Anyone who really knows me knows how obsessed I am with Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series. It’s such a fun read, filled with elements from essentially every genre there is. At the heart of the series is the romance between James Fraser and Claire Randall, but Gabaldon has created a world of characters that add so many other layers to the story that make it more than just a romance. It’s an epic adventure that spans over 40 years. My people only choose to read the core eight books in the series, but I decided to compile a list that includes Gabaldon’s spin-off series, The Lord John Grey Mysteries, to the reading order. Check out the list below, and be sure to check out Diana Gabaldon’s site to read her thoughts on the correct reading order.
1.) “Virgins” (Novella) – Dangerous Women anthology (Outlander Prequel story)
Set in 1740, in France. In which Jamie Fraser (aged nineteen) and his friend Ian Murray (aged twenty) become young mercenaries.
The year is 1945. Claire Randall, a former 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 border clans in the year of Our Lord…1743.
Hurled back in time by forces she cannot understand, Claire is catapulted into the intrigues of lairds and spies that may threaten her life, and shatter her heart. For here James Fraser, a gallant young Scots warrior, shows her a love so absolute that Claire becomes a woman torn between fidelity and desire—and between two vastly different men in two irreconcilable lives.
For twenty years Claire Randall has kept her secrets, but now she is returning to Scotland’s majestic mist-shrouded hills. Here Claire plans to reveal a truth about what happened to her all those years ago: about the mystery of an ancient circle of standing stones … about a love that transcends the boundaries of time … and about James Fraser, a Scottish warrior whose gallantry once drew a young Claire from the security of her century to the dangers of his….
Now a legacy of blood and desire will test her beautiful copper-haired daughter, Brianna, as Claire’s spellbinding journey of self-discovery continues in the intrigue-ridden Paris court of Charles Stuart … in a race to thwart a doomed Highlands uprising … and in a desperate fight to save both the child and the man she loves….
Their passionate encounter happened long ago by whatever measurement Claire Randall took. Two decades before, she had traveled back in time and into the arms of a gallant eighteenth-century Scot named Jamie Fraser. Claire must choose her destiny. And the deadly intrigues raging in a divided Scotland.
This is my favorite Outlander book to date, as the love between Claire and Jamie is more mature after everything they’ve been through. They still have their fiery passion, however, but they’re more resolved to keeping their relationship strong. I also love the new characters in this novel, even the ones I love to hate, and many of the events that happen in Voyager carry ramifications into future novels.
Lord John glimpses a stranger in the doorway of a gentlemen’s club—and is stirred by a desperate entreaty to meet in private. The rendezvous forestalled by a sudden murder, Lord John will wade into a maze of political treachery and a dangerous, debauched underground society.
Major Lord John Grey, opens the door to his own part of this world — eighteenth-century London, a seething anthill of nobility and rabble peopled by soldiers and spies, whores and dukes. Great Britain is battling France for supremacy on three continents — and life is good for a soldier.
7.) Lord John And The Hand Of Devils, “Lord John and the Succubus” – Lord John Grey (Novella #1.5)
English soldiers fighting in Prussia are rattled by the nocturnal visitations of a deadly woman who sucks life and soul from a man. Called to investigate the night-hag, Lord John finds a murdered soldier and a treacherous Gypsy, and comes to the stark realization that among the spirits that haunt men, none frighten more than the specters conjured by the heart.
Lord John Grey is a soldier, gentleman, and no mean hand with a blade. Here Diana Gabaldon brilliantly weaves together the strands of Lord John’s secret and public lives in a shattering family mystery, a love affair with potentially disastrous consequences, and a war that stretches from the Old World to the New. . . .
9.) Lord John And The Hand Of Devils, “Lord John and the Haunted Soldier” – Lord John Grey (Novella #2.5)
Lord John is thrust into the deadly case of an exploding battlefield cannon. Wounded in the same battle, Lord John is called to tesify and soon confronts his own ghost—and the shattering prospect that a traitor is among the ranks of His Majesty’s armed forces.
London, 1759. After a high society electric-eel party leads to a duel that ends badly, Lord John Grey feels the need to lie low for a while. Conveniently, before starting his new commission in His Majesty’s army, Lord John receives an urgent summons. An old friend from the military, Charlie Carruthers, is facing court-martial in Canada, and has called upon Lord John to serve as his character witness. Grey voyages to the New World—a land rife with savages (many of them on his own side) and cleft by war—where he soon finds that he must defend not only his friend’s life but his own.
Set in the heart of the eighteenth century, Lord John’s world is one of mystery and menace. Diana Gabaldon brilliantly weaves together the strands of Lord John’s secret and public lives. Capturing the lonely, tormented, and courageous career of a man who fights for his crown, his honor, and his own secrets.
Lord John Grey, a lieutenant-colonel in His Majesty’s army, arrives in Jamaica with orders to quash a slave rebellion brewing in the mountains. But a much deadlier threat lies close at hand. The governor of the island is being menaced by zombies, according to a servant. Lord John has no idea what a zombie is, but it doesn’t sound good. It sounds even worse when hands smelling of grave dirt come out of the darkness to take him by the throat. Between murder in the governor’s mansion and plantations burning in the mountains, Lord John will need the wisdom of serpents and the luck of the devil to keep the island from exploding.
It began at an ancient Scottish stone circle. There, a doorway, open to a select few, leads into the past—or the grave. Dr. Claire Randall survived the extraordinary passage, not once but twice.
Her first trip swept her into the arms of Jamie Fraser, an eighteenth-century Scot whose love for her became a legend—a tale of tragic passion that ended with her return to the present to bear his child. Her second journey, two decades later, brought them together again in the American colonies. But Claire had left someone behind in the twentieth century—their daughter, Brianna….
Now Brianna has made a disturbing discovery that sends her to the circle of stones 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 year is 1771, and war is coming. Jamie Fraser’s wife tells him so. Little as he wishes to, he must believe it, for hers is a gift of dreadful prophecy—a time-traveler’s certain knowledge. Claire’s unique view of the future has brought him 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.
The year is 1772, and on the eve of the American Revolution, the long fuse of rebellion has already been lit. Men lie dead in the streets of Boston, and in the backwoods of North Carolina, isolated cabins burn in the forest.
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.
Jamie Fraser, erstwhile Jacobite and reluctant rebel, knows three things about the American rebellion: the Americans will win, unlikely as that seems in 1778; being on the winning side is no guarantee of survival; and he’d rather die than face his illegitimate son — a young lieutenant in the British Army — across the barrel of a gun. Fraser’s time-travelling wife, Claire, also knows a couple of things: that the Americans will win, but that the ultimate price of victory is a mystery. What she does believe is that the price won’t include Jamie’s life or happiness — not if she has anything to say.
Joan MacKimmie is on her way to Paris to take up her vocation as a nun. Yet her decision is less a matter of faith than fear, for Joan is plagued by mysterious voices that speak of the future, and by visions that mark those about to die. The sanctuary of the nunnery promises respite from these unwanted visitations . . . or so she prays. Her chaperone is Michael Murray, a young widower who, though he still mourns the death of his wife, finds himself powerfully drawn to his charge. But when the time-traveling Comte St. Germain learns of Joan’s presence in Paris, and of her link to Claire Fraser—La Dame Blanche—Murray is drawn into a battle whose stakes are not merely the life but the very soul of the Scotswoman who, without even trying, has won his heart.
In June of 1778, the world turns upside-down. The British army withdraws from Philadelphia, and George Washington prepares to move from Valley Forge in pursuit. Meanwhile, Claire Fraser deals with an asthmatic duke, Benedict Arnold…
This book was addictive! I could barely put it down. Aside from a few extremely descriptive scenes that went on for way too long, I couldn’t stop talking about Written in My Own Heart’s Blood all last summer.
Orphaned during World War II, Roger believed that his mother died during the London Blitz, and that his father, an RAF pilot, was killed in combat. But in An Echo in the Bone, Roger discovers that this may not be the whole story. Now, in “A Leaf on the Wind of All Hallows,” readers finally learn the truth.
This story kind of takes place in the middle of Written in My Own Heart’s Blood. Roger MacKenzie learns more about what became of his parents, and has an adventure that reader’s learn more about in the 8th Outlander novel.
So there you have it folks! If you want to check out this series, but don’t want to read the novellas, that’s fine. This series can be enjoyed on its own. However, the later Outlander novels do mention things that happen in the novellas, and it helps to have prior knowledge of these events. As for me, I didn’t read the Lord John Grey Mysteries until I had read the majority of the main series. These novellas have helped changed my opinion about Lord John, and turned him into a character that I really like, instead of a nuisance. So happy reading, and be sure to check out the adapted series, Outlander, on STARZ Saturday’s a 9PM.
Synopses (Edited for Major Spoilers): Goodreads