• “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

“More Important Than Food” (Book Nine)


From Book Nine of my OUTLANDER series. Note that this excerpt may contain spoilers:

Facebook hashtags: #DailyLines, #BookNINE, #ImWorkingOnIt, #AllInGoodTime, #JamieAndClaire, #SomeThingsNeverChange

"…the night we made Faith."

I lifted my head in surprise.

"You know when she was conceived? I don’t know that."

He ran his hand slowly down my back, fingers pausing to rub circles in the small of it. If I’d been a cat, I would have waved my tail gently under his nose.

"Aye, well, I suppose I could be wrong, but I’ve always thought it was the night I came to your bed at the Abbey."

For a moment, I groped among my memories. That time at the Abbey of Ste. Anne, when he’d come so close to self-chosen death, was one I seldom revisited. It was a terrifying time of fear and confusion, despair and desperation. And yet when I did look back, I found a handful of vivid images, standing out like the illuminated letters on a page of ancient Latin.

Father Anselm’s face, pale in candlelight, his eyes warm with compassion and then the growing glow of wonder as he heard my confession. The abbot’s hands, touching Jamie’s forehead, eyes, lips and palms, delicate as a hummingbird’s touch, anointing his dying nephew with the holy chrism of Extreme Unction. The quiet of the darkened chapel where I had prayed for his life, and heard my prayer answered.

And among these moments was the night when I woke from sleep to find him standing, a pale wraith by my bed, naked and freezing, so weak he could barely walk, but filled once more with life and a stubborn determination that would never again leave him.

"You remember her, then?" My hand rested lightly on my stomach, recalling. He’d never seen her, or felt her as more than random kicks and pushes from inside me.

He kissed my forehead briefly, then looked at me.

"Ye ken I do. Don’t you?"

"Yes. I just wanted you to tell me more."

"Oh, I mean to." He settled himself on one elbow and gathered me in so I could share his plaid.

"Do you remember that, too?" I asked, pulling down the fold of cloth he’d draped over me. "Sharing your plaid with me, the night we met?"

"To keep ye from freezing? Aye." He kissed the back of my neck. "It was me freezing, at the Abbey. I’d worn myself out tryin’ to walk, and ye wouldna let me eat anything, so I was starving to death, and—"

"Oh, you know that’s not true! You—"

"Would I lie to ye, Sassenach?"

"Yes, you bloody would," I said, "You do it all the time. But never mind that now. You were freezing and starving, and suddenly decided that instead of asking Brother Roger for a blanket or a bowl of something hot, you should stagger naked down a dark stone corridor and get in bed with me."

"Some things are more important than food, Sassenach." His hand settled firmly on my arse. "And finding out whether I could ever bed ye again was more important than anything else just then. I reckoned if I couldn’t, I’d just walk on out into the snow and not come back."

"Naturally, it didn’t occur to you to wait for a few more weeks and recover your strength."

"Well, I was fairly sure I could walk that far leaning on the walls, and I’d be doin’ the rest lying down, so why wait?"

Links to more excerpts (aka "Daily Lines") from Book Nine are on my Book Nine webpage.


This excerpt was first posted on my official Facebook page on June 9, 2016.

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24 Responses »

  1. I love the way you write these characters. I have all of the books and I have been through the entire collection 3 times. They feel like old friends that I need to go back and visit from time to time. Thanks.

  2. You are my inspiration! I love your books and your characters – all of them. Impatiently awaiting the next one.

  3. Oh, how I wish to just continue reading on and on…you entrance me with such a little taste!

  4. Love pillow talk between the two.

  5. I love going through life with Jamie and Claire!!!
    Bless you, Diana. XO

  6. So touching to have this long married couple reminisce of their earlier time together…good and bad. As always, thank you for sharing these tidbits with us!

  7. Will your new book ” More Important Than Food” be available soon. I can’t wait. I love your books.

    • Hi, Patricia,

      “More Important Than Food” is not a book… it is an excerpt (small sample) from Book 9 in the Outlander series of major novels, which doesn’t have a title yet.

      You can keep up to date with Diana’s progress on Book 9 (and follow links to more excerpts as Diana releases them) at:

      http://www.dianagabaldon.com/books/outlander-series/book-nine-outlander-series/

      Above is Diana’s official webpage for Book 9.

      Thanks!
      Diana’s Webmistress

      P.S. Excerpts might have small spoilers!

    • I’m so delighted to finally get the time to thank you for your books and series. I’ve absolutely fallen in love with Outlander. I’m a newbie author and was thrilled to discover a kindred soul who would understand that some of the stuff writers do just comes like a piece of the “collective consciousness”. Sometimes it feels like the characters are telling you who they are. Having just read your web and blog tonight, just wanted to take the time to express gratitude. I’m not linear, either. I’m an avid reader first and foremost. Also addicted to good film!! And when I’m watching on Starz, the emotions that the hero and heroine display bring me tears and joy and understanding. Be sure that I will continue to follow your sites because of sincere admiration solely!

  8. I am so happy that there is another book coming out. I love this series. Best I have ever read. Please tell it is soon. I have almost completed book 8 and was in great sadness for it to end. I am a great fan of your work

  9. Have enjoyed reading The a Outlander Series several times over. They are so filled with details & bring this great period story & characters to life for me. They let me escape from the reality of my crazy modern life.
    Happy to read you are dreaming up book #9 , can hardly wait. What a gift you have! The consummate story teller. Just completed “The Space Between”. Love fed it. Think you should develop this storyline further, great characters. Enjoyed the Lord John” seri s, but not as interesting characters as Outlander.
    Avidly watching TV versions & feel you have done an incredible job revealing the characters from the book. Jamie & Claire & all the other characters are perfectly cast & totally believable. Slight variations from booka are plausibility & help move the show along. Only quibble is probably too much time spent on battles scenes. The texture, costumes, scenery, sets, are rendered perfectly.
    Not as competent with social media, indeed somewhat put off by the preponderance of useless utterances that proliferate most of the social media & the sociopathic individuals that populate the s sites. Not sure they contribute much of anything except allows very dis functional individuals to vent & rage & become “famous” for doing nothing but display.. While aware of the huge impact these vehicles have on society,, I’ m not convinced they have contributed much to making this a better world.
    Please accept my thanks for these enjoyable excursions into history with beautifully written stories. Now that I found your interesting website & recommendations for further readings, I will look forward to reading even more from your mistakes Niue point of view.
    In Gratitude. Gaetane Gom s Brummett

    • Ron Moore and his crew are the ones who created the Outlander TV series on Starz. I am a co-producer and do contribute, and wrote one episode, but the casting, costumes, and all are done by them. And done very well!

  10. Diana Gabaldon, I am wondering how your inspiration leads you with our beloved characters – history and your attention to detail of the times aside, are you excited still by their story, and where you lead them, because we trustingly follow, hanging on every word and holding our combined breath against any ill befalling them. Your gift is amazing and long may you continue to embrace us. How lucky we are with #Samheughan and #Caitrionabalfe bringing Jamie and Claire to us – even after many years of reading and re-reading the novels their skills have firmly bedded sound and vision of Jamie and Claire in my mind. Thank you all

  11. One of my favorite instances in Claire’s story of Jamie is given deeper details eight books later! I love finding the connections that span story lines throughout the books. It characterizes Claire and Jamie’s relationship: tender – tough, unpredictable, full of stories within stories that keep extending to and including their “families”, intricately woven with history and historical figures – it is a rich tapestry that pulsates with life as it tells an amazing story of love. Thank you for it all.

  12. I have just started re-reading the Outlander series for the third time. I am enjoying it more now than the first two times! Thank you for the fun, romance, and adventure, Diana.

  13. I have been reading the Outlander series since February and just finished #8. It’s silly I know, but i miss Jamie & Claire being a part of my daily life. I cannot wait for #9. My adult daughter and I have both been reading the books and it has been a wonderful experience for us to share back and forth. In two weeks, we will be making our second trip to Scotland and we both now feel we understand the country’s history and people a bit better. My husband, her Dad. is named Angus so we smiled at the various Angus characters in the books. Thanks for such an engaging series. We cannot wait for the next book….but which one of us will get it first?

  14. These moments are so intimate, love them. Anticipating when I’ll be able to read the whole scene, realizing it is still sometime until that day.
    THINKING out loud that life has been so busy for myself and family as of late, that I need to make more of these moments myself. Thank You Diana for the reminder and the wonderful glimpse of Claire and Jamie. Never enough

  15. I am so happy that you have continued with the story!! The TV show is being done wonderfully and I always look forward to more adventures with Claire and Jaime. Hopefully, you won’t separate them again. I actually cried when they were reunited in the books! Happy creating!

    Gail

  16. Mi muy apreciada Diana Gabaldon éste año tendré la dicha de poder leer el libro 9 de la saga forastera? Lo espero con ansias.
    Atentamente Blanca Ríos

    [Google translation:]
    I greatly appreciate Diana Gabaldon.

    This year will I have the joy of reading book 9 of the outsider[Outlander]saga? I’m waiting excitedly.

    Sincerely Blanca Rios

  17. I look forward to book nine. This excerpt is tantalizing.

  18. I have been following Jamie and Claire since 1991. They have become like family and, of course, being of scottish heritage, he has stolen my heart! You must continue this series. I don’t know if I could part from all their stories and adventures. I love this story!!!!!
    Hands down, my most favorite writer