Diana Gabaldon’s novel Outlander was first published in 1991 and is historical fantasy fiction. It follows nurse Claire Beauchamp as she travels across time to 18th-century Scotland, where she finds adventure and romance with the handsome Jamie Fraser. Outlander is the first book in a projected ten-book series. On August 9, 2014, Starz in the United States broadcasted the series’ television adaption.
The series has sold over 25 million copies and includes historical fiction, romance, adventure, and classic fantasy. In 1992, the first novel received a RITA Award from the Romance Writers of America.
Claire Randall, a former British Army medic, and her husband Frank Randall, a history professor, go on a second honeymoon to Inverness, Scotland, in 1946, after working apart throughout WWII.
Claire goes plant-gathering near the standing stones on Craigh na Dun’s hill, while Frank examines his family history. She touches one of the rocks while investigating a buzzing noise and passes out; when she wakes up, she runs upon Frank’s ancestor, Captain Jack Randall. Captain Randall is knocked out by a highlander who takes Claire to his clansmen before he can assault her. Claire utilizes her medical skills to set Jamie’s dislocated shoulder while the Scots attend to their injured friend Jamie ineptly. The guys identify themselves as Clan MacKenzie members, and Claire eventually realizes she has traveled back in time. She introduces herself as an English widow visiting her family in France. Claire hunts for a method to return to her own time at Castle Leoch, but the Scots do not believe her.
Claire is viewed by the highlanders of 1743 as a “Sassenach,” or “Outlander,” unaware of Gaelic culture. Their appreciation for her medical skills grows over time, but the clan chieftain, Colum MacKenzie, suspects her of being an English spy. Colum sends her to collect rents with his brother, Dougal; on the way, he also solicits donations for the Jacobites, which is handled by Ned Gowan, an Edinburgh lawyer working for the Clan.
Captain Randall urges Dougal to bring Claire to him for questioning when chance brings her to his attention once more. She may be an English spy, according to rumors. To keep Claire safe from Randall, Dougal has her marry Jamie, making her a Scottish citizen. Claire tries to return to Craigh na Dun, torn between her feelings for Jamie and her desire to see Frank. She is, however, kidnapped by Randall’s men, forcing Jamie to save her. Claire returns to Castle Leoch as the official healer and befriends Geillis Duncan, the wife of a local official who shares Claire’s medical skills. While Jamie is away, Claire and Geillis are charged with witchcraft, but Jamie returns to save Claire. Claire learns while imprisoned with Geillis that Geillis, along with Dougal, is a part of a scheme to restore King James to the Scottish throne and that she is also pregnant with his child. Claire notices a smallpox vaccine scar on Geillis’ arm just as they flee, and she knows that she, too, is from the future. Claire’s scar is also visible to Geillis.
Jamie takes Claire to Craigh na Dun after telling him her true story. When he gives her the option of staying or leaving, she chooses to stay. Jamie takes her to Lallybroch, his house, where they meet Jamie’s sister Jenny and her husband Ian. Jamie reclaims his position as Laird of Lallybroch, despite being still a British fugitive, until one of his tenants betrays him and is transported to Wentworth Prison. Claire and the MacKenzie clansmen try but fail to save him, and Claire is kidnapped by Randall, who threatens to rape her. Jamie volunteers to take Claire’s place, and Randall releases her into the woods. Claire admits to being a witch and tells Randall the exact date of his death, which she knows from Frank’s family history. Sir Marcus MacRannoch, a previous suitor of Jamie’s mother, befriends Claire after that.
While Wentworth’s guards are distracted, MacRannoch’s soldiers drive a herd of cattle down the underground halls, trampling a man. They save Jamie, who has been physically and sexually assaulted by Randall, and transport him to MacRannoch’s stronghold, where Claire treats his wounds. They and Jamie’s godfather, Murtagh, flee to Saint Anne de Beaupre’s Abbey in France, where another of Jamie’s uncles is abbot, as soon as Jamie is able. Claire announces her pregnancy as she and Jamie emerge from a sacred hot spring under the Abbey.