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Outlander [Mass Market Paperback]

Diana Gabaldon
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (871 customer reviews)
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Product Description

From Amazon

In Outlander, a 600-page time-travel romance, strong-willed and sensual Claire Randall leads a double life with a husband in one century, and a lover in another. Torn between fidelity and desire, she struggles to understand the pure intent of her heart. But don't let the number of pages and the Scottish dialect scare you. It's one of the fastest reads you'll have in your library.

While on her second honeymoon in the British Isles, Claire touches a boulder that hurls her back in time to the forbidden Castle Leoch with the MacKenzie clan. Not understanding the forces that brought her there, she becomes ensnared in life-threatening situations with a Scots warrior named James Fraser. But it isn't all spies and drudgery that she must endure. For amid her new surroundings and the terrors she faces, she is lured into love and passion like she's never known before.

I was lame and sore in every muscle when I woke next morning. I shuffled to the privy closet, then to the wash basin. My innards felt like churned butter. It felt as though I had been beaten with a blunt object, I reflected, then thought that that was very near the truth. The blunt object in question was visible as I came back to bed, looking now relatively harmless. Its possessor [Jamie] woke as I sat next to him, and examined me with something that looked very much like male smugness."
Gabaldon creates characters that you'll remember, laugh with, cry with, and cheer for long after you've finished the book. --Candy Paape --This text refers to an alternate Mass Market Paperback edition.

From Publishers Weekly

Absorbing and heartwarming, this first novel lavishly evokes the land and lore of Scotland, quickening both with realistic characters and a feisty, likable heroine. English nurse Claire Beauchamp Randall and husband Frank take a second honeymoon in the Scottish Highlands in 1945. When Claire walks through a cleft stone in an ancient henge, she's somehow transported to 1743. She encounters Frank's evil ancestor, British captain Jonathan "Black Jack" Randall, and is adopted by another clan. Claire nurses young soldier James Fraser, a gallant, merry redhead, and the two begin a romance, seeing each other through many perilous, swashbuckling adventures involving Black Jack. Scenes of the Highlanders' daily life blend poignant emotions with Scottish wit and humor. Eventually Sassenach (outlander) Claire finds a chance to return to 1945, and must choose between distant memories of Frnak and her happy, uncomplicated existence with Jamie. Claire's resourcefulness and intelligent sensitivity make the love-conquers-all, happily-ever-after ending seem a just reward. Doubleday Book Club main selection, Literary Guild alternate.
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Library Journal

After being separated by seven years of World War II, Claire and Frank Randall return to the Scottish Highlands for a second honeymoon. Left to her own devices while her husband immerses himself in historical pursuits, Claire inadvertently enters a circle of standing stones and is plunged back 200 years to a Scotland on the verge of the second Jacobite uprising. Her pluck and skill as a nurse win the Scots' grudging respect, but only marriage to a Scot will save her from the clutches of Frank's vicious forbear, Black Jack Randall. Though first novelist Gabaldon uses time travel primarily to allow a modern heroine, this is basically a richly textured historical novel with an unusual and compelling love story. The author, an assistant professor of research in environmental studies, was encouraged to publish by fellow users of CompuServe and has two more books contracted. If these fulfill the promise of the first, they should win a devoted audience. Literary Guild alternate; Doubleday Book Club main selection.
- Cynthia Johnson Whealler, Cary Memorial Lib., Lexington, Mass.
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Kirkus Reviews

Once-in-a-lifetime romantic passion and graphically depicted torture sessions are only the two extremes of this lively time- travel romance set in 18th-century Scotland--an imaginative and lighthearted debut by a promising newcomer. World War II has finally ended and Claire Beauchamp Randall, a British Red Cross nurse, has gone off to Scotland with her historian husband, Frank, to try to resume their married life where it left off six years before. Their diligent attempts to make a baby come to a halt, however, when Claire discovers an ancient stone circle on a nearby hilltop, slips between two mysterious- looking boulders, and is transported willy-nilly to the year 1743. Stumbling down the hillside, disoriented and confused, Claire is discovered by Jonathan ``Black Jack'' Randall, an evil English officer who happens to be her husband's direct ancestor and physical look-alike. Randall notes Claire's revealing 1940's summer dress, assumes she is a whore, and attempts to rape her, whereupon she is rescued by the fierce MacKenzie clan, who take her to their castle and confine her there. Claire adjusts to her changed circumstances with amazing ease, using her nursing experience to tend to her hosts' illnesses while she impatiently awaits a chance to return to the circle of stones. Before she can get away, circumstances force her into a marriage with James Frazer, a Scottish renegade from English justice and Jonathan Randall's archenemy. Young Jamie's good looks, passion, and virility soon redirect Claire's energies to defending her stalwart new husband against her former mate's evil clone, and the fierce, courageous but historically doomed Scottish clans against the course of destiny itself. A satisfying treat, with extra scoops of excitement and romance that make up for certain lapses in credibility. -- Copyright ©1991, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Review

"Absorbing and heartwarming...lavishly evokes the land and lore of Scotland."—Publishers Weekly

"Stunning!"—Los Angeles Daily News

"It is a large canvas that Gabaldon paints, filled with strong passions and derring-do. Strong willed and sensual, Claire is an engaging modern heroine plopped down in a simpler, more primitive time.... Great fun ...marvelous and fantastic adventures, romance, sex ...perfect escape reading!"—San Francisco Chronicle

From the Publisher

"Absorbing and heartwarming...lavishly evokes the land and lore of Scotland."
--Publishers Weekly

"Stunning!"
--Los Angeles Daily News

"It is a large canvas that Gabaldon paints, filled with strong passions and derring-do. Strong willed and sensual, Claire is an engaging modern heroine plopped down in a simpler, more primitive time.... Great fun ...marvelous and fantastic adventures, romance, sex ...perfect escape reading!"
--San Francisco Chronicle --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From the Back Cover

"Absorbing and heartwarming...lavishly evokes the land and lore of Scotland."
--Publishers Weekly

"Stunning!"
--Los Angeles Daily News

"It is a large canvas that Gabaldon paints, filled with strong passions and derring-do.  Strong willed and sensual, Claire is an engaging modern heroine plopped down in a simpler, more primitive time.... Great fun ...marvelous and fantastic adventures, romance, sex ...perfect escape reading!"
--San Francisco Chronicle

About the Author

Diana Gabaldon holds a master's degree in marine biology and a Ph.D. in ecology, and spent a dozen years as a university professor before turning to write fiction full-time. Her previous publishing history includes scholarly articles and comic book stories for Walt Disney, as well as the award-winning novels Outlander, Dragonfly in Amber, and Voyager. She lives in Scottsdale, Arizona, with her husband, three children, and a large number of animals.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

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."

From AudioFile

Gabaldon's genre-crossing classic of romance, fantasy, and historical fiction tells the story of Jamie and Claire, lovers from different centuries caught in the bloodshed of the Scots' struggle to be free of the English. It achieves a new dimension in the audio format. Davina Porter maintains the distinct voices she creates for each character throughout the lengthy narration. Her delivery of eighteenth-century language sounds authentic and is easily understandable. The hot sex and graphic violence, integral to the story, are far more vivid on tape than they are on paper. D.T.H. (c)AudioFile, Portland, Maine --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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