Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series continues with Dragonfly in Amber, the second book. The stories feature time-traveling 20th-century nurse Claire Randall and her 18th-century Scottish Highlander warrior husband, Jamie Fraser, including historical fiction, romance, adventure, and fantasy themes. Claire and Jamie’s efforts to halt the Jacobite rising, which Claire knows will end badly for the Scots, are chronicled in this part.
Outlander, a television version of the series, premiered on Starz in August 2014. The second season of the show, airing from May to July 2016, was inspired by the events of Dragonfly in Amber.
1968 in Scotland
Claire Randall has returned to her own time, where she has lived with her husband, Frank, for the past 20 years. She takes her daughter, Brianna, to the home of the Randalls’ old friend, Reverend Reginald Wakefield, after his death. Claire hopes that the Reverend’s adopted son, Roger, can assist her in determining what happened to the men of Lallybroch following the Battle of Culloden. Roger uses his Oxford credentials to track down proof that the Lallybroch men have gone home safely. He takes Claire and Brianna to an old churchyard searching for Frank’s ancestor, Jonathan Randall, and finds Jamie Fraser’s gravestone: it’s part of a “marriage stone,” with Claire’s name but no date. Claire and Roger discover Brianna’s actual paternity. Brianna vehemently dismisses her mother’s account, but Roger is enthralled, and Claire tells him about her life following the events of Outlander.
Claire has persuaded Jamie to end the Jacobite uprising and the ensuing massacre at the end of Outlander. They come to Paris after learning that Charles Stuart attempts to raise funds for the Jacobite cause from King Louis XV of France. Jamie takes advantage of his cousin Jared’s wine business to make the aristocratic contacts he needs to plot against Stuart. Jamie employs a French boy named Claudel, raised in a brothel to help him run from some goons, and Jamie renames him Fergus and pays him to steal the prince’s correspondence. When Jonathan “Black Jack” Randall comes, Jamie challenges him to a fight and renders him impotent, despite promising to spare Randall’s life to protect his descendant Frank (Claire’s modern-day husband). Claire is rushed to the hospital after miscarrying their first child. Jamie is imprisoned for dueling at the Bastille.
The Rising of 1745 in Scotland
Claire can release Jamie thanks to an agreement with King Louis XV of France, who has been exiled from France. Back in Scotland with Fergus, they settle into farm life with Jamie’s sister Jenny and her family at his home in Lallybroch. Jamie receives a letter from Stuart announcing his attempt to reclaim the Scottish throne, which the prince has signed, labeling him a traitor to the Crown. He gathers the troops of Lallybroch to join the Stuart army since he has no other option. Jamie and Claire are discovered by Lord John Grey, a young English scout. Grey tries to “rescue” Claire, believing she is a prisoner, but Jamie breaks the boy’s arm but saves his life. Jamie’s knowledge gained from this confrontation aids the Highlanders in their victory at the Battle of Prestonpans, but the Rising fails in the disastrous Battle of Culloden. Claire learns that she is pregnant once more. Jamie and Claire debate whether or not to assassinate Stuart but ultimately decide against it. Dougal MacKenzie accuses Claire of inciting Jamie to betray his people and attempts to assassinate Claire after overhearing their talk. Dougal gets stabbed and dies in Jamie’s arms after being stabbed. Knowing the Jacobites will lose Culloden, Jamie sends Claire and the unborn Brianna back in time to avoid the battle’s aftermath and then returns to Culloden, intending to die in the battle.
Claire says she went back to Frank, who didn’t believe her account but persisted in helping her raise Brianna and requested that she only tell her the truth when he died. Brianna refuses to believe Claire’s story after hearing it. Claire enlists Roger’s assistance by revealing his lineage as Dougal MacKenzie and Geillis Duncan’s descendant. Claire tells Roger that while she was hiding in the Highland caverns preparing Jamie’s escape from prison (as depicted in Outlander), Dougal had sent a letter from Geillis with the words “I do not know if it is possible, but I think so” and the numbers 1,9,6, and 7. Claire deduces that these represent the year 1967, and Claire and Roger think that Geillis was revealing the year of her own time journey to her. Geillis Duncan/Gillian Edgars’ disappearance through the stone circle at Craigh na Dun after she murders her husband, Greg Edgars, is witnessed by Claire, Roger, and eventually Brianna. Roger finally tells Claire that Jamie did not die at Culloden.