more emotional response. Me, I go for the emotion every time, so I vote for Jamie!

  108. I vote for opening with Jamie. I love the Outlander series and the Lord John Gray series, but I’m sorely yearning for some Jamie/Claire bits.

  109. As one who is already a big fan of Jamie and John both, I think either opening is fantastic–but I sincerely believe Jamie’s opening is where it’s at. So curious about the details behind John and Charlie…and everything!

    *sigh* What amazing, intriguing characters, all of them–bravo, Diana, on such MARVELOUS storytelling!!

    ~~

  110. Jamies! It caught my attention!

  111. I loved them both and I’m torn between the two for a response. Having Jamie at the beginning will get readers attention as they are not use to seeing his perspective in the LJ series and maybe pick up a few readers from the Outlander series, but the LJ chapter does lead into the mystery to come. Its your book, I’m sure you will make the best decision. Either way, I’ll be buying for my nook as soon as it comes available. Safe travels.
    Susan

  112. Jamie for sure! It tells us right away where we are in space and time. Jamie’s at Helwater and Claire is back in her time. With the time travel in your books, we need that frame of reference.

    But maybe I’ve got to re-read the Lord John books, since I don’t recall anything about Carruthers (if that is an exiting story line?)

  113. Jamie.

    I do love Lord John, but I think you had the right choice by putting Jamie first.

    Can’t wait!

  114. Lord John makes sense. We will get Jaimie anyways later, but LJ makes a better start.
    Dalma

  115. I must cast my vote for Lord John. Several reasons, all stated by previous posters. I do love Jamie, but I don’t really care to start off a Lord John book with Jamie masturbating. (Nor a Jamie and Claire book, for that matter.)

  116. Jamie, Jamie, Jamie, it’s the Scottish Prisoner, start there. Love Jamie, not such a fan of LJG, so go w/ Jamie!

  117. It seems to make more sense to open a “Lord John and ______” with Lord John, but I could go either way as long as it is all in there! Can’t wait to read it all.

  118. My vote is for LJG. I love them both, but Its very refreshing to read about what trouble LJG is going to get into!

  119. I agree with those who have said that the Lord John chapter should come first since the book is “Lord John and the Scottish Prisoner”. Therefore, it should start with Lord John’s perspective and then that of the Scottish Prisoner aka Jamie.

    But one thing jumped out at me when I read the excerpts. Did they actually use the term “bomb” in the 18th century to refer to an explosive? I thought it was a much more modern word.

    • Dear Peggy–

      Oh, yes; usage of “bomb” to mean a packaged explosive dates back to at least the fifteenth century, if not earlier. For someone with Lord John’s artillery experience, he may well be thinking of a sort of canister shot, in which gunpowder and shrapnel (though the word “shrapnel” _didn’t_ come into use until later) were bundled up into a sort of oblong package, or “bomb”, which was shot from the cannon into the midst of the enemy.

      –Diana

      • Diana,

        Thanks so much for the clarification. We can always trust your historical research to be complete and accurate! It really makes the books come alive. Can’t wait to hear more about Lord John, Jamie and the rest of the gang!

  120. I would start with Jamie, I find his opening very captivating. Also, I am super excited to finally get to meet you at the Marriott tomorrow! I hope your travels go well.

  121. Correct me if I’m wrong but I understand that The Scottish Prisoner is about Jamie’s story from Lord John’s point of view, ergo it will make more sense to open with Lord John, but I go with Jamie’s beginning. I told you this before, I love the “not around the bushes” style of yours… this is not about which character I love the must -I love them both- but about how I want to be taken into this story. For those who have not read the Outlander series before- hardly anyone- they will be intrigued to know what is behind Jamie’s pain and longing for Claire, I know I would.

  122. Start with Jamie !

  123. I vote for the Jamie opening.

    In my opinion, if someone is hesitant to read the Lord John books, because all they want is to read about Jamie and Claire, and they happen to pick this one up and read the first few paragraphs, it will hook them.

    Whatever way you choose, I know it will be wonderful and I can’t wait to read it!

  124. John is what I vote for.

  125. I agree with voters for John for all the same reasons. Plus, it leaves you turning the pages for Jamie.

  126. Definitely Jamie!!!

  127. As an avid fan of your books,I must confess that I have not kept up with the Lord John books like I should have. I really neeed to the following ones after the first book. I do agree with Sherrie though,as I think both Jamie and Claire would trus you to make the right decision. Also,since you say that neither is a full chapter and just an excerpt of said chapters, how would both of those fit into the rest of the book,or is either one going to open the book. It depends how you you want to present it. Personally,I like Jamie’s version,but in the end you have to go with your gut.

  128. My first thought was to go with LJ but for those who haven’t read the LJ series (GASP shame on you!) I guess it would make more sense to start with Jamie. I personally would read it any way you put it.

    P.S. I’m hoping to hear more about Tom Byrd, he’s one of my favorite characters.

  129. I vote for Jamie’s chapter! I know he will capture my attention immediately (and I believe others’ as well) and that would show, that this book is as much about him as Lord John. And overall I think it would make a better beginning, considering what you said about John’s and Jamie’s chapter at Compuserve.

    Thanks for asking! :)

  130. As to which should come first, I trust your judgement as the author. I (along with many others I’m sure) will read and enjoy it with either start. I’m looking forward to Scottish Prisoner, but I’m DYING for book 8 to come out!

    Carruthers…has he or the name made an appearance in another book?? It sounds familiar, but I cannot place it.

  131. I have to laugh, because when I read the first few words of the Lord John excerpt, I was thinking that John was holding his niece Dottie! I love the way you draw us into a scene and as a ‘fan’ of both series, I would vote for the Lord John opening, just because it follows Lord John’s return from Canada and is intriguing on so many levels

    On the other hand (cough), I wrote a scene in a writing class that started with a post coital cuddle and the instructors comment was that she loved that I got the sex scene right at the start!

    You know your fans…if your name is on it they’re gonna read it!

    Safe travels and thanks for asking!

    VickiB

  132. Either is great, write fast, can’t wait.

  133. hard choices! The bit with Jamie is taunt, we feel his loneliness and pain but we already know it, unless of course the reader has not yet fallen under Outlander’s spell.

    However, having spent a bit of last month reading Dorothy Sayers and Josephine Tey, I have a new appreciation for those who venture into mystery. I am currently searching for “Saint books” by Leslie Charteris though I am not sure those are always mysteries.

    John’s opening is smoother, the bits that bite are hidden but not obscured during a peaceful day with children. Very good.

    I will see which comes out when the book is released.

    Anna

  134. NEVER thought I’d cast my vote this way, but I think the Lord John story is a great way to start it – a soft opening, and then the more intense opening of Jamie. Just my two cents :-)

  135. Lord John should start the book off. Then, let the Scottish Prisoner free.

  136. Depends upon the tone you wish to set at the onset.

    Lord John’s selection invites the mind to open and seek the continuum rather than stimulates glands to secrete in titillation and completion.

    I vote Lord John’s piece, which is not the least peaceful or self absorbed and which leads forward.

  137. Jamie.

    Jamie.

    Jamie.

  138. I loved the Jamie opener the first time I read it and my opinion hasn’t changed on a second reading, but its a Lord John book so Lord John should come first. I vacillated before plumping for John because I suspect that, like most folk, I came to Lord John through Jamie and anything that sheds light on Jamie’s years without Claire is interesting. I don’t know about other readers but, knowing how deeply Claire and Jamie love each other, I find it hard to imagine how either of them got through that period, particularly when I think about how I would feel if my husband (tall and Scottish, btw) and I were parted for 20-odd years. But John’s an appealingly complex character as well and these are his books. Jamie’s – ahem – appreciation of Claire can be a juicy nugget of naughtiness a little further into the book, something to look forward to :) I think those that observe that you may frighten the horses by opening with a masturbation scene, however beautifully written, may have a point, though this would obviously only apply if said horses were new to either series!

    It’ll be interesting to see which way you go after all these opinions have been proffered!! Thanks for asking though and good luck :)

  139. Lord John and Hal get my vote.

  140. I vote for the “John” scene. It immediately draws you into a plot line full of promising intrigue. Then, wham!! the Jamie scene hits you next.

    Wendie

  141. Jaime’s opening definitely grabs your attention and truly sets the tone for this to be “Jaime’s book”. I vote for his point of view to open. Thanks for including us in your process!

  142. JAMIE!! How could you not open with Jamie? Yes….Jamie!

  143. I would love to see the Lord John chapter opening the book! I have been SO EXCITED for this book, knowing that we will get to see more than glimpses of Jamie during those years. But…I feel that his scene is so utterly heartbreaking, and sort of backwards facing (if that makes sense), while Lord John’s scene is engaging and really makes me want to know what is happening! I find myself more curious about that outcome than what is happening next with Jamie. (Yes, I know, shocking! How is it possible to not want all Jamie all the time? :))

    Thanks for asking readers. What a lovely gesture.

  144. I vote for Jamie’s chapter first…since He Is The Scottish Prisoner.

  145. I vote for Jaime. I think his viewpoint would better jump start the story.

  146. I vote for Jamie, as “…the Scottish Prisoner.” A good contrast to the other LJG books. But whatever way you choose, it will be great!

    Things seem to be pretty split so far…

  147. But when the blast of war blows in our ears,
    Then imitate the action of the tiger;
    Stiffen the sinews, summon up the blood,
    Disguise fair nature with hard-favour’d rage;
    Then lend the eye a terrible aspect;
    Let pry through the portage of the head
    Like the brass cannon; let the brow o’erwhelm it
    As fearfully as doth a galled rock
    O’erhang and jutty his confounded base,
    Swill’d with the wild and wasteful ocean.
    Now set the teeth and stretch the nostril wide,
    Hold hard the breath and bend up every spirit
    To his full height.

    IOW, add another vote to the Jamie camp – and then – BRING IT!

    Sincerely,
    Kathleen

  148. Start with Jamie!

  149. This is a very hard choice to make! I’m going to go for John’s because it makes me anticipate the part when you get to Jamie more. I always start reading sequels thinking “why is she(he) starting with this? Get on to the character you left off with that I am dying to hear about!” The suspense makes the “hit” of the main character’s story all the more rewarding.

  150. I thought Jamie’s opening was more interesting, but that could be due to the couple of glasses wine I just enjoyed. I couldn’t really concentrate on the details of John’s opening. Whatever you choose will be fine.

  151. I loved both excerpts and I love Jamie but it makes more sense to me to start with Lord John.

  152. Even though I am so completely in LOVE with Jamie, I am so very intrigued by Lord John. At this point, we know so much more about Jamie, but want to know so much more about Lord John, like how he fell in love with Jamie, etc and his life before meeting him….how Hal is such a huge influence on him. But the clincher for me will always be Jamie, and how much he loves his wife, and what a complete man he is. I would love to hear more about Clare when she was a RN too!!!

  153. I vote for Jamie. I don’t see how you can resist opening with that sentence.
    I’d pick up the book, read that line, and you wouldn’t be able to pry the book from my hands before I’d read the whole chapter.

  154. Please…Please….Please…..start with Jamie…I love Lord John but I think we all need it to be Jamie. Oh how I have misses him so…I can’t wait. Thank you Diana for the glimpse into both Jamie and Lord John.

  155. Start with the Jamie! He is so compelling…always!

  156. By all means start with jamie!

  157. Jamie.

  158. I have to vote for John. It is a Lord John book we are reading, and I think new readers would not grasp the situation and emotional depth (and action) in the Jamie scene.

    I do love Jamie to bits, but i have to vote for John in this instance.

  159. I prefer John’s as the opening of the book.

  160. I don’t really care which one starts the book, as I hate the Lord John series altogether. He is only ever worth being a secondary character in the Outlander series, in my humble opinion. The only reason Jaime is in this book is to make it sell more, and try and get people hooked on the Lord John series, well sorry, but it won’t work for me.
    I am also saddened to see that the courseness that started to creep into the sex scenes in the last Outlander book, Echo, is prevelant here from the start. I am no prude, and I LOVE the passion between Jaime and Claire, but I don’t really think it is necessary to start with a wanking scene.

    • Dear d.hewson–

      Well, tastes differ. That is one reason for asking what y’all think, after all.

      Thanks for your opinion!

      –Diana

      P.S. If I merely wanted to sell more books, I wouldn’t write the Lord John books at all. I write them because they talk to me.

  161. Even though I’ve read many good arguments for Lord John’s point of view as the first scene of the book above, I can’t help myself and have to vote for Jamie. Apart from setting the time and the book being called ‘The Scottish Prisoner’, it just feels… better for me, somehow.

  162. My first reaction is JAMIE!! Nothing hooks a reader quite like sex, but the arguments for John are quite compelling. Ugh. Tough choice!!

  163. I think you should go with Jamie. Sure it’s not a conventional way to start out a novel but it definitely grabs one’s attention.

  164. JAMIE! I will always choose Jamie!

  165. I would go with Lord John, not sure why, but it seems more of a proper opening.

    However, I simply can not wait much longer for just about anything to be published, so please hurry.

    Your books were a salvation to me during some rough times, and I have learned so much through them, about our country, the way we lived, medicines & botany, about Scotland. I truly have my own story to share about how your books gave me a world that I could exist in during my own most troubling times.

    Thank you Diana!

    One of your fans. Patty

  166. Start with Lord John.

  167. I love Lord John and Jamie (but maybe John a tad bit more) and think either opening will be phenomenal.

    However…because this _IS_ the third book in the LORD JOHN series, I think Lord John should open the book to continue the story we saw in “Custom of the Army.” This investigation has been an ongoing theme and while Jamie has been mentioned in the previous books and will take a larger role in this one, many readers tend to gravitate to ONLY Jamie, disregarding Lord John’s own storyline. I know there are many fans out there who have not read the Lord John books because Jamie isn’t in them and they only want their “Jamie fix.” Lots of fans thought Lord John took up too much of the storyline in ECHO, even though he’s an integral part to the overall storyline.

    I think if Jamie’s scene opens the book, those fans will ooh and aah over Jamie, and then possibly bypass the rest of the story while they look only for the chapters with Jamie. This isn’t fair to Lord John’s own story, his fans or the way Diana has woven these two story-lines and characters together with their back stories, to show how Lord John and Jamie have gotten to the comfortable friendship depicted in the later books in the OUTLANDER series.

    I say let Lord John continue to open _HIS_ series — Jamie’s will continue in Book Eight.

    • When I mentioned this discussion to my BF who is also a fan of BOTH series, he gave me another insight.

      If Jamie’s scene opens the book, it immediately sounds like the beginning of a romance novel – something Diana has tried strongly to veer away from.

      Lord John should open.

  168. While I love everything you write, I am a Jamie (and Claire) fan all the way. Lord John just never touched me the way Jamie did. I think Jamie will draw anyone who has an interest much quicker than Lord John. Can’t wait to read…

  169. Ms. Gabaldon,

    Thanks for the opportunity to have a vote about your book!

    Scottish Prisoner is how Lord John first thought of Jamie. Jamie wouldn’t think of himself as a “Scottish Prisoner”, only as a prisoner because being Scottish is just part of who he is. However, for Lord John, the distinction of “Scottish” bears meaning. So, I think it sound reasoning to start the book with Lord John’s scene first. For those not familiar with the overall story, Lord John’s scene will help bring them into this world. And, for those of us who already love Jamie, we’ll have something to look forward to even if it is heartbreaking.

    I’m looking forward to reading some of the story from Jamie’s perspective. While I love Claire and can identify with her character, sometimes I would be interested to know what Jamie is thinking in the first person rather than from Claire’s viewpoint.

    Thanks, again, for entertaining our opinions!
    El

  170. Dear Diana,

    First, I would like to sincerely thank you for allowing your fans to voice an opinion in this matter, it is one of the many things that sets you apart as a writer. As to the situation presented, my immediate response was, of course, “Jamie!” since I, like many fans, love him. But upon re-reading your excerpts and thinking some more, I must say that I think the book should begin with Lord John. In the Outlander series when we encounter Lord John, we learn things about him, but we ultimately learn more about Jamie because of his interactions and responses to Lord John. When captured as a young boy at Prestonpans in Dragonfly in Amber we learn of Lord John’s sense of duty and honor, but it is Jamie who the readers gleam more insight concerning, (on a side note, it is a wonderful scene).
    In the Lord John series it should be reversed, we should learn more about Lord John because of Jamie. The passion, anguish and longing shown in the Jamie bit, how does it relate to Lord John? We know he’s suffered and lost, but what traits does he share with Jamie, how do they enhance or contrast one another? By beginning with Lord John’s section we are reminded that it is in fact his story, no matter how important Jamie may be to that story and Jamie will have more of his time in Book 8. All of your characters are unique, distinct and engaging, each should shine no matter how much fans, like myself, desire to read Jamie. If your books were a play, Jamie would be the lead, but one of his character traits is that he’s a supporter, whether of Claire, Ian and Jenny or his men. Let him support Lord John in his series and the take the forefront again in the next installment to the Outlander series. Thank you for this opportunity and for your characters (and works) they are wonderful.

    All the best wishes,
    Alison

  171. Dear Diana,
    Being such a huge fan of both these characters makes this a difficult decision….
    Oh who am I kidding!
    Jamie of course!
    Lord John is a great character and the scene makes me laugh, but what a way to start a book!
    You are amazingly daring!
    Love it all!

  172. Well, Gee Whiz, am I the only guy who reads this wonderful series. Well I do have a preference, and it’s Jamie for the opener. Why. Okay here goes, and I have read all the books. First of all I see the books or plot is about Clair and as the books progress about Jamie and their family and the one they create together. The other people or characters are those who wander thru their lives and add additional interest to the story being presented. They add meat to the plot that would otherwise be dull and and uninteresting, but as I see it that is all they do. Like all those in our lives, they help make us who we are and who we become. So I vote for Jamie. Just one guys thoughts.

    Bill

  173. Definitely Jamie – It’s like missing family when it goes too long between books about Jamie and Claire!

  174. I vote for Jamie. I love his character and love learning and reading more about him and Claire!!
    Keep the great books coming!!!!

  175. Diana, in your previous blog post you said, “At the moment, it begins with Jamie’s story, with a scene that caused my husband to write, ‘Can you even _print_ this?’ in the margin when he read it.” After all the scenes you’ve written (Black Jack at Wentworth, for example), I was expecting something a lot more, ahem {cough}, than what this scene actually depicts. That being said, I think Jamie’s scene draws the reader’s emotions into the story right away. Lord John’s chapter is more intellectual in nature. I appreciate both elements in your stories, but the emotion wins me over almost every time. Please start with Jamie.

  176. A tentative vote for the LJG opening. Even though this is a departure from the “LJ and the…” series, a sort of hybrid, I think the scene with Hal and LJ sets up the story a bit better. But then the Jamie scene is kind of a jolt, with that first paragraph, cracking the whip (or lighting the fuse), starting off with a bang. Heck, won’t really know till I read the Whole Book.

    Even having read all the fragments and snippets that you’ve so generously doled out to us greedy readers, I can’t quite discern yet if the primary focus is: 1) to tell a rollicking good mystery/adventure story or 2) a character study of two wildly different, complex, and bloody men who share a strong sense of honor and responsibility, as they move from prickly animosity toward friendship and trust. It will be both, of course, and infinitely more, but which is the more important to the Author? If the former, perhaps the LJ scene, and if the latter, Jamie’s.

    Wishing and hoping that this is a wee bit larger than the average LJG book,

    Chris Anne

  177. Well, odds are we will all read both passages many times over so I would say it doesn’t really matter to me as long as the book gets here soon!!!

  178. It should be Lord John since the title gives him primary focus.

  179. Another vote for LJG, thanks for letting us be involved in the decision!

  180. I vote for Jamie.
    I honestly don’t like Lord John and I’ll read this book because of Jamie … I know it’s not a plausible view … but I hope this helps.

    (sorry my bad bad english)

    Abraços do Brasil,

    Vanessa

  181. I love the Jamie part, so provocative and heartrending, but I do think the John opener sets up the storyline better and tells us where the story is going. Even as an avid reader of both Outlander and the Lord John series, I was a little confused about the direction of the story until I read the John opener and then went, Oh, Yeah.

  182. Jamie! It got my attention!

  183. My humble opinion would be to open with Lord John. After just finishing the Lord John based books, I see that we are at the turning point of their relationship, where they rejoin (figuratively speaking, bien sur) as life long friends. So that being said, Lord John is all about Jamie, and Claire is all about Jamie. Jamie is the common thread. He is the subject matter of the speaker, in this case, Lord John.

  184. I love Jamie; I absolutely adore Lord John. How to choose? The Jamie passage is more immediately compelling. I vote for Jamie. Meanwhile, am counting the days till this book comes out…

  185. The “Jamie”one had me hooked and I think anyone new to the series would also want to read more. It just pulls at you emotionally so quickly.

    I really enjoy how you paint your scenes.
    “Wind struck the barn and went booming round the roof. A strong chilly draft with a scent of snow stirred the somnolence, and two or three of the horses shifted, grunting and whickering. Overhead, a murmured “‘ugger” drifted down, accompanied by the sound of someone turning over and pulling the blanket up round his ears, defying reality.”

    Takes me there….

    The “Jamie” opening is cleaner with less moving parts so I think it would definitely hook more readers – new and fans and fanatics.

  186. I adore your writing – Outlander and Voyager rank in my top 5 books of all time (and thats a lot of books to compete with!). I think Jamie is the obvious choice….which makes me feel that maybe Lord John’s chapter should be first. We ALL love Jamie/Claire so much (notice that I can’t even write them as separate names!) and I am so glad this will be as much Jamie’s book as Lord John’s.
    You really cannot go wrong with this – you have two great characters and I will be first in line regardless of whose chapter is first! Thank you so much for letting all of us share our opinions!

  187. Definitely Jamie.

  188. Please start with Jamie! I can’t get enough of him.

  189. Definitely Jamie’s opening! Can’t wait for the book!!!

  190. Jamie – for sure

  191. I think Jaime first, no LJ first, no Jaime first…. Whatever, so you can get on with book 8! I want to read book 8 NOW! Good series. Thanks.

  192. I’m afraid I’m in favor of Lord John first. I say it that way because I’m not a big LJ fan. However, putting LJ’s first sets up the rest of the book; Jamie’s is heartwrenching but doesn’t say where we’re going. Just my 2 cents worth. I’ll read anything and everything by DG (got a shopping list to hold us over?).

  193. Jamie. There could not be a more potent opening.

  194. I love the story of the Frasers! I vote for starting with Jamie as that is the reason I’ve been so hooked on the series.

    Cheers!

  195. Hmmm, I have read all the Outlander series several times over, but have actually never read any of the Lord John series. Is it necessary to read them in order before reading the Scottish Prisoner?
    As far as which opening to use , as much as I am for Jaime , I think that probably starting off with John is probably best as long as it is not too long before we hear from our beloved hero.
    My heart was breaking reading the excerpt from Jaime, and yet cant wait to read more. :)

  196. I vote for the Jamie opening—It is much more dramatic and lets the reader know how devoted he is to Claire and that he could never feel that way about Lord John Susan

  197. I still love both of them – enjoyed the heck out of your reading in Kingman!

    I think I still lean towards Jamie’s first. It seems to draw you into the story much quicker and judging by your husband’s initial reaction and that of the much older lady that was in the audience that day – it’s an immediate attention grabber. I agree with some of the comments above in that it lets you know right away that it IS Jamie’s tale (in case the title didn’t).

    Of course, Lord John’s opening is also excellent and has a completely different set of emotions drawn forth. The mystery awaits.

    Looking forward to ALL of it. Of course you know that we will all want MORE MORE MORE no matter how you choose to begin ~ or end.

    Jules

  198. I love Jamie to bits, but the Lord John story seems a better way to catch a reader’s interest.

  199. It’s hard to voice a opinion without knowing what part in the story Jamie is going to play. that being said, since in the LJG series, Jamie is a side character, omnipresent to be sure, but still a side thought to John everyday life, I’m gonna have to go with John.

  200. BTW, has any thought been given to gathering all your short works up in one volume? It’s kind of like buying a compliation album to get one track you really like to buy an anthology your stories are in. While I read the whole thing, I don’t like all of them. please say Diana’s greatest hits has at least been considered. And what ever happened to Red Ants Head?

    • Can I second Lisa’s vote on a volume of all the short stories?!?! It would be a great way for people like me to fill in all the gaps and questions. Please, Please Please!

  201. Dear Diana,
    For me it would Be Jamie ! But if People who don’t know your books Read this they could get a wrong idea of it!?
    So what ever you choose, i will get it!:)
    pS: when is it going to Be published in German?
    Best wishes
    Myrna

  202. Hmmm, is it a question of the heart (Jamie first) or a question of the mind (John first)?

    For me your books are all about the relationships of the characters. The action scenes, historical context, medical references(I am a medical technologist and love all the science stuff) are all important parts of the story, but in the end they are about how people’s lives flow together and then apart and then come back together.

    I went back and read the end of the “Hand of Devils” and since that tale ends with a letter to Jamie, I think the Jamie chapter should be first.

    When in doubt, go with the heart! :)

    PS: I’m also a big believer in first instincts, and your initial impulse to put the Jamie chapter first was probably the right one.

    Be safe in all your travels and I hope you don’t get groped at the airport!

    Carol

  203. I’m quite the prude, so I’d have to vote for Lord John. I think some readers would get turned off with the subject matter of Jamie’s first chapter. Though… they won’t ever read the series (what’s the plural of series?) if they’re much more of a prude than I am. ;)

  204. Start with Lord John.

  205. It’s the Lord John series and I think his chapter should start the book, especially as it appears to be setting the plot. I have read both series and thoroughly enjoy the Lord John character.

  206. I vote for Lord John.

  207. Jamie for sure. I can’t wait for the next book. I’m even running out of the books on the “methadone list.” I just can’t get enough of your books. WRITE ON!!

  208. Lord John first, because (of what I’ve seen so far) it leaves a little mystery with you after his part, and Jamie’s is pretty much an up-front piece.

  209. Wow…so I just have to say…I am at work (in a chem lab) and I started reading the Jamie excerpt not realizing what I was reading…after a few lines I screamed “Holy Shit” looked around to make sure no one was watching and kept on reading. I miss Jamie and I think the rest of your fans do too so I would say go with him.

  210. Wow…so I just have to say…I am at work (in a chem lab where everyone is down to business) and I started reading the Jamie excerpt not realizing what I was reading…after a few lines I screamed “Holy Shit” looked around to make sure no one was watching and kept on reading. I miss Jamie and I think the rest of your fans do too so I would say go with him.

  211. Please start with John…as much as I adore Jamie, and I realize he is the title character, my fear is that people who have not read you before (are there any of those left?) would expect more soft-core porn to appear throughout the book. As titillating as some of your scenes are, they are NOT the be-all/end-all of your intricate story lines. Jamie offers so very much more than his cock (as you so eloquently put it ), so let a newer reader come into the story without having to wonder who Claire is…

    (just my humble opinion)…

    Whatever you do–I can hardly wait to read it!

  212. Jamie…definitely!

  213. Jamie IS the Scottish Prisoner. My personal vote is Jamie, but either way it would be a good opening. When you think about this book who is the first person that comes to your mind? I’m very much looking forward to reading it either way!

  214. I have to go with Lord John. I LOVE Jamie’s excerpt, but LJ’s “goes” more with other Lord John books, and definitely pulls the reader into the story.

  215. Both are wonderful, but I think John’s section is the better beginning.

  216. Poor Jamie – to have such a dream on April Fool’s Day!

    (did they have that in 1760? April Fool’s, that is . . .)

    (I *know* they had the, er, other . . .)

    Anyhoo –

    Sex. Jamie.

    Elaine, the one from MI

  217. Starting with Jamie would be a hoot!! I vote that you start with the Lord John chapter. It seems to lead into the plot better. Is there some way that you could include Custom of the Army in the book? I do have the book that contains it, but not everyone does. Much as I love Lord John and want to read everything that you write about him, I still love Jamie and Claire more. Please hurry up and finish “Lord John and the Plague of Zombies” and “Terror Daemonium” and work real hard on book #8. I can’t wait to see how you tie up all the loose ends from the last book.

  218. I would go with Lord John.

  219. I have only recently started reading the Lord John novels and I must say I have a new appreciation for this character. However I have to admit that Jamie Fraser is by far on the top of my list. To start the story with Jamie’s point of view would be wonderful since get more glimpses of what his life was like after Claire.

  220. Jamie all the way !! Yes, it’s a Lord John book, but let’s be honest, we all want Jamie, Claire, and all the sex scenes that are necessary to tell the story !!

  221. Jamie. What a way to ease into a book. Bang! Love it.

  222. Lord John should be first.

  223. Diana,

    As much as I am in love with Jamie and his passion for Claire, I would have to agree that it would be a better flow and hook to have the opening be with Lord John.

    Thank you for allowing us to participate in these developments.

    Patricia Pearsell
    Whitby, Ontario

  224. I vote for Jamie because it’s clearer. I have trouble understanding the LJG version.

  225. First off, I agree with starting with Lord John.

    Second, I was wondering if there are plans to re-release all of the books in the same style as the 20th anniversary Outlander? I discovered the books when Outlander was free to read online and devoured all of the books over the next few months to the detriment of my medical school studies. (I had a love and hate relationship with some of the descriptions of infectious diseases because I was reading them at the same time I was trying to learn them.) Mainly, I would like to know if there is any reason to wait to buy all the books.

    Third, do you have any plans to come to the southeast??

    • Dear Danielle–

      I’ll be at DragonCon over Labor Day weekend–that’s in Atlanta.

      I wouldn’t wait for all the books to be released in 20-year editions. A) I have no idea whether the publisher would consider doing that, and B) even if they did, the books would be released at intervals of 2-4 years, which is a long time to wait.

      (You can get the regular hardcover editions–signed–anytime, from The Poisoned Pen bookstore in Scottsdale.)

      –Diana

  226. I would love to see Jamie’s chapter first, it is so heart wrenching and will keep us in the mind that this is Jamie’s as well as John’s story.

  227. I love both of them. Jamie’s grabs you by the shirt collar and yanks you in. John’s is more like peeping in the window and you just have to go in to find out exactly what is going on!

  228. I think starting with Jamie would be a change from the other Lord John books, but a refreshing way to hang them all into the Outlander saga. (If there happens to be a soul out there that doesn’t know they are related :o) I enjoyed both of them, so it really doesn’t matter to me.

  229. Those of us who joined the ranks in the Outlander wonder why you gave up on Jamie and Claire. If you are no longer interested in the characters perhaps you might let us know. They are after all not “ours” but yours and yet we expect them to play the integral part in the narrative. Have you answered the question about the dearth of them in the last novel that I might have missed? it was appallingly derivative and many of us were left feeling vastly disappointed and, how odd, furious. I will wait for the reviews about what ever comes next and hope for the best.

    Not interested in Lord John beyond his relationship to Jamie, perhaps others are as obviously are you. I wonder why.

    • Dear Sylvia–

      No idea what you mean by “dearth of Jamie and Claire” in the last novel (I suppose you mean ECHO?), but you’re certainly entitled to your own opinion. No, I haven’t lost interest in them–not sure where you get that notion, either.

      If you’re only interested in Lord John with regard to his relationship with Jamie, though–you’ll certainly enjoy THE SCOTTISH PRISONER, which is a two-man book, with an alternating viewpoint between Jamie and Lord John.

      –Diana

      • Regarding your response to “Sylvia”, I would like to make this observation. I think that you used considerable restraint and diplomacy in your answer. Concerning the “dearth” of Jamie and Claire in Echo, anyone who reads these novels and does not perceive that Jamie and Claire literally scream out at you from every page is simply not getting it. Whether the dialogue is about Lallybroch, Jemmy, Willie, Jenny or whomever, it all has to do with Jamie and Claire – bottom line.

        I would not want you to change one thing about the way you write these books. I cannot comprehend where people get the idea that they should be written for their personal mindset about how they should progress.

        Keep writing and I will keep waiting (ahem) patiently for the next installment.

  230. Taking everything into consideration, I’d do Lord John first.
    Thanks for letting us share an opinion.

  231. I vote for the Jamie chapter first. However, I’ll buy the book no matter which chapter you put first. I just love your books!

    • My inital thought is “Jamie” all the way. But…after reading both again (over and over again actually) my vote if for the “Lord John” chapter. Jamie’s chapter blows your mind and makes your heart hurt all at the same time but, feels like it’s just Jamie’s story. Lord John’s chapter reminds you that you’re in a Lord John story and feels like it sets the stage for how the two men will tie together. Really though, the novices giving advice to the Master (or Mistress)…c’mon!!! We love you and will read anything you throw at us.

  232. Too bad you’ve decided to use Jamie’s hot little adventure in the barn as chapter one for “Lord John and the Scottish Prisoner”. I would much prefer “The Fate of Fuses” to open John Grey’s new book. All the stories you’ve done for his series are his and should stay that way for each book. Personally, I hope you don’t go to excess with the Jamie POV. I want to know more about John and his life; not have to wade through more of Jamie’s angst, lamenting and whining. Yes, I have a major issue with Jamie Fraser that started on pages 170 through 178, and continued on pages 770 through 773 of “Voyager”. Pages 774 and 775 of “An Echo in the Bone” added to my irritation with this very shallow aspect of Jamie’s character. He has two major sins on his soul that have been glossed over and it’s about time he was required to answer for them. The last excellent chapters of Book seven and the strong potential for violence in Excerpt 2 of Book eight could create a phenomenal conflict and drama for Jamie’s third sin, the one that would drive a long overdue wedge between him and Claire. Jamie has always been so arrogant and proud about his honor. With his first two sins staining his soul, his honor was already heavily damaged after “Voyager”. With a third sin, if it occurs as the aftermath of Echo’s ending and the beginning of Book eight, the last of that selective Fraser honor would be gone. Despite Jamie’s description of him as “ye filthy wee pervert”, John Grey is the true man of honor of the two, real and honest and caring.

    • Ummm…What? As in, what on earth are you talking about? You do realize these are novels, right? And frankly, if you’re not totally in love with Jamie by the time you’ve finished the first book, then I’m not quite sure why you’re still reading. Are you related to Captain Randall, by any chance?

      • Yes, I am very aware these are characters in a series of novels. Since I read and reread the entire series as well as the Lord Grey books and novella in Warriors I in total just since the beginning of this year, I see the stories and characters as a whole. The Jamie Fraser character has two very serious flaws as written since Voyager – he’s a liar and a hypocrit. As he’s the “hero” of the series I know he’ll never be called to account by the time the eighth and final book is done. I just wanted to get my personal feeling across that I consider the John Grey character as written far more interesting, honorable and worthwhile.

  233. I have not read the Lord John books, but since the book is half in Jamie’s perspective then I think it should start with him. Having the book start with Jamie would definitely suck me into reading it! :-)

  234. Jamie please!!!!!!!! And yes, you can start a book that way!

  235. It is the love story of Jamie and Claire, their lives for the good and bad of it. Start with Jamie Please!!

  236. well, if you’re looking to start off with a punch – then Jamie’s chapter is the way to go!

    however, if you want to emphasize the differences between John and Jamie, putting his chapter in front would do that quite nicely, i think.

    depends on the effect you’re looking for! either will be great.
    : ]

  237. Dear Diana:
    My friend gave me a copy of ” The Outlander” saying that she could not get into it! Mmmph! I was hooked! I have red all of your Outlander series, and Lord John novels.

    My vote would be for Lord John to open this book, since it is a Lord John novel; since I like order and continuity.

    I am seventy two years of age and enjoy both of these series, so much so that when I buy one of your novels I MUST only start reading on a Friday evening, I as I continue into the early hours of the next day

    Thank you for your novels, and long may you continue writing

  238. Gotta go with Lord John, it does seem to make the entry more intriguing…and… we all know Jamie is coming (no pun intended) and look forward that part that much more!

  239. In my rather humble opinion, I think opening with Jamie’s chapter is preferable. Not that I don’t adore John–bless his sweet soul, I love him dearly–but Jamie’s chapter has the better hook.

  240. Hello Diana,

    Just putting in my 2 cents worth here. I LOVE the Jamie excerpt, but as an opening, I think it should be Lord John. I like to look forward to those little Jamie Gems throughout the book ! If it is right at the beginning, that leaves it “over and done” already. Then I already have to leave him and miss him. I want to wait for it a bit, if you know what I mean ;) Lord John just seems like more of a lead in.

  241. I do not care about John Grey except that he is a friend to Jamie and Claire.

  242. I am not interested in John although I do want to know what will become of his friendship with Jamie in Book 8.
    Please, I want to read Book 8 while I can still read.

  243. Because this is a Lord John book, I think you should start with John. I love Jamie and Claire, and I understand what being apart meant for both of them. I myself enjoy the books, because they give more insight into the man who raised WILLIE. Whether anybody else sees it this way, even though Lord John is not a central character in the Outlander books, he is part of the family. Look what he did for Brianna, while she was at Aunt Jocasta’s waiting for her parents to bring Roger back. Those are some of the wittiest scenes in Drums of Autumn

  244. JAMIE FIRST….PLEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEASE!!! =)

  245. Lord John, save the good stuff about Jamie for when you get into the book.

  246. Hmmm…opening a book with masterbation or not…I vote for masterbation.

  247. Jamie _is_ gripping (ahem) but the Lord John piece is the better beginning. I agree wholeheartedly with Courtney and Elaine above. It sets up the plot, brings you in with a swirls of narrative possibilities, and leads off from the previous Lord John stories. The Jamie piece is obviously hot, but I need a bit of narrative foreplay before being hit with that kind of climax (as it were). With the actions in the Jamie start, not sure that I would read further if it weren’t one of your books.

    I can’t wait to see this series intertwine with Jamie’s POV!

  248. Dear Diana (and everyone else here!)

    I know I must have been going around with my head in the clouds for years, but I only just discovered and started to read the Outlander Series this year – Easter infact – after basically inhaling Cross Stitch (as ‘Outlander’ is called here in the UK) in one gulp :-)! I am currently in the middle of A Breath of Snow and Ashes and have not read any of the LJG books yet.

    As Diana has replied to one of the posts (on the 7th July) and said that because the book is at least half Jamie’s story, the publisher has decided it would not be a ‘LJG and the…’ book, I would vote for Jamie being the opening chapter.

    If Lord John Grey is the opening chapter in all the other books (as they are about him), then as this one is different, I’d go with Jamie. Apart from anything else, what a great opener!! Got my attention anyway! I loved it.

    Just my 2 pennies worth here across the pond!

    Thank you Diana for such fantastic books. I cannot believe they have been around so long and I have missed out all these years but I have the advantage of being able to read 7 in a row I suppose, so that makes up for it!

    Marie-Louise xxxx

  249. Diana,

    After reading a few comments and as you know already, it is split 50-50 between Lord John and Jamie. So go with your instincts ….they are usually not wrong.

    Diane

  250. With what you’ve written (I’m so sure there is more detail that would be good opening material from Jamie’s perspective), I would go with Lord John first. Anyone who is a fan of your work will know that this book is both John’s and Jamie’s perspective and will be drooling for whatever Jamie’s experience is (as noted by the water marks on the above pages :) ). I agree with whoever said that Lord John would be a good red carpet for Jamie’s appearance. Lord John is so much a part of Jamie, how could you go wrong with leading off with his Sherlock Holmsian activities…. it will grab the reader in and then the Jamie pages can be the icing (albeit, dripping cuz its melted) on the cake… it can the “ahhhhhhhhh” that so many of us are addicted to when pouncing on more info about the beloved characters. Ps… I am working on a family history…. many are from southwestern Virginia transplanted to western Kentucky. I’m having trouble navigating the lack of info in the census material from the late 1700′s/early 1800′s. Are you attempting to use this info in any of your research? if so, do you have resources that you fall back on when the census is vague? thx in advance…. Jenni

  251. It’s Jamie for me
    because I get drawn into the story by the deepth of his emotions
    which you are able to show without naming them.
    It’s incredibly intense and clear.
    But if the book is more about ‘outside’ events of a crime story and less about the tides inside the men… then I think beginning with John’s side is more consistent.

    Thank you for writing their (Jamie, Claire, John, Brianna, Roger…) stories!!!

    Love, Anne

  252. I love Jamie but my vote goes to LORD JOHN.

  253. I believe it should be John because it is Lord John’s book AND we all know that Jamie will sneak into it soon. . At any rate, I have loved the Outlander series as well as the Lord John books, giving a glimpse into his life and obsession with Jamie. What better way than to bring Jamie into the Scottish Prisoner than to have Jamie wake up with a dream of Claire so vibrant it causes him to become weak kneed…and for us to feel the longing with our whole hearts and souls! As an FYI, these books got me through a cancer diagnosis, chemo, a bone marrow transplant and just recently an unexpected remission.
    Oh Diana hurry and finish both books, I am in withdrawal! Thank you for the peek, but what a tease. :)

  254. No question, has to be the Jamie scene.

  255. No Question, has to be Jamie!

  256. Start with Jamie. I agree, if you want to make it Jamie’s story as much as John’s, then start with Jamie.

  257. I am on Lord John side. I am biting my nails and praying for a “soon come” in The Outlander series, but, I have also a fancy for the next of the Lord John series to. Lord John and Jamie are tangled together….. they will be for a lifetime. I would think the title alone would dictate Lord John first. he is a huge huge reason Jamie is on alot of levels…..
    In either case, It will be perfect. I can’t wait!

  258. Lord John’s chapter is more compelling- it draws you in and sets a decidedly mysterious scent to the book. I was more curioius after reading the second excerpt so I vote John.

  259. May be a little late to cast my vote, but I’d vote for John. It’s a LJ novel, after all, and like others have said, one wants to get the facts straight before moving forward. Plus, to start out with Jamie is a little much for me. Further in it fits well, but at the beginning, it’s a bit…abrupt.

  260. I would ignore the phrase” it’s a LJG book”, because that is immaterial to the question. And although both chapters are beyond excellent, Lord John’s is the better intro. As much as I love all your books , and like most people… I have read them all, witty plot driven chapters are preferred. Shock and awe too early before we know the characters ( some people will pick this book up not knowing about Outlander) will leave them lost and confused.
    This is my opinion, good bad or indifferent, mine.

    • thats very true. I picked up book 6 in Outlander first. Talked to my Mom and she told me it was a series. Was 2 chapters in and “lovin it”. Put that bad boy down n started from the first. Needless to say I was all about non stop reading!…

  261. Thank you for asking! Lord John, I think. Its not a question of loving Jamie or John more; both are memorable , vivid characters, so real they begin to crowd out reality…
    The LJ leads into a mystery that requires solving. Jamie’s scene speaks of his loneliness and need, and we know there is no end to that, for many years to come.

  262. My vote is for the Jamie chapter. I also have a hard time following the Lord John Series. Although, I will go back and reread them to refresh my memory for the new Scottish Prisoner.

  263. The Lord John piece brings us back in time, within a “civilized” opening. Beginning with Jamie’s “salvo” so to speak, is not teasing the reader enough. (Easy ladies…..all in due time). Either way…this book can’t come out soon enough. I’ve got not only my husband, but my parents hooked as well…

  264. I read Outlander 20 years ago when I was in college and fell in love with everything about it. As time went on I was not able to keep up with the series of books that followed but it was always at the back of my mind. I am ill now and have been for awhile. To keep my mind off of the multitude of doctors and the grim reality of it all, I bought a Kindle and downloaded Outlander and re read it. I am purchasing the rest of the series on my Kindle (some of them are not available yet on this device) and am reading them all. Thank you for giving me an outlet and something that makes my imagination soar. I wish I could meet you in person. That would be heaven.

    • Dear Diane–

      I’m so sorry to hear that you’re ill! Glad if the books can give you a little distraction–and I’ll say a prayer for your well-being.

      –DIana

  265. I think it’s very brave and quite unusual of you to consider starting a novel with a masturbation scene. In a barn. Your books are so well established and loved that your devoted readers won’t think twice about it and will mostly just be thrilled to back with Jamie again – in any activity (me included). I do wonder about those first time readers, though, who take one look at the first sentence and wonder if they’re in the wrong section of the bookstore.

  266. Lots of good comments, but I vote for Lord John. I’ll savor all the Jamie Chapter’s but start out with Lord John. It has captured my attention already. Thanks for asking.

  267. Jamie first – always. He is the driving force in all instances. Really miss all the characters – write – write – write!! I’m 77 and don’t want to leave this earth before the ending of all of these wonderful adventures!

  268. love being with jamie in the barn…again… now what were you asking us to opinionate?

  269. My vote is John first, the wait for Jamie will be …..well enjoyable….frustrating…. But as with all your books very entertaining !

    Btw Loved the outlander graphic novel, please do another one thx!

  270. Jamie please, definitely Jamie!

  271. Jamie First! It is most compelling and heart wrenching to see his devotion and longing. Question, who would you pick to play him in a movie?

  272. Either would be fine. If you start with Jamie you really would get off on a rocket, but if you start with John you slide us into the story and then bang away we would go with Jamie at it again! Really love all your books and have not had any ill feelings towards John, he really adds another dimension to Jamie’s dilemmas in life. Keep Writing can’t wait for the next books.

  273. Entering this belatedly, I know of at least one person who’s only read the Lord John books; I think that she (and perhaps others like her) would prefer John’s POV as a start, to gently ease them into Jamie’s narrative and maybe make them want to tackle the main Outlander series. Me, I’m going to buy and read it in any case.

    I’ve loved your stories since the winter of 1992/1993 when I first read Outlander in translation (Swedish). My favourite thing about the tale as a whole is that it defies easy description and genre pigeon-holing. Also, I enjoy the unpredictable and many-voiced nature of your universe. So, thank you.

  274. Jamie, Jamie, Jamie! Please! Jamie’s section draws you immediately into the visceral love story, whereas John’s section is more of a mystery, an intellectual intrigue.

    Yeah! I cannot wait!

  275. John, I just have to go with John. It seems a better opener to have it start with a good bit of intrigue than a shaky, sad, lonely scene with Jamie.

  276. I suggest tossing a coin. If John’s intro comes up and you feel disappointed, you’ ll know you really want to start with the Helwater barn scene.

    I always wanted to know more about the Helwater time and am really looking forward to both character’s views and stories. Beginning with the Jamie chapter could serve to explain to readers not only his history, but, possibly also what he is doing there and WHO put him there, thus introducing John’s role and secret passion from a different perspective (still about John, creates more interest in john’s motives, more suspense, ie. What could be behind him sending Jamie there? Wow, what an interesting multi-faceted character, what is he up to? Etc)

    Hope you are not in indecision too long – very keen for the continuation of both wonderful series! Love your work!

  277. Dear Diana,

    I have sent the questions to your address.

    Take your time answering.

    Sincerely Yours,

    Maurizio

  278. while i always love jamie, the lord john excerpt has a better story opener feeling to it. unless the jamie bit was called “preface”, rather than “chapter 1″ – for some reason that seems to make a difference to me.

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