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Including the short stories and novellas that add beautiful depth to author Diana Gabaldon’s series.
Outlander fans have had a lot to celebrate recently – the return of the fantastical romance tale in its sixth season on Starz, a brand new storyline out of series author Diana Gabaldon’s newest tale, Go Tell the Bees That I Am Gone, and news that a new prequel series is on its way.
There’s never been a better time to dive into the vast literary universe that makes up the Outlander series, either. Gabaldon confirmed earlier this year that’s she’s getting to work on the tenth, likely final, installment in the book’s main series. If you’re a fan of the Starz show but have yet to pick up any of the Outlander books, you may be surprised to hear there are more than a dozen published pieces that make up the world of the sci-fi-turned historical fiction tale. Canonically, however, there is a collection of main novels featuring series’ mainstays Jamie and Claire Fraser — nine in total. As these novels are designed to be consumed all their own, many series fans have only read this collection of novels that have inspired the Outlander series as we know it.
But Gabaldon has released additional shorter novels and novellas outside this collection, which diehard fans will likely wish to consume as well. They concern Lord John Grey primarily, and the four existing novellas can be read after you’ve completed the main series. The author says that those who are starting anew in reading the main series may wish to work these shorter Lord Grey stories into their lineup, however. These shorter tales can « be read alone, without reference either to each other or to the [main series] — should you be in the mood for a light literary snack, » Gabaldon shares on her official website.
While we’re recapping each of the main series’ novels in our guide to Outlander books below, here’s how you can consume all of Gabaldon’s offerings in tight chronological order:
Not sure if you’re in for 15 different tales? Here’s a recap of the main Outlander series books, with snippets of what occurs in each adventure.
We’re first introduced to Claire Randall, the series’ burgeoning heroine, as she reunites with her new husband after tending to wounded soldiers in WWII. It’s 1945 when Claire and her husband go on a honeymoon and travel through the British Isles, only to find herself instantly transported back to 18th century Scotland in the midst of strife. Navigating the conflict between Scottish clans in 1743, this novel also explores how Claire first meets Jamie Fraser.
The second entry in the Outlander series brings readers back to Claire’s present reality, where she’s found herself back in the mid-1940s. Gabaldon brings readers along for the ride on a simultaneous adventure back in the 1700s through the streets of Paris, where Claire and Jamie work together to prevent the worst of the Jacobite Risings.
Claire now faces a personal impasse as she must choose between returning to Jamie in centuries prior and her husband and daughter in her own era. Just as she ends up finding a balance between the two worlds, Claire’s reunion with Jamie is cut short as they’ve become targeted by pirates. Witnessing Jamie’s nephew kidnapped, the pair set off across the big blue to save his family. This novel is a direct prequel to Gabaldon’s Lord John series.
Readers spend time following Jamie and Claire’s previously mysterious daughter, Brianna, as she stumbles into a shocking discovery that leads her to the same stone circle that started the whole series. Brianna risks her life to reunite with her mother and the father she’s never met — and ends up playing a part in saving Jamie and Claire from further misfortune, as the pair build a life in the New World.
In the decade prior to the American Revolution, we find the clairvoyant Claire and Jamie firmly established in the mountains of North Carolina — an area that’s experiencing a small revolution of its own. With uprisings leading to violent, territorial behavior among those in the province, Jamie and Claire fight once more to protect the community they’ve established at Fraser’s Ridge before the young nation rebels at large.
Picking up from what many readers consider a cliffhanger in the previous novel, Claire faces new challenges tied to her medical prowess, as those in her own community begin to speculate how she knows so much (spoiler: they accuse her of witchcraft!). Jamie faces a personal impasse on his values and ties to Great Britain as the American Revolution begins to catch fire among other loyalists.
Written in a style that’s most similar to Gabaldon’s shorter novellas, this entry in the main Outlander series recounts how the cast of characters handle themselves during the Revolutionary War. Readers will jump between storylines, following Jamie and Claire, Lord John, supporting characters Roger, Brianna and Ian, all as they face conflicts in America, England, Scotland and Canada at different points in time.
Diehard fans recall this entry of Outlander to have many historical references that line up with major American Revolution events, everything from Valley Forge to the Battle of Monmouth. Jamie returns from what readers likely presumed was a painful death to discover that Claire has been wed to his best friend in his absence. There is a mountain of other personal conflicts within this entry, including a narrative that allows readers to get to know nephew Ian in great detail.
Recently released, this novel is set in 1779, a few years before the inevitable end of the American Revolution. Jamie and Claire have reunited once more and are safe at Fraser’s Ridge, and readers will be delighted to see Brianna and her husband, Roger, once again living with their parents. As Claire continues to foretell the raging war around them, she realizes that having her whole family under one roof may end up being more of a risk than anyone could have guessed.