• “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

An Advent Candle

Today is the first Sunday of Advent! As many of you may know, Catholics observe a four-week season of spiritual contemplation, preparation and anticipation of Christmas, called Advent. (Yes, I’m a Roman Catholic. Surely you knew that, if you’ve been reading my books. ) As a symbol of this season, we have Advent wreaths and calendars, marking the weeks and/or days ’til Christmas. An Advent wreath has four candles; you light one candle on the first Sunday, two on the second, and so on.

Barbara Schnell, who runs the German-language version of this website, suggested to me that it might be nice to share the season with all of you, by posting an excerpt from WRITTEN IN MY OWN HEART’S BLOOD for each of the four Sundays of Advent. I thought that was a great idea–so whether in English or German, we hope you’ll enjoy this small Advent gift–and may the season find you blessed.

A HUNDREDWEIGHT OF STONES

June 16th, 1778
The forest between Philadelphia and Valley Forge

Ian Murray stood with a stone in his hand, eyeing the ground he’d chosen. A small clearing, out of the way, up among a scatter of great lichened boulders, under the shadow of firs and at the foot of a big red-cedar; a place where no casual passerby would go, but not inaccessible. He meant to bring them up here—the family.

Fergus, to begin with. Maybe just Fergus, by himself. Mam had raised Fergus from the time he was ten, and he’d had no mother before that. Ian himself had been born about that same time, so Fergus had known Mam as long as he had, and loved her as much. Maybe more, he thought, his grief aggravated by guilt. Fergus had stayed with her at Lallybroch, helped to take care of her and the place; he hadn’t. He swallowed hard and walking into the small clear space, set his stone in the middle, then stood back to look.

Even as he did so, he found himself shaking his head. No, it had to be two cairns. His Mam and Uncle
Jamie were brother and sister, and the family could mourn them here together—but there were others he might bring, maybe, to remember and pay their respects. And those were the folk who would have known Jamie Fraser and loved him well, but wouldn’t ken Jenny Murray from a hole in the—

The image of his mother in a hole in the ground stabbed him like a fork, retreated with the recollection that she wasn’t after all in a grave, and stabbed again all the harder for that. He really couldn’t bear the vision of them drowning, maybe clinging to each other, struggling to keep—

A Dhia!” he said violently, and dropped the stone, turning back at once to find more. He’d seen people drown.

Tears ran down his face with the sweat of the summer day; he didn’t mind it, only stopping now and then to wipe his nose on his sleeve. He’d tied a rolled kerchief round his head to keep the hair and the stinging sweat out of his eyes; it was sopping before he’d added more than twenty stones to each of the cairns.

He and his brothers had built a fine cairn for their father, at the head of the carved stone that bore his name—all his names, in spite of the expense—in the burying-ground at Lallybroch. And all the family, followed by the tenants and then the servants, had come one by one to add a stone each to the weight of remembrance.

Fergus, then. Or…no, what was he thinking? Auntie Claire must be the first he brought here. She wasn’t Scots herself, but she kent fine what a cairn was, and would maybe be comforted a bit, to see Uncle Jamie’s. Aye, right. Auntie Claire, then Fergus. Uncle Jamie was Fergus’s foster father; he had a right. And then maybe Marsali and the children. But maybe Germain was old enough to come with Fergus? He was almost eleven, near enough to being a man to understand, to be treated like a man. And Uncle Jamie was his grandsire; it was proper.

He stepped back again and wiped his face, breathing heavily. Bugs whined and buzzed past his ears and hovered over him, wanting his blood, but he’d stripped to a loincloth and rubbed himself with bear-grease and mint in the Mohawk way; they didn’t touch him.

“Look over them, O spirit of red cedar,” he said softly in Mohawk, looking up into the fragrant branches of the tree. “Guard their souls and keep their presence here, fresh as thy branches.”

He crossed himself and bent to dig about in the soft leaf-mold. A few more rocks, he thought. In case they might be scattered by some passing animal. Scattered like his thoughts, that roamed restless to and fro among the faces of his family, the folk of the Ridge—God, might he ever go back there? Brianna. Oh, Jesus, Brianna…

He bit his lip and tasted salt, licked it away and moved on, foraging. She was safe with Roger Mac and the weans. But Jesus, he could have used her advice—even more, Roger Mac’s.

Who was left for him to ask, if he needed help in taking care of them all?

Thought of Rachel came to him, and the tightness in his chest eased a little. Aye, if he had Rachel…she was younger than him, nay more than nineteen, and being a Quaker, had very strange notions of how things should be, but if he had her, he’d have solid rock under his feet. He hoped he would have her, but there were still things he must say to her, and the thought of that conversation made the tightness in his chest come back.

The picture of his cousin Brianna came back, too, and lingered in his mind: tall, long-nosed and strong-boned as her father…and with it rose the image of his _other_ cousin, Bree’s half-brother. Holy God, William. And what ought he to do about William? He doubted the man kent the truth, kent that he was Jamie Fraser’s son—was it Ian’s responsibility to tell him so? To bring him here, and explain what he’d lost?

He must have groaned at the thought, for his dog Rollo lifted his massive head and looked at him in concern.

“No, I dinna ken that either,” Ian told him. “Let it bide, aye?” Rollo laid his head back on his paws, shivered his shaggy hide against the flies and relaxed in boneless peace.

Ian worked a while longer, and let the thoughts drain away with his sweat and his tears. He finally stopped when the sinking sun touched the tops of his cairns, feeling tired but more at peace. The cairns rose knee-high, side by side, small but solid.

He stood still for a bit, not thinking anymore, just listening to the fussing of wee birds in the grass and the breathing of the wind among the trees. Then he sighed deeply, squatted and touched one of the cairns.

Mo gragh, a mathair,” he said softly. My love is on you, mother. Closed his eyes and laid a scuffed hand on the other heap of stones. The dirt ground into his skin made his fingers feel strange, as though he could maybe reach straight through the earth and touch what he needed.

He stayed still, breathing, then opened his eyes.

“Help me wi’ this, Uncle Jamie,” he said. “I dinna think I can manage, alone.”

[end section] — Copyright 2012 Diana Gabaldon (no reproduction or reposting please–though you’re certainly welcome to post links to this, if you’d like to.)

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82 Responses »

  1. Happy Advent to you, too!

    Anglicans lit the first candle today. I thought of my Mum as I watch the children at church gathered round. And this passage brought tears to my eyes, thinking of how we remember.

    But, this is also a time of looking forward, so I look forward to Christmas, and later in the year, another great book.

    All best to you and yours from Windsor, ON.

    Sarah

    • What a small world – I am also from Windsor, Ontario! Cheers to a fellow Diana fan!

      • Me, too, ladies! Although now I live in Phoenix. Diana, thank you for this posting. Being Jewish, of course, I do not follow this practice, but it is coming up on Hanukkah shortly, and candles will be lit then as well. Peace to all

    • In case no one has yet enlightened you, many protestants also observe advent. It is the second busiest season of the year for my husband, who is a Roger with some definite Jamie qualities…..he’s a United Methodist minister. Have resisted all the MOBY postings, being patient for it to ALL be new. Thank you for this advent gift.

      • That was the first thing that crossed my mind, Carol, when I read her bit about Catholics observing Advent! I, too, am Methodist, although I am quick to say my beliefs include more than just the Methodist doctrine.

        I loved this excerpt…. although I am going to have to read more on this website, to discover what other stories have been published about Jamie and Claire, because I wasn’t sure what this book is?

        I only recently discovered this amazing WONDERFUL series, and have read books 1-7 in a month’s time! And to think, I have to wait almost a year before book 8 comes out?! ARghhh… lol. So I am hoping there ARE other stories I can read to pacify my ponderings on this fantastic story.

    • I really need to stop reading these as I am only on book 6 but I do believe this…JAMIE FRASER NEVER DIES!

  2. Thanks, Diana. At our local Catholic Church, the priest blessed all the Advent wreaths (about 25 wreaths) & candles that people had made & brought from home, in addition to the one for the church. Ours got blessed, too.

    Have a blessed Advent!

  3. I so love your books, but can`t bear to cheat by reading your daily ezcerots trying to keepmy eyes veetes until MOBY is publise. wishing you health, happiness and love at this time of year, for tge joy you give me.through your writing, i wish you the same tenfold.x

  4. Protestants also use the Advent wreath to mark the weeks of the season. We began the season today in Armadale, Scotland, by receiving gifts for children in need, then proceeded to the lighting of the candle. I love this part of the season.

    • We Methodists in the US are blessed by the Advent wreath, as well. We celebrated it here in Carrollton, GA , where there are many people of Scottish descent, like my family-God’s blessings to all near and far during this speacial time

  5. Being baptized Anglican, we also have the Advent Calendar etc. I think it’s a beautiful start to the “Christmas” season. Think of those you love and will see, and those you love and won’t.

    Have a wonderful Advent Season.

    (Beautifully written excerpt from your book, waiting for it is hard to do, but I’m managing. I’m reading all the other, again.)

  6. Thank you for the Advent gift. Beautifully written!

  7. Oh, how I do love Ian. What a dear man he has become. He is his Uncle Jamie made over, really.

  8. I look forward to everything you write. This is wonderful.
    Thank you for sharing. I was raised Lutheran and we celebrated Advent, lit a candle, read from the bible, and had the calendar.
    I enjoyed the focus in preparation for Christmas.
    May your Advent and Christmas be blessed.

  9. Diana — Thanks for the Advent candle and the words. As usual, you touch my heart and soul with them!!!

  10. Thank you Diana. Your writing is the perfect Advent gift you can give us.

  11. Thanks Diana, we grew up with the Advent Wreath … it was a German family tradition in our home. I loved helping my Mum to gather the greens to make our wreath every year. The look of the wreath changed over the years as my Mum found something she liked better or would make the wreath more sturdy … but the essential ingredients were always there … the greens, purple ribbon, white Christ candle, pink and purple candles. It sat in the very centre of our dinner table. The Advent Wreath supplies never got put away with the rest of the Christmas paraphernalia … it had a special place in her china hutch.

    Enjoy your Advent Season.

    P.S. I have learned alot about my Catholicism from reading your Outlander series.

  12. How wonderful to read your scenes and people again – all the heat, desolation, confusion, strength. Thank you so much for your gift to us on this first Sunday of Advent.

    X O Irene

  13. Hi Diana,

    Happy Advent from England! It’s mostly Christians who celebrate Advent here-I don’t count the pictures with chocolates behind the numbers! Thank you for the very touching excerpt. I love reading your books and hope to get to Scotland one day!

    Merry Christmas from

    Elaine Pannell
    Southampton

  14. Diana. So moving and what a great idea. Look forward to the rest of the Sundays in Advent. I have come to an age when these are the truely meaningful things of The Christmas Season. Thank you so much

  15. Many blessings of the season to you and yours. As always, thank you for the gift of your words.

  16. Diana.

    I know very little about Catholicism, and what little I began with has been enormously supplemented by the things I’ve read about in your novels. Your dialog is so rich, and your words so informative. It can’t change me, but it certainly engenders a healthy and deep respect for your devotion to your faith, as well as to you in general.

    Ian’s silent thoughts as he toils through anguish in this piece are beautiful and so insightful. His grief is palpable. I feel like reading anything you write is comparable to a tall glass of chilled water at the end of a long day of hot, arduous work.

    Thank you.

  17. Thank you for sharing the excerpts from your book…wishing you and yours a very blessed Christmas season.

  18. I am not Catholic but I love the beauty of the traditions and ceremony. As I travel, I pass a cathedral or beautiful chapel, I enter with reverance and light a candle in remembrance of departed loved ones. It gives me comfort to do this. Thank you for reminding me of the purpose and beauty of Christmas. Key West, Florida.

  19. Thanks for your books. I really love them. Many protestant churches light advent candles, too. I am so glad the season lingers on for a month that way.

  20. Advent is a lovely season and when my children were small I had a number of traditions to help them understand the magnitude of the coming gift in spite of the materialistic world’s emphasis on Santa and jingle bells. I still have an advent wreath on my table and my children have passed on the journey of Mary and Joseph and the Kris Kindle traditions to their children. Thank you for this gift – I look forward to the coming teasers and eventually the whole story.

  21. I hope you enjoy this Christmas season as much
    as you bring

    Enjoyment to us all. I love all the Christmas traditions,
    They keep us together. Thank you for the Christmas treat.
    My family and I can’t wait for moby.

  22. Catholic by baptism but not by practice, I was delighted to learn of the Advent Wreath and even went to search on Google for the history of it : fascinating.

    And thank you so much Dre. Gabaldon for the gift of a lengthy passage of your next book. Looking forward to next Sunday !

  23. That is stunningly beautiful…had me thinking of my parents who have passed away and wishing they were here this holiday season. Thank you so much for these small sections of what I’m guessing is a much bigger book, I’m as anxious as others are to read the next chapter of Jaime and Claire’s lives. May you have a blessed Christmas, Diana, and God richly bless you!

    Thanks again,

    Linda Collier

  24. What a delightful way to mark Advent. It’s my favorite church season…darkness, quiet, waiting, anticipation, and then, suddenly, a small spark in the dark.

    Thank you, Diana!

  25. Thank you, Diana. I just finished reading our first Advent devotional with my son and opening the picture on the Advent calendar. And my son and I talked about what Advent means—coming—and what we are anticipating—Jesus’ birth and His return—and I was treasuring the moment of togetherness. And then I checked your blog and read your “gift”—and was reminded of what I treasure about your books: the strength of family and love and woven through it all is faith. I can’t wait to read MOBY! Holiday blessings to you and yours!

  26. Lutherans, too, light a candle each week of Advent. Advent is a journey to Bethlehem, time to start anew. Peace!
    Thanks for the brief visit with Ian.

  27. Thank you for sharing…Wishing you a wonderful holiday season. I can not wait until midnight when my eBook arrives and I can read Roger’s story. …and I really can’t wait for #8!!

  28. Thanks, Diana!

    My children are grown, but I had a rush of memories after I read this. Visions of our Advent candle and traditions in our home when my children were little came right back. I also taught in a Catholic grade school where I have many great memories of sharing the tradition with my students.

    Thank you so much for the glimpses of your book in work! I hope that I will someday meet you in person. I live near Pittsburgh, Pa and hope to hear that your travels will bring you this way!

  29. Diana, we Confesional Lutherans also celebrate Advent. Today one little child hijacked the Children’s Sermon by asking what is that (a lit candle). Pastor took it in stride and explained to the children. I love those wonderful way God uses kids to challenge us. May you have a blessed Advent-tide!

  30. Wow! Thanks so much for this. Its my second Christmas since my husband of 42 years passed. Rereading these books has helped me keep looking forward and not getting drowned in the sad irony of that loss. Just when we were supposed to slow down and do all the things we waited so long to do (like visit Scotland) well… just thanks. I intend to do those things now on my own. Of course Jamie and Claire will be there with me.

  31. Thanks, that was good. It fills in some of the blanks from Echo when I felt left wondering how that whole event played out. It was sparce. But I do like your style, because even if we feel we would have liked to have more detail, it comes in another book harkens back to a previous story. You don’t truly leave us hanging.

  32. Beautifully written. Blessings to you this Blessed holiday season. Waiting with baited breath for next installments. You are a gem and keep up the saga. Merry Christmas to you and yours.

  33. We Presbyterians lit the first candle this morning, too, marking the beginning of this precious time of watching and waiting for the coming.

    I love this excerpt, Diana. Will look forward to the next ones. Your stories are always such a treat!

    Advent blessings to you and yours.

  34. Gracias Diana por el regalo de Advenimiento, muchas bendiciones para usted y su familia.

  35. I am a cradle Episcopalian and we too celebrate Advent to prepare for The Christmas season. I am currently re-reading the series. I highly recommend preparing for the next book by starting over with Outlander. Thank-you for sharing with us.

  36. Thank you so much for this tasty tidbit. I have been experiencing OWS (Outlander Withdrawal Symptoms), but am a little confused. Didn’t Ian leave Scotland with Claire before his father died? If so, how would he have helped to build a cairn marking the grave of Ian the elder? I checked back to the chapter of Echo where Jenny shows him the stone she’d had made for his daughter, and there is no mention of a cairn having been built prior to his father’s passing. Did I miss something?
    Again, thank you for this taste of things to come. I can’t help but feel your characters are a solid part of my life and have to keep reading, rereading and listening to the entire series to keep in touch with them, so these little excerpts are like notes from beloved friends and family members.

    • Dear Catherine–

      Actually, my German translator pointed out the same thing [g]. Don’t worry; anything I post ahead of publication is always WIP (Work in Progress) and will often have small tweaks and changes before it appears in print.

      –Diana

      • Thank you, Diana! I am so glad to now have the time to get back to my reading, and am grateful for the wealth of good reading awaiting my attention.

    • Hi Diana, I have just recently finished reading an echo in the bone, and all I have to say is WoW, and can’t wait for the next book, thank you for writing this series it has kept me sane through some of the most challenging times of my life, and I wish you and your family a very merry Christmas. Helen Joeanna Carr

  37. Lutherans celebrate Advent, too! In church today we lit the first Advent candle, the Prophecy candle. In place of the Gloria (“Glory Be to God on High”) in this penitential season, we sang “Savior of the Nations, Come,” whose words were written by Ambrose of Milan in the 4th century A.D. Bach’s Cantata #BWV 61, Nunn Komm, der Heiden Heiland, is based on this haunting hymn.

    Then there is the Collect (prayer) for the first Sunday of Advent, which starts, “Stir up,we beseech You, Your power, O Lord….” There’s an old joke that this is the signal to start Christmas baking!

  38. What a treat! Thanks Diana, this is just great.
    So happy, as I recieved A Trail of Fire at the weekend also. A great Christmas season allready x

  39. Dear Diana, you and the characters in your books have become part of my life – a wonderful part! I thank you for sharing your incredible gift with words with so many happy readers! God bless!

  40. My children lit the candle of light in church today. We are United Church of Christ members and discussed the light of joy and remembrance but also of Wisdom. Ian needed wisdom in this passage. He does find it I hope. THanks Diana for all these works that you do. A Peaceful Advent to you.

  41. I left the church years ago trying to limit my own hypocrisy, at least to the extent I’m aware. I still miss the liturgical year and the ritual of it. I’m much more in tune with Ian’s ritual of building the cairns. Oh, his pain! Ian feels so deeply. I worry about how Ian will cope when Rollo’s time comes. I hope when Ian settles down with Rachel – please the gods – that Rollo finds a nice girl doggie and has a fine litter. I an will need the pups. And his own babies.

    • Hi Marta – Please consider coming back to the Church! Remember, hypocrisy is not believing what you confess. Failing to DO what you confess is plain old sin, and the Church is full of sinners. As Jesus said, it’s the sick people who need a doctor, not the healthy ones. There is a reason that your heart is longing for the beauty of the liturgical year.

      Also, nice excerpt, Diana! :-)

  42. I love the idea of an Advent excerpt – much better than a Santa window. Your writing makes everything so real – it’s like finding out what has become of old friends.
    A blessed Advent to you and yours.

  43. Thank you Diana and I wish you a peaceful and happy Advent. God Bless You!

  44. Diana, we observe Advent in the Methodist Church, too, and lit the first candle during services yesterday (Sunday, December 2) with scripture being read at the same time. So eager for the next saga of Claire and Jamie, but hope they won’t die!

  45. Thank you for this start of Advent. I went to Mass yesterday for the first time in months, wanting to start Advent properly. Unfortunately, for me the Homily was yet another political diatribe that left me feeling as marginalized by my Church as I did during the election. I am living for the winter in a very different place than my physical home and I was feeling a kind of spiritual homesickness that yesterdays service made only worse. But the story you shared helped me to realize that all things, including pain, lonliness, and political ranting are transient but God and His Love is constant.

    I really needed to remember that, so thank you.

    Pax

  46. LOL, Catherine beat me to it. Thanks for coming back to her on that, Diana. And thank you for a lovely advent surprise. Now, if I had been Barbara, I might have held out for the whole advent calendar *grin* Reminds me when I had time to drop into CompuServe sometimes. Don’t they call it biggin… or something like that over there?!

    Also a massive thanks for the Daily Lines! Working from home, I often set myself a target for the day and my reward for reaching it is to be allowed to check out your Facebook page for a morsel. It is often the only reason I log onto the web. And on the topic of biggin… any news from my favourite family, the McKenzies ;-) I am keeping my fingers crossed that there will be lots about Bree, Mandy, Jemmy and Roger in the next book.. and about William… and Hal… and Germaine… and…. well, family interaction is my thing, I guess, and you just do it so well!!!

    Hope you and all my fellow fans of your books have a peaceful and joyful advent time.

    Lots of love to you all from England
    Anette x

  47. Hello Diana from Paris ! Thankyou so much for that beautiful Christmas treat, you are such a storyteller ! I devoured “A Trail of Fire” and love the 4 novellas so much ! They left so many openings for more… I was baptized a Catholic (my husband in the Greek Orthodox Church), I don’t go to church though but like Christmas and Easter traditions anyway. Happy Christmas Season to you and your family and I’ll be looking forward to next Sunday ! All the best, Christiane

  48. I am Presbyterian and we light an Advent candle every Sunday, too.

  49. Dear Diana,
    That was a such wonderful passage, thank you. We have advent calenders here but saw a lovely thing this afternoon. I went with the two little boys I look after (age 6 and 10) to there school Christmas fete. It started with then singing Christmas songs and then they dipped the lights and lit the ‘Memory Tree’ lights. The tree had been decorated with card baubles coloured by the children who then could write on the back the name of someone they had lost and would miss at Christmas.
    I thought this was such a beautiful idea and it brought quite a lump to my throat.

    Blessings, Diana.

    Jules

  50. Thanks for the excerpt.

    Maybe some of you will like my advent calendar book. :)
    http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/260086

  51. Thank you Thank you Thank you

    You are the BEST writer — The Outlander Series is a family affair here — all my daughters and sons — have read them over and over and over–persoanly Vogaer is my favorite I have read it 27 times! Of the others 25 times — As a Catholic there are many times my family and I will comment on prayers and things (such as the guilt trip of moms! LOL) where Ian has been in this series! This is one of a wonderful insight. Thank you Diana for this great gift! Keep writting stop reading we ‘re on pins and needles waiting — I have read 108 books this year AND NOT A ONE is on your level of talent.

    Merry Christmas

    Cait

  52. Thank you, Diana. During a time when my family is going through stress, this came as a remembrance of a season of hope and faith. A beloved pastor recently gave a sermon in which he said that, “Faith is seeing with the imagination of God.” I thought these words were beautiful. And your words and thoughts expressed through your characters are heartfelt and loving. Your characters navigate dilemmas and maintain their devotion and compass. Lastly, thank you for caring about your readers.

  53. Thanks. I was needing a little “Gabaldon-fix”. Hope you enjoy a wonderful Christmas this year.

  54. Diana, thank you for the gift of advent! Christmas always reminds us family and your characters are a part of my family and have to keep reading and rereading entire Outlander series to keep in touch with them, then each part of the book is like a letter or a phone call from each. A big hug to you and would like to say how each book you write about Jamie, Claire, and their family is a special gift.

  55. Oh my, that was a lovely way to start Advent. Ian with his own sorrow and thoughts of how how he will take care of everyone as Jamie did.
    Peace and Love to you and your family during this Advent season.

  56. Thank you, Diana. Wishing you a wonderful Christmas season with your newly expanded family.

  57. Merry Christmas Ms. Gabaldon!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I try not to read what you post on fb,only Because I am at the point thta I want to be truly surprised when I read the new book when it comes out. I’m glad you are feeling better after your knee surgery….I had knee surgery bout 10 years ago,they took scar tissue out from under the knee cap…..Congrats to your son and his new book………..Congrats on your daughter’s marriage and the impending wedding for your other daughter! Again Merry Christmas! Waiting patiently for the new book,……. Regina

  58. Dear Diana, Catherine and Anette picked up what I did in this beautiful excerpt! As often happens with your books, the passage brought mist to my eyes and tugged at my heart. Thank you for such a lovely Advent gift.

    Having been raised a Southern Baptist I didn’t know what Advent was until I joined the Lutheran Church as an adult. We lit our first Advent candle last Sunday, too. It is truly a season of joyful anticipation.

    May the Lord watch over you and your family always and may you have a truly blessed Advent and Christmas.

  59. I just read the little book ‘a Leaf On The Wind of All Hallows”. i was shocked to read in the authors notes that there is an excerpt in “An Echo in The Bone” that tells more about the two men that rescued Jerry MacKenzie. I must have missed it. Does anyone know exactly where it is found?

  60. Diana-thank you…I so love this excerpt…and Ian. Have a happy holiday.

  61. Thank you for this. Im a Mormon (LDS) and never knew what advent really was. I of course as a child did advent calendars and love the counting down till christmas. Advent is a lovely way to prepare for Christmas.

    I love reading this segment I can’t wait for the book. My heart broke for Ian and all the time I knew the truth that he did not.

  62. What a wonderful excerpt, cant wait for the whole book, I love the Jamie and Claire books, and the Lord John too. Have just purchased Trail of Fire, can’t wait to read it.
    Thank you so much for your wonderful writing.

  63. My best friend suggested “Outlander” a few years ago, knowing my interest in things Celtic. I will love her forever for it! I’ve not read anything else that comes close to the richness and breadth of your writing. I’ve introduced a number of others to the series as well, and they are all addicts now. If I have a grammatical suggestion, is there some way other than this open forum that I can send it to you?

  64. Completely bowled over by the last couple of excerpts. Maybe just coincidence, but having posted a ‘biggin’ for family bits… Thank you very, very much, Diana!!

    I was wondering… as Ian wasn’t actually there when his dad died – as in the published story – but obviously the scene is vivid in your mind… is this because amongst the drafts for that part there was one in which he did stay rather than sail with Claire? For us there is only the one version, but for you… there must be so many bits which you re-wrote in the process of putting together any one of the books. Ever thought about posting some of those ‘alternate storylines’? Did you make any really big changes… like oh, I don’t know, William being a girl or the big white sow ending up as pork chops ;-)

    Yours, ever curious,
    Anette

    PS: we all know that as one gets older time seems to just fly past faster and faster… only… when I think of the publication date for your next book it seems to almost go backward…mhmmph… (trying to emulate one of those Scottish noises here)

  65. Thank you so much for this wonderful exerpt from the next book. It only whetts my appetite for the new book all the more. I am also most finished re-reading all of the books and am so ready for the next. By this time I feel that Jaimie and Claire are so real to me that they are my friends. I can’t wait to see what adventures they get up to next.

    Dawn Roberts,
    Erin, Ontario

  66. As others have mentioned, Lutherans celebrate Advent as well. I said to my husband today that I wish that popular culture still celebrated Advent as we seemed to do when I was a child (rather than our current trend of jumping from Hallowe’en to Christmas overnight) and that Christmas started on Christmas Eve and ran through the full twelve days. Thank you for posting these stories in celebration of this season.

  67. Thank you for the sneak preview. I am waiting anxiously and finding myself wondering “what Jamie and Claire are up to” as if they are real people. They have become a part of who I am. I long for an Outalander book to read before closing my eyes at night.

  68. All through my childhood, I wished that Santa would visit our home on Chirstmas eve. Even though I knew deep in my heart that the event was highly unlikely… we didn’t have a chiminey, and we were Jewish.

    Knowing that Santa (like the tooth fairy) wasn’t real didn’t make the longing for being a part of something magical and beautiful easier to bear.

    And now, as an adult (exactly two weeks younger than you Diana), I finally share the excitement of receiving Christmas gifts with these excerpts. Maybe not Santa Claus..but without a doubt, magic and beauty.

    Thank you, for all the books and the excerpts. Looking forward to more excursions into the world of Outlander.

    Wishing you and all a very Merry Christmas, and Happy New Year.

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