Written in My Own Heart's Blood (Outlander Series #8) [NOOK Book]

Overview

#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

In her now classic novel Outlander, Diana Gabaldon told the story of Claire Randall, an English ex-combat nurse who walks through a stone circle in the Scottish Highlands in 1946, and disappears . . . into 1743. The story unfolded from there in seven bestselling novels, and CNN has called it “a grand adventure written on a canvas that probes the ...
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Written in My Own Heart's Blood (Outlander Series #8)

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Overview

#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

In her now classic novel Outlander, Diana Gabaldon told the story of Claire Randall, an English ex-combat nurse who walks through a stone circle in the Scottish Highlands in 1946, and disappears . . . into 1743. The story unfolded from there in seven bestselling novels, and CNN has called it “a grand adventure written on a canvas that probes the heart, weighs the soul and measures the human spirit across [centuries].” Now the story continues in Written in My Own Heart’s Blood.
 
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 his 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, Jamie’s wife, Claire, and his sister, Jenny, 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.
 
Written in My Own Heart’s Blood is the brilliant next chapter in a masterpiece of the imagination unlike any other.

Praise for Written in My Own Heart’s Blood
 
“[Written in My Own Heart’s Blood] features all the passion and swashbuckling that fans of this historical fantasy series have come to expect.”People
 
“Another breakneck, rip-roaring, oh-so-addictive page-turner from Gabaldon . . . Take a deep breath, jump aboard, and enjoy the ride.”Library Journal

“With her Outlander series, Gabaldon . . . successfully [juggles] a sizable and captivating cast of characters; developing thrilling plotlines that borrow equally from adventure, history, and romance; and meticulously integrating a wealth of fascinating period details into the story without slowing down the pace. The result is a sprawling and enthralling saga that is guaranteed to keep readers up long past their bedtimes.”Booklist (starred review)


From the Hardcover edition.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“[Written in My Own Heart’s Blood] features all the passion and swashbuckling that fans of this historical fantasy series have come to expect.”People
 
“Another breakneck, rip-roaring, oh-so-addictive page-turner from Gabaldon . . . Take a deep breath, jump aboard, and enjoy the ride.”Library Journal

“With her Outlander series, [Diana] Gabaldon . . . successfully [juggles] a sizable and captivating cast of characters; developing thrilling plotlines that borrow equally from adventure, history, and romance; and meticulously integrating a wealth of fascinating period details into the story without slowing down the pace. The result is a sprawling and enthralling saga that is guaranteed to keep readers up long past their bedtimes.”Booklist (starred review)

Kirkus Reviews
2014-06-05
Of haggis, gigged frogs and succubi: Continuing her Outlander series, Gabaldon (An Echo in the Bone, 2009, etc.) again pushes the boundaries of genre fiction.Sensitive readers new to the series will want to know that Gabaldon’s leads are fond of dropping f-bombs, sometimes even in the clinical sense: “Damn you, neither one of us was making love to the other—we were both fuckingyou!" They’ll also want to know that, as those characters cross time and space, they’re given to the basest treacheries as well as the profoundest loyalties, which may help explain the preceding quotation. The action now takes place across the water in revolutionary America, where Jamie Fraser, one-time Jacobite rebel, now commands 10 companies of Continental militia, when, he worriedly notes, “he’d never led a band of more than fifty.” Lord John, his old Brit friend and sometime bugaboo, figures in the mischief, of course. There are twists aplenty, one of them Jamie’s Lazarus-like return from the great beyond to find—well, different domestic arrangements. Meanwhile, his child, having long since learned that it’s possible to enter “a time vortex with a gemstone” and come out safely in other eras, now has good reason to want to be not in the 20th century but back in the 18th, where, if things are just as complicated, she at least has trustworthy kin. Confused yet? With willingly suspended disbelief, it all makes sense in the end. Gabaldon’s themes are decidedly grown-up, as the in-joking chapter titles (“Frottage,” “Frannie’s Frenulum”) suggest, but the basic premise is a dash of juvenile fantasy, a jigger of historical fact and heaping helpings of counterfactuals. If you’re a Gabaldon fan, the Scottish dialect, laid on with a spade, and all those naughty asides will be a familiar pleasure. If not—well, this overly long book isn’t likely to make converts, at least not without several thousand pages of catch-up to figure out who’s who, who’s doing what, who’s doing whom, and why.Gabaldon works a successful formula, with few surprises but plenty of devices. And yes, there’s room for a sequel—or 10.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780440246442
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 6/10/2014
  • Series: Outlander Series , #8
  • Sold by: Random House
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 848
  • Sales rank: 168
  • File size: 6 MB

Meet the Author

Diana  Gabaldon
Diana Gabaldon is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the wildly popular Outlander novels—Outlander, Dragonfly in Amber, Voyager, Drums of Autumn, The Fiery Cross, A Breath of Snow and Ashes (for which she won a Quill Award and the Corine International Book Prize), An Echo in the Bone, and Written in My Own Heart’s Blood—as well as the related Lord John Grey books Lord John and the Private Matter, Lord John and the Brotherhood of the Blade, Lord John and the Hand of Devils, and The Scottish Prisoner; one work of nonfiction, The Outlandish Companion; and the Outlander graphic novel The Exile. She lives in Scottsdale, Arizona, with her husband.

Biography

To millions of fans, Diana Gabaldon is the creator of a complex, original, and utterly compelling amalgam of 18th-century romantic adventure and 20th-century science fiction. To the publishing industry, she's a grassroots-marketing phenomenon. And to would-be writers everywhere who worry that they don't have the time or expertise to do what they love, Gabaldon is nothing short of an inspiration.

Gabaldon wrote her first novel while juggling the demands of motherhood and career: in between her job as an ecology professor, she also had a part-time gig writing freelance software reviews. Gabaldon had never written fiction before, and didn't intend to publish this first novel, which she decided to call Outlander. This, she decided, would be her "practice novel". Worried that she might not be able to pull a plot and characters out of thin air, she settled on a historical novel because "it's easier to look things up than to make them up entirely."

The impulse to set her novel in 18th-century Scotland didn't stem -- as some fans have assumed—from a desire to explore her own familial roots (in fact, Gabaldon isn't even Scottish). Rather, it came from watching an episode of the British sci-fi series Dr. Who and becoming smitten with a handsome time traveler in a kilt. A time-travel element crept into Gabaldon's own book only after she realized her wisecracking female lead couldn't have come from anywhere but the 20th century. The resulting love affair between an intelligent, mature, sexually experienced woman and a charismatic, brave, virginal young man turned the conventions of historical romance upside-down.

Gabaldon has said her books were hard to market at first because they were impossible to categorize neatly. Were they historical romances? Sci-fi adventure stories? Literary fiction? Whatever their genre (Gabaldon eventually proffered the term "historical fantasias"), they eventually found their audience, and it turned out to be a staggeringly huge one.

Even before the publication of Outlander, Gabaldon had an online community of friends who'd read excerpts and were waiting eagerly for more. (In fact, her cohorts at the CompuServe Literary Forum helped hook her up with an agent.) Once the book was released, word kept spreading, both on the Internet and off, and Gabaldon kept writing sequels. (When her fourth book, "Drums of Autumn," was released, it debuted at No. 1 on the Wall Street Journal bestseller list, and her publisher, Delacorte, raced to add more copies to their initial print run of 155,000.)

With her books consistently topping the bestseller lists, it's apparent that Gabaldon's appeal lies partly in her ability to bulldoze the formulaic conventions of popular fiction. Salon writer Gavin McNett noted approvingly, "She simply doesn't pay attention to genre or precedent, and doesn't seem to care that identifying with Claire puts women in the role of the mysterious stranger, with Jamie -- no wimp in any regard -- as the romantic 'heroine."'

In between Outlander novels, Gabaldon also writes historical mysteries featuring Lord John Grey, a popular, if minor, character from the series, and is working on a contemporary mystery series. Meanwhile, the author's formidable fan base keeps growing, as evidenced by the expanding list of Gabaldon chat rooms, mailing lists, fan clubs and web sites -- some of them complete with fetching photos of red-haired lads in kilts.

Good To Know

Outlander may have been Gabaldon's first novel, but she was already a published writer. Her credits included scholarly articles, political speeches, radio ads, computer manuals and Walt Disney comic books.

Gabaldon gets 30 to 40 e-mails a day from her fans, who often meet online to discuss her work. "I got one letter from a woman who had been studying my book jacket photos (with a magnifying glass, evidently), who demanded to know why there was a hole in my pants," wrote Gabaldon on her web site. "This strikes me as a highly metaphysical question, which I am not equipped to answer, but which will doubtless entertain some chat-groups for quite a long time."

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    1. Also Known As:
      Diana Jean Gabaldon (full name)
    2. Hometown:
      Flagstaff, Arizona
    1. Date of Birth:
      January 11, 1952
    2. Place of Birth:
      Flagstaff, Arizona
    1. Education:
      B.S., Northern Arizona University, 1973; M.S., Scripps Oceanographic Institute; Ph.D., Northern Arizona University, 1979
    2. Website:

Read an Excerpt

1

A Hundredweight of Stones

June 16, 1778

The forest between Philadelphia and Valley Forge

I

an Murray stood with a stone in his hand, eyeing the ground he’d chosen. A small clearing, out of the way, up among a scatter of great lichened boulders, under the shadow of firs and at the foot of a big red cedar; a place where no casual passerby would go, but not inaccessible. He meant to bring them up here—the family.

Fergus, to begin with. Maybe just Fergus, by himself. Mam had raised Fergus from the time he was ten, and he’d had no mother before that. Fergus had known Mam longer than Ian had, and loved her as much. Maybe more, he thought, his grief aggravated by guilt. Fergus had stayed with her at Lally­broch, helped to take care of her and the place; he hadn’t. He swallowed hard and, walking into the small clear space, set his stone in the middle, then stood back to look.

Even as he did so, he found himself shaking his head. No, it had to be two cairns. His mam and Uncle Jamie were brother and sister, and the family could mourn them here together—but there were others he might bring, maybe, to remember and pay their respects. And those were the folk who would have known Jamie Fraser and loved him well but wouldn’t ken Jenny Murray from a hole in the—

The image of his mother in a hole in the ground stabbed him like a fork, retreated with the recollection that she wasn’t after all in a grave, and stabbed again all the harder for that. He really couldn’t bear the vision of them drowning, maybe clinging to each other, struggling to keep—

“A Dhia!” he said violently, and dropped the stone, turning back at once to find more. He’d seen people drown.

Tears ran down his face with the sweat of the summer day; he didn’t mind it, only stopping now and then to wipe his nose on his sleeve. He’d tied a rolled kerchief round his head to keep the hair and the stinging sweat out of his eyes; it was sopping before he’d added more than twenty stones to each of the cairns.

He and his brothers had built a fine cairn for their father before he died, at the head of the carved stone that bore his name—all his names, in spite of the expense—in the burying ground at Lallybroch. And then later, at the funeral, members of the family, followed by the tenants and then the servants, had come one by one to add a stone each to the weight of remembrance.

Fergus, then. Or . . . no, what was he thinking? Auntie Claire must be the first he brought here. She wasn’t Scots herself, but she kent fine what a cairn was and would maybe be comforted a bit to see Uncle Jamie’s. Aye, right. Auntie Claire, then Fergus. Uncle Jamie was Fergus’s foster father; he had a right. And then maybe Marsali and the children. But maybe Germain was old enough to come with Fergus? He was ten, near enough to being a man to understand, to be treated like a man. And Uncle Jamie was his grandsire; it was proper.

He stepped back again and wiped his face, breathing heavily. Bugs whined and buzzed past his ears and hovered over him, wanting his blood, but he’d stripped to a loincloth and rubbed himself with bear grease and mint in the Mohawk way; they didn’t touch him.

“Look over them, O spirit of red cedar,” he said softly in Mohawk, gazing up into the fragrant branches of the tree. “Guard their souls and keep their presence here, fresh as thy branches.”

He crossed himself and bent to dig about in the soft leaf mold. A few more rocks, he thought. In case they might be scattered by some passing animal. Scattered like his thoughts, which roamed restless to and fro among the faces of his family, the folk of the Ridge—God, might he ever go back there? Brianna. Oh, Jesus, Brianna . . . 

He bit his lip and tasted salt, licked it away and moved on, foraging. She was safe with Roger Mac and the weans. But, Jesus, he could have used her advice—even more, Roger Mac’s.

Who was left for him to ask, if he needed help in taking care of them all?

Thought of Rachel came to him, and the tightness in his chest eased a little. Aye, if he had Rachel . . . She was younger than him, nay more than nineteen, and, being a Quaker, had very strange notions of how things should be, but if he had her, he’d have solid rock under his feet. He hoped he would have her, but there were still things he must say to her, and the thought of that conversation made the tightness in his chest come back.

The picture of his cousin Brianna came back, too, and lingered in his mind: tall, long-nosed and strong-boned as her father . . . and with it rose the image of his other cousin, Bree’s half brother. Holy God, William. And what ought he to do about William? He doubted the man kent the truth, kent that he was Jamie Fraser’s son—was it Ian’s responsibility to tell him so? To bring him here and explain what he’d lost?

He must have groaned at the thought, for his dog, Rollo, lifted his massive head and looked at him in concern.

“No, I dinna ken that, either,” Ian told him. “Let it bide, aye?” Rollo laid his head back on his paws, shivered his shaggy hide against the flies, and relaxed in boneless peace.

Ian worked awhile longer and let the thoughts drain away with his sweat and his tears. He finally stopped when the sinking sun touched the tops of his cairns, feeling tired but more at peace. The cairns rose knee-high, side by side, small but solid.

He stood still for a bit, not thinking anymore, just listening to the fussing of wee birds in the grass and the breathing of the wind among the trees. Then he sighed deeply, squatted, and touched one of the cairns.

“Tha gaol agam oirbh, a Mhàthair,” he said softly. My love is upon you, Mother. Closed his eyes and laid a scuffed hand on the other heap of stones. The dirt ground into his skin made his fingers feel strange, as though he could maybe reach straight through the earth and touch what he needed.

He stayed still, breathing, then opened his eyes.

“Help me wi’ this, Uncle Jamie,” he said. “I dinna think I can manage, alone.”

2

Dirty Bastard

W

illiam Ransom, Ninth Earl of Ellesmere, Viscount Ashness, Baron Derwent, shoved his way through the crowds on Market Street, oblivious to the complaints of those rebounding from his impact.

He didn’t know where he was going, or what he might do when he got there. All he knew was that he’d burst if he stood still.

His head throbbed like an inflamed boil. Everything throbbed. His hand—he’d probably broken something, but he didn’t care. His heart, pounding and sore inside his chest. His foot, for God’s sake—what, had he kicked something? He lashed out viciously at a loose cobblestone and sent it rocketing through a crowd of geese, who set up a huge cackle and lunged at him, hissing and beating at his shins with their wings.

Feathers and goose shit flew wide, and the crowd scattered in all directions.

“Bastard!” shrieked the goose-girl, and struck at him with her crook, catching him a shrewd thump on the ear. “Devil take you, dreckiger Bastard!”

This sentiment was echoed by a number of other angry voices, and he veered into an alley, pursued by shouts and honks of agitation.

He rubbed his throbbing ear, lurching into buildings as he passed, oblivious to everything but the one word throbbing ever louder in his head. Bastard.

“Bastard!” he said out loud, and shouted, “Bastard, bastard, bastard!” at the top of his lungs, hammering at the brick wall next to him with a clenched fist.

“Who’s a bastard?” said a curious voice behind him. He swung round to see a young woman looking at him with some interest. Her eyes moved slowly down his frame, taking note of the heaving chest, the bloodstains on the facings of his uniform coat, and the green smears of goose shit on his breeches. Her gaze reached his silver-buckled shoes and returned to his face with more interest.

“I am,” he said, hoarse and bitter.

“Oh, really?” She left the shelter of the doorway in which she’d been lingering and came across the alley to stand right in front of him. She was tall and slim and had a very fine pair of high young breasts—which were clearly visible under the thin muslin of her shift, because, while she had a silk petticoat, she wore no stays. No cap, either—her hair fell loose over her shoulders. A whore.

“I’m partial to bastards myself,” she said, and touched him lightly on the arm. “What kind of bastard are you? A wicked one? An evil one?”

“A sorry one,” he said, and scowled when she laughed. She saw the scowl but didn’t pull back.

“Come in,” she said, and took his hand. “You look as though you could do with a drink.” He saw her glance at his knuckles, burst and bleeding, and she caught her lower lip behind small white teeth. She didn’t seem afraid, though, and he found himself drawn, unprotesting, into the shadowed doorway after her.

What did it matter? he thought, with a sudden savage weariness. What did anything matter?

3

In Which the Women,  As Usual, Pick Up the Pieces

Number 17 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia

The residence of Lord and Lady John Grey

W

illiam had left the house like a thunderclap, and the place looked as though it had been struck by lightning. I certainly felt like the survivor of a massive electrical storm, hairs and nerve endings all standing up straight on end, waving in agitation.

Jenny Murray had entered the house on the heels of William’s departure, and while the sight of her was a lesser shock than any of the others so far, it still left me speechless. I goggled at my erstwhile sister-in-law—though, come to think, she still was my sister-in-law . . . because Jamie was alive. Alive.

He’d been in my arms not ten minutes before, and the memory of his touch flickered through me like lightning in a bottle. I was dimly aware that I was smiling like a loon, despite massive destruction, horrific scenes, William’s distress—if you could call an explosion like that “distress”—Jamie’s danger, and a faint wonder as to what either Jenny or Mrs. Figg, Lord John’s cook and housekeeper, might be about to say.

Mrs. Figg was smoothly spherical, gleamingly black, and inclined to glide silently up behind one like a menacing ball bearing.

“What’s this?” she barked, manifesting herself suddenly behind Jenny.

“Holy Mother of God!” Jenny whirled, eyes round and hand pressed to her chest. “Who in God’s name are you?”

“This is Mrs. Figg,” I said, feeling a surreal urge to laugh, despite—or maybe because of—recent events. “Lord John Grey’s cook. And, Mrs. Figg, this is Mrs. Murray. My, um . . . my . . .”

“Your good-sister,” Jenny said firmly. She raised one black eyebrow. “If ye’ll have me still?” Her look was straight and open, and the urge to laugh changed abruptly into an equally strong urge to burst into tears. Of all the unlikely sources of succor I could have imagined . . . I took a deep breath and put out my hand.

“I’ll have you.” We hadn’t parted on good terms in Scotland, but I had loved her very much, once, and wasn’t about to pass up any opportunity to mend things.

Her small firm fingers wove through mine, squeezed hard, and, as simply as that, it was done. No need for apologies or spoken forgiveness. She’d never had to wear the mask that Jamie did. What she thought and felt was there in her eyes, those slanted blue cat eyes she shared with her brother. She knew the truth now of what I was, and she knew I loved—and always had loved—her brother with all my heart and soul—despite the minor complications of my being presently married to someone else.

She heaved a sigh, eyes closing for an instant, then opened them and smiled at me, mouth trembling only a little.

“Well, fine and dandy,” said Mrs. Figg shortly. She narrowed her eyes and rotated smoothly on her axis, taking in the panorama of destruction. The railing at the top of the stair had been ripped off, and cracked banisters, dented walls, and bloody smudges marked the path of William’s descent. Shattered crystals from the chandelier littered the floor, glinting festively in the light that poured through the open front door, the door itself cracked through and hanging drunkenly from one hinge.

Merde on toast,” Mrs. Figg murmured. She turned abruptly to me, her small black-currant eyes still narrowed. “Where’s his lordship?”

“Ah,” I said. This was going to be rather sticky, I saw. While deeply disapproving of most people, Mrs. Figg was devoted to John. She wasn’t going to be at all pleased to hear that he’d been abducted by—

“For that matter, where’s my brother?” Jenny inquired, glancing round as though expecting Jamie to appear suddenly out from under the settee.

“Oh,” I said. “Hmm. Well . . .” Possibly worse than sticky. Because . . . 

“And where’s my Sweet William?” Mrs. Figg demanded, sniffing the air. “He’s been here; I smell that stinky cologne he puts on his linen.” She nudged a dislodged chunk of plaster disapprovingly with the toe of her shoe.

I took another long, deep breath and a tight grip on what remained of my sanity.

“Mrs. Figg,” I said, “perhaps you would be so kind as to make us all a cup of tea?”

We sat in the parlor, while Mrs. Figg came and went to the cookhouse, keeping an eye on her terrapin stew.

“You don’t want to scorch turtle, no, you don’t,” she said severely to us, setting down the teapot in its padded yellow cozy on her return. “Not with so much sherry as his lordship likes in it. Almost a full bottle—terrible waste of good liquor, that would be.”

My insides turned over promptly. Turtle soup—with a lot of sherry—had certain strong and private associations for me, these being connected with Jamie, feverish delirium, and the way in which a heaving ship assists sexual intercourse. Contemplation of which would not assist the impending discussion in the slightest. I rubbed a finger between my brows, in hopes of dispelling the buzzing cloud of confusion gathering there. The air in the house still felt electric.

“Speaking of sherry,” I said, “or any other sort of strong spirits you might have convenient, Mrs. Figg . . .”

She looked thoughtfully at me, nodded, and reached for the decanter on the sideboard.

“Brandy is stronger,” she said, and set it in front of me.

Jenny looked at me with the same thoughtfulness and, reaching out, poured a good-sized slug of the brandy into my cup, then a similar one into her own.

“Just in case,” she said, raising one brow, and we drank for a few moments. I thought it might take something stronger than brandy-laced tea to deal with the effect of recent events on my nerves—laudanum, say, or a large slug of straight Scotch whisky—but the tea undeniably helped, hot and aromatic, settling in a soft trickling warmth amidships.

“So, then. We’re fettled, are we?” Jenny set down her own cup and looked expectant.

“It’s a start.” I took a deep breath and gave her a précis of the morning’s events.

Jenny’s eyes were disturbingly like Jamie’s. She blinked at me once, then twice, and shook her head as though to clear it, accepting what I’d just told her.

“So Jamie’s gone off wi’ your Lord John, the British army is after them, the tall lad I met on the stoop wi’ steam comin’ out of his ears is Jamie’s son—well, of course he is; a blind man could see that—and the town’s aboil wi’ British soldiers. Is that it, then?”

“He’s not exactly my Lord John,” I said. “But, yes, that’s essentially the position. I take it Jamie told you about William, then?”

“Aye, he did.” She grinned at me over the rim of her teacup. “I’m that happy for him. But what’s troubling his lad, then? He looked like he wouldna give the road to a bear.”

“What did you say?” Mrs. Figg’s voice cut in abruptly. She set down the tray she had just brought in, the silver milk jug and sugar basin rattling like castanets. “William is whose son?”

I took a fortifying gulp of tea. Mrs. Figg did know that I’d been married to—and theoretically widowed from—one James Fraser. But that was all she knew.

“Well,” I said, and paused to clear my throat. “The, um, tall gentleman with the red hair who was just here—you saw him?”

“I did.” Mrs. Figg eyed me narrowly.

“Did you get a good look at him?”

“Didn’t pay much heed to his face when he came to the door and asked where you were, but I saw his backside pretty plain when he pushed past me and ran up the stairs.”

“Possibly the resemblance is less marked from that angle.” I took another mouthful of tea. “Um . . . that gentleman is James Fraser, my . . . er . . . my—” “First husband” wasn’t accurate, and neither was “last husband”—or even, unfortunately, “most recent husband.” I settled for the simplest alternative. “My husband. And, er . . . William’s father.”

Mrs. Figg’s mouth opened, soundless for an instant. She backed up slowly and sat down on a needlework ottoman with a soft phumph.

“William know that?” she asked, after a moment’s contemplation.

“He does now,” I said, with a brief gesture toward the devastation in the stairwell, clearly visible through the door of the parlor where we were sitting.

Merde on— ­I mean, Holy Lamb of God preserve us.” Mrs. Figg’s second husband was a Methodist preacher, and she strove to be a credit to him, but her first had been a French gambler. Her eyes fixed on me like gun sights.

“You his mother?”

I choked on my tea.

“No,” I said, wiping my chin with a linen napkin. “It isn’t quite that complicated.” In fact, it was more so, but I wasn’t going to explain just how Willie had come about, either to Mrs. Figg or to Jenny. Jamie had to have told Jenny who William’s mother was, but I doubted that he’d told his sister that William’s mother, Geneva Dunsany, had forced him into her bed by threatening Jenny’s family. No man of spirit likes to admit that he’s been effectively blackmailed by an eighteen-year-old girl.

“Lord John became William’s legal guardian when William’s grandfather died, and at that point, Lord John also married Lady Isobel Dunsany, Willie’s mother’s sister. She’d looked after Willie since his mother’s death in childbirth, and she and Lord John were essentially Willie’s parents since he was quite young. Isobel died when he was eleven or so.”

Mrs. Figg took this explanation in stride but wasn’t about to be distracted from the main point at issue.

“James Fraser,” she said, tapping a couple of broad fingers on her knee and looking accusingly at Jenny. “How comes he not to be dead? News was he drowned.” She cut her eyes at me. “I thought his lordship was like to throw himself in the harbor, too, when he heard it.”

I closed my own eyes with a sudden shudder, the salt-cold horror of that news washing over me in a wave of memory. Even with Jamie’s touch still joyful on my skin and the knowledge of him glowing in my heart, I relived the crushing pain of hearing that he was dead.

“Well, I can enlighten ye on that point, at least.”

I opened my eyes to see Jenny drop a lump of sugar into her fresh tea and nod at Mrs. Figg. “We were to take passage on a ship called Euterpe—my brother and myself—out o’ Brest. But the blackhearted thief of a captain sailed without us. Much good it did him,” she added, frowning.

Much good, indeed. The Euterpe had sunk in a storm in the Atlantic, lost with all hands. As I—and John Grey—had been told.

“Jamie found us another ship, but it landed us in Virginia, and we’d to make our way up the coast, partly by wagon, partly by packet boat, keepin’ out of the way of the soldiers. Those wee needles ye gave Jamie against the seasickness work a marvel,” she added, turning approvingly to me. “He showed me how to put them in for him. But when we came to Philadelphia yesterday,” she went on, returning to her tale, “we stole into the city by night, like a pair o’ thieves, and made our way to Fergus’s printshop. Lord, I thought my heart would stop a dozen times!”

She smiled at the memory, and I was struck by the change in her. The shadow of sorrow still lay on her face, and she was thin and worn by travel, but the terrible strain of her husband Ian’s long dying had lifted. There was color in her cheeks again and a brightness in her eyes that I had not seen since I had first known her thirty years before. She had found her peace, I thought, and felt a thankfulness that eased my own soul.

“. . . so Jamie taps on the door at the back, and there’s no answer, though we can see the light of a fire comin’ through the shutters. He knocks again, makin’ a wee tune of it—” She rapped her knuckles lightly on the table, bump-ba-da-bump-ba-da-bump-bump-bump, and my heart turned over, recognizing the theme from The Lone Ranger, which Brianna had taught him.

“And after a moment,” Jenny went on, “a woman’s voice calls out fierce, ‘Who’s there?’ And Jamie says in the Gàidhlig, ‘It is your father, my daughter, and a cold, wet, and hungry man he is, too.’ For it was rainin’ hammer handles and pitchforks, and we were both soaked to the skin.”

She rocked back a little, enjoying the telling.

“The door opens then, just a crack, and there’s Marsali wi’ a horse pistol in her hand, and her two wee lasses behind her, fierce as archangels, each with a billet of wood, ready to crack a thief across his shins. They see the firelight shine on Jamie’s face then, and all three of them let out skellochs like to wake the dead and fall upon him and drag him inside and all talkin’ at once and greetin’, askin’ was he a ghost and why was he not drowned, and that was the first we learned that the Euterpe had sunk.” She crossed herself. “God rest them, poor souls,” she said, shaking her head.

I crossed myself, too, and saw Mrs. Figg look sideways at me; she hadn’t realized I was a Papist.

“I’ve come in, too, of course,” Jenny went on, “but everyone’s talkin’ at once and rushin’ to and fro in search of dry clothes and hot drinks and I’m just lookin’ about the place, for I’ve never been inside a printshop before, and the smell of the ink and the paper and lead is a wonder to me, and, sudden-like, there’s a tug at my skirt and this sweet-faced wee mannie says to me, ‘And who are you, madame? Would you like some cider?’ ”

“Henri-Christian,” I murmured, smiling at the thought of Marsali’s youngest, and Jenny nodded.

“ ‘Why, I’m your grannie Janet, son,’ says I, and his eyes go round, and he lets out a shriek and grabs me round the legs and gives me such a hug as to make me lose my balance and fall down on the settle. I’ve a bruise on my bum the size of your hand,” she added out of the corner of her mouth to me.

I felt a small knot of tension that I hadn’t realized was there relax. Jenny did of course know that Henri-Christian had been born a dwarf—but knowing and seeing are sometimes different things. Clearly they hadn’t been, for Jenny.

Mrs. Figg had been following this account with interest, but maintained her reserve. At mention of the printshop, though, this reserve hardened a bit.

“These folk—Marsali is your daughter, then, ma’am?” I could tell what she was thinking. The entire town of Philadelphia knew that Jamie was a Rebel—and, by extension, so was I. It was the threat of my imminent arrest that had caused John to insist upon my marrying him in the wake of the tumult following Jamie’s presumed death. The mention of printing in British-occupied Philadelphia was bound to raise questions as to just what was being printed, and by whom.

“No, her husband is my brother’s adopted son,” Jenny explained. “But I raised Fergus from a wee lad myself, so he’s my foster son, as well, by the Highland way of reckoning.”

Mrs. Figg blinked. She had been gamely trying to keep the cast of characters in some sort of order to this point, but now gave it up with a shake of her head that made the pink ribbons on her cap wave like antennae.

“Well, where the devil—I mean, where on earth has your brother gone with his lordship?” she demanded. “To this printshop, you think?”

Jenny and I exchanged glances.

“I doubt it,” I said. “More likely he’s gone outside the city, using John—er, his lordship, I mean—as a hostage to get past the pickets, if necessary. Probably he’ll let him go as soon as they’re far enough away for safety.”

Mrs. Figg made a deep humming noise of disapproval.

“And maybe he’ll make for Valley Forge and turn him over to the Rebels instead.”

“Oh, I shouldna think so,” Jenny said soothingly. “What would they want with him, after all?”

Mrs. Figg blinked again, taken aback at the notion that anyone might not value his lordship to the same degree that she did, but after a moment’s lip-pursing allowed as this might be so.

“He wasn’t in his uniform, was he, ma’am?” she asked me, brow furrowed. I shook my head. John didn’t hold an active commission. He was a diplomat, though technically still lieutenant colonel of his brother’s regiment, and therefore wore his uniform for purposes of ceremony or intimidation, but he was officially retired from the army, not a combatant, and in plain clothes he would be taken as citizen rather than soldier—thus of no particular interest to General Washington’s troops at Valley Forge.

I didn’t think Jamie was headed for Valley Forge in any case. I knew, with absolute certainty, that he would come back. Here. For me.

The thought bloomed low in my belly and spread upward in a wave of warmth that made me bury my nose in my teacup to hide the resulting flush.

Alive. I caressed the word, cradling it in the center of my heart. Jamie was alive. Glad as I was to see Jenny—and gladder still to see her extend an olive branch in my direction— I really wanted to go up to my room, close the door, and lean against the wall with my eyes shut tight, reliving the seconds after he’d entered the room, when he’d taken me in his arms and pressed me to the wall, kissing me, the simple, solid, warm fact of his presence so overwhelming that I might have collapsed onto the floor without that wall’s support.

Alive, I repeated silently to myself. He’s alive.

Nothing else mattered. Though I did wonder briefly what he’d done with John.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 578 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 18, 2014

    Written in Blood

    Come on! You people grousing about the delayed publication CANNOT be serious!!!
    Have you never had to wait for anything before, I know this
    Is the age of instant gratification, but you all cannot imagine how grievously spoiled and stupid you sound! After all Diana Gabaldon has given us with her writing her many books, can you not begrateful, shut up and be patient?
    I especially love the "I don't care anymore I want my money back" comment - And I bet if you weren't allowed to bat first, you took your ball and went home too, huh?
    Ridiculous!!!

    123 out of 165 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 29, 2014

    Oh, come on!

    Diana posted weeks before the first publishing date that this would be delayed so it was only a surprise if you weren't paying attention. No one forced anyone to buy it 6 months ahead of time. We are ALL waiting- some more patiently than others!

    77 out of 108 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted June 11, 2014

    I Also Recommend:

    The action begins, of course, where the previous installment, Ec

    The action begins, of course, where the previous installment, Echo in the Bone ended with Jamie, who was thought dead, returning to Philadelphia only to find Claire married to Lord John, while in 20th century Scotland Brianna's and Roger's son Jem has been kidnapped. Thinking his son lost in the past, Roger once again risks another journey through the stones to find him. However unlike Echo in the Bone which I thought rather disjointed and plodding, this latest installment returns to the bold adventure and high spirits of the best novels in the series. I found Roger's return to 18th century Lallybroch especially inventive. There he sees his home as it was before the battle at Culloden and encounters ancestors he has only met in Fraser and MacKenzie family trees. I also found Written in My Own Heart's Blood much easier to follow than Echo in the Bone. Though the plot is as complicated as any Outlander novel and the characters as numerous, Galbaldon divides the narrative in such a way that it took me only moments to determine the where, when, and who in each chapter of the storyline. And these storylines tie together at the end of the novel in a way I thought quite natural and touching, but also allows Galbaldon the opportunity to continue the series if she chooses to do so--a choice I hope she makes, since there is nothing for me quite like the sweeping romance and spirited adventure of the Outlander series.I enjoy this series because it is the perfect mix of history and excitement. The story takes place in 1778, when the British army is withdrawing from Philadelphia. While there is plenty of drama in that alone, the story focuses more on the people around the war. Jamie Fraser discovers that his best friend has married his wife. Claire is dealing with Benedict Arnold first had while trying to figure out if one of her husbands was murdered.I loved the Outlander series and read all the books up to this point. There was such a long space between the last one and this peek into what is coming that some of the threads of info got foggy for me. I had a bit of trouble following some of the new characters and wish the author had a page listing who all the characters are which would make it much easier. That said, I and still excited to read the good coming next. 

    56 out of 58 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 9, 2014

    Waiting

    All of you that are complaining about the delay on this book have forgotten one important thing ... Jamie Fraser is worth the wait.

    54 out of 72 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 10, 2013

    another 6 months!!!

    Went online today hoping to finally get to read it. Another 6 months!!! I'm outraged, love the series but Diana needs to get herself in gear and get on with it. I thought paying for a book 6 months before publishing was bad enough but then to get to the promised December 10th day and find I have to wait for another 6 months is nuts. I am not happy, almost to the point that I don't give a damn what happed anymore. I want my money back!

    49 out of 225 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 10, 2014

    Anything Diana writes is worth the wait. This book included. P

    Anything Diana writes is worth the wait. This book included. Please do NOT lower the books rating with your childish rants.. Wait until you have received and read it and then give an honest opinion.

    34 out of 43 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 10, 2014

    With all of the historical research it takes for Ms. Gabaldon to

    With all of the historical research it takes for Ms. Gabaldon to write just one of these books I believe each person who has a complaint really needs to shut up. Really? Are you serious? Ms. Gabaldon doesn't control the publication company and if there is something wrong with the book (the type, the cover, anything) and it was pushed out to the public anyway, then you'd be complaining about the poor quality of the book. Shut up. Grow up. Wait. Oh, and shut up!

    27 out of 41 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 11, 2013

    JUNE 10 2014

    FRAUD FRAUD FRAUD this was supposed to be shipped YESTERDAY!!!!!!!!

    27 out of 199 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 13, 2014

    Jaime and Claire are maturing as a couple as they age and circum

    Jaime and Claire are maturing as a couple as they age and circumstances (in this case the Revolutionary War, Claire's wound ) dictate
    yet that undying  and transcending love still shimmers between them which is what makes women swoon and continue to read the
    series.  This book just leaves the reader wanting more.  How much longer do Jaime and Claire have together?  I really like the character
    development of Ian and Rachel as they navigate their world and choices they have to make.  However, what really interests me is the
    relationship between William and his two fathers.  This book doesn't deal with that relationship, I so hope the next one does.  Then there
    is  Bree and Roger and their family as they have to cope with family, time travel and the modern world.  I want so badly for Jaime to have
     his children in his life.  Jem is so much like his grandda that I ache for that very special relationship.  Jem seems to have combined both 
    experiences of living in the past and the present to make him such interesting character.   I finished the book in two days and am ready
    for the next one.  Hurry Up Diana! 

    20 out of 20 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 25, 2014

    New wait time

    I don't mind waiting. That's a lie. Yes I do. This is almost as bad as waiting on the supposed last book in the Wheel of Time series by robert jordan. Although, since he died, I guess he had a really good reason to miss publication date. Please don't push date back any more. My nerves can't take it.

    20 out of 113 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 10, 2014

    Gabaldon at her best!

    It doesn't let you down!!!

    14 out of 18 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 18, 2014

    It was probably the worst book of the series

    It fell flat. It was felt like a book written to end the series. The meat was not there. I was very disappointed in the book. If another book is ever written in this series I'll be amazed.

    It is a sadly done wrap up of a phenomenal series.

    Very disappointed

    13 out of 23 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 13, 2014

    Well Worth The Wait

    Wow just finished this part in the Fraser lives and found it near perfect. It is easily as readable as the first book, which while I enjoyed the others they were at times difficult to get to the finish. Jamie and Claire lives continue on with the rich love they share for each other and their kin. As well the political intrigue and battles, both small scale and large that accompany them. Bree, Roger, Jem and Mandy have more their fair share of difficulties too and I really would have liked to see more of them. Lord John and his family make their presence felt. A neat trick in the middle of the Revolutionary War. One comment this book dosen't stand alone at all. Read the others first.

    12 out of 13 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 11, 2014

    Absolutely the most beautifully written and plotted series I've

    Absolutely the most beautifully written and plotted series I've ever been lucky enough to read...and then there's JAMMF. <3

    11 out of 15 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 11, 2014

    Ah, it is so good to be back with Jamie and Claire again.  Hands

    Ah, it is so good to be back with Jamie and Claire again.  Hands down my favorite literary couple of all time.  Diana is a masterful storyteller, as usual, and I can't put the book down. 

    11 out of 13 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 14, 2014

    Decidedly below par. It was a distinct case of deja vu all over

    Decidedly below par. It was a distinct case of deja vu all over again. At some point, successful authors do not feel the need for
    editors to work on their books. This book needs pruning. 

    I also find it hard to believe that Claire did not get the entire history of the American Revolution from her daughter. At least the
    major battles. 

    And a few historical errors. Women generally did not use leather ties in their stays and did not knot
    the ties. There was no such thing as tea bricks anywhere in the British colonies.

    10 out of 21 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted June 10, 2014

    Diana does it again!

    Diana does it again!

    9 out of 11 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 13, 2014

    Conundrum

    How did the MacKenzie family get from 1738 Scotland to 1778 North Carolina? To me, this is a big hole in the plotline. Sure wish Gabaldon had included an explanation of this phenomenen--unless, of course, she's planning yet another book.

    7 out of 13 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 15, 2014

    I HATED TO FINISH this wonderful book!  It took me a little whil

    I HATED TO FINISH this wonderful book!  It took me a little while to fall into the flow-- but, lots & lots of pages to become involved.  Think I will have to go back and reread the previous books again! :-).     Will patiently (LOL) wait for the next book!  Learned a lot of historical information, medical wisdom and lovedthe ending...... or beginning??

    6 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 10, 2014

    It's June 10th

    Where is it?

    6 out of 45 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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