• “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



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OUTLANDER (published in the U.K. under the title “CROSS STITCH”) is the first novel in the very popular Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon. Read on for a description of the book by the author.


Frankly, I’ve never been able to describe this book in twenty-five words or less, and neither has anyone else in the twenty years since it was first published.  I’ve seen it (and the rest of the series) sold—with evident success—as <deep breath> Literature, Fiction, Historical Fiction, Historical NON-fiction (really. Well, they are very accurate), Science Fiction, Fantasy, Mystery, Romance, Military History (no, honest), Gay and Lesbian Fiction, and…Horror. (Really!  One of my books beat both George R.R. Martin and Stephen King for a Quill Award in 2006.) Anyway, the only way I’ve ever found of describing this book to anyone is to begin telling them the story. So here goes….

In 1946, after WWII, a young Englishwoman named Claire Beauchamp Randall goes to the Scottish Highlands with her husband, Frank. She’s an ex-combat nurse, he’s been in the army as well, they’ve been separated for the last six years, and this is a second honeymoon; they’re getting re-acquainted with each other, thinking of starting a family. But one day Claire goes out walking by herself, and comes across a circle of standing stones—such circles are in fact common all over northern Britain.  She walks through a cleft stone in the circle….and disappears. Back into 1743, where the first person she meets is a gentleman in an 18th-century army officer’s uniform. This gentleman, Jack Randall, looks just like her husband Frank—and proves to be Frank’s six-times-great-grandfather. Unfortunately, he also proves to be a sadistic bisexual pervert, and while trying to escape from him, Claire falls into the hands of a gang of Highland Scots, who are also trying to get away from Black Jack Randall—though for other reasons.

In order to avoid being handed over to Captain Randall, Claire is obliged to marry one of the young clansmen. So she finds herself trying to escape from Castle Leoch and her Scottish captors, trying to get back to her husband Frank, trying to avoid being recaptured by Captain Randall—and falling in love with Jamie Fraser, the young man she’s been forced to marry. The story rolls on from there…

What I used to say to people who saw me sitting outside a store with a pile of books and asked (reasonably enough), “What sort of book is this?”, was, “I tell you what. Pick it up, open it anywhere, and read three pages.  If you can put it down again, I’ll pay you a dollar.” 

I’ve never lost any money on that bet.


Twenty-Six Years Ago…

Diana discusses how she came to write OUTLANDER and get it published, exactly twenty-six years earlier in her blog of March 6, 2014. Why did she write the book? What inspired her? Click here for her blog.


The books in the OUTLANDER series have sold over 20 million copies worldwide, and have been translated into many languages. Click here for a chronology of the main novels and stories in the series.

The eighth major novel in the OUTLANDER series, WRITTEN IN MY OWN HEART’S BLOOD, was published in the U.S.A. in June, 2014.

The Outlander TV Series on Starz

The Starz Network created a TV series based on OUTLANDER which premiered in the U.S.A. on August 9, 2014. The show is filmed on location in Scotland. Click here for news from Diana about the TV series. At upper left is an image of the paperback book cover of the reissue of OUTLANDER in 2014, with an image from the new Starz TV series.

This page was last updated on Sunday, September 21, 2014 at 8:00 p.m. (PDT).