Most startling moments in the books?
Here are a few of mine:
OUTLANDER - when Claire finds Jamie in the cell at Wentworth, and he shows her the bloated bag of bones that used to be his right hand. <shudder> That was the point when it first hit me (in a very shocking, visceral sort of way) that I wasn't reading the sort of ordinary novel where the characters have adventures, but survive basically unscathed at the end. I couldn't believe Diana would inflict such horrible, permanent damage on a main character like that.
DRAGONFLY IN AMBER - "But I wasna carrying your child." - I totally didn't see that coming the first time, despite the fact that we'd seen the adult Brianna at the beginning of the book. I don't remember much of my reaction to the rest of DRAGONFLY on that first reading, only that feeling of utter shock, grief, and crying so hard I could hardly see the words on the page.
VOYAGER - The "Daddy" scene, where we learn of Jamie's marriage to Laoghaire, has to be my pick for "most startling moment" in this book. I never would have seen that coming in a million years. <g>
DRUMS OF AUTUMN - The point when I realized that J&C were going to settle in North Carolina. I've lived in NC for more than 25 years, and I was stunned (and delighted, and fascinated) to realize that the story was now going to be taking place not all that far from where I live.
THE FIERY CROSS - The hanging, of course. I was absolutely convinced that Roger was dead, the first time I read it, and I felt a deep sense of shock and betrayal, that Diana would do that to one of her major characters (and one of my favorites). Even when I realized that he was going to live, I was stunned that he'd lost his singing voice. Just heartbreaking.
A BREATH OF SNOW AND ASHES - Claire's abduction and rape, definitely. Also Lizzie and the Beardsley twins. ("Both of them?!?" <g> I still laugh when I think about that.) And Malva's accusation that Jamie fathered her baby, which seemed to come out of nowhere.
AN ECHO IN THE BONE: Aside from Claire and Lord John marrying and having sex (and that was a huge shock for me, no question!), the appearance of William Buccleigh MacKenzie was probably the biggest surprise in ECHO. I really did stare bug-eyed at the page, going, "WHAT?!??!??"
What about the rest of you? I would love to hear your own "most startling moments" from the OUTLANDER or Lord John books.