Can you read SCOTTISH PRISONER as a standalone novel?

With the November 29 release of Diana Gabaldon's THE SCOTTISH PRISONER only two months away now, a lot of people have been asking whether you have to have read the other Lord John books and stories in order to enjoy the new book.

I asked Diana earlier this week on Compuserve if she would respond to that question in public, and she's now done just that. She posted the following on her blog today:
The Lord John novellas and novels are sequential, but are built to stand alone; you don’t need to read them in order.

In terms of their relationship to the larger Outlander novels: These books are part of the overall series, but are focused for the most part on those times in Lord John’s life when he’s not “onstage” in the main novels. This particular book (THE SCOTTISH PRISONER) focuses also on a part of Jamie Fraser’s life not covered in the main novels.

All of the Lord John novels take place between 1756 and 1766—SCOTTISH PRISONER is set in 1760—and in terms of the overall Outlander novels/timeline, they thus occur more or less in the middle of VOYAGER. So you can read any of them, in any order, once you’ve read VOYAGER, without getting lost.
So there you have it. I hope Diana's comments will be helpful to some of you.

If you do want to read the other Lord John books and stories in preparation for SCOTTISH PRISONER's release, I would recommend reading BROTHERHOOD OF THE BLADE, at least. It's a very engaging story that gives a lot of insight into Lord John's character, how he thinks, and what motivates him. I found him much easier to understand after I read that book.

You can find the order of all the Lord John books and stories here.


Lara said...

I'm hoping I understood correctly that all the LJG and other short stories will eventually be published in one volume? I have all these novellas and anthologies I'm trying to keep track of so I don't miss anything. It's becoming a challenge. I really enjoy LJG and I can't wait till I get my copy of DOWN THESE STRANGE STREETS and definitely can't wait for SCOTTISH PRISONER!

Karen Henry said...

Lara - I think what she's saying is that she would like to publish another anthology of LJ stories (like HAND OF DEVILS) with "Custom of the Army", "Plague of Zombies", and another as-yet-unknown story.

And also, eventually, it sounds like Diana would like to publish an anthology of the miscellaneous stories like "A Leaf on the Wind of All Hallows", the Michael-and-Joan story, and the one about Jamie and Ian that she's barely started working on.

Four days until DOWN THESE STRANGE STREETS comes out! I finally pre-ordered it for my Nook yesterday.


Connie P. said...

Karen, I agree with your comment about Brotherhood of the Blade. I honestly did not love Hand of Devils or The Private Matter. But, I wanted to read them because I really like Lord John in the main series. I think Brotherhood of the Blade really does give us the best insight into what make Lord John tick. I really liked that particular Lord John book. I am very excited to read Scottish Prisoner! And, I did go ahead and reserve the anthology with Plague of Zombies at my library. I need to get my Outlander "fix" anyway I can until Written is released!

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