More than a decade ago, #1 New York Times bestselling author Diana Gabaldon delighted her legions of fans with The Outlandish Companion, an indispensable guide to all the Outlander books at the time. But that edition was just a taste of things to come. Since that publication, there have been four more Outlander novels, a side series, assorted novellas, and one smash-hit Starz original television series. Now Gabaldon serves up The Outlandish Companion, Volume Two, an all-new guide to the latest books in the series.
Written with Gabaldon’s signature wit and intelligence, this compendium is bursting with generous commentary and juicy insider details, including
• a complete chronology of the series thus far
• full synopses of The Fiery Cross, A Breath of Snow and Ashes, An Echo in the Bone, and Written in My Own Heart’s Blood
• recaps of the Lord John Grey novels: Lord John and the Private Matter, Lord John and the Brotherhood of the Blade, Lord John and the Hand of Devils, and The Scottish Prisoner
• a who’s who of the cast of Outlander characters, cross-referenced by book
• detailed maps and floor plans
• a bibliographic guide to research sources
• essays on subjects as wide ranging as Outlandish controversies regarding sex and violence, the unique responsibilities of a writer of historical fiction, and Gabaldon’s writing process
• a guided tour of the clothes, food, and music of the eighteenth century
• a Scottish glossary and pronunciation guide
• personal photos from the author taken on the set of the Starz Outlander series
As entertaining, sweeping, and addictive as the series itself, this second volume of The Outlandish Companion is a one (or two)-of-a-kind gift from an incomparable author.
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About the Author
Date of Birth:January 11, 1952
Place of Birth:Flagstaff, Arizona
Education:B.S., Northern Arizona University, 1973; M.S., Scripps Oceanographic Institute; Ph.D., Northern Arizona University, 1979
Read an Excerpt
THE FIERY CROSS
I woke to the patter of rain on canvas, with the feel of my first husband’s kiss on my lips.
PART 1: IN MEDIAS RES
It’s October of 1770, and the Frasers of Fraser’s Ridge have come to a great Gathering on Mount Helicon (now known as Grandfather Mountain). In the morning, Claire wakes in a tent beside her husband, Jamie, from a dream of her first husband, Frank. It’s her daughter Brianna’s wedding day, and as Claire admits to herself, what could be more natural than that both her daughter’s fathers should be there?
Brianna’s wedding to Roger MacKenzie is not the only notable occurrence of the day. Claire has barely got her stockings on before a company of Highland soldiers, sent by the governor of the colony, William Tryon, is drawn up by the creek to issue a proclamation from the governor, demanding the surrender of persons known to have taken part in the Hillsborough riots—some of whom are in fact at the Gathering.
Thus begins a Very Long Day, during which all of the events and story lines that will be carried on through the book begin:
1. Brianna and Roger’s relationship. They love each other madly and want nothing more than to be married and together forever. But. Brianna is hesitant about having more children; she doesn’t know for sure who her son Jemmy’s father is—it could be Roger, but she’s terribly afraid that it might be Stephen Bonnet, the pirate who raped her. Roger has claimed Jemmy as his own—but he desperately wants another child, one he knows is his. Orphaned in infancy, he’s been alone in the world for a long time.
Brianna’s hesitation is twofold: She’s a young woman; Jemmy would be self-sufficient in fifteen years; she could at that point try to return to the future, to the twentieth-century world that is hers by right. But not if she has more children, who would anchor her to the past. Also, childbirth is dangerous; one of the women at the Gathering has kindly given her some embroidery silk—with which to adorn her shroud, which by tradition she should begin making the day after the wedding. “That way, I’ll have it woven and embroidered by the time I die in childbirth. And if I’m a fast worker, I’ll have time to make one for you, too—otherwise, your next wife will have to finish it!”
But how can she deny Roger what she knows he wants so badly?
2. Jamie’s relationship with Governor Tryon, which is delicate to begin with. The governor has given Jamie a large grant of land, on condition that he people it with settlers. One of Jamie’s reasons for attending the Gathering is to recruit suitable immigrants from Scotland to come and homestead on his land—he’s looking particularly for ex-Jacobite prisoners, especially men who were imprisoned with him at Ardsmuir after Culloden and who may have survived transportation.
The delicate bit is that Jamie is a Catholic and thus not allowed to own land grants under English law. Governor Tryon knows this but has chosen to look the other way, for the sake of getting the backcountry—always a volatile trouble spot, full of discontented hunters, trappers, and small farmers, all pushing against the Indian Treaty Line and none of them paying taxes regularly—settled and stabilized.
However, the unspoken fact of Jamie’s Catholicism hangs over their dealings, and when Archie Hayes, commander of the company of Highland soldiers, presents Jamie with a letter from Tryon, appointing him colonel of militia and ordering him to collect “so many Men as you Judge suitable to serve in a Regiment of Militia, and make Report to me as soon as possible of the Number of Volunteers that are willing to turn out in the Service of their King and Country, when called upon, and also what Number of effective Men belong to your Regiment who can be ordered out in case of an Emergency, and in case any further Violence should be attempted to be committed by the Insurgents,” Jamie has no good way to refuse. As he tells Claire, “I must. Tryon’s got my ballocks in his hand, and I’m no inclined to see whether he’ll squeeze.”
Tryon’s concern with assembling a militia is the “Insurgents”—the Regulation, a growing movement of disaffected men in the mountainous western part of the state. What the Regulators want to regulate is government, which they see as abusive, non-representative, and generally a big nuisance. The governor, rather naturally, feels otherwise about the matter, but has no regular troops with which to impose his will.
3. Claire’s expanding medical practice and the conflicts engendered thereby. After a successful morning removing nasal polyps, stitching up a mauled dog, and butting heads with one Murray MacLeod, a rival practitioner, Claire is somewhat taken aback when Jamie tells her that he’s promised that she will remove Josiah Beardsley’s tonsils.
Josiah is very young but a capable hunter. Jamie wants to recruit him to the new settlement at Fraser’s Ridge, because of his youth. Men between sixteen and sixty are obliged to serve in the militia when summoned; Josiah is only fourteen and thus could remain behind to help provide the women and children of the Ridge with food and a stock of hides for later trading. Claire is a little dubious about performing a tonsillectomy sans anesthesia or operating facilities but agrees to try, once they’re back home.
Her medical practice has other side benefits. She mends the arm and draws the tooth of a Mr. Goodwin, a solid citizen hurt in the Hillsborough riot, who later is of use to her in obtaining access to the priest, Father Kenneth. For Claire, her relationship with Jamie is drawing her further and further from her life in the modern world and her sense of identity; her ties to medicine and her destiny as a healer are what enable her to make that transition.
4. The brewing unrest in the backcountry. Several of the men who rioted in Hillsborough—tearing down houses, beating men who held public office, and driving the chief justice out of his courthouse and into hiding—are at the Gathering, and we hear their stories of dispossession for unpaid taxes (taxes must be paid in coin—despite the fact that there is virtually no cash money in the colony and most business is done by barter), oppression by the Crown (in the person of Governor Tryon), and death. This ferment will eventually erupt into what’s known as the War of the Regulation, where “Regulators” from the mountain backcountry (taxes and representation being what they want to regulate) clash with the governor and the prosperous merchants and plantation owners of the coast.
The War of the Regulation is the beginning of the breakdown of law in the colony of North Carolina—and will provide fertile soil for the later Revolution.
5. Lizzie Wemyss and her father. Lizzie is the very young bond servant that Brianna brought from Scotland; Jamie has found her father—sold as an indentured servant—and purchased his indenture. He releases Joseph Wemyss from his bond but chooses not to make that fact publicly known, so that Mr. Wemyss will be not required to serve in the militia and can stay at home to help mind the property and people of the Ridge.
Lizzie has become a woman—i.e., had her menarche—at the Gathering and is thus now a prospect for love and marriage, as witnessed by her shy flirtation with one of the young soldiers.
6. Rosamund Lindsay and Ronnie Sinclair. Ronnie Sinclair is a cooper and one of the ex-Ardsmuir men whom Jamie invites to settle on the Ridge. Fiercely loyal to Jamie, he is constantly on the lookout for a wife and constantly at odds with Rosamund, a Bostonian lady of some two hundred pounds and decided opinions on most things, especially the proper way to cook barbecue.
7. Roger’s relationship with Jamie. This has been strained, ever since Jamie and his nephew Young Ian gave Roger to the Mohawk as a slave (in Drums of Autumn), under the mistaken impression that he had raped Brianna. Roger was rescued and apologies given and accepted—but as a result of the unfortunate affair, Young Ian remained with the Mohawk, to be adopted by the Indians in replacement of a man Roger had killed. Jamie bitterly regrets the loss of his beloved nephew, and while he struggles to accept that it was not Roger’s fault, the awareness lingers.
Beyond that—and the undeniable fact that Roger did take Brianna’s virginity, albeit with her full consent (Jamie being somewhat more protective than the average eighteenth-century father, which is saying something)—Roger is keenly aware that he is a poor substitute for Young Ian, lacking most of the skills that are useful or valued in the eighteenth century. This is brought home to him forcefully when he learns that Jamie has engaged a man to be factor for the Ridge—the man who will take care of affairs there in Jamie’s absence—and it isn’t Roger. Normally, the “son of the house,” whether true son, foster son, or son-in-law, would perform this office, and the fact that Roger has been passed over in this way seems a deliberate insult.
Excerpted from "The Outlandish Companion Volume Two"
Copyright © 2015 Diana Gabaldon.
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