• “The smartest historical sci-fi adventure-romance story ever written by a science Ph.D. with a background in scripting 'Scrooge McDuck' comics.”—Salon.com
  • A time-hopping, continent-spanning salmagundi of genres.”
  • “These books have to be word-of-mouth books because they're too weird to describe to anybody.”
    —Jackie Cantor, Diana's first editor

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?

(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

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

  2. 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. :)

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

  4. No Question, has to be Jamie!

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

  6. 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!

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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!…

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. 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…

  13. 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.


  14. 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.

  15. 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.

  16. 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!

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

  18. 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!

  19. Jamie please, definitely Jamie!

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