1778: France declares war on Great Britain, the British army leaves Philadelphia, and George Washington’s troops leave Valley Forge in pursuit. At this moment, Jamie Fraser returns from a presumed watery grave to discover that his best friend has married Claire, Jamie’s wife; his illegitimate son has discovered (to his horror) who his father really is; and his beloved nephew, Ian, wants to marry a Quaker. Meanwhile, Claire and Jenny, Jamie’s sister, are busy picking up the pieces.
The Frasers can only be thankful that their daughter Brianna and her family are safe in twentieth-century Scotland. Or not. In fact, Brianna is searching for her own son, who was kidnapped by a man determined to learn her family’s secrets. Her husband Roger has ventured into the past in search of the missing boy … never suspecting that the object of his quest has not left the present. Now, with Roger out of the way, the kidnapper can focus on his true target: Brianna herself.
Yesterday, I was out at breakfast with my mother when she said something that, frankly, insulted me.
Roger and his wife lay down in bed, snuggled together on the edge of sleep.
“You know, Bree,” he said. “In all the years we’ve been marrit, we havena really had a honeymoon.”
In answer, she rolled over on her stomach and leaned on her elbows, facing him.
“That’s true, but there wasn’t much time for vacation in the eighteenth century. Did you have anything in mind?” Brianna asked. “By the way, I love your voice when you’re sleepy. Your accent comes out, and it reminds me of Da.”
I dinna exactly have anything in mind, but I’ll figure something out. Do ye miss your parents?” he asked.
Yeah. Always. It’s a bit harder to bear when Jem randomly starts speaking Gaelic, but it’s not like I’m going to stop him. He’s already been traumatized by Mrs. What’s-Her-Face. Besides, it reminds me of the good times we had.”
“We certainly had fun, didn’t we?” Roger said.
“Yeah, we did,” Bree said, laughing quietly and rolling on her side with her head on Roger’s chest, looking up at the ceiling. “It’s just weird missing people who are in another century.”
Soon after that, they both fell asleep.
Jamie Fraser is an eighteenth-century Highlander, an ex-Jacobite traitor, and a reluctant in the American Revolution. His wife, Claire Randall Fraser, is a surgeon – from the twentieth century. What she knows of the future compels him to fight. What she doesn’t know may kill them both.
With one foot in America and one foot in Scotland, Jamie and Claire’s adventure spans the Revolution, from sea battles to print shops, as their paths cross with historical figures from Benjamin Franklin to Benedict Arnold.
Meanwhile, in the relative safety of the twentieth century, their daughter Brianna and her husband experience the unfolding drama of the Revolutionary War through Claire’s letters. But the letters can’t warn them of the threat that’s rising out of the past to overshadow their family.
Being married to John was different, to say the least. We had friendship, but even that seemed to be strained under the circumstances. I just couldn’t believe that Jamie was dead. It wasn’t that I was in denial; I didn’t know what to think.
The morning was bright, sunlight streaming in through the bedroom windows upstairs. John was still sleeping, so I got up quietly and went down to make myself some tea. I sat down at the table and tried to make sense of everything that had happened. Ian was dead, that much I could believe. As soon as I saw him, I knew he wouldn’t last much longer. But now … No, Jamie wasn’t dead. I didn’t know how I knew, I just did. However, I’d play along until I had some sort of proof.
It is 1772, the eve of the American Revolution, and the long fuse of rebellion has already been lit. Governor Josiah Martin calls upon Jamie Fraser to unite the backcountry and safeguard the colony for King and Crown. But there is one problem: Jamie Fraser’s wife, Claire, is a time-traveler, as well as his daughter and son-in-law. And Jamie knows that three years hence, the shot heard round the world will be fired, and the end of it all will be independence – with those loyal to the king either dead or in exile. Beyond everything else, though, looms the threat of a tiny clipping from the Wilmington Gazette dated 1776, which reports the destruction of the house on Fraser’s Ridge and the death by fire of James Fraser and all his family.
For once, Jamie Fraser hopes the time-travelers in his family are wrong about the future – but only time will tell
The following is a letter to Diana Gabaldon and some of the cast and crew of Outlander: The Series on Starz.
As you may know, Tuesday was International Women’s Day. On Twitter, I came across this: