The third book in Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series, Voyager, was published in 1993. The books feature time-traveling 20th-century doctor Claire Randall and her 18th-century Scottish Highlander warrior spouse Jamie Fraser, including historical fiction, romance, adventure, and fantasy themes.
Claire Randall, the protagonist of the best-selling Outlander series, returns in Voyager as a mother to Brianna Randall and lives in Boston in 1968. Claire and Brianna’s previous novel, Dragonfly in Amber (1992), ended with Claire and Brianna confronting the reality about Brianna’s birth father, Jamie Fraser, and Claire’s time travel. Claire and Brianna follow Jamie’s life since the battle of Culloden in the Jacobite uprising in 1745 in Voyager. When Claire learns that Jamie escaped the bloodbath that resulted in many Scottish clans’ annihilation, she returns to the stone circle where she was hurled through time twenty years before.
The first scene of 1746 Voyager takes place on the battlefield of Culloden, where Jamie Fraser is mortally wounded and his opponent Jack Randall is killed. After the battle of Culloden, Jamie is transported to a nearby farmhouse where 18 Highland troops have found safety. As a representative of the Duke of Cumberland, Harold Grey, Earl of Melton, appears and announces that the survivors will be shot. As each individual is carried outside to be executed, Melton takes his name for the records. Melton recognizes Jamie as the famed Jacobite “Red Jamie” but cannot put him to death because Jamie saved his younger brother, Lord John Grey, during the Battle of Prestonpans. Jamie is sent home to die from his wounds.
Jamie hides in a cave near Lallybroch when the English search the land for Jacobite rebels. Once a month, he goes to see his sister Jenny and her family to shave, shower, and catch up on the news. Jamie signs Lallybroch over to Jenny’s eldest son, also named Jamie, using a deed of sasine to prevent the English from seizing their home as the property of a traitor. Jamie becomes a Scottish legend, the “Dunbonnet,” thanks to a brown wool cap he wears to hide his distinguishing red hair and arranges to be kidnapped so that his tenants might claim the bounty and avoid famine among themselves. Jamie is given the moniker “Mac Dubh” by the other inmates at Ardsmuir Prison. Jamie runs across Lord John Grey, the prison’s new governor, in Ardsmuir. Lord John’s predecessor informs him that he used to invite Jamie to dinner once a week to talk about the other inmates, and he proposes that Lord John continue the tradition, which he does. Jamie, John believes, knows where the French gold reportedly transferred to Bonnie Prince Charlie is. The Crown takes the convicts to America and utilizes the former jail as an army barracks once the institution is properly restored. Despite this, John has Jamie sent as a groom to Lord Dunsany’s stud estate, Helwater in the Lake District.
Geneva, the elder of Dunsany’s two daughters, is enamored of Jamie but is betrothed to Lord Ellesmere, an older man, and she blackmails Jamie into having sexual relations with her. Geneva marries Lord Ellesmere and leaves Helwater. She gives birth to a child nine months later and dies the next day. Lord Dunsany is informed that the child is not his, and Ellesmere threatens to kill him, but Jamie kills Ellesmere instead. The infant, named William, joins them at Helwater. Lady Dunsany offers to ask Lord John to apply for a pardon so he might return to Lallybroch as a reward for his services. On the other hand, Jamie waits at Helwater for several more years until Willie’s similarity to himself is obvious, at which point he takes the pardon.
Roger MacKenzie, Reverend Wakefield’s adoptive son, promises to decide Jamie’s fate in the twentieth century. Claire considers returning to Jamie after Roger, Claire, and Brianna discover evidence of him penning an article published in 1765, and Brianna backs her up. Claire travels back in time to Jamie’s period on Halloween in 1968.
In 1766, Claire discovers Jamie in Edinburgh, posing as Alexander Malcolm and smuggling booze via a printers’ shop. Young Ian, his nephew, flees Lallybroch to “help” his uncle in his business. Fergus, Claire’s unofficial adopted son, whom she last saw as a 10-year-old French pickpocket and is now in his 30s, is reunited with Claire. Claire was with relatives in France, the family explains, believing Jamie had been murdered at Culloden and had only recently learned that he was alive.
Jamie sends Claire and Young Ian to Lallybroch after a botched smuggling run, where Claire learns that Jamie has remarried and has two stepdaughters, Marsali and Joan and that Jamie’s wife is Laoghaire. Claire had been jailed and nearly burnt at the stake for witchcraft twenty years before. She flees Lallybroch, angry and betrayed, but is brought back by Young Ian, who informs her that Laoghaire has shot Jamie. When she returns, Claire notices the wound is infected and saves Jamie using medications and syringes from the twentieth century. Jamie and Laoghaire agree to pay her £1,435 in compensation and provide for her until she marries again. To obtain the funds, he, Claire, and Young Ian return to the “seals’ treasure,” the Jacobite riches and diamonds buried on an island near Ardsmuir. They want to travel to France and sell the diamonds once they have the treasure, but Ian is abducted by an unknown ship. Jamie and Claire travel to France, where Jamie’s cousin, Jared, assists them in determining the identification of the vessel and provides them with a boat to transport Ian to the West Indies. Marsali, Laoghaire’s daughter, joins them in marrying Fergus.
Their ship is hailed at sea by the Porpoise, an English ship hunting for a surgeon. While Claire is treating the sick, the Porpoise sets sail with Claire on board, and Claire discovers that the customs agent on the lookout for Jamie is on board and wants to arrest Jamie in Jamaica. Claire flees to Hispaniola, where she is discovered by Dr. Stern, a naturalist investigating the island’s flora, and a strange, drunk priest. Jamie’s ship had sunk on Hispaniola due to a storm, but Claire quickly discovers that Jamie has abandoned them to save her. He is temporarily apprehended, but he manages to flee and reconnect with Claire.
Jamie attends a ball for the local governor (his old acquaintance Lord John Grey) disguised as a Frenchman and then leaves to talk with John alone. A young woman is murdered at the ball, and the guests are jailed on suspicion. Claire also speaks with John, who informs her that he brought Jamie a photograph of his son, Willie, whom Jamie has yet to announce. Jamie and Claire look for Young Ian in a slave market and then at the plantation of Mrs. Abernathy, who they recognize as the former Geillis Duncan. Jamie and Claire discover that Geillis has Ian kidnapped after their time with her. Jamie and his men set out to reclaim Ian, finding out that Geillis has vanished, taking Ian with her. Claire enters Geillis’ workroom and discovers a photo of Brianna fastened to the table, implying that she was destined to be sacrificed. Claire kills Geillis with an ax to the neck after a scuffle in a cave in Jamaica, and she and Jamie flee with Ian. They are pursued by the Porpoise once more as they sail away from Jamaica. The British ship is lost in a storm, while the Scottish Artemis vessel is blown off track and shipwrecked in Georgia, an American colony.