Outlander fans have had a lot to cheer about recently, including the return of the fantastical romance tale in its sixth season on Starz, a brand new storyline based on series author Diana Gabaldon’s latest novel, Go Tell the Bees That I Am Gone, and the announcement of a new prequel series.
There’s never been a better time to immerse yourself in the vast literary universe that is the Outlander series. Gabaldon confirmed earlier this year that she is beginning work on the tenth, and most likely final, installment in the main series. If you like the Starz show but haven’t read any of the Outlander books, you might be surprised to learn that there are more than a dozen published works that make up the world of the sci-fi-turned-historical-fiction story. Canonically, there are a total of nine main novels featuring series mainstays Jamie and Claire Fraser. Because these novels are intended to be read independently, many series fans have only read this collection of novels that inspired the Outlander series as we know it.
While we recap each of the main series novels in our Outlander books guide below, here’s how you can consume all of Gabaldon’s offerings in strict chronological order:
#1. Virgins, a novella – If you want to read the series in chronological order, start with this prequel novella. Jamie Fraser, a 19-year-old, is introduced in 18th-century France, where he and his best friend Ian Murray become mercenaries and learn what it truly means to be a man.
#2. Outlander – The epic that started it all. Claire Randall, a former combat nurse, goes on a Scottish honeymoon with her new husband, Frank, in 1945, only to find herself unexpectedly thrust two centuries into the past. She arrives in 18th-century Scotland at a critical juncture, just before the Jacobite Risings, and must navigate the harsh realities of the past, as well as her feelings for strapping Scot Jamie Fraser.
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I. Dragonfly in Amber – The second Outlander novel alternates between present and past, beginning with Claire in her own time and then flashing back to her adventures with Jamie in 18th century Paris, and their efforts to thwart the Jacobite rising.
II. A Fugitive Green – The first in a series of novellas focusing on Lord John Grey, this story follows his older brother, Hal, a rare books dealer whose less-legal side hustles take him all over Europe.
III. Voyager – In the third Outlander novel, Claire is desperate to find a way back to Jamie after discovering that he did not die in the battle she had always assumed he did. She’s reunited with Jamie after hurling back through time, but their happiness is short-lived due to pirates. They set out across the Atlantic to save Jamie’s nephew, who had been kidnapped.
IV. The Lord John Series – which includes excerpts from, among other books, Seven Stones to Stand or Fall, Lord John and the Hand of Devils, Lord John and the Private Matter, Lord John and the Brotherhood of the Blade, and The Scottish Prisoner. This is the first of three novellas in Lord John and the Hand of Devils, but it can also be purchased as a standalone story. It is set in 18th century London and follows Grey’s quest for answers after witnessing a murder.
V. Drums of Autumn – The fourth Outlander novel begins with Jamie and Claire establishing a life for themselves in the New World, aka the North Carolina mountains. Meanwhile, Brianna searches for ways to travel back in time to reunite with her parents.
VI. The Fiery Cross – The fifth Outlander novel is set in North Carolina during the War of the Regulation, which Gabaldon describes as “more or less a dress rehearsal for the oncoming Revolution.” As violence looms, Jamie and Claire fight to keep the sanctuary they’ve created at Fraser’s Ridge.
VII. A Breath of Snow and Ashes – The sixth Outlander novel picks up where the fifth left off, with political unrest in the colonies beginning to boil over. Claire’s medical knowledge continues to put her in danger in A Breath of Snow and Ashes, as rumors about her being a witch spread. Meanwhile, as the Revolutionary War approaches, Jamie’s loyalties are torn.
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VIII. An Echo in the Bone – Even by Outlander standards, this is an epic, jumping between America, England, Scotland, and Canada to follow the stories of Jamie and Claire, Roger and Bree, Lord John, and Young Ian during the American Revolution.
IX. The Space Between – a novella, Set in Paris, this novella focuses on Young Ian’s older brother, Michael Murray, and Marsali’s younger sister, Joan MacKimmie, who arrives in France to become a nun.
X. Written in My Own Heart’s Blood – Picking up immediately after the harrowing events of the seventh book, Written In My Own Heart’s Blood explores the impact of the Revolutionary War on all of our favorite characters. It depicts several historical events, including the Battle of Monmouth.
XI. A Leaf on the Wind of All Hallows – which takes place within the novel mentioned above. This short story, set in the twentieth century, tells the true story of Roger MacKenzie’s parents. Roger, who was orphaned during WWII, grew up believing that his mother died in the Blitz and that his father’s plane was shot down in combat—but neither is true.
XII. Go Tell the Bees That I’m Gone – The ninth Outlander novel is now available, and because plot details have been kept under wraps, we’ll quote Gabaldon’s own synopsis here: “The past may appear to be the safest place to be… However, this is the most dangerous time to be alive… The Jacobite Rising in 1743 tore Jamie Fraser and Claire Randall apart, and it took them twenty years to find each other again. The American Revolution is now threatening to do the same.”