Even before the Starz TV series, the Oulander book series was quite popular. Now, it’s even bigger, and there is a lot to read. So, follow the guide.
What is Outlander?
Written by Diana Gabaldon, Outlander is a mix of historical fiction with a healthy touch of romance, adventures, mysteries and, of course, elements of science fiction (you know, time travel!).
The story follows a 20th-century British nurse named Claire Randall. When she inadvertably time travels to 18th-century Scotland, she meets the Highland warrior Jamie Fraser.
Outlander Books in Order:
I’ll propose you two reading guides. The first one with a separation between the novels and the shorts/novellas. The second one following the chronological order of the stories, mixing novels and shorts.
Why two? Because the short stories and novellas have been written to be read independently, they are stand-alone stories, mostly about secondary characters – you can read them, you can skip them. However, it’s not the same with the novels. You need to read them in order.
I. Outlander Novels in Order
- Outlander – Scottish Highlands, 1945. Claire Randall, a former British combat nurse, is just 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 circles that dot the British Isles. Suddenly she is a Sassenach – an ‘outlander’ – in a Scotland torn by war and raiding clans in the year of Our Lord … 1743. Published in the UK and Australia as Cross Stitch.
- Dragonfly in Amber – For twenty years, Claire Randall has kept her secrets. But now she is returning with her grown daughter to the mysteries of Scotland’s mist-shrouded Highlands.
- Voyager – Claire discovers that Jamie survived. Torn between returning to him and staying with their daughter in her own era, Claire must choose her destiny. And as time and space come full circle, she must find the courage to face the passion and the pain awaiting her … the deadly intrigues raging in a divided Scotland … and the daring voyage into the dark unknown that can reunite – or forever doom – her timeless love.
- Drums of Autumn – Brianna, Claire’s Daughter, has made a disturbing discovery that sends her to the stone circle and a terrifying leap into the unknown. In search of her mother and the father she has never met, she is risking her own future to try to change history … and to save their lives. But as Brianna plunges into an uncharted wilderness, a heartbreaking encounter may strand her forever in the past … or root her in the place she should be, where her heart and soul belong…
- The Fiery Cross – Claire’s unique view of the future has brought Jamie both danger and deliverance in the past; her knowledge of the oncoming revolution is a flickering torch that may light his way through the perilous years ahead – or ignite a conflagration that will leave their lives in ashes…
- A Breath of Snow and Ashes – With chaos brewing, the governor calls upon Jamie Fraser to unite the backcountry and safeguard the colony for King and Crown. But from his wife Jamie knows that three years hence the shot heard round the world will be fired, and the result will be independence – with those loyal to the King either dead or in exile. And there is also the matter of a tiny clipping from The Wilmington Gazette, dated 1776, which reports Jamie’s death, along with his kin. For once, he hopes, his time-traveling family may be wrong about the future.
- An Echo in the Bone – Jamie is already certain of three things about the American rebellion: The Americans will win, fighting on the side of victory is no guarantee of survival, and he’d rather die than have to face his illegitimate son – a young lieutenant in the British army – across the barrel of a gun. Claire knows that the Americans will win, too, but not what the ultimate price may be. That price won’t include Jamie’s life or his happiness, though – not if she has anything to say about it.
- 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.
- Go Tell the Bees That I Am Gone (coming soon)
The novellas and short stories
- A Leaf on the Wind of All Hallows – a short story in Songs of Love and Death, an anthology. Set in the 1940s, this is the story of Roger MacKenzie’s parents.
- The Space Between – a novella published in The Mad Scientist’s Guide to World Domination, an anthology. Set in 1778 in Paris, this is a story about Michael Murray (Young Ian’s elder brother), Joan MacKimmie (Marsali’s younger sister), the Comte St. Germain (who is Not Dead After All), Mother Hildegarde, and a few others.
- Virgins – a novella about Jamie and Ian as young mercenaries in France.
- A Fugitive Green (coming soon) – a novella about Hal, the death of his first wife, and meeting Minnie.
- The Exile: An Outlander Graphic Novel – a retelling of the first third of Outlander from Jamie’s point of view in Graphic Novel form.
- A Trail of Fire – a collection of short stories from the Outlander series and Lord John Series.
- Seven Stones to Stand or Fall – a collection of seven Outlander stories.
- The Lord John Series – A spin-off series about Lord John Grey, for more, see at the end of this article.
II. Outlander’s Chronological Reading Order
- Virgins (novella)
- Outlander (novel)
- The Exile: An Outlander Graphic Novel (covers the first third of Outlander from Jamie’s perspective)
- Dragonfly in Amber (novel)
- A Fugitive Green (novella)
- Voyager (novel)
- The Lord John Series (spin-off series taking place during the events of Voyager, more information after)
- Drums of Autumn (novel)
- The Fiery Cross (novel)
- A Breath of Snow and Ashes (novel)
- An Echo in the Bone (novel)
- The Space Between (novella)
- Written in My Own Heart’s Blood (novel)
- A Leaf on the Wind of All Hallows (short story with a part that coincides with Written in My Own Heart’s Blood)
- Go Tell the Bees That I Am Gone (soon)
The Lord John Series in order
This is spin-off series about Lord John Grey, who is a recurring secondary character from the Outlander novels. His stories take place between 1756 and 1761, during the events of Voyager.
- Lord John and the Hellfire Club – Novella collected in Lord John and the Hand of Devils about Lord John Grey searching for the man who killed a recent acquaintance of his.
- Lord John and the Private Matter – When Lord John sees something shocking in his London club and start investigating that occurrence.
- Lord John and the Succubus – Novella collected in Lord John and the Hand of Devils about Lord John Grey who is drawn into investigating a series of mysterious deaths among the encamped German and English soldiers in the town of Gundwitz during the Seven Years’ War.
- Lord John and the Brotherhood of the Blade – Set during the Seven Years War, Lord John Grey pursues a deadly family secret and a clandestine love affair against an eighteenth-century background of politics, treason, and battle.
- Lord John and the Haunted Soldier – Novella collected in Lord John and the Hand of Devils about Lord Grey searching for an explanation about the abrupt death of Lieutenant Philip Lister after taking command of the cannon crew.
- The Custom of the Army – Novella collected in Seven Stones to Stand or Fall about Lord John Grey finding himself playing a crucial role in the Battle of Quebec.
- The Scottish Prisoner – Lord John Grey finds himself in possession of a packet of explosive documents that exposes a damning case of corruption against a British officer. But they also hint at a more insidious danger. Time is of the essence as the investigation leads to Ireland, with a baffling message left in ‘Erse,’ the tongue favored by Scottish Highlanders.
- A Plague of Zombies – Novella collected in Seven Stones to Stand or Fall about Lord John Grey posted to Jamaica to assist the governor as he faces a most unusual kind of uprising among the colony’s slave population.
- Besieged – Novella collected in Seven Stones to Stand or Fall about Lord Grey intends to rescue his mother during the Siege of Havana.