Speaking of Audiobooks: The Outlander Series

Outlander choiceThe audiobook standard of excellence in my opinion is undoubtedly the unabridged version of Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series as told by narrator Davina Porter.  Specifically, I am talking about the first four in the series:  Outlander, Dragonfly in Amber, Voyager, and Drums of Autumn.  Rarely have I been entertained to this degree for such a sustained period of time and that’s quite a statement given that these four books represent 159 hours of listening enjoyment with barely a boring moment.

Although I own all of these books in print, I have never actually read any one of the four.  My immense satisfaction with this series comes solely from listening to the unabridged audiobooks.  Now, I can’t imagine just settling for the printed word when I choose to revisit Frasers and company.  It’s as though there is another whole dimension beyond the mere reading that totally captures my mind’s eye.

It goes without saying that Diana Gabaldon’s writing is the basis of the love herein.  Without her exceptional storytelling, where would we be?  However, when it comes to audiobooks, there is a second star in the wings who vividly brings these books to life and that is narrator Davina Porter.  Much of today’s column is high praise of one sort or another for Ms. Porter’s ability to so completely engage my emotions while providing easily distinguished characterizations.  Seldom did I need a “he said” or a “she said” once a character was introduced.  Told in first person, the warmth or occasional smile in Porter’s voice further defined Claire’s character and her objective view of the world.

Awareness of a character’s accent doesn’t usually enhance my enjoyment of a book and, in fact, serves as more of a distraction since I can’t effectively play those enunciations in my head.   However, in the hands of Ms. Porter, accents were a purely positive experience and hearing her distinctive Scottish brogue played against a more common English accent worked to create a greater sense of drama.

Similarly, words such as didna, canna, wasna, or ye’d are not likely to inspire a favorable view of any character in my mind but those words coming from Jamie’s mouth, as interpreted by Ms. Porter, were the utterances of a thoroughly virile man and forever changed my view of a Scot’s brogue.  My heart melted a little each time I heard Jamie call Claire “Sassenach” since I could clearly hear his love for her (and sometimes patient tolerance of her actions) in that endearment.

As I have more time to listen to an audiobook than actually sit down and read a book, I spent hours each day listening to the Outlander series and found myself so steeped in the action that I felt a real kinship with this large cast of characters.  I’m convinced the listening, rather than the reading, made my heart swell even more with emotion and my smiles grow all the larger because I had the luxury of staying with the story even as I cleaned the kitchen or walked my dog.

But this type of immersion in the action also had its downside for me with the series’ numerous incidents of torture and violence.  There is no skimming ahead when Jack Randall is abusing Jamie yet again and I wasn’t too fond of hearing the intricacies of hanging a traitor or burning a witch either.  My smiles may have been bigger at times because of the non-stop listening experience but occasionally my stomach definitely felt all the weaker for it.  Sometimes it became a test of endurance which led to many an “otherwise occupied” moment as I attempted to remove myself a little from what I was hearing.  Fortunately I discovered a faster speed on my iPod (thanks to LinnieGayl) and although it sounded a little funny, I found it quite helpful.  Those very effective pauses Davina Porter utilizes so frequently became a mere catch of breath.

Dragonfly in Amber choiceOver the past few months, I re-listened to these first four Outlander books and found myself enjoying this round of listening even more than the first.  Having a general sense of the books’ happenings as well as an understanding that there is a purpose to all of those seemingly insignificant storylines, increased my listening pleasure substantially.  For example, with my first listen of  Outlander, I failed to grasp the importance of a very simple passage with its subtle shift of direction.  But as I listened again and heard Jamie tell Claire before their wedding ceremony that his name was “James…Fraser”, I felt chill bumps of anticipation.  At Davina Porter’s very effective delivery of those two words, I rubbed my hands together and said “Here we go!”

Now that I am familiar with this series’ audiobooks, I see it as a comfort listen (despite those torture scenes) as its rather episodic nature lends itself easily to starting or stopping at almost any point.  Peggy P’s comments inspired me to view this series as such in an earlier Speaking of Audiobooks discussion:

“I have an MP3 player dedicated to just Outlander, I’ve got all the available books on it and when my commute gets really ugly and I need to chill out – that’s my comfort listen. Since I’ve read/listened to the books so often, I can start anywhere and pick up the story…”

Now I have a specific purpose for my little second generation iPod nano when I replace it with a larger capacity device at Christmas.  I’ll use it exclusively for comfort listens of the Outlander series.

Availability and Cost

Although I’ll eagerly listen to the Outlander series in any format, I recently did so on my iPod nano and found it much less cumbersome.  Listening to Books 1-4 on my cassette tape player five years ago required that I change or turn over a cassette tape 226 times (and I don’t think the CDs are much different).

If you chose to buy rather than borrow or rent this series, the MP3 format is the least expensive.  CDs and cassette tapes are relatively affordable for Outlander and Dragonfly in Amber but Voyager and Drums of Autumn can cost considerably more.  You will find significant price variations at a number of online sites so I recommend you check around before purchasing any of these books in either CD or cassette tape format.

Voyager choiceFor those of you familiar with the Outlander series, you may ask why I restricted my discussion of this series to the first four books.  Primarily this is due to the fact that affordable copies of the unabridged versions of Book 5, The Fiery Cross and Book 6, A Breath of Snow and Ashes have been difficult to find in the past for purchase and often are unavailable through public library systems as well.  In our September 29th Speaking of Audiobooks column, MarissaB shed some light on this confusing issue:

I found the following under Diana Gabaldon on wikipedia.com and thought you might find it interesting. The Outlander series has been released in unabridged audiobooks (read by Davina Porter) and abridged audiobooks (read by Geraldine James). The licenses for the abridged books have not been renewed and the unabridged versions, which Diana Gabaldon prefers, will be the only ones available when the licenses expire. Several of the Lord John books have been released in audiobook form, read by Jeff Woodman.

Because of a non-compete clause in the abridged-audio contract, the unabridged versions cannot be sold in retail outlets (including bookstores and audible.com) until the license of the corresponding abridged book has expired. For this reason, The Fiery Cross and A Breath of Snow and Ashes are not yet available on audible.com, but will be as soon as those licenses expire. In the meantime, unabridged recordings of these books are available from Recorded Books.

As I was finalizing this column, I discovered that A Breath of Snow and Ashes has recently become available in unabridged CD format.  Possibly those licenses have expired!

It should be noted that the latest in the Outlander series, Echo in the Bone, is easily available in CD, cassette tape, or MP3 formats.

My second reason for sticking with Books 1-4 for purposes of this discussion is much easier to explain.  I am perfectly satisfied with the ending of Book 4, Drums of Autumn.  I’m ready for Jamie and Claire to lead a somewhat normal life and don’t especially want to read more of their trials and tribulations.  In saying that, I feel a bit disloyal to the series but I’m all for happy endings and on that, Drums of Autumn delivers completely.

Time for Your Thoughts

Although today’s column is written to encourage a general discussion of the audio aspects of this beloved series, please feel free to make comments about content as well, especially in regards to Outlander.  Discussion of plot elements in Books 2-7 is encouraged as well – I only ask that you include a spoiler warning with those particular comments.

What are your thoughts on the Outlander series of audiobooks?

Did a particular scene stand out for you in the audio version?

Was listening to the torture or graphic details hard for you?

What format did you use for listening?

What source do you recommend for buying or borrowing?

Do you have any general questions about the series in audio?

What is your favorite line or passage of the Outlander series?  Mine is from Outlander when Jamie says to Claire after they are married, “Don’t be afraid.  There’s the two of us now.”

And, as always, do you have any general tidbits to share with us about your latest audio successes or failures?

I’ll see you again later this month when we discuss December audiobook new releases.

-Lea Hensley

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40 Responses to “Speaking of Audiobooks: The Outlander Series”

  1. Rose says:

    My daughter listened to all the series on tape/cd borrowed from the library. I listened off and on with her. She, like you has a love for Davina Porter’s readings. And from what I heard, I have to agree, she was awesome. I noticed that my daughter remembers quotes and small parts of the books better than I do. I think that is a result of having “listened” rather than “read”. I haven’t read the new book yet, I’m on a waiting list at my library for the CD’s. I like the idea of MP3 for the books, I’ll look into that! I think I would definitely have a difficult time with the torture scenes and would have to fast forward through them, as I can’t even re-read them.

    Lea, I thought it was interesting when you said you liked to stop reading after Drums of Autumn because it gave you a happy ending. I had just posted on the message board a couple of weeks ago that what I like to do is to read Outlander to the point where Claire says to Jamie “Because, I bloody well can’t do without you, Jamie Fraser, and that’s all about it.” Then I close the book and say out loud “And they lived happily ever after” Silly I know, but very comforting!

    That is my favorite line from the series and that is even my signature line on the AAR message board. (Because “*I* bloody well cant’ do without Jamie Fraser!”)

    Great subject, Lea. I’m interested to read what others have to say.

  2. katyco says:

    The Outlander series has brought me so many hours of entertainment, amusement, heartbreak, it’s hard to put in words. Davina Porter’s telling of these stories are IMO by far the best audio books ever recorded. No other is even in the same league.
    Many scenes stand out. The torture of Jamie, while not my favorite, definately stands out. Also, when Claire goes back the second time and finds Jamie. Another is when Claire finds out about Laoghaire. When Claire and Jamie lose Ian. When Brianna sees Jamie for the first time. Too many to name.
    The torture scene in Outlander was so painful that I’ve only listened to it once. The other graphic scenes really haven’t bothered me. What bothers me more is Claire saying “Jesus H. Roosevelt Christ”. I know it’s just part of her character, but as a Christian, it makes me cringe.
    I first listened to Outlander on CD from my library. Now I have them all downloaded on my computer so I can put them on my mp3 anytime and listen. When I get a new mp3, I will definately put all the books on the old one. Downloaded on mp3 is the best way to listen and if you’re a member on Audible, it’s not that expensive.
    I can’t remember which book this line is in, but it is my favorite. When Jamie says if “I love you” is not the last thing he says, it’s because he didna have time. I love that.
    I’m currently listening to An Echo in the Bone and I’m loving it. It’s so much better than just reading the book.
    I know there are some who “don’t get” Outlander, but for the ones of us who do, what a great ride.

  3. RobinB says:

    I haven’t listened to the unabridged Outlander audiobooks, but when I was on a car trip years ago while I was reading the print version of the first three books, I listened to an abridged version narrated by the British actress Geraldine James (she was in “The Jewel in the Crown”). For an abridged audiobook, it was pretty good, and she nailed the various accents and voices very well. Obviously, an unabridged audiobook is preferable, but I did enjoy this particular abridgement!

    Slightly off-topic, but another abridged audiobook that I liked was “How the Irish Saved Civilization”, narrated by Liam Neeson! OK, I confess, he could have been reading the Belfast telephone directory, and I would have liked it too! :-)

  4. MarissaB says:

    Outlander is, by far, one of the best listens ever.

    I have listened to the first 4 books, but it is really only the first book that I love. In the first month, I listened to it 4 times, even while at work. I just couldn’t get enough of Davina Porter’s virtuoso interpretation of all the characters, especially Jamie. Ah yes, Jamie. My favorite quote from the book is towards the end, when Jamie tells Claire why he married her, and they end up in a tussle on the floor. When queried by his sister as to what he is doing, he answers, “I’m making love to my wife.” It’s the way that last word is said that conveys just what Jamie feels for Claire.

    Oh, but there are so many other favorite passages in this book. Count at least one in every chapter. I won’t ever READ Outlander. I think reading would spoil the book for me.

    See a write up on Davina Porter here:
    http://www.audiofilemagazine.com/gvpages/porter.shtml

    I enjoyed the next 2 books in the series, but the fourth book got me mad.

    ***SPOILER FOLLOWS***
    I just couldn’t stomach Brianna’s and Roger’s stupidity that resulted in her rape. Come on. In the modern world, despite our laws and rights, women need to be aware of their surroundings in order to be safe. What was she doing going around in pants, knowing that men were responding to her like she was a slut? What was Roger doing leaving her alone in that kind of environment? Did they not get any uh-oh feelings? Arrgh, I was so upset! Although I was glad Jamie got to meet his daughter, I thought she was just TSTL.
    ***END OF SPOILER***

    I don’t know if I will continue listening to the rest of the books. That last one kind of did me in. If I have to listen to more of Brianna . . . .

    I have recommended this book to my cousin, who is an avid reader of romance. She tried, but Gabaldon’s style of having many digressions from the main plot turned her off. She speed reads, so of course, she missed all the good parts between Claire and Jamie that require you to focus on nuance.

    Lea, here’s another Georgett Heyer for you: Cotillion read by Phillida Nash. It is one of her best, written with funny, lovable characters. A very charming, happy book. There are 4 romances included that are skillfully interwoven into a complicated, but easily understood, plot. Nash does an excellent job of portraying the many characters, so that you will sympathize/empathize with all of them.

  5. Peggy P says:

    Oh Lea, what a wonderful tribute to the series! You have perfectly explained why this is the audio production that I compare all others to.

    I stumbled upon Outlander while nosing around Audible…I’d never heard of it but it had good ratings and wow, what a ride it was! I was thrilled when I found it was a series and there were more books – that’s the beauty of coming to a series late… no waiting. I spent an entire summer listening and re-listening and am still listening today. I too have the print versions but rarely look at them – usually only to reference something or get the exact quote.

    The thing that stands out most for me is the unexpected humor that crops up – not big laugh out loud moments but the moments in daily life that are just funny, they are so well done.

    I know the digressions drive some people crazy but the stuff I’ve learned from them! Just the other day in a discussion about drinking I was able to explain how whisky is made and the origination of the word, etc… the trivia and history I know from reading Outlander is never ending!

    I can’t come up with one favorite quote but I have a favorite scene – after their marriage when Jamie & Claire return to Leoch and have the big “mis” regarding Laoghaire and the money and then he gives her the ring, so much raw emotion and then their agreement to remain together…aaah.

    The part I rarely listen to? The very beginning of Outlander when Claire is with Frank before the time travel – yikes, it is so slow!

    I have noticed this is a “love ‘em or hate ‘em” thing – I don’t know anyone who is lukewarm about these books.

    Thanks for the time and effort you’ve put into the audiobook posts – I love them!

  6. Lea AAR says:

    Rose – I think many readers could be satisfied with reading/listening to only Outlander if they could only turn off their desire to know more. I wonder if many readers consider Outlander a stand-alone read.

    katyco – I’ve noticed in past columns that our tastes are very similar. Now that it looks as though Books 5 & 6 will be easily available in an affordable manner, I will probably listen to the last three books…eventually. When I think of listening/reading beyond Drums of Autumn, I assume that Jamie and Claire will get less time and other characters more. I know that assumption may be totally false and, with Gabaldon’s ability to tell a great story, I may not mind it if that is the case.
    Did you enjoy Books 5 & 6 as much as the first four in the series? Do you have a favorite?

    RobinB – Is “How the Irish Saved Civilization” fiction? I love Liam Neeson’s voice and this is certainly tempting. Did you buy this one or get it from your library?

    SPOILER
    MarissaB – My least favorite part of the series had to do with Brianna – particularly her overreaction to Roger’s admittance that he had known of her parents’ death (he had followed her to another time after all) and her reckless fearlessness. I talked myself into liking her by concentrating on her young age and thinking of her as immature in her reactions. I too could never quite grasp Roger’s reason for leaving Brianna once they found each other in the 18th century.

  7. jebe says:

    I started listening to the audio version of Outlander this past September. I honestly never thought I’d experience this series b/c of the sheer magnitude of the books. It just seemed so epic, too epic for me. I’m not one that can handle when authors go off on tangents…

    BUT! Listening to it is a whole different thing. I love the tangents, I love the prose and descriptions. Porter is such a good reader and she does the inner dialogue of Claire to perfection for me. I love it when she does Jamie’s voice or any other of the highlanders, she even does Jack Randall to evil perfection. Ironically, the one little niggle I have is when she does Claire’s dialogue. For some reason, the inner dialogue works, but Claire’s verbal lines always seem a little weird to me.

    Believe me, it hasn’t stopped my enjoyment. The library only rents out the audio book in Part I (CDs 1-10) and Part II (CDs 11-28). I was a fast moving train thru Part I. As I was nearing the end of disc 8, I logged onto my library’s website only to find out that Part II isn’t available until the end of November!!! You should have seen me in the car listening the next day, wondering when I’d be up to disc 10. I didn’t want to be w/out my Outlander fix on my commute!!! When I finally reached the end of disc 10, I had a moment of panic and then…popped disc 1 back in again! I’m loving it!

    I thought I’d only listen to the first book, but I can tell already that I won’t be able to stop there. Now I’m wondering at all the foreshadowing…what was w/that ghost in the beginning? What’s the deal w/Jamie’s name? I’ve already been spoiled on the amount of years that Jamie and Claire spend apart and I won’t have it! That canNOT happen, someone make it not so!

    ;> If this is the standard bearer for audio books and this is my first audio book, how can I ever top this experience?

  8. RobinB says:

    Lea AAR: P>RobinB – Is “How the Irish Saved Civilization” fiction? I love Liam Neeson’s voice and this is certainly tempting. Did you buy this one or get it from your library?</P

    Lea, “How the Irish Saved Civilization” is the first of a nonfiction series of history books by Thomas Cahill. Other books in the series deal with the Greeks, the Jews, early Christianity, and medieval Europe. I bought the audiobook featuring Liam Neeson’s narration, but I recall that there was an unabridged audiobook, also–don’t remember who the narrator was. Apparently, as with the abridged Outlander audiobooks, the narrators of the abridged books are not the same as those who narrate the unabridged versions!

  9. katyco says:

    Lea – I’ve loved all the Outlander books, each one in a different way. There are more characters to keep up with in books 5 and 6 but DG makes them so interesting and somehow ties them together in some very interesting ways. I have to say that I just love Ian. He has become one of my favorite characters in the series. A heads up though, the first part of The Fiery Cross tends to be a little slower than the rest of the series. But stay with it. The Fiery Cross and ABOSAA are very good.

    Jebe – The years that Jamie and Claire spend apart are not that bad. You should definately keep going. DG has a way of weaving the different storylines around one another so that you’re drawn in and can enjoy the story even when they’re not together. And they’re really not apart for that long in the story.

    MarrisaB – I loved Phillida Nash’s narration of Cottilion. It’s my favorite audio verison of a Georgett Heyer book.

  10. Lea AAR says:

    Jebe – although I obviously have not read all seven books in the series, I am fairly certain from reading various Outlander discussions that the ghost issue has yet to be addressed. Somehow I know it is Jamie’s ghost (through these discussions) and I, like many readers, am very eager to know why his ghost is lurking around under Claire’s window in the 20th century. Please – someone correct me if I am wrong! I guess that is reason enough for me to continue listening to the series at some time.
    SPOILER ON SEPARATION
    Also, I agree with katyco about the 20 year separation. You don’t have to endure 20 years of separation – Jamie and Claire are together much more than not. Most of that time is skipped over and revealed later as the story is fleshed out. I don’t favor separations but this is one I didn’t mind and it made the reunion all the more spectacular.
    END OF SPOILER

    And thanks MarissaB and katyco for your recommendation of Cottilion. I think it moves to #1 for my next Heyer purchase.

  11. Kaetrin says:

    I am just over halfway through Drums of Autumn. I’ve glommed onto this series, listening to them all one after the other over the past 3 months or so. I’ve found myself doing extra housework/exercise just so I can keep listening!

    I have bought the books now and as soon as I finished Outlander, I went and read my favourite bits and what was especially wonderful about that was that I could hear Davina Porter’s excellent character voices in my head when I did.

    I emailed Diana Gabaldon about the unabridged audiobooks of The Fiery Cross and A Breath of Snow & Ashes and the response I got from her website lady (DG’s touring at present and can’t answer herself right now) was that the rights to the abridged versions run out over the next year or so. Once that’s happened, we’ll see the Davina Porter versions more readily available.

    As for favourite parts – there are just TOO MANY!! I absolutely fell in love with Jamie Fraser and I think it was all the more profound because I could “hear” his voice. When I read a paper book I hear a voice in my head but it is the same voice for everyone – listening to the different character voices really brought the story alive for me.

    I think if I’d read the stories I’d have missed out on so much – on audio, you have to listen, on paper, you can scan and miss the “boring” bits – by being “forced” to listen, I actually took it all in. DG has this amazing way of weaving random bits together and the descriptions are glorious. I don’t think I would have appreciated them on paper though – knowing my reading style, I’d have skipped ahead and missed out.

    I think it may be part of DG’s writing style but there are some parts of the books (I noticed this more so in Outlander) where I feel like I’ve most probably understood but I’m not 100% sure. For example, during the torture/rape with Jack Randall and Jamie it says something like “within 30 seconds Jack shattered Jamie’s illusion of distance” (this is not even close to a direct quote). I THINK I know how Jack did that but I’m not sure if I’ve just gone somewhere the author didn’t intend me to do. I found myself re-listening and re-reading those passages to try and see “under the words” but it’s still somewhat mysterious in flavour (or, I am just dense).

    I didn’t have any queasiniess with listening to the torture scenes. I love the angsty bits in a book – they tend to make the rescue and the romance more sweeping and overwhelmingly glorious for me. Actually, now I have my favourite bit – when Jamie has just been rescued from the prison after the torture/rape and he is with Claire that night in the laird’s (oh, I forget his name, but they used his cows to effect the rescue… you’d all know who I mean…) place and he starts to tell her what’s happened and he says “hold me, hold me” and he is shaking apart and she hangs on to him even though the hanging on would have hurt ++ because of his injuries. Listening to it – it was just so much more powerful. The expression DP used is much better than the one I could have conjured up in my imagination. His desperate need of her – his description that he felt naked and without any shelter… oh my, that was awesome.

    And then, later (in France), when he tells her he’s got a wall up and bit of a roof to keep out the rain – well, what can I say??

    I am looking forward to listening to Outlander again. I think it is the best book of the series even though I have enjoyed them all. I may well listen to all of them again but I think it will be the first one that I go back to most often.

    As it happens, I am going to a Diana Gabaldon booksigning tonight!! I am so excited. It’s my first ever one. I’m pretty amazed that DG has come to South Australia and I’m looking forward to getting her to sign my copy of Echo in the Bone. Squee!!!

  12. Kaetrin says:

    @ Lea.

    A question for you:-

    I’m confessing to great stupidity here, most probably, but I wasnt’ sure what you meant by the following in your post:-

    “For example, with my first listen of Outlander, I failed to grasp the importance of a very simple passage with its subtle shift of direction. But as I listened again and heard Jamie tell Claire before their wedding ceremony that his name was “James…Fraser”, I felt chill bumps of anticipation. At Davina Porter’s very effective delivery of those two words, I rubbed my hands together and said “Here we go!”

    Could you expand on what you meant by “the importance of… with its subtle shift of direction”?

    thanks! (*grins*)

  13. Lea AAR says:

    Kaetrin – those two words represented an important turning point for me personally. All of a sudden, Outlander was centered on James Fraser. I think it is the first time we hear him say his full name (correct me if I am wrong). It’s the whole sense of “This is THE character who appears at the top of favorite heroes list – this is the hero who so many love and discuss endlessly – this is the hero I consider the best of them all…and I am about to start on this tremendous journey with him all over again.”

    The emphasis Davina Porter places on those two words plays a part in my emotional reaction to that simple phrase. Her voice is full of promise and it was a “Ready – get start – go!” moment for me. I began to see Jamie as an independent person – not someone who is being asked by his family to marry. My first time listening to Outlander, I didn’t see him as a strong character at that point. However, on my second listen, my mind imagined that in those two words “James…Fraser”, he was saying to Claire “I’m a Fraser and very confident as such.”

    Of course, just about everything on that second listen seemed to stir within me a greater depth of feeling. But I was so greatly impressed by Porter’s narration at this particular point that I stopped the audiobook and recorded my reaction to this simple delivery of Jamie’s name.

  14. Lea AAR says:

    Okay – let’s see if I can get that one phrase correct. “Ready, get set, go!”

  15. Diane says:

    Lea, thanks for having this discussion. I am really enjoying everyone’s comments. I discovered Diana Gabaldon’s books back in 1994 when Voyager came out in paperback. I did not realize until after I bought the book that it was part of a series. Of course I had to buy the first two books before I could read this one. And yes, I had already read the first 6 books before I found the audiobooks. I have to say that as much as I enjoyed reading the books I am loving Davina Porter’s reading of them much, much more. She is able to bring the story to life in such a way that reading the flat words pales in comparison.
    Concerning the ghost in Outlander, Diana has said over and over again that all will be revealed at the very end of the series. As long as none of the books end with anything tying up the ghost bit we know there will be at least one more new book. I’ve been to 5 of her booksignings and this was discussed at each one. :)
    Back to the books. I have all 7 books in hardcover and they have been autographed and placed in one of my bookcases only to be used for reference. I have all but The Fiery Cross and A Breath of Snow and Ashes from Audible on my iPod, CDs of both Outlander and A Breath of Snow and Ashes and The Fiery Cross from Recorded Books on their Playaway mp3 device. All versions are unabridged. I refuse to do abridged. :) I also did a complete re-listen to of the first 6 books in preparation for An Echo in the Bone. I was immersed in this world for so long that it was a major shock to my system when I got to the end.

  16. Kaetrin says:

    Thanks Lea – I get what you mean. (I had been wondering if there was something in the book I missed but I can see that it was more personal for you than that). I suppose I will have similar moments when I listen to Outlander again – I’ve only heard it once to date. I’ve just started reading The Fiery Cross because I can’t get it on audio in my price range (ie less than a gazillion dollars it seems!) – I’d much rather have the audio though…. well, someday!

  17. Christina says:

    I read Outlander when it first came out, and the only one I haven’t read is the newest. I bought it, but I haven’t cracked it open yet. I think I had Breath of Snow and Ashes for a year before I read it. Sometimes I just have a hard time cracking open big books and getting started. Then after I did read BOSAA I wondered why I’d waited because it was very good.

    I love the series, and when I discovered it on audio I was in heaven. I agree with many of the previous comments. I listened to Outlander again this past month, and in the middle of listening I had to go reread parts in the next three books. I love the parts when Claire goes back to find Jamie and Brianna meets Jamie.

    Davina Porter is such a master. What strikes me about her narration is that I really feel like I’m listening to a bunch of different people. I forget that it’s just her.

  18. Denyse says:

    I so enjoy reading everyone’s comments and thoughts. I discovered DG in 2004 after my mother died I had lost my job of 15 years and was simply mired in my own muck. I checked Outlander out from my library and didn’t pull my nose out of it for anything except absolute necessity.
    I loved it! Diana is so talented that I was inspired to get my life back on track, after all if she could write such amazing books, getting back into moving forward was nothing in comparison. Just recently I started listening to the audio cds I am almost thru Dragonfly in Amber, I can’t wait to listen to Voyager – even though I remember an amazing amount of details, listening vs reading is like a whole new story/discovery.
    I’ve gone from dreading my hour+ commute to hoping traffic will be bad so I can listen longer!
    I found the violence to be a little disturbing but it really reflected the times, life was brutal then, I was outraged though when Jaime beat Claire with his leather belt (Outlander), I was a little surprised he would do it but more surprised that she seemed to forgive it so easily and again when Claire offers to allow Jaime to beat her with nettles (Dragonfly in Amber) for having sex with King Louis – to get Jaime out of the bastille so he could meet Murtagh – but it was very moving when they were on the cliff at Louise’s country home and made their peace with each other. The poignancy of Jaime’s tears when they found the skeleton couple in the cave embracing each other was the best!
    I have shared my addiction with two of my sisters and we talk about Jaime & Claire so much the rest of the family think they are a couple we 3 know.
    I’m so glad Diane mentions the ghost in Outlander, its been driving me nuts trying to figure out what it means and where the story will end up.
    The description made me think it was Jaime looking up into
    Claire and Frank’s room at the Scottish B&B at the beginning of the story, pining for her. What a wickedly delightful puzzle Diana has given us :)

  19. Lea AAR says:

    Diane – so glad to hear you think the audio version is superior to the print! Since I have never read these books, I can only relate to the listening experience.
    And, I envy you – all on audio in unabridged. You all have inspired me to listen to Books 5 & 6 once they are affordably available.
    The Ghost – I didn’t know about the series ending as related to the Jamie’s ghost. Deep down I’m afraid it will be very sad or, at best, bittersweet.

    Christina – The characters do come to life under Porter’s masterful touch! I think Claire returning to Jamie is probably my second favorite scene.

    Denyse – thanks for sharing how reading this series helped pull you out of the “muck” as you refer to it. I know for me, listening to a good audiobook can be a real cure for negative thoughts.
    How I wish I had someone around here to share the wonder of these books. You are so fortunate there. Thank goodness for AAR where I can find others to do so.

  20. Kaetrin says:

    I was at a DG booksigning last week (lucky me!). I asked her when she plans to end the series and whether we’ll find out about the ghost. She answered that there is at least 1, maybe 2 or more books left in the series – after all, she said, it took her 3 books to write about the 1745 rebellion and that only lasted 6 months and had 3 major battles – the American Revolution was longer and had a larger number of major battles. She did say that the ghost will be explained and that will be right at the end – so I guess that’s how we’ll recognise the last book! (Her website has said the series will end in 1800 and will have a happy ending, FWIW).

    She’s also working on a “Through the Stones II” – I’m going to be getting a hold of the first one soon I hope – I think in the US it’s called “The Outlandish Companion”.

    She also said she’s contracted to do a new Lord John Book and she doesn’t know a lot about it yet other than it is called Lord John and Scottish Prisoner and it will be told from 2 points of view – Lord John’s and (yay!) Jamie Fraser’s.

    She was a very interesting lady to listen to and I must say, she looks pretty good for 57. Seeing her, it helped me to better visualise how Claire can be the age she is in The Fiery Cross – which is the one I’m reading at the moment (cause I can’t get the unabridged audio at a reasonable price – grrr), – I think she’s 52 or 53 where I’m up to – and still look so good to everyone else in the book.

  21. Tina Jhonson says:

    I totally recomend this audiobook. Great blog.

  22. What a wonderful site this is! I was just introduced to the Outlander series in mid-October and am now half way through the Fiery Cross and have re-read the first three to make sure I have my characters, timelines, battles,etc. clear in my mind. Believe me, it has taken a toll on my productivity but I am simply wrapped up in Jamie and Claire’s devotion and passion and their willingness to walk through the flames of hell for each other (which they certainly do!) I am rather obsessed with the ghost that Frank runs into early in Outlander. Obviously it is Jamie and I know DG says it will all be revealed about the ghost but I theorize that she has already given the clues to us. In the Fiery Cross the Stag Broach is clearly described as Jamie puts it on as he dresses to lead the Militia. (same description that Frank gives of the broach the ghost was wearing). Of much more importance to me is the quote at the end of the second book when Jamie is sending Claire back through the stones, telling her how much he loves her and says, “I will find you,” he whispered in my ear. “I promise. If I must endure two hundred years of purgatory, two hundred years without you–then that is my punishment, which I have earned for my crimes.” For me this says that indeed Jamie is the ghost as it is two hundred years or so later and he has found Claire at the inn with Frank and knows that she will soon be coming to him. What do you all think??

  23. Laurie says:

    I have recently been introduced to the Outlander series and I am in love!!! I read Outlander, and listened to a little over half of Voyager on playaway from the library before I had to return it. :( Little did I know it would take over 2 months to get it back! Long story short, I am tearing my hair out to get back to it, so I managed to take out Part 2 of Voyager on CD. Here’s my problem- I wrote down where I was on playaway (6 chapter 27 with 23 min left) but I have absolutely no idea where the CDs pick up- and there are 18 of them! I feel like I have the winning lottery ticket and the place to cash it in is locked. Can anyone help and tell me what disc I should start with??? I’ve looked online and can’t find anything. I want my “me time” back! Thank you!!!

  24. How wonderful to read the posts here. I have just finished A Breath of Snow and Ashes and believe it to be my second favorite after Outlander. I just got into the series at the end of October and have read all six books and listened to the wonderful audio book of Outlander. Needless to say, my productivity has been way down! I do have two questions after reading ABOSAA that perhaps you would give opinions on. First, was Jamie really afraid of
    Claire being pregnant after she was captured and raped or did he feel that he needed to “join” with her asap in order to keep her from emotionally spinning away forever from him due to the trauma she had experienced? The second is when Claire has meningitis and Jamie was sure she was dying. Why do you believe he left her side to go out and do some mindless farm chore when he said he knew she would be dead when he came back to the house?

  25. Lea AAR says:

    First Generation Scot – As with most blog posts, responses are fewer as the post gets older. You have raised two very good discussion points and I think you can garner some responses if you post your questions on AAR’s Let’s Talk forum. Are you familiar with AAR’s message boards?

    If you are not, you will need to register on AAR first and then post one or both of your questions here:
    http://likesbooks.com/boards/index.php

    You will see a place to register at the top of the page on the right and once your registration is approved, you will post your thoughts on the same page. Any spoilers should be identified as such.

    This is AAR’s forum dedicated to talking about books and we usually have a large number of readers who love to talk about the Outlander series. I think you may receive many answers to your questions.

    If you have any difficulty, please contact me. I so appreciate your comments and wish we had the audience to carry off this discussion right here at this time!

  26. Lea AAR says:

    First Generation Scot – I need to make a change to my previous comments. Once you are registered at AAR, you should post your thoughts here:
    http://likesbooks.com/boards/viewforum.php?f=6
    Thanks!

  27. Kaetrin says:

    @ First Generation Scot
    I looked on the forum to see whether you’d posted a thread but I couldn’t find it if you did. If you still want to discuss Outlander, I’m in! (If not, this comment will just float happily away in cyberspace)

    As to your questions, I don’t know the answers of course, but I thought that Jamie wanted to be with Claire soon after the rape because he was afraid that if they were not their connection would be strained or broken and he couldn’t face that. Also, there was a small chance that Claire could get pregnant and he wanted the possibility (if that happened) for both he and Claire that the baby could be theirs rather than the rapist’s. I don’t know if Jamie’s actions were right – ie, whether or not waiting would have damaged their relationship or not but I think that was what Jamie’s concern was.

    As for where Claire had meningitis, I thought maybe Jamie went out because he couldn’t stand it anymore and needed to do something physical. I would have liked to have seen more from his POV at this time because I love those angsty moments (especially when you know everything’s going to be okay). Plus, there’s no way Jamie would have let Mrs. Bug & Malva cut Claire’s hair if he’d been in the room, so it was a necessary plot device!

    That’s what I think anyway, for what it’s worth. What do you think?

  28. Kaetrin, I LOVE to discuss the books! Only one of my friends has read the series so I am so willing to have great discussion with others who share this passion. I have read them all at least twice and, as I said before, thoroughly enjoyed the Outlander audiobook. Also, as I previously posted, I think ABOSAA was my second favorite (after Outlander). I have not read Echo as I am so afraid of major disappointment after following a lot of the discussion on the book. I am not afraid of spoilers but I couldn’t believe John and Claire???? If you have read Echo, let me know your opinion. Lea AAR, thank you for directing me to another forum.

  29. Lea, Hate to sound stupid but which of the Let’s Talk Forums predominately discuss the Outlander series?

  30. Kaetrin says:

    Don’t be afraid of Echo in the Bone. As for John and Claire – it makes sense – I don’t want to spoil it for you so I won’t give away how it comes to be but it’s in context and she hasn’t thrown Jamie over – dont’ worry!!

    I can’t wait until The Fiery Cross and A Breath of Snow & Ashes are available in their unabridged format – Davina Porter rocks! (Although I do feel very sorry for her having to do Rogers voice after his throat is damaged – it sounds painful!).

    The great thing about Echo in the Bone is that it is available on audio – which is how I inhaled it – I have the book too but I prefer the audio – Davina brings something to the characters that my own imagination doesn’t I think.

  31. Diane says:

    Kaetrin, I have the Fiery Cross on Recorded Books Playaway. Davina does a wonderful with Roger’s voice. I’ve also got ABOSAA on CD. It was wonderful being able to listen to ALL the books, one after the other, in preparation for Echo. I always get the HC so I can get an autograph. The audio is icing on the cake for me. :)

  32. Kaetrin says:

    I was lucky enough to meet DG at a book signing in Adelaide late last year and had my copy of Echo in the Bone signed – it’s a trade paperback as that was all that was on offer but I’m happy!

    Roger “appears” in Echo so I did get to hear how Davina Porter did his voice – I’m very much looking forward to when the contracts for the abridged versions run out so that the MP3 unabridged versions of TFC and ABOSAA will be easily available on Audible and such. Then I’ll have them all. I have all the books.

    At the end of Echo I was just sad – now I have to wait for years for the next instalment! (How frustrating to DG that must be!!).

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