Friday, November 27, 2009


Today, November 27, is the official release date for the German translation of AN ECHO IN THE BONE, titled ECHO DER HOFFNUNG. Congratulations to Diana, and also to Barbara Schnell, her German translator. Translating a book of that size (and doing much of that translation while Diana was still working on the original!) is a huge undertaking, and I'm so happy for Barbara that the book is out at last!

I don't speak or read German, so I asked Barbara (who frequently posts on Compuserve) to explain the German title. She said that ECHO DER HOFFNUNG means "Echo of Hope". And I think it's appropriate, because--despite all the cliffhangers and unresolved storylines--the book ends on such a sweet, romantic (and yes, hopeful) note.

I also noticed, looking at the publisher's description of the book, that the German version is 1024 pages, which is about 25% longer than the original. (Another testament to the enormous effort involved in the translation!) I suppose it just takes more words, or longer ones, in German to express the same concepts?

If you want to learn more about the German edition of ECHO or any of Diana's earlier books, visit And Barbara Schnell also has a web site. Check out her wonderful photography, including some very nice photos of Diana!

Monday, November 23, 2009

A GPS for my birthday!

In honor of my birthday today....a rare post that has nothing much to do with the OUTLANDER books.

I have a notoriously poor sense of direction, and so I have been wanting to get a GPS for a long, long time. My parents bought me one for my birthday this year. Here's what it looks like:

It's a Garmin nuvi 765T, and I am having a lot of fun learning how to use it today. So far, so good. Went to get my driver's license renewed this morning, at a place that's a little complicated to get to. The GPS got me there and back with no problems at all. (And I discovered that it's much easier to read street signs from the little GPS screen on the dashboard than by looking out the window in the pouring rain. <g>)

Thanks to everyone for the birthday wishes! Diana asked for my mailing address this morning because she wants to send me a "wee giftie". I wonder what that could be? Possibly something she picked up during her recent travels? Whatever it is, it's really sweet of her to send me a present.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Thanks from Diana

I was delighted to see this, from Diana, on Compuserve this morning:
I was telling Karen elsewhere that she should be gold-plated and Displayed in Public as the perfect model of The Ideal SL. <g> Wise, tireless, insightful, and patient--and I've never seen anybody online work harder than she has during the two months since ECHO came out!

I HUGELY appreciate her skilful handling of the post-pub process on the book--so smart, dividing the book-threads by chapter chunks (even though tidying discussions back into their proper threads was a full-time job by itself!), and then carefully splitting out separate discussions to keep the size of threads more manageable.

Frankly, I doubt that I can do anything _like_ such a good job--and thank goodness Karen will still be here to help <g>--but now that I'm back from the wars, I can at least take some of the burden off Karen's shoulders, and let her have a little well-earned rest.

So---<applause, applause>....and a standing ovation!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Diana's book-tour is over

Diana Gabaldon's two-month-long book-tour of the U.S., Canada, New Zealand, and Australia came to an end today, and she is back home at last!

I am delighted that she has come home for good, because it means that my job as Section Leader in the Diana Gabaldon section of the Compuserve Books & Writers Forum is about to get much, much easier. I do my best to answer questions in Diana's absence, but really, there's no substitute for getting answers directly from Herself. <g> And now that she's no longer a) traveling, or b) under deadline pressure, Diana will have a lot more time to respond to questions and comments on the forum.

It's been an exhilarating, entertaining, and sometimes exhausting two months since AN ECHO IN THE BONE came out. (Has it really only been two months? It feels much longer than that!) I'm delighted by the response to the initial discussions of the book on Compuserve, but at the same time I'm rather worn out by the effort it's taken to keep up with all the posts. I am most definitely in need of a break!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

ECHO pictures

Here are some pictures to illustrate some of the scenes in AN ECHO IN THE BONE.

Fort Ticonderoga from Mt Defiance 7-2004

Ft. Ticonderoga, seen from Mt. Defiance

The fort could indeed hold out against standard siege tactics; forage and provisions had been coming in from the surrounding countryside in abundance, and Ticonderoga still had some artillery defenses and the small wooden fort on Mount Independence, as well as a substantial garrison decently supplied with muskets and powder. It could not hold out against major artillery placed on Mount Defiance, though. Jamie had been up there, and told me that the entire interior of the fort was visible— and thus subject to enfiladement at the enemy’s discretion.

(From An Echo in the Bone by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 50 ("Exodus"), p. 474. Copyright© 2009 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)
Great Dismal Swamp

The Great Dismal Swamp

He was standing in a peat bog; there was spongy vegetation under his feet, but the water rose up over the tops of his boots. He wasn’t sinking, but he couldn’t pull the boots out with his feet still in them and was obliged to draw his feet out one at a time, then wrench the boots free and squelch toward higher ground in his stockings, boots in his hands.

(From An Echo in the Bone by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 36 ("The Great Dismal"), p. 373. Copyright© 2009 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)
Great Dismal - Lake Drummond

Great Dismal Swamp - Lake Drummond

The smooth surface of the water reflected the trees standing in it so perfectly that he could not be sure quite where he himself was, balanced precariously between two looking- glass worlds. He kept losing his sense of up and down, the dizzying sight through the branches of the towering cypress above the same as that below. The trees loomed more than eighty feet over him, and the sight of drifting clouds seeming to sail straight through the gently stirring branches below gave him the constant queer sense that he was about to fall—-up or down, he couldn’t tell. (Chapter 37, p. 379)

(From An Echo in the Bone by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 37 ("Purgatory"), p. 379. Copyright© 2009 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)

Aurora Borealis

Aurora Borealis
Did you see the aurora borealis when you were here, or was it too early in the Year? It is a most remarkable Sight. Snow has fallen all Day, but ceased near Sunset and the Sky has cleared. From my Window, I see a northern Exposure, and there is presently an amazing shimmer that fills the whole Sky, waves of pale blue and some green— though I have seen it to be red sometimes— that swirl like Drops of Ink spilt in Water and stirred.

(From An Echo in the Bone by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 24 ("Joyeux Noel"), p. 252. Copyright© 2009 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)
This site, from which the above picture was taken, has lots of amazing aurora pictures from Quebec. Check it out!

Pitlochry Dam and Fish Ladder

Pitlochry Dam and Fish Ladder, Scotland
Brianna paused by the fish-viewing chamber. It wasn’t yet the breeding season, when—she’d been told—the great salmon swarmed through the chutes of the fish ladder that allowed them to climb the dam at Pitlochry, but now and then a silvery flash shot into view with heart- stopping suddenness, fighting strongly against the current for a moment before shooting up into the tube that led to the next stage of the ladder. The chamber itself was a small white housing let into the side of the fish ladder, with an algae-clouded window. She’d paused there to gather her thoughts—or, rather, to suppress some of them—before going in to the dam.

(From An Echo in the Bone by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 46 ("Ley Lines"), p. 451. Copyright© 2009 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)
The Old High

The Old High Church, Inverness, Scotland
"Anyway, I’d sat down outside the High Street Church, for I knew that place, at least, and thought I’d go and ask the minister for a bite of bread when I’d got myself a bit more in hand. I was that wee bit rattled, ken,” he said, leaning confidentially toward Brianna.

(From An Echo in the Bone by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 72 ("The Feast of All Saints"), p. 625. Copyright© 2009 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)
The congregation of St. Stephen's, where Roger got a job as choirmaster, is the "sister church" of the 18th century kirk pictured above.

Want to see more?

If you like these, please check out my previous blog entries:

Historical Figures Mentioned in ECHO

OUTLANDER Links, Part VII: Gemstones

OUTLANDER Links, Part VI: Wildlife

OUTLANDER Links, Part V: Castles and Palaces

OUTLANDER Links, Part IV: Native Americans

OUTLANDER Links, Part III: All Things Scottish

OUTLANDER Links, Part II: Colonial North Carolina

OUTLANDER Links, Part I: Culloden

What Do These Things Look Like?

Finally, I just found out that Jari Backman's Google Earth OUTLANDER page has been updated to include places mentioned in ECHO. Thanks Jari! (If you have Google Earth installed, this is definitely worth seeing.)

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

A little news

Diana is in the middle of her Australian book-tour, but she took the time to post a couple of very interesting items on Compuserve earlier this week.


Here's what Diana had to say about LORD JOHN AND THE SCOTTISH PRISONER, the next Lord John novel, which she plans to work on in 2010 (along with Book 8):
Now, at the moment, I know pretty much _nothing_ about that book other than the title--but I do know something about the structure. I see it as a two-person book, with two alternating points of view: John's and Jamie's. I don't know that I've ever seen the "shape" of a book before writing it <g>--and I certainly don't have the internal shape of this one--but I do have a distinct feel of tectonic plate movement about it: big land-masses slowly colliding and sliding past each other, with the movement causing subsidence, orogeny, and volcanic eruptions.
I love the idea that half of this book will be told from Jamie's POV!

But I do hope someone tells Jeff Woodman (narrator of the Lord John audiobooks) about this, far enough in advance that he'll come up with a better Jamie-voice for SCOTTISH PRISONER than the one he used in BOTB, which I did not like at all.

"Leaf on the Wind" Excerpt

Diana also posted a new excerpt from the short story she's writing about Roger MacKenzie's parents, titled "A Leaf on the Wind of All Hallows".

Please keep in mind that I personally DO NOT peek at excerpts, except for the Lord John books; I haven't read this one, and I'm not planning to. If you want to comment on it, please post in the thread on Compuserve, or go to the LOL Excerpt Board. Thanks.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009


Here are the rest of the differences I found between OUTLANDER and CROSS STITCH. Please note, all quotes from OUTLANDER and CROSS STITCH listed below are copyright© 1991 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.

All page references below come from either the CROSS STITCH mass-market paperback edition, or the OUTLANDER hardcover edition.


From the scene where Murtagh and Claire are talking over breakfast at Lallybroch:
"Did she think I might be a witch?" I asked curiously.
(OUTLANDER p. 475)
I took a deep breath, almost fearing to ask what must come next. I had tried as hard as I could to forget those few moments near the loch, but the memory of Geillis Duncan was impossible to escape. A murderous woman, and plainly mad, but courageous nonetheless, and linked to me in a way that could not be denied, no matter what I felt for Geillis herself.
'And...Mrs. Duncan?' I asked softly. Murtagh paused for a moment, long enough to scratch one stubbled cheek, then bent his attention to mopping up the last dribble of honey on his plate with a blunt forefinger.
'Imprisoned,' he said briefly. 'Till the babe's born.'
'Imprisoned? You don't mean...not the thieves' hole?' The thought of anyone spending weeks and months in frigid darkness, let alone a pregnant woman, was appalling. The ivory bracelets clicked softly together as I clasped my hands in my lap.
Murtagh shook his head, still not looking at me.
'Nay. In the castle. Callum will keep her under ward, until the time to deliver her to the examiners.' He glanced at me then, with what might be a flicker of compassion.
'Dinna fret yourself; Mrs. Fitz will care for her--and the wean, when it's born. She'll find it a good home.'
This thought was a comfort, if a small one. I would trust Mrs. Fitz with my own wean, if I had one.
"Did she believe I was a witch--Mrs. Fitz, I mean?"
I asked curiously.
(CROSS STITCH pp. 655-56)
Almost a whole page, that doesn't appear at all in OUTLANDER. Verrry interesting! <g> But note that this version of events is contradicted by what we learn in VOYAGER, from Geillie herself, about how and where she spent the last part of her pregnancy.

Ronald MacNab arrives at Lallybroch riding a "garron" (CS p. 657), not a mule as in OUTLANDER.

This next quote makes me laugh, because I can't see the phrase "Lady of Lallybroch" without thinking of the fan site LOL.
"To be lady of a manor, or to sleep in the fields like a gypsy?" (OUTLANDER p. 480)
"To be Lady of Lallybroch, or to sleep in the fields like a gypsy?" (CS p. 661)

Several references to Beauly have been removed or altered:
"And the winter would set in shortly, making travel to Beauly impossible"
"No, most likely northeast, toward Beauly." (OUTLANDER p. 499)

"And the winter would set in shortly, making travel impossible."
"No, most likely northeast, towards Leoch." (CS p. 687)
This next bit seems to be a follow-up to the scene I mentioned earlier, telling the story of what happened to Geillis Duncan:
"Sent to the devil in a pllar of flame, under the branches of a rowan tree."
'I thought she wasn't to...die until after the baby was born.'
He glanced at me, still smiling, but I noticed the trickle of sweat making its way down the side of his neck.
'It's come. The wean was birthed afore time. Small, but a bonny boy nonetheless, strong and kicking, and yelling for the breast at once. He's his mother's eyes, the wee devil.'

I thought at first this merciless recitation of detail was meant to impress me, but I was wrong. (CS p. 699)
The part in red is missing from my OUTLANDER hardcover. (But say hello to Roger's ancestor, William Buccleigh MacKenzie <g>)


BJR's aide, Marley, is described as an "orderly" in OUTLANDER, but the word isn't used in CROSS STITCH as far as I can tell. For example:
Jamie whirled away and feinted with the stool, forcing the orderly back toward the door. (OUTLANDER p. 530)
Jamie whirled away and feinted with the stool, forcing the man back towards the door. (CS p. 730)

Spelling purists might disagree about this next one <g>:
"two large whiskys" (CS p. 754)
"two large whiskies" (OUTLANDER p. 547)
This one, I only noticed because the word "glowing" caught my eye, and I was surprised, when I went to check, that there was indeed a difference in the text, though it wasn't what I'd thought:
"the lovely glowing Sheraton desk in the corner" (OUTLANDER p. 551)
"the lovely glowing walnut desk in the corner" (CS p. 759)
This might be British usage, but apparently a thumb doesn't count as a finger? As an American, this seems odd to me.
"All five fingers eventually lay straight as new pins" (OUTLANDER p. 554)
"All five digits eventually lay straight as new pins" (CS p. 764)

Note the changed geographical reference:
"insure our passage across the Channel." (OUTLANDER p. 564)
"insure our passage across the North Sea." (CS p. 777)
This last one is just strange, and misses the whole point of Claire's question, IMHO:
"if he knows he's going to be seasick, why in God's name did he insist on a boat?" (OUTLANDER p. 568)
"if he knows he's going to be seasick, why in God's name did he insist on travelling to France?" (CS p. 783)

A few very minor things in the Abbey section of the book:

"Matins" in OUTLANDER (p. 573) becomes "Prime" in CROSS STITCH (p. 790)

"broth" (OUTLANDER) becomes "soup" (CS) in at least half a dozen places that I noticed (p. 795, for example)


"Alex" (OUTLANDER) becomes "Alick" (CS) - this becomes very obvious toward the end of the book, because Jamie's uncle Alex the abbot, and BJR's brother Alex, and Alex MacGregor, are all called "Alick" in CROSS STITCH. ("Tell me that you love me, Alick", CS p. 845, for example.)

Here's one more changed geographical reference:
"on this side of the sea" (CS p. 846)
"on this side of the channel" (OUTLANDER p. 614)

And so I've come to the end of the book at last. This has been a very interesting experience, reading CROSS STITCH, but I still say I like OUTLANDER better.

I hope you've found these posts helpful. If you want to see the changes I found in earlier parts of the book, look here:



Sunday, November 8, 2009


Here are some more of the differences between OUTLANDER and CROSS STITCH.

All page references below come from either the CROSS STITCH mass-market paperback edition, or the OUTLANDER hardcover edition. Please note, all quotes from OUTLANDER and CROSS STITCH listed below are copyright© 1991 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.


Here is a bit that Diana has specifically mentioned as being altered without her knowledge in CROSS STITCH:
'You look like a fretful porpentine,' I said.
'Whatever that might be,' He gave me a dirty look and rose to his feet, replacing the dirk on the stool that held his clothes.
'You couldna wait till I woke to tell me that?' he inquired. 'You thought it would make more impression if ye woke me out of a sound sleep by shouting in my ear?'
'Horrocks', I explained.

(CS p. 426)
"You look like a fretful porpentine," I said.
He gave me a dirty look and rose to his feet, replacing the dirk on the stool that held his clothes.
"You couldna wait till I woke to tell me that?" he inquired. "You thought it would make more impression if ye woke me out of a sound sleep by shouting "Hedgehog!" in my ear?"
"Not 'hedgehog' ", I explained. "Horrocks."

(OUTLANDER p. 306)
Whatever that might be?? Jamie's a university-educated man, fluent in Latin, Greek, and any number of other languages; surely he'd be familiar with Shakespeare? (More familiar than the UK editor who added that line, evidently!) The way it's written in CS, Jamie reacts as though Claire had said, "You look like you've just stuck your finger in an electrical outlet", or some other 20th-century reference that would leave him understandably baffled. And the removal of the "hedgehog" bit just makes Claire's mention of Horrocks sound like a complete non sequitur.

"I floated gently to the surface of reality, and found that the butterfly feet against my stomach were the flaming tendrils of Jamie's soft red thatch, and the butterfly trapped between my thighs was his tongue." (OUTLANDER, p. 336)

"I floated gently to the surface of reality, and found that the butterfly feet on my shoulder were the flaming tendrils of Jamie's soft red thatch, and the butterfly wings on my skin were his fingers." (CS p. 467)

I suppose this is the scene Diana has talked about where they asked her to rewrite it "so that it looks like they're having normal sex"?

"Young Jocasta, only fifteen, had obligingly accepted the suit of John Cameron, and gone north." (OUTLANDER p. 346)

"Young Jocasta, only fifteen, had obligingly accepted the suit of John Munro, and gone north." (CS p. 479)

Munro?! Um, no. <g> I would imagine this is pretty confusing for readers who've only seen CROSS STITCH, in light of what we learn about Jocasta in future books.

"There was the great to-do about it all, and a lot of verra nasty letters exchanged between Leoch and Beauly, but they settled it in the end, and Ellen and Brian took up house at Lallybroch the week before the child was born." (OUTLANDER p. 349)

"There was the great to-do about it all, and a lot of verra nasty letters exchanged between Leoch and Lallybroch, but they settled it in the end, and Ellen and Brian took up house at Lallybroch the week before the child was born." (CS p. 483)

Granted, it's not until DRAGONFLY that we learn the significance of Beauly (where Lord Lovat lives), but still, it's very clear to me that Diana meant Beauly (whether it would mean anything to the readers or not, at that stage), because at least some of the letters in question would presumably have been exchanged between Brian's father, Lord Lovat, and Colum MacKenzie. Referring to Lallybroch in this context makes no sense.

As I told Diana on Compuserve, I don't mean to nitpick. But CROSS STITCH is starting to drive me just a bit nuts, with all the details that have been changed for no apparent reason.


Claire's thoughts in the thieves' hole:

"And given Callum's fear that I might reveal Hamish's parentage, or what he thought I knew of it, what he had done to me -- his not lifting a finger to help me -- was understandable too. Understandable, but not forgivable." (CS p. 552)
The part in red in that first sentence is not in my OUTLANDER hardcover.
"there were no enormous stretches of concrete blanketing the countryside, nor any noisy, stinking autos...." (OUTLANDER p. 412)
"there were no enormous stretches of road blanketing the countryside, nor any noisy, stinking cars...." (CS p. 570)
The little house near Craigh na Dun is referred to as a "cottage" in OUTLANDER, but a "cot-house" in CROSS STITCH. When I mentioned this on Compuserve, Diana said she'd never encountered the term "cot-house", either in British novels or in her research.


From the scene where Jenny has just grabbed Jamie by the balls:
"I'll wring your wee neck, Janet!" (OUTLANDER p. 425)
"I'll wring your wee neck, Jenny!" (CS p. 588)
Gotta say, I like "Janet" better in this context!
"Frasers dinna listen to anything when they've their danders up. I've been acquent' wi' those two all my life, and I know. When they've shouted themselves out, sometimes ye can make them see reason, but not 'til then." (CS p. 592)
The part in red above is not in my OUTLANDER hardcover.

"I'm none too worried, man. There's no coach going before next April, and I reckon she'll be used to us by that time. Get on wi' ye; Jamie's waiting." (OUTLANDER p. 435)
The sentence in blue has been cut from CROSS STITCH. Too bad. I like that line.

Jamie's brother's name is spelled "Willy" in CS, not "Willie" as in OUTLANDER.
Staring absently out at the driving rain, he said, "There was another reason. The main one." (OUTLANDER p. 438)
Staring absently out at the rain, he abruptly said, "I told you once I'd tell you the other reason. Do ye want to know?" (CS p. 607)
I really don't understand this. Why tinker with a sentence like that, that was perfectly good and understandable in the original version?


Ian's line about swimming has changed in CROSS STITCH:
"I just thrash about, and gang in circles like a doodle-bug." (OUTLANDER p. 442)
"I just thrash about, and gang in circles like a spider wi' four legs." (CS p. 612)
The scene where Claire meets Grannie MacNab is quite different:
"Mallow root--ah, that's good for cough. But ye dinna want to use that one, lassie." She poked at a small brownish tuber. "Looks like lily root, but it isna that."
"What is it?" I asked.
"Adder's-tongue. Eat that one, lassie, and ye'll be rollin' round the room wi' your heels behind yer head." She plucked the tuber from the basket and threw it into the pond with a splash.
She pulled the basket onto her lap....
[next bit is identical in both versions]
"Ye ken betony from lamb's-quarters, at least."
(OUTLANDER p. 447)
"Coltsfoot root--ah, that's good for cough." She pulled the basket onto her lap....
[next bit is identical in both versions]
"Ye ken caraway from cowbane, at least."
(CS p. 618)
All the references to Jamie as "his lordship" (a perfectly proper and respectable way to speak of the laird, isn't it?) in this scene have been replaced by "Lallybroch":
"I see Lallybroch didna wed ye for your face alone." (CS p. 618)
"I see his lordship didna wed ye for your face alone." (OUTLANDER p. 448)
And then Grannie MacNab says this to Claire:
"you'll be swellin' like a pumpkin by Easter" (OUTLANDER p. 449)
"you'll be swellin' like a ewe wi' triplets by Easter" (CS p. 620)
I guess you could argue that pumpkins are too obviously North American in origin for someone like Grannie MacNab to be familiar with them?

If you find this interesting, please check out my other posts in this series:



Saturday, November 7, 2009


As some of you who follow the discussions on Compuserve may be aware, in recent weeks I have been reading CROSS STITCH for the first time (thanks again to Judy Lowstuter for bringing me a copy from Scotland!) and finding myself alternately fascinated and horrified by the differences between OUTLANDER and CROSS STITCH. (And I'm not the only one, judging by the reaction on Compuserve. You can see the thread here, if you're interested.)

I had always thought that the only difference between the two books (aside from minor changes in spelling, punctuation, and word choice to conform to British standards -- "vacation" becomes "holiday", single quotes used instead of double quotes in dialogue, and so on) were a half-dozen added references to Frank, and the sex scene in Chapter 22 ("Raiders in the Rocks") which was deleted from CROSS STITCH at the UK editor's request. And in fact, those are the only changes that Diana usually mentions, when asked about the differences.

Much to my surprise, I'm finding quite a few other changes, most of them minor, but some that change the entire tone or emphasis of a scene from the way it appears in the original.

I won't attempt to list every single difference here! I didn't write most of them down, for one thing, and for another, I have no interest in combing through the text word-by-word looking for every single place where changes occurred! The examples I've listed here are things that have jumped out at me during the reading of CROSS STITCH.

The first thing I noticed was that the "horses" in OUTLANDER have become "ponies" in CROSS STITCH. Almost as though someone did a search-and-replace throughout the whole book. Very odd.

A few of the characters' names are spelled differently in CROSS STITCH: Alick instead of Alec, and Callum instead of Colum. And if you've read the OUTLANDISH COMPANION, you won't be surprised to hear that the date at the beginning of CROSS STITCH says 1946, not 1945. (Personally, I think 1946 makes a lot more sense.)

Here are some of the specific examples I've noticed where OUTLANDER and CROSS STITCH are different. Please note, all quotes from OUTLANDER and CROSS STITCH listed below are copyright© 1991 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.


The scene where Claire sees Jamie's scars for the first time is missing about a page in CROSS STITCH:

"Lobsterbacks. For escape and theft."
I didn't know what to say to this, so said the first thing that came to mind.
"What were you escaping from?"
(CROSS STITCH mass market paperback, p. 95)
"Lobsterbacks. Flogged me twice, in the space of a week. They'd ha' done it twice the same day, I expect, were they not afraid of killing me. No joy in flogging a dead man."
I tried to keep my voice steady while I sponged. "I shouldn't think anyone would do such a thing for joy."
"No? You should ha' seen him."
"The redcoat captain that skinned my back for me. If he was not precisely joyous, he was at least verra pleased with himself. More nor I was," he added wryly. "Randall was the name."
"Randall!" I couldn't keep the shock from my voice. Cold blue eyes fixed on mine.
"You're familiar with the man?" The voice was suddenly suspicious.
"No, no! I used to know a family of that name, a long time, oh, a long time ago." In my nervousness, I dropped the sponge cloth.
"Drat, now that will have to be boiled again." I scooped it off the floor and bustled to the fireplace, trying to hide my confusion in busyness. Could this Captain Randall possibly be Frank's ancestor, the soldier with the sterling record, gallant on the field of battle, recipient of commendations from dukes? And if so, could someone related to my sweet gentle Frank possibly be capable of inflicting the horrifying marks on this lad's back?
I busied myself at the fire, dropping in a few more handfuls of witch hazel and garlic, setting more cloths to soak. When I thought I could control my voice and face, I came back to Jamie, sponge in hand.
"Why were you flogged?" I asked abruptly.
It was hardly tactful, but I badly wanted to know, and was too tired to phrase it more gently.
He sighed, moving his shoulder uneasily under my ministrations. He was tired, too, and I was undoubtedly hurting him, gentle as I tried to be.
"The first time was escape, and the second was theft--or at least that's what the charge sheet read."
"What were you escaping from?"
OUTLANDER, pp. 60-61 hardcover ed.)

I think the altered scene comes off as MUCH less horrific than the original.


In the scene where Claire meets Geillie, she's collecting wood sorrel instead of the scarlet-capped Ascaria mushrooms in OUTLANDER:

"Those kind are poison," said a voice from behind me." (OUTLANDER, p. 117 hardcover ed.)
"Those are good for helping the monthlies," said a voice from behind me." (CROSS STITCH mass market paperback, p. 171)

I don't like this change at all, because it seems to make Claire less...exotic? dangerous? In OUTLANDER, Claire is collecting poisonous mushrooms. On purpose (!) And she explains to Geillie exactly what she intends to do with them. In CROSS STITCH, Claire is just collecting medicinal herbs, which would not be at all unusual for the time. That little scene has a different feel, in the original, at least to me.


In the scene just before the wedding, when Claire is walking with the others toward the chapel where she and Jamie will be married, she has a flashback of her wedding to Frank, which is definitely not in my OUTLANDER hardcover:

Thus inescapably pinioned, I squelched up the path to my wedding.
Last time -- next time? -- I had been married in a white linen suit with alligator pumps. Frank had worn grey Harris tweed. I caught myself thinking wildly of Uncle Lamb, who had witnessed the wedding.
'Pity to waste the surroundings with this modern stuff,' he had said, casually patting Frank's tweed sleeve. 'It's a genuine eighteenth-century Scottish chapel, you know. You ought to have got yourselves up appropriately, kilts and dirks and long gowns and such.' Looking up at the formidable sight of my intended bridegroom, I had a sudden unhinged vision of Uncle Lamb nodding approvingly.
'Much better,' he said, in my imagination. 'Just the thing.
Rupert and Murtagh were waiting for us in the chapel....
(CROSS STITCH mass market paperback, pp. 273-274)
The part in red above is completely new to me. And interesting, because I see echoes of future events in the series here. Uncle Lamb being present "in spirit" at Claire's wedding to Jamie, just as Frank was present, in spirit, at Bree's wedding in FIERY CROSS. And Claire's fetch standing between Jamie and Laoghaire, at their wedding. I think it's a nice touch to have Claire thinking of Uncle Lamb here.


Here's the bit from chapter 18 ("Raiders in the Rocks") that got cut out of CROSS STITCH:

"Fun, I said, a little faintly. "Yes, quite."
His arms tightened around me, and one of the stroking hands dipped lower, beginning to inch my skirt upward. Clearly the thrill of the fight was being transmuted into a different kind of excitement.
"Jamie! Not here!" I said, squirming away and pushing my skirt down again.
"Are ye tired, Sassenach?" he asked with concern. "Dinna worry, I won't take long." Now both hands were at it, rucking the heavy fabric up in front.
"No!" I replied, all too mindful of the twenty men lying a few feet away. "I'm not tired, it's just--" I gasped as his groping hand found its way between my legs.
"Lord," he said softly. "It's slippery as waterweed."
"Jamie! There are twenty men sleeping right next to us!" I shouted in a whisper.
"They wilna be sleeping long, if you keep talking." He rolled on top of me, pinning me to the rock. His knee wedged between my thighs and began to work gently back and forth. Despite myself, my legs were beginning to loosen. Twenty-seven years of propriety were no match for several hundred thousand years of instinct. While my mind might object to being taken on a bare rock next to several sleeping soldiers, my body plainly considered itself the spoils of war and was eager to complete the formalities of surrender. He kissed me, long and deep, his tongue sweet and restless in my mouth.
[etc.... <g>]
I was mildly shocked to realize that I was not even embarrassed. I wondered rather dimly whether I would be in the morning, and then wondered no more.
In the morning, everyone behaved as usual....
(OUTLANDER pp. 250-251 hardcover ed.)
The part in red is all that's left in CROSS STITCH. Really a shame that this scene got cut out!


Another major difference appears to be an attempt to correct (?) the geographical references in chapter 20 ("Deserted Glades").

So that was east. My heart began to beat faster. East was over there, Lag Cruime was directly behind me. Lag Cruime was four miles to the north of Fort William. And Fort William was no more than three miles due west of the hill of Craigh na Dun.
So, for the first time since my meeting with Murtagh, I knew approximately where I was--no more than seven miles from that bloody hill and its accursed stone circle. Seven miles--perhaps--from home. From Frank.

I started back into the copse, but changed my mind."
(OUTLANDER p. 268 hardcover ed.)
So that was east. My heart began to beat faster. If we were as close as I thought to Fort William, then if I followed this small stream, I would eventually reach the Great Glen. And the Great Glen, whatever dangers it held in terms of wild beasts, outlaws and potential starvation, also provided a direct connection between Fort William and Inverness. And near Inverness was the hill I had dreamed of for weeks -- Craigh na Dun.
I clenched my fists, feeling the nails dig into my palms. It was the hell of a risk. It could take weeks to make that journey on foot. And I had no shelter other than the cloak I wore, and no food whatever. I would have to depend on what I could find, steal or beg. And run the risks attendant on stealing or begging; any cottars in the Glen were unlikely to receive me with less caution than had Callum MacKenzie.

I started back into the copse, but changed my mind."
(CROSS STITCH mass market paperback, p. 374)
I can understand the details being changed in order to make the distances and locations more realistic to readers familiar with Scotland (and I know very little about Scotland's geography so I can't comment on that <g>), but I think the idea that Claire would set out on foot, with no food or water, no shelter, no NOTHING, for a journey that might take weeks, is ridiculous. In OUTLANDER, it makes sense, because she's only a short distance from Craigh na Dun and therefore food, water, and shelter won't be a consideration. In CROSS STITCH, the situation as described above makes her look like a reckless fool, IMHO, which we know she's not. <g>


In the story that Jamie tells about the incident where he was beaten by Angus in Colum's Hall at the age of 16, the reference to Mrs. Fitz is completely gone from the scene in CROSS STITCH, and Jamie's description of what happened is missing many of the details:
"So one day I went too far. Said the wrong thing to the wrong person and came up for judgement before Callum at Hall." He chuckled to himself.
[description of Angus beating him]
He shuddered reminiscently.
[next paragraph is identical in both versions]
"Then I was plunked down on a stool next to Callum, and bid to sit there till Hall was ended."
(CROSS STITCH mass market paperback, pp. 414-15)
"So one day I went too far. I was with a couple of the other lads, going down a corridor when I saw Mistress FitzGibbons at the other end....[then the bit about what Jamie said about her] I didn't know she'd heard, until she got up at the Hall gathering next day and told Colum all about it."
"Oh, dear." I knew how highly Colum regarded Mrs. Fitz, and didn't think he would take any irreverence directed at her lightly. "What happened?"
"The same thing that happened to Laoghaire--or almost." He chuckled.

[description of Angus beating him]
He shuddered reminiscently. "I had the marks for a week."
[next paragraph is identical in both versions]
"Well, I wasna allowed just to go quietly away and tend to my wounds, either. When Angus finished wi' me, Dougal took me by the scruff of the neck and marched me to the far end of the Hall. Then I was made to come all the way back on my knees, across the stones. I had to beg Mrs. Fitz's pardon, then Colum's, then apologize to everyone in the Hall for my rudeness, and finally, I'd to thank Angus for the strapping. I nearly choked over that, but he was verra gracious about it; he reached down and gave me a hand to get up. Then I was plunked down on a stool next to Colum, and bid to sit there till Hall was ended."
(OUTLANDER p. 296-97 hardcover ed.)
Again, this seems to be a scene that got toned down for the UK market. Very strange.

If you find this interesting, please check out my other posts in this series:



Sunday, November 1, 2009

October poll results

Here are the results of the October poll:

Which of the books in the OUTLANDER series is your favorite?

  • OUTLANDER - 41.9%
  • I can't possibly pick one; I love them all! - 29.3%
  • VOYAGER - 15.3%
  • DRUMS OF AUTUMN - 3.3%
  • AN ECHO IN THE BONE - 1.6%
  • THE FIERY CROSS - 0.8%
  • I haven't yet read any of Diana Gabaldon's books - 0.4%
I didn't vote in this poll, but my own answer would be a three-way tie between OUTLANDER, VOYAGER, and FIERY CROSS.

There were 246 responses to this month's poll. Thanks very much to everyone who participated!

The November poll is about your biggest shock or surprise in reading ECHO. Please feel free to leave a comment here, if I didn't list one that you would have liked to see.