Diana Gabaldon posted some very interesting news recently on Compuserve, about an upcoming story collection which will bring together four of her shorter pieces in one volume. As she explained on Compuserve:
We're going to call it A TRAIL OF FIRE (this works well in terms both of overall theme--there is a "trail of fire" in each one of the stories--and in terms of the stories taking up unexplored "trails" of the main story), and do the stories in this order:

   "A Leaf on the Wind of All Hallows"

   "The Custom of the Army"

   "Lord John and the Plague of Zombies"

   "The Space Between"
(For those of you who don't know, "The Space Between" is Diana's as-yet-unpublished novella about Young Ian's brother Michael, Marsali's sister Joan, and the Comte St. Germain.)

I think A TRAIL OF FIRE is a good title. It's intriguing, it should lend itself to some eye-catching cover art <g>, and it links all four of the stories together. As Diana put it on Compuserve:
[The] fiery trail of a wounded Spitfire falling out of the sky. Or the burning of plantations in a Jamaican night, in a trail leading down from the mountains, straight toward Kingstown. Or the trail blazed by night by the handful of heroic Highlanders who fought their way straight up a vertical cliff to stand on the Plains of Abraham in a fiery dawn. Or the trail of a torch burning green, through the stench of a Parisian cemetery and down into the mysterious ground.
So when will this story collection be available? That's complicated. Please read Diana's explanation below, taken directly from a post on Compuserve.
This collection is going to be peculiar, because of the rights issues. To wit: we can't legally publish these stories in North America until the rights to all of them have reverted--and each one has an exclusive period of 12-18 months (depending on the original contract) from first publication in the anthologies until the rights _do_ revert to me. So right this minute, "Custom" is the only one I could legally sell again--but the rights to "Leaf" come due this October, and "Plague of Zombies" next April (2013).

However--owing to a lot of complications and negotiations you don't need to hear about <g>--we _can_ publish a printed collection in the UK when "Leaf" comes free. So there _will_ be a print volume coming out from Orion in October of _this_ year--but _only_ in the UK (and its Commonwealth countries--i.e., Australia, New Zealand, etc.). (You can still get the book in the US, but it would be expensive.) So meanwhile, we have it in mind to publish the individual stories in the US/Canada as individual e-shorts (sold inexpensively) as the rights revert, so that US readers can _get_ the stories as they revert without waiting until _all_ the rights revert and we can do a print collection--we couldn't do print in the US until (probably) early 2014.
UPDATE 5/1/2012 6:57 am: Please see Diana's blog post here for all the details about A TRAIL OF FIRE and the individual e-versions of the shorter pieces.


Sarah said...

This is such great news! I don't care if it takes a long time to come out, I would love to have her short stories in one collective book, instead of having to own 4 different random anthologies that I don't read any other authors in.

Christiane KYPREOS said...

Dear Karen, thanks a lot for keeping us informed!Such great news!Hope the printed collection "A Trail of Fire" will be available around Oct.2012 for UK.I buy books from a British bookshop in Paris or from Amazon UK.I'll be looking forward mainly to "The Space Between". Have a good week-end.

Anonymous said...

Will a Trail of fire be available as an audio book also.

Anonymous said...

I have just picked up this blog having just pre-ordered Trail of Fire in the UK (out on 11th October). Does anyone know the order in which these stories should be read and in between which of the main books?

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