• “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

“Technicalities” (Book Nine)

Below is an excerpt from Book Nine of the OUTLANDER novels, which I am currently writing. Note that there are SPOILERS…

“What do you mean, I can’t? Whose business is it whether I renounce my title or not?”

Uncle Hal looked at William with an affectionate impatience.

“I’m not speaking rhetorically, blockhead. I mean it literally. You can’t renounce a peerage. There’s no means set down in law or custom for doing it, ergo, it can’t be done.”

“But you—” William stopped, baffled.

“No, I didn’t,” his uncle said dryly. “If I could have at the time, I would have, but I couldn’t, so I didn’t. The most I could do is stop using the title of “Duke,” and threaten to physically maim anyone who used it in reference or address to me. It took me several years to make it clear that I meant that,” he added off-handedly.

“Really?” William asked cynically, glancing at his uncle. “Who did you maim?”

He actually had supposed his uncle to be speaking rhetorically, and was taken aback when the once and present Duke furrowed his brow in the effort of recall.

“Oh…several scribblers—they’re like roaches, you know; crush one and the others all rush off into the shadows, but by the time you turn round, there are throngs of them back again, happily feasting on your carcass and spreading filth over your life.”

“Anyone ever tell you that you have a way with words, uncle?”

“Yes,” his uncle said briefly. “But beyond punching a few journalists, I called out George Washcourt—he’s the Marquess of Clermont now, but he wasn’t then—Herbert Villiers, Viscount Brunton, and a gentleman named Radcliffe. Oh, and a Colonel Phillips, of the 34th—cousin to Earl Wallenberg.”

“Duels, do you mean? And did you fight them all?”

“Certainly. Well—not Villiers, because he caught a chill on the liver and died before I could, but otherwise…but that’s beside the point.”

Posted by Diana on FaceBook on October 11, 2015 at 1:50 a.m. (PT).

Diana’s FaceBook Hash Tags: #DailyLines, #BookNine; #Technicalities, #TheDirectApproach, #Noitisntfinished, #Illtellyouwhenwegetclose, #Gocolorafewpages

About “Daily Lines”:

I love for people to read excerpts (aka “Daily Lines”) from my new unpublished works, but I do have an agreement with my publisher about how much of a book is up on the internet at any one time—which means that I need to control said excerpts, and try to make sure they aren’t reposted elsewhere.

So I’d appreciate it if you would not copy my Daily Lines and post them yourself all over the Web. If you want to share or discuss my excerpts with your friends, please just give them the link to my Book Nine website (which has links to multiple excerpts):


17 Responses »

  1. I have never found your Daily lines spoiling my enjoyment of the book when it finally was released. I have recognized scenes or episodes when I encountered them, but they never have given away the plot of the book or story, such as “Virgins”. I enjoy the historical background and have learned more details of the “45″ in Scotland and even our Revolutionary War than I ever did in school. One of the reasons that I so enjoy your books, and I own all of them and the anthologies that some of your single stories appeared in first, is that you write such good characters that I can place myself in or know people that reacted as they do. Maybe that was why I always enjoyed Robert Heinlein stories better than Issac Asimov’s.

  2. Eugenia,

    I agree 100%! Diana is very skilled at posting excerpts which give a taste of her new work, but they don’t give away too much. (Even so, some folks don’t want even slight details revealed in advance!)

    And Robert Heinlein, yes, I agree his characters were so wonderful, better than most of the “Old Masters” of science fiction. As a kid in the 1960s, the first Heinlein book that I read was “Citizen of the Galaxy,” which blew me away and is still on my top-10 list of favorite books of all time! When you remember the two main characters of the books like old friends, like I do from that book, and can “see” them in detail in your mind, those are great characters.

    Long ago before she was published, Diana gave me a (probably dot-matrix!) printout of very early OUTLANDER, and I could immediately see her characters, too. And OUTLANDER is also on my all-time top ten, of course! :-)

    Diana’s Webmistress

    • I LOVE these excerpts and I LOVE spoilers!! Anything about any of the characters is wonderful, although I HAVE had?? to go back and reread some of the books, but I have re read them all 3 or 4 times anyway.

  3. Happy birthday Claire!

  4. I had been a reader of nonfiction for many years until I saw the Outlander TV series, decided I needed to check into this and have, of course, read the first 8 big books and several of Lord John Grey’s novellas. How I missed this in ’91 is a mystery. I have a cousin who’s reading these but is only to “A Breath of Snow and Ashes”. She asked me why, in some sentences ‘he was taken back’ was used and others ‘taken aback’. Far be it from me to have noticed such I am so ‘there’ with those times and the people involved. Doesn’t matter to me but now she’s got me wondering why both back and aback were used. She cited p. 603 in her book but it’s not on that p. in my copy ??

    As soon as I finish ‘The Scottish Prisoner” I’m starting over on the books. There is no way you can recall all of this incredible tale of the life and times of Jamie and Claire Fraser. Thanks so very much for your brilliance !

    • Dear Cynthia–

      Both “taken back” and “taken aback” are correct, idiomatically, so it’s just individual speech (a given person is likely to habitually use on or the other) and/or which best suits the rhythm of the sentence.

      Best wishes,


  5. I am a late arrived to the outlander series, but just last night finished book 8. I am just SO thrilled that a book 9 is coming…spoilers are welcome!

  6. Oh please stay home and finish Book 9. I am 72 years old and don’t know how many years I have left to wait to find out how the Claire and Jamie saga ends. Even my husband is addicted and he never reads anything.

    • Dear Ann,

      Diana has repeatedly said that it takes at least several years of research and writing to complete each major novel in the OUTLANDER series. Outlander major novels are big books with lots of actual history incorporated into them. And Diana will not release a book until she is happy with it.

      As for living to see the next book completed, there’s no guarantee any of us will be here, no matter what our age! We are all mortal, and the fact that some of us might be nearer to the end than others doesn’t affect the speed at which Diana works, nor should it. :-)


      Loretta (No Spring Chicken Myself)
      Diana’s Webmistress

  7. Diana,
    I agree with Ann W. I’m getting up there in age and would also like to find out how the Claire and Jamie saga ends. I just love these books and you have spoiled me for ever. I can not find an other author who writes like you do and pulls you right into the story. I feel like a spirit floating just out of sight and watching and listening to everything.

  8. I read and reread all of the big books and recently read”The Space Between. “

    • After every book , I’m left wanting more . I want to know more about Raymond and the Comte st. Germaine . The comment about the blue light being an indication of a familial relationship brought up so many questions .

      Will there be a more complete genealogy for Claire ?

      Who moved into the Bug’s cabin?
      Who moved into the Christy’s, or was it haunted ?
      Does Buck make it back to his wife ?
      What is Ian’s baby’s name ?
      Does Jenny recognize Roger ?
      Will Lord John find happiness with someone other than Jamie ?
      What would Thanksgiving be like on the Ridge ? Etc.,etc. Etc.

  9. Thanks so much for your reply. I have to tell somebody, somewhere, how realistically Sam Heughan and Caitronia Balfe embody Jamie and Claire. The first thing I noticed is that they don’t resemble anyone else like so many ‘stars’ in movies. So many of the men have similar looks as do many of the women. They do not.

    I’m glad I saw the series before I started on the books as they and everyone else in the cast are now firmly planted in my head as I read through their trials and tribulations.

    So far other stories pale in comparison. These books give one a sort of ‘hangover’ effect ! Still have a couple of Lord John’s to read so that’s a help. I think.

  10. Just hoping that Brianna brought a book with images of space for Jamie as well as a photo of Jem with Micky Mouse. A few dozen toothbrushes wouldn’t hurt either!

  11. I watched the series before reading ALL the eight Big books and All the Lord John series (and am chomping at the bits to read the story about Jamie and Ian in France/Spain). My absolute favorite book is the Scottish Prisoner because Lord John and Jamie collaborate on an important endeavor. I would hope Diana will write more about their (Jamie, John, & Hal)’s future collaboration (in war or peace).


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