Friday, March 11, 2011

Inverness, 1945

That's how "Outlander" begins, launching a love story that spans 200 years, multiple continents, political intrigue, murder, mayhem, farming, war, sex, thugs, bizarre characters, do-it-yourself penicillin, settling the American colonies and what to do with an 18" sausage in a whorehouse (not what you might think).

If you've read this blog very long, you know I'm a huge fan of Diana Gabaldon's "Outlander" series. My Jamie is named after James "Jamie" Alexander Malcom Mackenzie Fraser, one of the two main characters in the saga.

The books are huge and incredibly detailed but if you love Celtic lore, Scottish and American history and the concept of time travel, they are worth every single word. The amount of research Gabaldon puts into each one is staggering. I've learned about contraception in the 18th century, how to properly (and improperly) hang someone, how to use maggots to treat an infected wound and how to make whiskey. Apparently these were very useful skill sets to have in the 1700s.

It takes Gabaldon about 2-3 years to write a "Jamie and Claire book" and the next installment is rumored to be released in 2012. I've decided to re-read the whole series to be ready. These are definitely the sort of books you can read and re-read and pick up something new every time.

"Outlander" came out in 1991 and as I worked my way through the early editions of the series, I was content to wait for them to come out in paperback. By the time the last two books were released, I was past the point of waiting patiently and pre-ordered the hardbacks with as much anticipation as I had for the final segments of Harry Potter.

While each book works well enough as a stand alone story, to appreciate the full impact of the saga it's probably best to read them in order. Going back for the re-read has been fun, since I already know where it's going (I admit I've forgotten some parts) and it's fascinating to see Gabaldon's skillful foreshadowing. This woman's mind is amazing, I mean really, to have all this in her head and keep it organized and put it down on paper.



  1. I love, love, love this series, too. I accidentally discovered it when I purchased the first one for my iPod (I use Kindle Reader.) I'm currently reading "Echo of the Bone". Although I have all the books, they take up quite a bit less room... and I can read in bed at night. LOL

  2. I just started reading this series because of all the great things I have heard about it. I am hoping I will love it.

  3. I too love the series. I have each of the books on my Kindle. I started reading before Christmas and recently finished the last one. I don't know how I will manage to wait until the next one. Being able to finish one and go immediately on to the next was such fun. I think I will reread just before the next one comes out. And it better come out in a Kindle edition.

  4. I'm just re-reading and on book #2. Monique is reading them for the first time is already on book 4!! She's on vacation next week, so she'll be done...with a long year to wait! She's loving them!

  5. They sound really good. I love reading, and I think I'd really like them the way that you've described them. I'll check them out and let you know!

  6. I love books that teach me how to do things! I think I'll have to start through these when I reach the bottom of my current To-read pile.

    If you like thick, detailed, interweaving plots, you are missing something fantastic if you haven't read George RR Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire. The fifth book is (supposedly) coming out this summer and HBO is set for a tv series (definitely) next month.