You probably have seen the Outlander TV series or, maybe, read a few background stories.
I’m not going to lie, the drama series is quite good. An 8.9 rating on Rotten Tomatoes, come on, that’s a very high score.
But… don’t be fooled, the books are much better! They’re good and they’re huge—like, one thousand pages on average.
To make a short story long, Outlander is a nine-book series (well, soon to be ten books) and it follows a woman named Claire Beauchamp Randall who after touching a mysterious rock, is transported back to 1743 Scotland, a period when Scotland is ravaged by wars and bordering clan raids.
She meets with a Highlander named Jamie Fraser (and they fall in love), and that fateful meeting is the seed from which the story grows.
So, here’s a post that has all the Outlander books in order, reviews the best five Outlander books, and answers a few FAQs. But first, let’s get to know the author.
Best 3 Outlander Books
Who Wrote the Outlander Book Series?
Dr. Diana J. Gabaldon is the author of the Outlander books, the first of which was published in 1989.
Gabaldon was born on January 11, 1952, in Scottsdale, Arizona, United States, to Jacqueline Tony and Sykes Gabaldon. Diana grew up in Flagstaff, Arizona, where Tonny Gabaldon was a state senator.
Dr. Gabaldon holds three science degrees: a Ph.D. in behavioral ecology (Northern Arizona University, 1978), a master of science in marine biology (the University of California, 1978), and a bachelor of science in zoology (Northern Arizona University, 1973).
She was also awarded an honorary doctorate (Doctor of Humane Letters), which gives her the title Diana Gabaldon, Ph.D., D.H.L.
Although Outlander is her first novel, Dr. Gabaldon had been writing scientific articles and textbooks while working as a university professor. She also contributed to the MacMillan ENCYCLOPEDIA OF COMPUTERS, INFOWORLD magazine articles, and wrote several scripts for Walt Disney’s comic books.
All Outlander Books in Order
- Outlander/Cross Stitch (1991)
- Dragonfly in Amber (1992)
- Voyager (1993)
- Drums of Autumn (1996)
- The Fiery Cross (2001)
- A Breath of Snow and Ashes (2005)
- An Echo in the Bone (2009)
- Written in My Own Heart’s Blood (2014)
- Go Tell the Bees That I Am Gone (2021)
Best 5 Outlander Books
1. Outlander (Outlander #1)
The first in this historical fantasy series, Outlander introduces us to Claire Randall, a former combat nurse.
It is 1945 and Claire has returned from World War II. She goes on a second honeymoon with her husband but while plant-gathering, she touches a mysterious rock in an ancient stone ruin and finds herself in 1743 Scotland. It’s a region and period ravaged by war and raiding border clans and she either finds her way back to 1945 or adapts to her new timeline.
This is a difficult time to live in because, apart from the wars, superstition is still rife during this period.
Gabaldon evoked all her genius to craft this story. She blended elements like history, romance, and conflict to stitch together one of the greatest fantasy novel series of all time.
2. Written In My Own Heart’s Blood (Outlander #8)
Gabaldon has admitted that at the time she was writing some of the Outlander books (at least the first book), she had not traveled to Scotland.
But this book is different because the story happens on American soil. The story is set in the American Revolutionary War period, and the Battle of Monmouth is a major event in the story.
This is a complex storyline, and it has multiple interwoven character backstories, but let me try to summarize it for you.
When Jamie is presumed dead at sea, Claire marries John to gain protection. However, Jamie is not dead, and when he returns, there’s a fight between the two men. After that, Lord John’s illegitimate son discovers that Jamie is his biological father.
In the same ceremony, Ian, whom William has to call cousin after the revelations, marries Rachel Hunter, and Denzell (Rachel’s brother) marries Lord John’s niece, Dorothea.
Jamie Fraser leaves the Continental Army after Claire gets injured at Monmouth and they return to their farm settlement in North Carolina.
Meanwhile, in the 20th century, Brianna’s son, Jeremiah, is kidnapped. Brianna’s husband, Roger, in search of Jeremiah, travels back to the past. But, unbeknownst to him, the kidnapper is still in the present and he is going after Brianna, his actual target.
3. Dragonfly In Amber (Outlander #2)
In Dragonfly In Amber, which is the second Outlander book, Gabaldon tells another epic, rich, and long story. Once again, book 2 explores Jamie and Claire’s relationship and shows its strength.
The story starts in 3rd POV. It’s 1968, and Claire and Brianna return to Scotland and want Roger, Reverend Reginald Wakefield’s adopted son, to help her search for survivors of Culloden. During his research, Roger finds out that Claire went missing and came back with the child.
Then there is a switch to first person POV again as Claire narrates the time of her relationship with Jamie Fraser. She recounts their intrigue-ridden time in Paris, politics, and their quest to stop a chain of events that would alter the course of Scotland’s history.
4. Voyager (Outlander #3)
It’s been twenty years since Jamie and Claire last saw each other. Claire thought Jamie was dead, and Jamie did know if Claire and his daughter Brianna had made it back to her timeline.
When Claire discovers that Jamie survived, she uses stones to travel through time again. Her arrival in Jamie’s 18th century Scotland leaves Jamie and others who had heard of her astounded.
Jamie and Claire spend a lot of time updating each other on things that happened while they were apart. Twenty years is a long time, and we expected a lot to have happened in that period, but Jamie has some things that he doesn’t want Claire to know. He thinks it is better that way, but when she finds out about these things, Claire sees the omission of details as pure lies.
The need to pay Jamie’s debt of honor takes the couple to the Caribbean, where they’ll encounter the slave trade, diseases, and dark magic.
5. Drums of Autumn (Outlander #4)
We’re going right into the spoilers with this one.
So, it’s 1970, and Brianna and Roger Wakefield are in love. While Roger does not doubt that he’s found his soul mate, Brianna thinks that things between them are moving just a bit too fast. When Brianna discovers her parent’s obituary, she decides to travel through the stones in search of her parents. She wants to save them from a house fire that took their lives.
Roger realizes what Brianna has done and finds a way to follow her to the past. But the merriment of their reunion is cut short when Brianna finds out that Roger knew about the obituary all along and hid the information from her. The discovery brings tension between them, and Brianna proceeds west to find Jamie and Claire.
Then the story takes a bad turn when Brianna reunites with her parents. Brianna told her parents that she was raped in Washington. When Jamie meets Roger, he mistakenly thinks that Roger is the boy who raped and impregnated Brianna. Roger is beaten and sold to the Mohawk, but when Brianna learns of this, she tells her parents to go and bring Roger back. When they do, Roger is informed about the rape. He has a hard choice to make because now he knows that the child in Brianna’s womb might not be his.
There is a lot more I could say about this story because it is characteristically very thick. But I guess you have to find out for yourself.
How many books are there in the Outlander series?
There are nine books in the Outlander series: Outlander, Dragonfly in Amber, Voyager, Drums of Autumn, The Fiery Cross, A Breath of Snow and Ashes, An Echo in the Bone, Written in My Own Heart’s Blood, and Go Tell the Bees That I Am Gone.
Will there be Book 10 of Outlander?
Gabaldon says that she’s working on Outlander book 10, which has not been titled yet.
Will the 10th Outlander book be the last?
Yes and no. It will be Jamie and Claire’s story, but there will be other stories happening in the Outlander universe. So, expect to see another book within the Outlander setting.
Does Jamie ever travel to the future?
No. Jamie has never traveled to the future, and there’s no possibility of him ever traveling there.
Are all the locations in the Outlander books real?
Some are real, while others are not. Loch Ness, Inverness, Fort William, and many others are real.
Diana Gabaldon is a wife, mother, grandmother, and, most of all, a literary genius. In the Outlander books, she serves up epic tales, rich in detail and vivid imagery, and spiced with powerful prose.
All the Outlander books are filled with so much adventure and take place during important historical events or times.
And, the characters are relatable people who live relatable lives, be it in the past or in modern times. Of course, having a best five list is a matter of personal opinion, and I can guarantee there will be one or two Outlander diehards that will disagree with my best 5.
But if there is one thing we can all agree on, it is that the Outlander book series is an absolutely excellent read.