• “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

A Chronology of the OUTLANDER series

Chronology of the Outlander series

The Outlander series includes three kinds of stories:

The Big, Enormous Books that have no discernible genre (or all of them);

The Shorter, Less Indescribable Novels that are more or less historical mysteries (though dealing also with battles, eels, and mildly deviant sexual practices);

And

The Bulges—These being short(er) pieces that fit somewhere inside the story lines of the novels, much in the nature of squirming prey swallowed by a large snake. These deal frequently—but not exclusively—with secondary characters, are prequels or sequels, and/or fill some lacuna left in the original story lines.

Now. Most of the shorter novels (so far) fit within a large lacuna left in the middle of VOYAGER, in the years between 1757 and 1761. Some of the Bulges also fall in this period; others don’t.

So, for the reader’s convenience, here is a detailed Chronology, showing the sequence of the various elements in terms of the storyline. _However, it should be noted that the shorter novels and novellas are all designed suchly that they may be read alone_, without reference either to each other or to the Big, Enormous Books—should you be in the mood for a light literary snack instead of the nine-course meal with wine-pairings and dessert trolley.

OUTLANDER (novel)—If you’ve never read any of the series, I’d suggest starting here. If you’re unsure about it, open the book anywhere and read three pages; if you can put it down again, I’ll give you a dollar. (1946/1743)

DRAGONFLY IN AMBER (novel)—It doesn’t start where you think it’s going to. And it doesn’t end how you think it’s going to, either. Just keep reading; it’ll be fine. (1968/1744-46)

VOYAGER (novel)—This won an award from EW magazine for “Best Opening Line.” (To save you having to find a copy just to read the opening, it was: “He was dead. However, his nose throbbed painfully, which he thought odd, in the circumstances.”) If you’re reading the series in order, rather than piecemeal, you do want to read this book before tackling the novellas or the Lord John novels. (1968/1766-67)

LORD JOHN AND THE HAND OF DEVILS/”Lord John and the Hellfire Club” (novella)—Just to add an extra layer of confusion, The Hand of Devils is a collection that includes three novellas. The first one, “Lord John and the Hellfire Club,” is set in London in 1757, and deals with a red-haired man who approaches Lord John Grey with an urgent plea for help, just before dying in front of him. [Originally published in the anthology Past Poisons, ed. Maxim Jakubowski, 1998.]

LORD JOHN AND THE PRIVATE MATTER (novel)—Set in London, in 1758, this is a historical mystery steeped in blood and even less-savory substances, in which Lord John meets (in short order) a valet, a traitor, an apothecary with a sure cure for syphilis, a bumptious German, and an unscrupulous merchant prince.

LORD JOHN AND THE HAND OF DEVILS/”Lord John and the Succubus” (novella)— The second novella in the Hand of Devils collection finds Lord John in Germany in 1758, having unsettling dreams about Jamie Fraser, unsettling encounters with Saxon princesses, night-hags, and a really disturbing encounter with a big, blond Hanoverian graf. [Originally published in the anthology Legends II, ed. Robert Silverberg, 2004.]

LORD JOHN AND THE BROTHERHOOD OF THE BLADE (novel)—The second full-length novel focused on Lord John (but it does include Jamie Fraser) is set in 1759, deals with a twenty-year-old family scandal, and sees Lord John engaged at close range with exploding cannon and even more dangerously explosive emotions.

LORD JOHN AND THE HAND OF DEVILS/”Lord John and the Haunted Soldier” (novella)—The third novella in this collection is set in 1759, in London and the Woolwich Arsenal. In which, Lord John faces a court of inquiry into the explosion of a cannon, and learns that there are more dangerous things in the world than gunpowder.

“The Custom of the Army” (novella)—Set in 1759. In which his lordship attends an electric-eel party in London and ends up at the Battle of Quebec. He’s just the sort of person things like that happen to. [Originally published in Warriors, eds. George R. R. Martin and Gardner Dozois, 2010.]

THE SCOTTISH PRISONER (novel)—This one’s set in 1760, in the Lake District, London, and Ireland. A sort of hybrid novel, it’s divided evenly between Jamie Fraser and Lord John Grey, who are recounting their different perspectives in a tale of politics, corruption, murder, opium dreams, horses, and illegitimate sons.

“Plague of Zombies” (novella)—Set in 1761, in Jamaica, when Lord John is sent in command of a battalion to put down a slave rebellion and discovers a hitherto unsuspected affinity for snakes, cockroaches, and zombies. [Originally published in Down These Strange Streets, eds. George R. R. Martin and Gardner Dozois, 2011.]

DRUMS OF AUTUMN (novel)—This one begins in 1766, in the New World, where Jamie and Claire find a foothold in the mountains of North Carolina, and their daughter, Brianna, finds a whole lot of things she didn’t expect, when a sinister newspaper clipping sends her in search of her parents. (1968-1969/1766-67)

THE FIERY CROSS (novel)—The historical background to this one is the War of the Regulation in North Carolina (1767-1768), which was more or less a dress rehearsal for the oncoming Revolution. In which Jamie Fraser becomes a reluctant Rebel, his wife, Claire, becomes a conjure-woman and runs into a ghost. Something Much Worse happens to Brianna’s husband, Roger, but I’m not telling you what. This won several awards for “Best Last Line,” but I’m not telling you that, either. (Mid-1760s)

A BREATH OF SNOW AND ASHES (novel)—Winner of the 2006 Corine International Prize for Fiction, and a Quill Award (this book beat novels by both George R. R. Martin and Stephen King, which I thought Very Entertaining Indeed). All the books have an internal “shape” that I see while I’m writing them. This one looks like the Hokusai print titled “The Great Wave Off Kanagawa.” Think tsunami—two of them. (Early to mid-1770s/1970-71)

AN ECHO IN THE BONE (novel)—Set in America, London, Canada, and Scotland. The book’s cover image reflects the internal shape of the novel: a caltrop. That’s an ancient military weapon that looks like a child’s jack with sharp points; the Romans used them to deter elephants, and the Highway Patrol still uses them to stop fleeing perps in cars. This book has four major story lines: Jamie and Claire; Roger and Brianna (and family); Lord John and William; and Young Ian, all intersecting in the nexus of the American Revolution—and all of them with sharp points. (1777-1778/1972)

WRITTEN IN MY OWN HEART’S BLOOD (novel)—The eighth of the Big Enormous Books, this will probably be published in 2013. It begins where An Echo in the Bone leaves off, in the summer of 1778 (and the autumn of 1973—or possibly 1974, I forget exactly).

“A Leaf on the Wind of All Hallows” (short story (no, really, it is))— Set (mostly) in 1941–43, this is the story of What Really Happened to Roger MacKenzie’s parents. [Originally published in the anthology Songs of Love and Death, eds. George R. R. Martin and Gardner Dozois, 2010.]

“The Space Between” (novella)—Set in 1778, mostly in Paris, this novella deals with Michael Murray (Young Ian’s elder brother), Joan MacKimmie (Marsali’s younger sister), the Comte St. Germain (who is Not Dead After All), Mother Hildegarde, and a few other persons of interest. The space between what? It depends who you’re talking to. [To be published in early 2013 in the anthology The Mad Scientist’s Guide to World Dominiation, ed. John Joseph Adams.]

“Virgins” (novella)—Set in 1740, in France. In which Jamie Fraser (aged nineteen) and his friend Ian Murray (aged twenty) become young mercenaries. [To be published in late 2012, in the anthology Dangerous Women, eds. George R. R. Martin and Gardner Dozois.]

NOW REMEMBER . . .

You can read the short novels and novellas by themselves, or in any order you like. I would recommend reading the Big, Enormous Books in order, though.

P.S. There are a couple of other books to note here, though they don’t fit conveniently into the Chronology above:

THE EXILE (graphic novel) – written by me, and illustrated by the delightful artist Hoang Nguyen, this is OUTLANDER from Jamie’s point of view. Since there are lots of things that Claire (the outlander) didn’t see, didn’t understand, or was purposely left out of, this book shows you some of what she missed.

THE OUTLANDISH COMPANION – This is a non-fiction book, supplying background, trivia, commentary and general Stuff on the first four novels of the series. There are detailed synopses (for those who don’t want to re-read the whole series when a new book comes out, but would like to refresh their memories), articles on how I work, do research, develop characters, etc., a detailed bibliography of the main references I used while writing the first four books, a Cast of Characters listing—in case you don’t recall immediately who someone is—a Gaelic pronunciation guide and glossary, appendices on Poetry and Quotations used in the books, and so on. [There is a second COMPANION in the works, this one meant to cover the next four books in the main series, as well as the shorter novels and stories listed above. With luck, this will be out shortly after WRITTEN IN MY OWN HEART’S BLOOD is published.]

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121 Responses »

  1. I have four children, homeschool, life is hectic. After years of not being able to read a book (because all else would never get done!) I discovered audio books at my library. I started with the classics (like Jane Austen and such). Then I went on to authors I knew like Michael Crichton and Steven King (uck, his books have gotten bad – I loved his earlier works). When I ran out of ideas and randomly picked a few duds off the shelf, I asked my librarian for suggestions. Along with The Help (which was not yet a buzz) and the vampire series that True Blood is based on, she highly highly highly recommended the Outlander series. This is my all time favorite series (or book for that matter) ever!!!! I will someday sit down to the hard copies, but for now I’m putting a hurt on the audio copies! I had to bug my library for six months to get one of the books they were missing! LOL For those of you that don’t usually listen to audio books, one of the excellent things about these is getting the true pronunciation of some of the words as wells as how they “feel” ya kin? How Jaime pronounces Brianna is one such example too.

    I’m so thankful to my librarian….I will owe her for life! I really want my kids to read the series, but I just can’t hand it to them with the sex that is in the book. I thought I was going to with my oldest recently (15 yr. old boy) but then I started rereading and…ummm…I’m not ready for that yet! LOL

    Thanks you thank you thank you Diana for such awesomeness!!!!! (I’m waiting for voyager right now…I’m third on the list, only two copies and none due back for a week!!!! ACCCKKKKK)

    I do plan to buy all the hard copies plus the audio eventually, but for now, the library will have to do. :)

    • Dear Crista–

      Libraries are Great Things! (Librarians are Book Pimps, you know.)

      –Diana

      • Could not live without my library…and the technology of digital loans! WOW, I get excited just thinking of it! I did find Voyager on Audibal (sp?) for only $3.99 today, so I didn’t wait any longer…I’ve been listening all day! LOL Oh, and I realize I did misspell “ye ken” LOL one downfall of the audio books! LOL (I’m southern too….that explains a lot too right?!)

  2. I have recently completed my 3rd go-through of the book,s (I came to them after 2000, at my sister’s introduction) in anticipation of the (earlier-intended) Fall, ’13 release of moby. That’s OK! I’ve been re-reading the Lord John Series, and about the 3rd read of “A Leaf…” My second time around was all audio, through Audible.com. My husband was living/working 3 hours away, and I commuted most weekends, so lots of car time! Davina Porter is just an amazing reading ‘actor’ and I love her various voices and accents. Did you have a hand in choosing her for your series? Whoever did – great choice! (BTW – I have most everything in all versions: book, kindle, and audio….got it all covered!)

    My daughter-in-law has just started reading the series, at my suggestion. (She got me into the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo trilogy, in return.) She’s loving it – a few days ago texted me that “Jamie and Claire just got married!” I think she’s hooked. (muahahaha!)

    Keep ‘em coming – we’ll wait! :)

    PS: Thanks for the chronology all written down – helpful!

  3. I have a question about the first Outlander book. I don’t think it was resolved, but sometimes when I am into a series I read too fast and I miss details. In the first book in 1946, Claire is up in the bedroom combing her hair and Frank tells her that there was a Scottish Man (Jamie?) outside looking up at her, but he brushes by Frank and doesn’t speak to him. How does this fit into the story? Is it ever explained? It is driving me insane!

  4. In the last book I read, Claire married Lord John, therefore discussed with that happening, I stopped reading the series. What book was that? so that I can begin with that book and onward from there. Can someone please help me? Thanks

  5. Hello – I’m new to the series and am enjoying it immensly!

    Once I started book 3 I wanted to know more about the time frames and in the course of that I found this page and the timeline here: http://www.dgabaldon.de/html/timeline_1e.html. Either I’m very confused or they both have the same typo.

    This page and the timeline say that Claire steps through the stone in May 1946, arriving in Scotland in 1743.
    Jamie sends her back in April of 1746, 1 month shy of 3 years later.
    The book and the timeline say Claire arrives back in April, 1948, having been gone “nearly three years”, but by my count 1946-48 is only 2 years.

    Plus the chapter heading in the book says “Part One, Inverness, 1945″.

    Or am I misunderstanding?

    Thanks, and I’m happy I didn’t discover the series until it’s almost time for book 8. Love not having to wait for each installment. :-)

    • Dear Susan–

      It’s a copy-editing error that slipped through as a result of differing dates in the US and UK versions of the book. It should, of course, be 1946.

      –Diana

  6. ‘An Echo in the Bone’ begins with Stephen Bonnet condemned to death and tethered to a post in the bay in Wilmington. How did that happen? I missed it somewhere.

  7. I’m on my third pass through the books, mostly on audio this time (but I have to confess to buying them in print–originally in softback then those became my “loaners” when I found a set of hardbacks– as well as audio and Kindle. I WILL have my Outlander fix in whatever way suits where I am!) I didn’t start Lord John until after my first pass through the Big Enormous Books, and did them out of order due to library availability. Since then, I’ve moved and have a 45-minute-each-way commute (hence the audio) so I’m gobbling them up in anticipation of MOBY and the Starz series. This time, I’m determined to do them in this order, with one slight variation. Being somewhat familiar with Voyager, I decided that the best way for me was to pause Voyager when Jamie leaves Helwater and pick up Lord John there. I’m in Private Matter and it’s working so well, and as I’m meeting characters in order, the details fit together so much better. I’ll come back to Voyager after I finish with Lord John. I LOVE this page and come back here often since I can’t commit it to memory.Thanks for this very helpful page, Diana–and I also love that timeline page too…great historical context!

  8. ‘An Echo in the Bone’ begins with Stephen Bonnet condemned to death and tethered to a post in the bay in Wilmington. How did that happen? I missed it somewhere. Difficult to believe the way these books still affect me after so many readings. Cried today on 5th read of Echo when young Ian (Ian beag) came home. Thank you Diana for all the years.

  9. I found out about these books from a freind at work after returning to the states from being in Ireland for 7 years. My husbands family and history are Irish, mine is Scottish in the Murray Clan, along with Mary Queen of Scots in our family tree of all places =). I have read them twice now, and enjoy them as much each time. I share my books, I give them away for others to read. BUT, these I keep a hard bound set of my own to have till they put me a box for time ending here in this world. I have always been a reader for years, all types of interests. But these books by DG are by far are my most favorite of all time in life thus far. I hope they can go on for ages =). I have gotten many others to enjoy her journey as well over the years. Looking forward to 8/9/2014 STARZ, will have an open house that night I think. And serve some home made Sticky Toffee Pudding in honor of Scotland. Or something else as we get closer =)=). May you all be blessed by her wonderful writing in all the books you have to discover by DG.

  10. Diana,
    I am a fairly new reader, but have read all the Big Enormous Books up to and including The Fiery Cross. Have limited interest in history so it was a hard sell from my secretary to get my to start the series-obviously she won out. Have to say I have fallen in love with the characters, the history gets a little mucky for me, but your writing is so well done, that I wade through them with delight.

    My concern is if I am reading them in order, recent search had me confused about .5 books, decided they are not part of the Big E. Books. Would you ever considered for us weanies just posting the order of the Big Enormous Books? I know I’d appreciate it.

    Write on!

    Jan

    • Dear Jan–

      OUTLANDER

      DRAGONFLY IN AMBER

      VOYAGER

      DRUMS OF AUTUMN

      THE FIERY CROSS

      A BREATH OF SNOW AND ASHES

      AN ECHO IN THE BONE

      WRITTEN IN MY OWN HEART’S BLOOD

      (Helpful hint: the copyright page (and the Amazon.com listings) give the year in which each book was published.)

      Glad you’re enjoying them!

      (And for those interested in the smaller books, novellas, etc.–click on “Books” on the home page of this site, then on “Chronology of the OUTLANDER Series,” which lists _everything_.)

      Best,

      –Diana

      • Hi Diana, thank you for the wonderful series, after watching I purchase audio Dragonfly in Amber but was wondering if came abridged? I cant seem to find it anywhere.

        Regard’s
        Shan Skinner

      • Dear Shan–

        There _are_ still abridged versions of the first six books (alas) to be found, though they aren’t supposed to be marketed any longer. You want to get the UNabridged (i.e., complete) versions, all of which are available through audible.com. Hope you enjoy them!

        Best,
        –Diana

  11. Thank you Diana Gabaldon, for many many hours of reading these superb books, first in paperback and with a suitable small lapse of time, reading them all again on my Kindle! I am approaching the 8th BIG book (and have yet to read the interveners as well). I have rarely read books with such marvellous characterisation and they have definitely become part of my “read ‘em again and again” repertoire. And now…….a series for TV – I do hope its not too long before we can see this in the UK.

  12. Hi Diana – you do such an amazing job with your novels. It’s a wonder you finished the last book within 5 years considering all the research you do and the way you include the characters and their time travels. I am convinced you are in love with Jamie yourself and maybe with William as well? If you took even a little of your husband’s character when you envisioned Jamie, he must be a great guy as well. I understand a little about the errors made in editing, but when Brianna said that time was linear and I think she said parallel as well, it doesn’t exactly work like that, does it? When Claire went into the 18th century, she went back 203 years and not exactly 200. She spent three years there, but when she returned it was only 2 years that had passed in her time (20th century). Its great for the aging process for her to actually have lived three years in the future, but only aged two years. Same thing happened when Brianna and Roger Time travelled as well. Two year difference…. I am also happy you explained a little about Jamie’s ghost, because after 8 novels, the mystery of it was driving everyone crazy. It also amazes me that all the main characters of the book series were raped. Did they all have to experience the same horrors? What did that do for all the characters other than the fact that they can all relate to such violence done to their person. I also think that the experiences they have all lived can serve for about ten lifetimes for any other human being. Was their particular experience due to the era they lived in? If that is the case, I seriously thank God for living in this century instead of that one. Too much violence and most of it concerns sex and perversion. Very interesting read, and you are certainly commended for it all. Blessings always.

  13. Hi, your series is amazing, but I need to get some sleep!!! I am listening to it because the narrator may be the best in the business—incredible voice, but I fall asleep through little tidbits and have to come back. You are brilliant with research, detail, character—yes, I wanted Jaime to be perfect, but he is a man, and actually I loved the miniseries on TV, thought it was beautifully done, even if it didn’t follow the story to the tee. Thank you for giving the world this wonderful story, I love following families, love history and this is my first ‘romantic’ novel aside from Crimson and the Petal. Kudos!!!!!!!!
    Dorian

  14. I’m a fan like everyone else. Tried reading but found the audio version and have listened to them at least twice. I started the Lord John series now. He does get into trouble often.. Ha ha.
    I feel silly asking but what is MOBY?

    Thanks for the wonderful books.
    Terrye

  15. Dear Diana

    I’ve just finished all the books I could lay my hands on. Throughout the series you’ve made me laugh out loud at some really funny lines and things that happen, but you’ve also made me cry at certain points(Jamie sending Claire back, Jamie being pretty messed up after Wentworth, Roger losing certain parts of himself, Ian the older…) , I really enjoyed the history in the books and noted all the research that has gone into this.

    I just have to note that no competitions or promotions ever head to South Africa, will you or any of the (show cast) ever come to SA?

    Thanks for all your hard work and I’m sure I speak for all of your fans when I say I look forward to the next one!

    Marina

    • Dear Marina–

      Well, in terms of the books, it’s the UK publisher who has the publication rights in South Africa; they would have to be the ones to organize any sort of book-tour appearances. I’d love to come to South Africa at some point, but I can’t say I see it happening any time soon, alas!

      Best wishes,

      –Diana

  16. Will you ever pick up Williams story? I’d really love to find out what he would choose to do with his life.

  17. Does Lord John ever find lasting love?

    • Dear Kimberly–

      Well, he certainly continues to love both Jamie and Claire. He’s a faithful sort. [g] As to his finding a life partner, as people put it these days, I don’t know. We’ll have to see how things work out.

      Best,

      –Diana

      • When at Frasers Ridge, Lord John is so close to indigenous peoples who revered same sex male couples as shamans. I keep wondering whether his capture could lead to his freedom.

  18. Hello – I read the first 4 volumes of OUtlander when they came out – and am just now getting back to them – starting with Fiery Cross. Its been a few years so have forgotten a lot of the storylines – do you remind readers what when on in previous books? So with starting off with Fiery Cross again – will I be reminded what all has happened to date and if not – will I miss out on the story>

    • Dear fefe–

      Yes, I do pick up the threads for new readers or old readers who have forgotten. [g] But there is also THE OUTLANDISH COMPANION (and will be a Volume Two, this October!) that supplies–among a lot of other interesting Stuff–very detailed synopses for the whole series (the first four books are covered in Volume 1 (with, as I say, a lot of other background, trivia, essays on writing, characters, etc.), while the second four are covered in the brand-new Volume Two of THE OUTLANDISH COMPANION, due out this October). Hope you enjoy THE FIERY CROSS, regardless!

      Best,

      –Diana

  19. I have loved your book since forever and have read them over and over and still get something new everytime they are reread. Thanks so much for your marvelous characters who I worry about all the time, only kidding.
    One thing has been bugging me for quite awhile, through three reading of MOBY! How did Frank’s Fraser prophecy letter get into the desk at Lallybroch? Perhaps this will be cleared up the in the ninth book.
    I now have a Sassenach sticker on my Subaru much to my husband’s “embarassment”

  20. Started watching the series on TV. By the second season I knew I had to get the books. I got the audio cds so I can multitask while listening lol. I can’t put them down. My problem however is finding Voyager in cd format. Is there any way you can tell me if there is a plan to re-record Voyager and how soon? Waiting impatiently.

    • Dear Anita–

      VOYAGER is available (unabridged)–as are all the other books, in mp3/4 downloadable format. I believe Recorded Books has given up providing audiobooks in CD format, since nearly everyone now uses the downloadable forms.

      Best,

      –Diana

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