From the Introduction to SEVEN STONES TO STAND OR FALL:
So, if it’s not the ninth novel, what is it? Well, it’s a collection of seven…. er…. things, of varying length and content, but all having to do with the Outlander universe. As for the title… basically, it’s the result of my editor not liking my original title choice, Salmagundi. Not that I couldn’t see her point… Anyway, there was a polite request via my agent for something more in line with the “resonant, poetic” nature of the main titles.
Without going too much into the mental process that led to this (words like “sausage-making” and “rock-polishing” come to mind), I wanted a title that at least suggested that there were a number of elements in this book (hence the “Seven”) and “Seven Stones” just came naturally, and that was nice (“stone” is always a weighty word) and suitably alliterative, but not a complete poetic thought (or rhythm). So, a bit more thinkering (no, that’s not a typo), and I came up with “to Stand or Fall,” which sounded suitably portentous.
It took a bit of ex post facto thought to figure out what the heck that meant, but things usually do mean something if you think long enough. In this instance, the “stand or fall” has to do with people’s response to grief and adversity: to wit, if you aren’t killed outright by whatever happened, you have a choice in how the rest of your life is lived—you keep standing, though battered and worn by time and elements, still a buttress and a signpost…. or you fall and return quietly to the earth from which you sprang, your elements giving succor to those who come after you.
So. This is (as the front cover suggests) a collection of seven novellas (fiction shorter than a novel but longer than a short story)), though all of them are indeed part of the Outlander universe and do intersect with the main novels.
Five of the novellas included in this book were originally written for various anthologies over the last few years; two are brand-new and have never been published before: “A Fugitive Green” and “Besieged.”
Owing to differences among publishers in different countries, some of the previously published novellas may subsequently have been published in print form as a four-story collection (in the U.K. and Germany), or as separate ebooks (in the U.S.). Seven Stones provides a complete print collection for those readers who like tactile books, and includes the two new stories. (“A Fugitive Green” and “Besieged” will eventually be published separately as ebooks in the U.S., too, for those who prefer that mode of reading, but it might be awhile.)
The top image (gold cover) is a U.S. edition. The image with the blue cover shows a U.K. edition. This page was last updated on Wednesday, August 8, 2018 at 2:50 p.m.