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Outlander

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Outlander Cover

ISBN13: 9780385319959
ISBN10: 0385319959
Condition: Standard
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Excerpt

Jamie made a fire in a sheltered spot, and sat down next to it. The rain had eased to a faint drizzle that misted the air and spangled my eyelashes with rainbows when I looked at the flames.

He sat staring into the fire for a long time. Finally he looked up at me, hands clasped around his knees.

"I said before that I'd not ask ye things ye had no wish to tell me. And I'd not ask ye now; but I must know, for your safety as well as mine." He paused, hesitating.

"Claire, if you've never been honest wi' me, be so now, for I must know the truth. Claire, are ye a witch?"

I gaped at him. "A witch? You—you can really ask that?" I thought he must be joking. He wasn't.

He took me by the shoulders and gripped me hard, staring into my eyes as though willing me to answer him.

"I must ask it, Claire! And you must tell me!"

"And if I were?" I asked through dry lips. "If you had thought I were a witch? Would you still have fought for me?"

"I would have gone to the stake with you!" he said violently. "And to hell beyond, if I must. But may the Lord Jesus have mercy on my soul and on yours, tell me the truth!"

The strain of it all caught up with me. I tore myself out of his grasp and ran across the clearing. Not far, only to the edge of the trees; I could not bear the exposure of the open space. I clutched a tree; put my arms around it and dug my fingers hard into the bark, pressed my face to it and shrieked with hysterical laughter.

Jamie's face, white and shocked, loomed up on the other side of the tree. With the dim realization that what I was doing must sound unnervingly like cackling, I made a terrific effort and stopped. Panting, I stared at him for a moment.

"Yes," I said, backing away, still heaving with gasps of unhinged laughter. "Yes, I am a witch! To you, I must be. I've never had smallpox, but I can walk through a room full of dying men and never catch it. I can nurse the sick and breathe their air and touch their bodies, and the sickness can't touch me. I can't catch cholera, either, or lockjaw, or the morbid sore throat. And you must think it's an enchantment, because you've never heard of vaccine, and there's no other way you can explain it."

"The things I know—" I stopped backing away and stood still, breathing heavily, trying to control myself. "I know about Jonathan Randall because I was told about him. I know when he was born and when he'll die, I know about what he's done and what he'll do, I know about Sandringham because ... because Frank told me. He knew about Randall because he ... he ... oh, God!" I felt as though I might be sick, and closed my eyes to shut out the spinning stars overhead.

"And Colum ... he thinks I'm a witch, because I know Hamish isn't his own son. I know ... he can't sire children. But he thought I knew who Hamish's father is ... I thought maybe it was you, but then I knew it couldn't be, and..." I was talking faster and faster, trying to keep the vertigo at bay with the sound of my own voice.

"Everything I've ever told you about myself was true," I said, nodding madly as though to reassure myself. "Everything. I haven't any people, I haven't any history, because I haven't happened yet.

"Do you know when I was born?" I asked, looking up. I knew my hair was wild and my eyes staring, and I didn't care. "On the twentieth of October, in the Year of Our Lord nineteen hundred and eighteen. Do you hear me?" I demanded, for he was blinking at me unmoving, as though paying no attention to a word I said. "I said nineteen eighteen! Nearly two hundred years from now! Do you hear?"

I was shouting now, and he nodded slowly.

"I hear," he said softly.

"Yes, you hear!" I blazed. "And you think I'm raving mad. Don't you? Admit it! That's what you think. You have to think so, there isn't any other way you can explain me to yourself. You can't believe me, you can't dare to. Oh, Jamie..." I felt my face start to crumple. All this time spent hiding the truth, realizing that I could never tell anyone, and now I realized that I could tell Jamie, my beloved husband, the man I trusted beyond all others, and he wouldn't—he couldn't believe me either.

"It was the rocks—the fairy hill. The standing stones. Merlin's stones. That's where I came through." I was gasping, half-sobbing, becoming less coherent by the second. "Once upon a time, but it's really two hundred years. It's always two hundred years, in the stories. ... But in the stories, the people always get back. I couldn't get back." I turned away, staggering, grasping for support. I sank down on a rock, shoulders slumped, and put my head in my hands. There was a long silence in the wood. It went on long enough for the small night birds to recover their courage and start their noises once again, calling to each other with a thin, high zeek! as they hawked for the last insects of the summer.

I looked up at last, thinking that perhaps he had simply risen and left me, overcome by my revelations. He was still there, though, still sitting, hands braced on his knees, head bowed as though in thought.

The hairs on his arms shone stiff as copper wires in the firelight, though, and I realized that they stood erect, like the bristles on a dog. He was afraid of me.

"Jamie," I said, feeling my heart break with absolute loneliness. "Oh, Jamie."

I sat down and curled myself into a ball, trying to roll myself around the core of my pain. Nothing mattered any longer, and I sobbed my heart out.

His hands on my shoulders raised me, enough to see his face. Through the haze of tears, I saw the look he wore in battle, of struggle that had passed the point of strain and become calm certainty.

"I believe you," he said firmly. "I dinna understand it a bit—not yet—but I believe you. Claire, I believe you! Listen to me! There's the truth between us, you and I, and whatever ye tell me, I shall believe it." He gave me a gentle shake.

"It doesna matter what it is. You've told me. That's enough for now. Be still, mo duinne. Lay your head and rest. You'll tell me the rest of it later. And I'll believe you."

I was still sobbing, unable to grasp what he was telling me. I struggled, trying to pull away, but he gathered me up and held me tightly against himself, pushing my head into the folds of his plaid, and repeating over and over again, "I believe you."

At last, from sheer exhaustion, I grew calm enough to look up and say, "But you can't believe me."

He smiled down at me. His mouth trembled slightly, but he smiled.

"Ye'll no tell me what I canna do, Sassenach." He paused a moment. ... A long time later, he spoke.

"All right. Tell me now."

I told him. Told him everything, haltingly but coherently. I felt numb from exhaustion, but content, like a rabbit that has outrun a fox, and found temporary shelter under a log. It isn't sanctuary, but at least it is respite. And I told him about Frank.

"Frank," he said softly. "Then he isna dead, after all."

"He isn't born." I felt another small wave of hysteria break against my ribs, but managed to keep myself under control. "Neither am I."

He stroked and patted me back into silence, making his small murmuring Gaelic sounds.

"When I took ye from Randall at Fort William," he said suddenly, "you were trying to get back. Back to the stones. And ... Frank. That's why ye left the grove."

"Yes."

"And I beat you for it." His voice was soft with regret.

"You couldn't know. I couldn't tell you." I was beginning to feel very drowsy indeed.

"No, I dinna suppose ye could." He pulled the plaid closer around me, tucking it gently around my shoulders. "Do ye sleep now, mo duinne. No one shall harm ye; I'm here."

I burrowed into the warm curve of his shoulder, letting my tired mind fall through the layers of oblivion. I forced myself to the surface long enough to ask, "Do you really believe me, Jamie?"

He sighed, and smiled ruefully down at me.

"Aye, I believe ye, Sassenach. But it would ha' been a good deal easier if you'd only been a witch."

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 7 comments:

Ami Johnson, January 8, 2013 (view all comments by Ami Johnson)
This eloquently told story of love, honor, and war in 18th Century Scotland was indeed gripping and I could not put it down, as well as the rest of the books in the series that followed. Although it contain elements that I would normally never be drawn to, such as time-travel, the story is so beautifully written as to allow the reader to completely suspend disbelief, to such a point that you are left thinking how utterly possible every riveting detail in this novel could be. Diana Gabaldon describes, in exquisite detail, what life was in war-torn Scotland. She does such an excellent job of this that you are completely transported back in time. You can almost smell the scents, taste the food, and hear the sounds. What makes this book even better is that these elements are brought to life for you through the eyes of a 20th Century woman. I would also add that, while being a novel of fiction, Diana goes to great lengths to ensure that nearly all aspects of this time remain historically accurate. As a lover of Historical Fiction I find nothing more distracting in a book than the creation of falsehoods that do nothing to add to the story.

My one, and only, complaint is that the author, at times, goes into such great detail as to become somewhat tedious. It is my understanding that all of her novels are self-edited, and I am of the opinion that this can be a double-edged sword. On one hand you get the complete vision of the writer, but on the other hand there are times when the writer is so invested in the characters and story that you find extraneous details that do nothing to either add to the plot or develop a more clear vision of the characters. That being said, this is one of those books that has become to me much like a warm comfortable blanket. You just want to enfold yourself in it and escape from the world for a bit, and you find yourself retreating into this wonderful book on more than one occasion.
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Waney, December 31, 2012 (view all comments by Waney)
This series changed my life. I cannot even begin to go into the details of how much I fell in love with the main characters: Claire Beauchamp and Jamie Fraser. The love story between these two beautifully written characters actually transcends time and logic. Their devotion, respect and soul-reaching love was one of beauty and even awe inspiring. Theirs is a long and beautiful historic journey together reaching limits and boundaries of both heartwarming depth and gut-wrenching tragedy. Not to be cryptic, it's just that this indescribable story is meant to be told through the words of the brilliant author, Diana Gabaldon.
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Orenthal, January 16, 2012 (view all comments by Orenthal)
I am rereading the entire Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon now. I am on the 4th book and have several more to go. This series is so good that it calls me back again,and again. The characters are great and I can picture them as they move through the books. Sometimes their adventures are pretty fantastic, but within the context of the story, they are not only believable but totally captivating. One day I happened to be at Powells in Cedar Hills Crossing. I looked up and realized that Diana Gabaldon was scheduled to speak in about 15 minutes! How amazing is that?? Obviously I stayed to listen and found her to be different than I'd imagined, but very charming, funny, and an interesting speaker. It's often difficult to imagine what the author of a favorite book or series, looks like. Are they similar to the characters they've created? (Does the author of The Hobbit, look like a hobbit, or a wizard?) Diana Gabaldon doesn't have flaming red hair, like her main characters, Jamie and Bree, nor does she appear to have very curly, unruly and long hair, like Claire. She does have long, dark hair, perhaps resembling Jamie's sister, Jennie. But maybe not!! Imagination, isn't it grand?
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Product Details

ISBN:
9780385319959
Author:
Gabaldon, Diana
Publisher:
Delta
Location:
New York, N.Y. :
Subject:
Historical
Subject:
Fiction
Subject:
Scotland
Subject:
Fantastic fiction
Subject:
Romance - Historical
Subject:
Romance
Subject:
Historical fiction
Subject:
Romance - General
Subject:
Fantasy fiction
Subject:
Time travel
Subject:
War stories
Subject:
Romance - Time Travel
Subject:
Jacobite Rebellion, 1745-1746 -- Fiction.
Subject:
Culloden, Battle of, 174
Subject:
Jacobite Rebellion, 1745-174
Subject:
Culloden, Battle of, Scotland, 174
Subject:
General Fiction
Copyright:
Edition Number:
A Delta book
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Series:
Outlander
Series Volume:
9606
Publication Date:
19980831
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Illustrations:
Yes
Pages:
656
Dimensions:
9.25 x 6.1 x 1.6 in 1.45 lb

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Related Subjects

Featured Titles » General
Fiction and Poetry » Romance » A to Z
Fiction and Poetry » Romance » Featured Titles
Fiction and Poetry » Romance » General
Fiction and Poetry » Romance » Historical
Fiction and Poetry » Romance » Paranormal
Fiction and Poetry » Romance » Time Travel

Outlander Used Trade Paper
0 stars - 0 reviews
$10.95 In Stock
Product details 656 pages Delta Trade Paperbacks - English 9780385319959 Reviews:
"Review" by , "Marvelously entertaining....A page-turner of the highest order and a good read from start to finish."
"Review" by , "Absorbing and heartwarming....Lavishly evokes the land and lore of Scotland."
"Review" by , "Gabaldon is a born storyteller."
"Synopsis" by , Unrivaled storytelling ... unforgettable characters ... rich historical detail ... these are the hallmarks of Diana Gabaldon's work. Her New York Times bestselling Outlander novels have earned the praise of critics and captured millions of readers.

Here is the story that started it all, introducing two remarkable characters, Claire Randall and Jamie Fraser, in a spellbinding novel of passion and history that combines exhilarating adventure with a love story for the ages....

The year is 1945. Claire Randall, a former combat nurse, is back from the war and reunited with her husband on a second honeymoon — when she walks through a standing stone in one of the ancient stone circles that dot the British Isles. Suddenly she is a Sassenach — an "outlander" — in a Scotland torn by war and raiding Highland clans in the year of Our Lord ... 1743.

Hurled back in time by forces she cannot understand, Claire is catapulted into intrigues and dangers that may threaten her life ... and shatter her heart. For here she meets James Fraser, a gallant young Scots warrior, and becomes a woman torn between fidelity and desire ... and between two vastly different men in two irreconcilable lives.

"Synopsis" by , This bestselling novel of time travel fuses the drama, passion, and violence of 18th-century Scotland with a wry, modern sensibility, as Gabaldon tells the story of one daring woman and the man who loves her.
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