- The Big, Enormous Books, (aka the major novels in the Outlander series) that have no discernible genre (or all of them). These are numbered from 1 through 9, below.
- 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.
The Big Books of the main series deal with the lives and times of Claire and Jamie Fraser. The shorter novels focus on the adventures of Lord Joh Grey but intersect with the larger books. (THE SCOTTISH PRISONER, for example, features both Lord John and Jamie Fraser in a shared story). The novellas all feature people from the main series, including Jamie and/or Claire on occasion. The description below explains which characters appear in which stories.
Most of the shorter Lord John novels and novellas (so far) fit within a large lacuna left in the middle of VOYAGER in the years between 1756 and 1761. Some of the Bulges also fall in this period; others don’t.
So, for the reader’s convenience, the detailed listing here shows 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.
The description of each story includes the dates covered in it. The original anthology title and years of publication are also given for each one as applicable..
Chronology of the Outlander Series:
“Virgins” (novella)—Set in 1740 in France. In which Jamie Fraser (aged nineteen) and his friend Ian Murray (aged twenty) become young mercenaries. [Originally published in the anthology DANGEROUS WOMENN, eds. George R.R. Martin and Gardner Dozois, 2012. Included in SEVEN STONES TO STAND OR FALL.]
1. OUTLANDER (first main novel in the Outlander series)—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) In the U.K., this book was originally titled CROSS STITCH.
2. DRAGONFLY IN AMBER (second major Outlander series 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)
“A Fugitive Green” (novella)—Set in 1744-45 in Paris, London, and Amsterdam, this is the story of Lord John’s elder brother, Hal (Harold, Earl Melton and Duke of Pardloe), and his (eventual) wife, Minne—at the time of this story a seventeen-year-old dealer in rare books with a sideline in forgery, blackmail, and burglary. Jamie Fraser also appears in this one. First published in SEVEN STONES TO STAND OR FALL..
3. VOYAGER (third major novel in the Outlander series)—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 the novellas. (1968/1766-67)
“Lord John and the Hellfire Club” (short story) in LORD JOHN AND THE HAND OF DEVILS. 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 1756, 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.] “LordJohn and the Hellfire Club” also appeared as a special, standalone paperback edition, at right.
LORD JOHN AND THE PRIVATE MATTER (novel)—Set in London, in 1757, 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 Succubus” (novella)—This story finds Lord John in Germany in 1757, 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 Silverburg, 2003. Is also the second novella in the LORD JOHN AND THE HAND OF DEVILS collection ]
LORD JOHN AND THE BROTHERHOOD OF THE BLADE (novel)—The second full‐length novel focused on Lord John (though Jamie Fraser also appears) is set in 1758, 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)—This tale is set in 1758, 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. Written for and first appeared in LORD JOHN AND THE HAND OF DEVILS collection
“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. Included in SEVEN STONES TO STAND OR FALL..]
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.
“A 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. Included in SEVEN STONES TO STAND OR FALL..]
4. DRUMS OF AUTUMN (major novel)— The fourth novel of the main series, this one begins in 1767, 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. (1969-1970/1767‐70)
5. THE FIERY CROSS (major novel)—The historical background to this, the fifth novel of the main series, is the War of the Regulation in North Carolina (1767‐1771), 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 their grandson Jeremiah gets drunk on cherry bounce. 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. (1770-1772)
6. A BREATH OF SNOW AND ASHES (major novel)— Sixth novel of the main series, this book won 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 thoughtwas pretty entertaining; I mean, how often does that happen?). 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. (1773-1776/1980)
7. AN ECHO IN THE BONE (major novel)—Set in America, London, Canada, and Scotland, this is the seventh novel in the main series. 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. (1776‐1778/1980)
8. WRITTEN IN MY OWN HEART’S BLOOD (major novel)—The eighth of the main series, BLOOD begins where AN ECHO IN THE BONE leaves off, in the summer of 1778 (and the autumn of 1980). The American Revolution is in full roar, and a lot of fairly horrifying things are happening in Scotland in the 1980s, too.
“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. Included in SEVEN STONES TO STAND OR FALL..]
“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. [Originally published in the anthhology THE MAD SCIENTIST’S GUIDE TO WORLD DOMINATION, ed. John Joseph Adams, 2013. Included in SEVEN STONES TO STAND OR FALL.]
“Besieged” (novella)—Set in 1762 in Jamaica and Havana. Lord John, about to leave his post as temporary military governor of Jamaica, learns that his mother is in Havana, Cuba. Which would be fine, save that the British Navy is on its way to lay siege to the city. Attended by his valey, Tom Byrd, an ex-zombie named Rodrigo, and Rodrigo’s homicidally inclined wife, Azeel, Lord John sets out to rescue the erstwhile Dowager Duchess of Pardloe before the warships arrive. First published in SEVEN STONES TO STAND OR FALL.
NOW REMEMBER . . .
You can read the short novels and novellas by themselves, or in any order you like.
I would recommend reading the eight (so far) Big, Enormous Books in order, though.
LORD JOHN AND THE HAND OF DEVILS is not a novel, but rather a collection of three novellas: “Hell-Fire Club,” “Succubus,” and “Haunted Soldier.” In these tales, Lord John vows to avenge a murder, investigates a terrifying “night-hag” on the battlefields of Europe, and discovers treason in His Majesty’s ranks. The first two of these novellas were originally published in anthologies, while “Haunted Soldier” was written expressly for this book.
SEVEN STONES TO STAND OR FALL features seven novellas, all written by me, and all dealing with the interesting side-stories and lacunae of the Outlander universe. Five of these novellas were originally published in various anthologies, and in the US/Canada, have then been published singly as ebooks. (Not, however, in the UK/Australia/NewZealand, Germany, etc.) Two of the novellas were first published in this collection.
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