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The Outlandish Companion: Companion to Outlander, Dragonfly in Amber, Voyager, and Drums of Autumn

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#1 New York Times bestselling author Diana Gabaldon has captivated millions of readers with her critically acclaimed Outlander novels, the inspiration for the Starz original series. From the moment Claire Randall stepped through a standing stone circle and was thrown back in time to the year 1743—and into a world that threatens life, limb, loyalty, heart, soul, and everyth #1 New York Times bestselling author Diana Gabaldon has captivated millions of readers with her critically acclaimed Outlander novels, the inspiration for the Starz original series. From the moment Claire Randall stepped through a standing stone circle and was thrown back in time to the year 1743—and into a world that threatens life, limb, loyalty, heart, soul, and everything else Claire has—readers have been hungry to know everything about this world and its inhabitants, particularly a Scottish soldier named Jamie Fraser.   In this beautifully illustrated compendium of all things Outlandish, Gabaldon covers the first four novels of the main series, including:   • full synopses of Outlander, Dragonfly in Amber, Voyager, and Drums of Autumn • a complete listing of the characters (fictional and historical) in the first four novels in the series, as well as family trees and genealogical notes • a comprehensive glossary and pronunciation guide to Gaelic terms and usage • the fully explicated Gabaldon Theory of Time Travel • frequently asked questions to the author and her (sometimes surprising) answers • an annotated bibliography • essays about medicine and magic in the eighteenth century, researching historical fiction, creating characters, and more • professionally cast horoscopes for Jamie and Claire   For anyone who wants to spend more time with the Outlander characters and the world they inhabit, Diana Gabaldon here opens a door through the standing stones and offers a guided tour of what lies within.


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#1 New York Times bestselling author Diana Gabaldon has captivated millions of readers with her critically acclaimed Outlander novels, the inspiration for the Starz original series. From the moment Claire Randall stepped through a standing stone circle and was thrown back in time to the year 1743—and into a world that threatens life, limb, loyalty, heart, soul, and everyth #1 New York Times bestselling author Diana Gabaldon has captivated millions of readers with her critically acclaimed Outlander novels, the inspiration for the Starz original series. From the moment Claire Randall stepped through a standing stone circle and was thrown back in time to the year 1743—and into a world that threatens life, limb, loyalty, heart, soul, and everything else Claire has—readers have been hungry to know everything about this world and its inhabitants, particularly a Scottish soldier named Jamie Fraser.   In this beautifully illustrated compendium of all things Outlandish, Gabaldon covers the first four novels of the main series, including:   • full synopses of Outlander, Dragonfly in Amber, Voyager, and Drums of Autumn • a complete listing of the characters (fictional and historical) in the first four novels in the series, as well as family trees and genealogical notes • a comprehensive glossary and pronunciation guide to Gaelic terms and usage • the fully explicated Gabaldon Theory of Time Travel • frequently asked questions to the author and her (sometimes surprising) answers • an annotated bibliography • essays about medicine and magic in the eighteenth century, researching historical fiction, creating characters, and more • professionally cast horoscopes for Jamie and Claire   For anyone who wants to spend more time with the Outlander characters and the world they inhabit, Diana Gabaldon here opens a door through the standing stones and offers a guided tour of what lies within.

30 review for The Outlandish Companion: Companion to Outlander, Dragonfly in Amber, Voyager, and Drums of Autumn

  1. 4 out of 5

    Alison

    The Outlandish Companion is definitely for the lover of all things Outlander. A reader who has never laid eyes on Diana Gabaldon's series will no doubt find interest in the sections that delve into her writing technique and research, past career in academia, and the sprinkling of folk lore. But, I fear, the rest of the 600 page book will be lost on the non-lovers. Thankfully, I am a lover. It has been quite a few years since I have read the first four books: Outlander, Dragonfly in Amber, Voyager The Outlandish Companion is definitely for the lover of all things Outlander. A reader who has never laid eyes on Diana Gabaldon's series will no doubt find interest in the sections that delve into her writing technique and research, past career in academia, and the sprinkling of folk lore. But, I fear, the rest of the 600 page book will be lost on the non-lovers. Thankfully, I am a lover. It has been quite a few years since I have read the first four books: Outlander, Dragonfly in Amber, Voyager, and Drums of Autumn. Part One is a synopsis of each book, whittled down to approximately 15 pages. I was able to get a general grasp of each book before I moved on to the more specifics, the why and the how behind every detail. Yes, you must be a lover to truly appreciate Jamie and Claire's horoscopes. Part Two takes on the characters: Mushrooms, Onions, and Hard Nuts. Who fits into each category? I'll let you find out for yourself. Now maybe the most helpful section for me, the one section that would make me want to keep this book in my library, is the Cast of Characters. There are hundreds, thousands of characters in the Outlander universe and keeping them all straight is a chore. Every character is here in this book, explained in a short paragraph. This section is just perfect for when you are reading Drums of Autumn and don't quite remember how Jared Munro Fraser fits into Jamie's family tree. (He's a cousin.) After Part Two you're going to delve into Family Trees (part three), Glossary and Pronunciation Guide (part four), both interesting and filled with tidbits of information you'd never know and will no doubt find very interesting once you do learn of them. My next favorite section was Six, Research. I loved reading the back and forth between Diana Gabaldon and her many online friends and cohorts. Many give her insight and pose questions that challenges her writing, but in a way that would only make it better. Also, if you've ever considered writing historical fiction this section gives you a good idea about what you're in for...a second home, the library. Part Seven was also a quick interesting read, Where Titles Come From and The Gabaldon Theory of Time Travel. Actually, as an avid reader of all things Outlandish I've never quite understood her theory in regards to time travel. This was a concise tutorial that will surely help me while reading upcoming books. I haven't included every section, this review would be as long as one of Galadon's books if I did! I've only written about the ones I truly enjoyed reading. While some this companion wouldn't need to be read over and over again, there is a wealth of information that would be useful for the Outlander lover and fiend. The book is worth it's weight in gold (and gemstones) just for the section on characters. Have an Outlandishly good time reading this, it is well worth the time!

  2. 4 out of 5

    Barbara ★

    I was rather disappointed in this companion book. After reading J.R. Ward's Blackdagger Brotherhood Insiders Guide, I kinda expected this companion to be similar with inside insight into the characters and little tidbits of information not presented in the books. It read more like a dictionary. There are synopses of each book (through book 4 Drums of Autumn). She actually broke down each novel into roughly 15 pages or so. No insight just straight text giving the highlights of each novel. I expec I was rather disappointed in this companion book. After reading J.R. Ward's Blackdagger Brotherhood Insiders Guide, I kinda expected this companion to be similar with inside insight into the characters and little tidbits of information not presented in the books. It read more like a dictionary. There are synopses of each book (through book 4 Drums of Autumn). She actually broke down each novel into roughly 15 pages or so. No insight just straight text giving the highlights of each novel. I expected more information here. The chapter on characters was rather interesting but again no new information except the horoscope charts for Jamie and Claire which were impressive but irrelevant IMHO. Sections on Family Trees, glossary/pronunciation guides and websites/online venues, I found pointless and a waste of space (I did not read but quickly skimmed). The chapter on Lallybroch was interesting but again nothing new just bits and pieces pulled from each of the four novels. The frequently asked question section was really interesting. The nerve of some people (readers) is absolutely amazing. Then there are 100 pages of bibliographies - boring and other than an historian, who would read these pages? Regardless of the amount of work that went into this publication by Diana Gabaldon, definitely not worth the $40 price ticket.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Tracy

    My mom is an Outlander fan and I've spent many hours over the last few days reading to her from this book. It has been enjoyable for both of us to spend our time in this way. There were parts of the book we really liked and parts that weren't really something we wanted to know about, but probably interesting for others (things about the herbs and medicine Claire gets into). We enjoyed very much discovering some of the finer points of the author's research which led to some of the details of the My mom is an Outlander fan and I've spent many hours over the last few days reading to her from this book. It has been enjoyable for both of us to spend our time in this way. There were parts of the book we really liked and parts that weren't really something we wanted to know about, but probably interesting for others (things about the herbs and medicine Claire gets into). We enjoyed very much discovering some of the finer points of the author's research which led to some of the details of the books, such as there really being a James Fraser, a Madam Hildegard and others. We loved hearing the author plans to write a prequel about Jamie's parents! We loved the idea she has for a novel about Master Raymond! And most of all we loved that she intends for there to be a happy ending to this massive tale... If you're an Outlander fan I do recommend this volume. It's like having your own chance to ask the author all the questions you've ever had about the books. She pretty much answered everything I've wondered about so far and even things I hadn't thought of yet. We have the next volume as well. We'll see if we want to dive into that one as well...

  4. 5 out of 5

    Mo

    So excited that my secret Santa gave me an Amazon.co.uk gift voucher and I could purchase this!! Merci beaucoup, mon amie. Je t'aime. xxxx So excited that my secret Santa gave me an Amazon.co.uk gift voucher and I could purchase this!! Merci beaucoup, mon amie. Je t'aime. xxxx

  5. 4 out of 5

    Lori Anderson

    I love love LOVE the Outlander series, so of course had to have this book. I thought it had many interesting bits, but also a bunch that I didn't care to read (and that's ok! That's what I expected!). I liked FINALLY knowing how to pronounce those Gailic words but WHY oh WHY didn't she have the Foreign Language Glossary in alphabetical order? What a PITA to look up anything. I did like reading her email exchanges with her computer group as she was hashing out ideas -- that was interesting. And I I love love LOVE the Outlander series, so of course had to have this book. I thought it had many interesting bits, but also a bunch that I didn't care to read (and that's ok! That's what I expected!). I liked FINALLY knowing how to pronounce those Gailic words but WHY oh WHY didn't she have the Foreign Language Glossary in alphabetical order? What a PITA to look up anything. I did like reading her email exchanges with her computer group as she was hashing out ideas -- that was interesting. And I loved her footnotes -- funny. This would be a good gift for someone who loves the series, but not a must-read.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Amanda

    This was an enjoyable extra to the Outlander series, though I did skip some sections, such as the list of characters, horological interpretations, Gaelic glossary, etc. It was amusing to see her write about being an author in the early days of the internet, and about her plans for the series when there were only a few books published, and to see how those plans have changed. I read the updated edition, but not all sections were as up to date. One section listed The Fiery Cross as the 2nd to last This was an enjoyable extra to the Outlander series, though I did skip some sections, such as the list of characters, horological interpretations, Gaelic glossary, etc. It was amusing to see her write about being an author in the early days of the internet, and about her plans for the series when there were only a few books published, and to see how those plans have changed. I read the updated edition, but not all sections were as up to date. One section listed The Fiery Cross as the 2nd to last book, another section mentioned Written in My Own Heart’s Blood. It definitely made me want get a hurry on with the rest of the series so I can discuss it fully with my mom.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Kitty

    This book was written as a "companion" to the Outlander series - a book full of fun facts, background details, and stories about "the making of" the series written by Diana Gabaldon. It was written after "Drums of Autumn" (the fourth book in the series). I waited until I had read the first four before reading this - and I would definitely recommend that, as there many "spoilers" included here, as well as a "synopsis" of each of those books. The fact that I would actually read this big, heavy har This book was written as a "companion" to the Outlander series - a book full of fun facts, background details, and stories about "the making of" the series written by Diana Gabaldon. It was written after "Drums of Autumn" (the fourth book in the series). I waited until I had read the first four before reading this - and I would definitely recommend that, as there many "spoilers" included here, as well as a "synopsis" of each of those books. The fact that I would actually read this big, heavy hardback "reference" book cover-to-cover probably says it all. While I am a big fan of the series, I wouldn't say I'm "obsessed". I just love the books. There is definitely something special, something rare about how readers connect with the characters. And I also feel that there is something special and rare about the author herself. Her "stories about the stories" are nearly as good as the stories themselves. I've skimmed a few other similar "companion" books, but found that they were much better used as a tool to refer back to - not something to curl up with and read just for pleasure. Not so with this one. While parts of this book were more interesting to me than others, I found all of it to be very readable, and very enjoyable. This is something that will remain on my bookshelf, as I continue to follow the story of Claire and Jamie Fraser.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Anna

    Besides coming in handy to readers who’ve paused mid-series for a lengthy period of time and want to remember the events of the previous books, before picking up where they left off, The Outlandish Companion is a captivating insight into the writer’s creative process. How the first book came about, plus the research that went into further developing the story of Claire Randall Fraser. I was pleasantly surprised by her down-to-earth vision on the craft and all the little (self)ironies regardi Besides coming in handy to readers who’ve paused mid-series for a lengthy period of time and want to remember the events of the previous books, before picking up where they left off, The Outlandish Companion is a captivating insight into the writer’s creative process. How the first book came about, plus the research that went into further developing the story of Claire Randall Fraser. I was pleasantly surprised by her down-to-earth vision on the craft and all the little (self)ironies regarding what it means to be a writer of historical fiction: ““I’ve done my research, and now you’re going to pay.” That is, novels that include mind-numbing masses of detail, because the author can’t bear to “waste” any of the effort spent in research.” Of course, even though Gabaldon is not the kind of writer who tortures her readers with pages and pages of descriptions and historical facts, she is careful to point out her own misdemeanours and even responds to the criticism she faced for her books over the years. I loved the tiny illustrations scattered across each chapter and, simply by flipping through the book, you can recognize the amount of work that went into the production of this companion. I look forward to reading volume 5!

  9. 5 out of 5

    Susan

    If you are new to the Outlander universe, this is a gem of a book to pick up. Not only are there detailed summaries of the first books in this remarkable series, the author also has different chapters on where she got her ideas for the characters, her thought process on writing, information about herbal cures, a list of music that would bring Scotland to mind, frequently asked questions, Jamie and Claire's horoscopes, a listing of other books to read once this series reading has been exhausted a If you are new to the Outlander universe, this is a gem of a book to pick up. Not only are there detailed summaries of the first books in this remarkable series, the author also has different chapters on where she got her ideas for the characters, her thought process on writing, information about herbal cures, a list of music that would bring Scotland to mind, frequently asked questions, Jamie and Claire's horoscopes, a listing of other books to read once this series reading has been exhausted and many other interesting tidbits. While I did not read all of it, I found the bits I read extremely interesting. I skimmed through some of the other sections and found the parts I picked out to be useful. Recommend this book.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Nicole

    I'm kicking myself for not reading this sooner. Until now, I have used the companions as reference books-which they are wonderful for-but I didna realize how much I would love reading all they contain from cover to cover. If you are an Obsessenach like me, I highly recommend you READ these. It was simply delightful from page one. Can't wait to dive into Volume 2. I'm kicking myself for not reading this sooner. Until now, I have used the companions as reference books-which they are wonderful for-but I didna realize how much I would love reading all they contain from cover to cover. If you are an Obsessenach like me, I highly recommend you READ these. It was simply delightful from page one. Can't wait to dive into Volume 2.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Julianna

    Reviewed for THC Reviews "4.5 stars" The Outlandish Companion is an indispensable reference guide to all things Outlander. This book covers the first four volumes of the Outlander series, but Diana Gabaldon is reportedly working on a second volume which will detail the books that have been written since this one was published. Being a hard-core fan, I read it from beginning to end, and for the most part found it to be very enjoyable. As with most books of this nature though, some sections were ve Reviewed for THC Reviews "4.5 stars" The Outlandish Companion is an indispensable reference guide to all things Outlander. This book covers the first four volumes of the Outlander series, but Diana Gabaldon is reportedly working on a second volume which will detail the books that have been written since this one was published. Being a hard-core fan, I read it from beginning to end, and for the most part found it to be very enjoyable. As with most books of this nature though, some sections were very interesting, helpful, and/or inspiring, while others didn't quite catch my fancy, but thankfully those were few and far between. Reading the book straight through like I did made the repetitions from one section to the next stand out more, but in all fairness, I think the author was simply trying to be thorough in her explanations for those readers who might pick and choose individual sections to peruse based on their interests. Overall though, this was an informative book that IMHO is a must-have for any true Outlander fan. Below is a section-by-section overview along with my thoughts on each one: *The prologue lays out the complete story of how Outlander came to be, from the moment Diana Gabaldon came up with the idea of writing a book all the way through to its publication. I'd read most of the pertinent bits of this story before, but it was nice to have it laid out linearly and in detail. *Part One – Synopses – This includes thoroughly detailed synopses for Outlander, Dragonfly in Amber, Voyager, and Drums of Autumn. Reading these would be a great way to reorient yourself to the series before starting a new book or watching the TV show if it's been a while since you last read them. This is great, especially if you don't have time for a full re-read, which is admittedly a daunting prospect with these lengthy tomes.:-) *Part Two – Characters – This section begins with Ms. Gabaldon's explanation of how she develops and names her characters, as well as some info on her inclusion of real-life personages as characters. This was fascinating from a reader's standpoint because I enjoyed finding out how these characters I've come to love so much were created. It was also intriguing from a writer's standpoint, because she gives some insights into the craft of character building. This is followed by a complete cast of characters (from the first four books) in glossary format, which is a great quick reference for finding out more about characters you may have forgotten and how they relate to other characters and plot. Next is a brief primer on astrology and how astrological readings are done. Never having followed astrology much, I have to admit that this part went way beyond my understanding. The actual horoscope readings for Jamie and Claire that were cast by an experienced astrologist were somewhat interesting in that they seemed surprisingly spot on in describing their personalities, especially Jamie's. Finally, the author gives a detailed account of how she came to give Claire a medical background and all the various decisions she had to make and challenges she faced in doing so. *Part Three – Family Trees – This section offers detailed genealogical information for the Beauchamps, Randalls, Frasers, and MacKenzies. I have to admit that the narrative genealogy was rather dry, reminding me of all the begets and begats from the Old Testament of the Bible. However, I did enjoy perusing the family tree charts and found them helpful in understanding how the characters are related. Following this, is a special genealogical note on Roger Wakefield. I was shocked to discover that quite a number of readers mistakenly believe that Roger is the son of Geillis Duncan and Dougal MacKenzie. Like the author, I found that one to be a head-scratcher as to where this notion came from, and that so many readers would be confused by that. This certainly was never an issue for me, but for anyone who was under this mistaken impression, Ms. Gabaldon lays it to rest with a detailed explanation of Roger's background. *Part Four – Comprehensive Glossary and Pronunciation Guide – Ever wondered how to pronounce those pesky Gaelic words and phrases? I always just muddled through, knowing that I was probably mangling them badly, since Gaelic isn't a phonetic language. Well, this section is exactly what it sounds like from the title, a complete guide to the meanings and pronunciations of all the foreign terms used in the first four Outlander novels, and it's not just the Gaelic words. It also includes Scots dialect, older English terms that might be unfamiliar to readers, Latin, French, German, Spanish, and Mandarin. The section also begins with a brief primer on Gaelic grammar. I'm sure this will be an indispensable reference when re-reading the books. My only small complaint with this section is that the words/phrases are not arranged alphabetically, which seems like it would offer the greatest ease in locating them. I believe they're arranged in order of their appearance in the books. This might be OK if you're keeping the glossary open while reading the books and referencing it every time a foreign term pops up, but if you're wanting to look up a specific word or phrase, this doesn't seem to be the friendliest way to find it. *Part Five – Outlandish Web Sites and Online Venues –I'm sorry to say that this section is almost entirely outdated, which is the unfortunate nature of printed materials regarding the World Wide Web. The only two sites that appear to still be operational (or at least that I could still find) were Ms. Gabaldon's own site (which of course has a new URL with her own name as the domain), and the Ladies of Lallybroch. However, their site could use a major design overhaul to bring it into the 21st century. On a side note, I very much enjoyed the author's story of meeting the Ladies of Lallybroch in Canada along with the 'Scottish' stripper they'd hired.;-) *Part Six – Research – This section begins with an overview on researching historical fiction. As a writer, I find the prospect of doing research rather daunting, and consequently, it's my least favorite part of the writing process. Therefore, I really enjoyed reading this part of the book, because Ms. Gabaldon gave me a new perspective on it by showing me that it doesn't have to be so scary.:-) Next is an explanation of the author's research into herbal medicine. I found it particularly amusing how the UK publisher actually included a disclaimer in their edition of Outlander, which basically said, “Don't try this at home.” Lastly is a complete thread from the Compuserve Writer's Forum where the author was asking for feedback regarding her use of penicillin in an excerpt from The Fiery Cross. IMO, it was very much indicative of a typical online discussion i.e. the author is looking for specific information on penicillin and whether the scene she wrote rang true from a medical perspective, but in addition to getting the information she wants, she ends up receiving responses that focus on other details, which in some cases are helpful and in others, not so much. *Part Seven – Where Titles Come From – I loved learning about how Ms. Gabaldon came up with the titles for her books. Based on what I know of the publishing industry, it's a pretty rare privilege for an author to be allowed to title his/her own books, so I'm glad that she was able to have that kind of input. She also explains why the UK title of the book is Cross-Stitch rather than Outlander. The second part of this section is the Gabaldon Theory of Time Travel, which is utterly fascinating to the geek in me. I'm sure I've read parts of her theory before, but this presentation was very detailed. She has obviously put a lot of thought into how this time travel thing would work if, indeed, it were real. *Part Eight – The View from Lallybroch – The subtitle of this section is Objects of Vertue, Objects of Use, but otherwise there's no other explanation of the contents of this sections. Consequently, I was a little confused by it, as it seems to just be a collection of random excerpts from the books, along with a couple of anecdotes and some illustrations. I guess the purpose was to highlight various objects of importance from the stories, and perhaps to set the scene. [shrug] I did enjoy the illustrations of Lallybroch and the jewelry such as Claire's wedding rings and the pearls that previously belonged to Jamie's mother. *Part Nine – Frequently Asked Questions – This section is exactly what the title says, a list of questions the author is frequently asked by readers and her answers. Many of these I'd seen before, but there were some new ones that I found intriguing, especially those relating to the writing craft and character motivations. It's always interesting to hear straight from their creator what certain characters are thinking or feeling at a given moment in the story, because it can really help the reader to better understand them. *Part Ten – Controversy – This was actually one of my favorite sections. In it, Ms. Gabaldon shares her reasoning behind the inclusion of various elements in the story, which some readers have found offensive. This includes sex, language, homosexuality (not surprisingly, this section was the most extensive), abortion, wife-beating, and a couple of other minor issues. I thought all of her responses were extremely articulate and well-thought-out, as well as presenting a well-reasoned defense for the inclusion of such potentially controversial material. I couldn't have agreed with her more on all points, and it was nice to know that I've always been on the same page with her regarding these things. The only tiny thing she didn't address in the wife-beating part was Jamie's off-handed admission that he kind of enjoyed it. The actual beating never bothered me much, as I took it in the historical context in which it was intended, but his words after did, as it seemed a slightly sadistic thing to say. However, it was such a small part of the story, it never detracted from my overall enjoyment of Outlander, and I'm also willing to admit that maybe I took it the wrong way. Perhaps if I re-read that scene again with the enlightenment of Ms. Gabaldon's other remarks, it will provide more clarification. *Part Eleven – Work in Progress: Excerpts of Future Books – I admittedly skipped most of this section, as I'm not much for reading long excerpts of upcoming books, especially those which are already (now) published, and which I plan on reading soon. For readers who do enjoy this, it includes an excerpt from The Fiery Cross and “Surgeon's Steel,” which I read elsewhere in the book was originally published as a short story in an anthology but is included in its entirety in A Breath of Snow and Ashes (which at the time this book was written was titled King, Farewell). I did, however, read The Cannibal's Art, which was a wonderful sneak-peak into the busy every-day life of a best-selling author. I'm not even a best-seller, and this sounded a lot like most of my days. That made me feel so much better about not getting much writing done some days. Then again, we writers are always writing even if it's just in our minds.;-) *In the back of the book there is an annotated bibliography, organized by topics. It's a pretty comprehensive list of the books Ms. Gabaldon used for research. This would be very helpful to any writer who might be considering writing a novel set in approximately the same time and place as the Outlander books. It would also be useful for culture and history buffs or those who simply want to learn more about the settings, cultures, medical practices, etc. that are a such a big part of Outlander. *Last but not least, there are seven appendices, covering a variety of topics. The first, Errata, details all the errors which readers have brought to her attention. Some of them are mere typos, others are actual errors, and still others are simply perceived errors that aren't actually errors at all, accompanied by an explanation of why they aren't. I was quite impressed that it was a relatively short list for four monster tomes. It just goes to show what a skillful writer Diana Gabaldon really is. Next, is a list of Gaelic resources for readers who might be interested in learning to speak Gaelic. Then there are the full texts of various poems and quotations that are used in the books, followed by A Brief Primer on Genealogical Research that includes a number of resources for readers who may have been inspired by the books to look into their own family history. After that is A Brief Discography of Celtic Music for anyone who would like to add relevant background music to their reading material, and a list of foreign editions of the books, along with descriptions of their covers. It was interesting learning which covers Ms. Gabaldon liked and which ones made her cringe. To wrap things up she includes what she calls her Methadone List. This is a list of other books she recommends to readers who are looking for something else to read while waiting for the next Outlander installment to be released, and there are quite a few interesting titles on it. My TBR list is growing from having read it.;-) Whew! That's a lot of stuff packed into a volume that's about two-thirds as long as the novels themselves (taking into account the larger size of this book and the fact that it's formatted in a two-column style). As I said before, IMHO, this is a must-have reference book for all true Outlander fans. There's so much information here, anyone who really loves these books as much as I do should find something of interest if not lots of things. So dig in and have fun!:-)

  12. 5 out of 5

    Liz

    I discovered this book when I was in the middle of the series and found it useful, but I think it could be improved (and hope it will be when Diana completes the series and another such volume might be required). 1) It would have been easier to find negotiate the glossaries if the terms had been listed in alphabetical order rather than the order in which they appeared in the book. 2) What was the point of horoscopes for the two main characters? They are fictional characters, after all. I thought I discovered this book when I was in the middle of the series and found it useful, but I think it could be improved (and hope it will be when Diana completes the series and another such volume might be required). 1) It would have been easier to find negotiate the glossaries if the terms had been listed in alphabetical order rather than the order in which they appeared in the book. 2) What was the point of horoscopes for the two main characters? They are fictional characters, after all. I thought this was a terrible waste of space. 3) The info on Scottish clans, herbal medicine, family tree of the main characters, etc. were nice side notes to the Gabaldon books. But did we really need Gabaldon's reprinting of reviews and fan mail?

  13. 4 out of 5

    Suzie

    I really enjoy Gabaldon's books. I treasure her characters. I admire her imagery. Her fiction speaks to me. But I can't stand her voice! I stopped in the middle of this book because it was ruining the magic for me. I don't want to know how unspectacular her inspiration was. I don't want to know her secrets. Let me remain blissfully uninformed! I really enjoy Gabaldon's books. I treasure her characters. I admire her imagery. Her fiction speaks to me. But I can't stand her voice! I stopped in the middle of this book because it was ruining the magic for me. I don't want to know how unspectacular her inspiration was. I don't want to know her secrets. Let me remain blissfully uninformed!

  14. 4 out of 5

    Mimi

    Like the title says, this is a companion to the series and should be read after reading the first four books. Since it contains whole book summaries and a full character index... spoilers abound. Obviously. Recommended for: those who have finished the first four books and need an Outlander crash course

  15. 4 out of 5

    Sue

    Excellent a great way to catch up on the series without reading 4K pages.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Lisa E

    I wish i had this book as a reference when i was reading the first 4 of the series. It gives a synopsis of the first several books, and then delves into some of the "why" questions for character development. If you have already read the books, and wondered how to pronounce all the Gaelic words, this book tells you the phonetic rules for Gaelic, and how the words are used. It also tells you some of the nuances of meaning that aren't obvious in direct translation. The words are arranged by book - I wish i had this book as a reference when i was reading the first 4 of the series. It gives a synopsis of the first several books, and then delves into some of the "why" questions for character development. If you have already read the books, and wondered how to pronounce all the Gaelic words, this book tells you the phonetic rules for Gaelic, and how the words are used. It also tells you some of the nuances of meaning that aren't obvious in direct translation. The words are arranged by book - so you can use it as sort of a concordance as you are reading. There were sections that i didn't bother to read, such as the astrological charting of the main characters. C'mon, i DONT CARE. I -did- enjoy the sections that discussed how Diana developed her characters early in books so that she could use the details in later stories. Very nice !

  17. 4 out of 5

    Karen

    Oh, what a fun listen! The Outlandish Companion is a reference based on the first four books of the Outlander series. Ms. Gabaldon describes how she began writing novels, her research approach (fascinating), synopses of books one to four, questions she gets from fans, etc. This audiobook is narrated by Davina Porter, as well as author Diana Gabaldon. Ms. Porter narrates most of the Outlander audiobooks (I believe the novellas have a different narrator) and is wonderfully talented. Ms. Gabaldon's Oh, what a fun listen! The Outlandish Companion is a reference based on the first four books of the Outlander series. Ms. Gabaldon describes how she began writing novels, her research approach (fascinating), synopses of books one to four, questions she gets from fans, etc. This audiobook is narrated by Davina Porter, as well as author Diana Gabaldon. Ms. Porter narrates most of the Outlander audiobooks (I believe the novellas have a different narrator) and is wonderfully talented. Ms. Gabaldon's narration is candid and refreshing... listening to her comments felt like listening to a friend and made me like the Outlander series even more. Highly recommended for Outlander fans -- the kindle version is very good but the unabridged audiobook is amazing!

  18. 5 out of 5

    Susan

    The introduction to this book chronicles Gabaldon's journey to becoming a ficion writer (quite a leap, considering her backround in zoology and comic books...yes, you read that right.) It is one of the funniest things I've ever read. She has such a fantastic voice in her writing, I feel as though we're hanging out gabbing over a bottle of wine. You've got to love a girl who writes: "What was the easiest kind of book for me to write? I didn't see the point in making things difficult for myself. A The introduction to this book chronicles Gabaldon's journey to becoming a ficion writer (quite a leap, considering her backround in zoology and comic books...yes, you read that right.) It is one of the funniest things I've ever read. She has such a fantastic voice in her writing, I feel as though we're hanging out gabbing over a bottle of wine. You've got to love a girl who writes: "What was the easiest kind of book for me to write? I didn't see the point in making things difficult for myself. After considerable thought, it seemed to me a historical novel was best...if I couldn't make things up, I could look them up." I love her.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Lizz

    I love this book! I find that her books are so involved and intricate that when a new one comes out I need a little refresher on what has come before. In the past I re-read the first books, but now that we are at this point in the series that takes some TIME. With the companion I'm able to read the synopsis of each book and remember where we left each character when last we met. Wonderful!! I do, however, wish that she could update it since 2 or is it 3 now?, books have come out since. *HINT* I love this book! I find that her books are so involved and intricate that when a new one comes out I need a little refresher on what has come before. In the past I re-read the first books, but now that we are at this point in the series that takes some TIME. With the companion I'm able to read the synopsis of each book and remember where we left each character when last we met. Wonderful!! I do, however, wish that she could update it since 2 or is it 3 now?, books have come out since. *HINT*

  20. 5 out of 5

    Melissa

    I enjoyed this book (especially the glossory and pronunciation guide). It was wonderful to get some more background information about the series, what inspired it, why some things happened the way they did, etc. However, I felt that the book was much too long winded and redundant in some places. Overall, a good resource, though.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Anke

    This book helped me a lot while reading the Outlander books. The most important part was without doubt the part where all the characters were specified. But yes, if you are a reader like me, reading this books over a long stretch of time and having problems remembering who is who, then you definitely need this to piece together this immense story.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Suzanne

    Fun read - interesting to learn more about the author, her writing process, and her thoughts. Yup - a bit addicted over here. 😁 (Taking a bit of an Outlander break soon......)

  23. 4 out of 5

    Brandy

    Excellent, and a must-have companion for the series.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Suellen

    The quintessential Outlander reference book - Volume 1.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Jillian Brandon

    This was fantastic!

  26. 5 out of 5

    Liz

    A skim re-read because my interest in genealogy etc is pretty limited. The now-quite-outdated sections on the internet are a little time capsule.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Tiff

    Don’t judge

  28. 4 out of 5

    Kris

    All sorts of background information and discussion by the author of the Outlander books. Great for fans.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Teresa

    Interesting enough in parts, but mostly for reference. It contains a section at the end about the production of the TV series from the sale of the option for the story several times throughout the years to the start of filming in 2014. The part that I enjoyed the most was a collection of letters the author received from readers, some with questions, some with complaints, a lot of them outrageous, and her own responses to these letters. Quaint and picturesque enough to satisfy the incipient obses Interesting enough in parts, but mostly for reference. It contains a section at the end about the production of the TV series from the sale of the option for the story several times throughout the years to the start of filming in 2014. The part that I enjoyed the most was a collection of letters the author received from readers, some with questions, some with complaints, a lot of them outrageous, and her own responses to these letters. Quaint and picturesque enough to satisfy the incipient obsession I am developing with all things Outlander-ish.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Sophia

    Well! I'm not quite sure about reviewing a Companion or 'guide' to a series, but I'll give it my best shot. This particular book is a companion guide to the first four books in the Outlander series (Outlander, Dragonfly in Amber, Voyager, and Drums in Autumn). I really enjoyed it because I have read well passed this point by reading the the next three books so it was like a good way to review what I've read while providing additional insights into the reads. What I particularly enjoyed was Diana' Well! I'm not quite sure about reviewing a Companion or 'guide' to a series, but I'll give it my best shot. This particular book is a companion guide to the first four books in the Outlander series (Outlander, Dragonfly in Amber, Voyager, and Drums in Autumn). I really enjoyed it because I have read well passed this point by reading the the next three books so it was like a good way to review what I've read while providing additional insights into the reads. What I particularly enjoyed was Diana's voice that personalized much of the book. The prologue of how she came to be a writer was worth the cost of the book alone. Diana's wit, even when just in explanation, had me laughing. But it was followed by some nice in depth synopses of each book, fun character breakdowns and even Claire and Jamie's horoscope birthdate readings. Then came those handy genealogical charts that I find handy to explain some of the family discussions in the books. I sort of skimmed the pronunciation guides, but they are also there and handy for reference purposes. Then came a list of fan websites which I will be visiting yes siree. These were followed by some explanations about her research. Next came the intriguing explanations of how she named the books. What a hoot! She had me laughing again. The Lallybroch section was a nice collage of quotes from the books regarding various people, places and things of value in the books. This quote section is followed up by a very informative Q&A chapter. I loved this because there were a few questions asked that I didn't even think about that I realized I wanted to know the answer too. My big ones were answered- Who or what is the ghost in the beginning of Outlander? And who and what is Raymond from Dragonfly in Amber? It was bugging me for some time after I read them. I can gloatingly say that most of the questions I would not have needed to ask. I was just so into the books that each detail was important to me. The section on Controversy was interesting for two reasons. She tackled customer complaints basically. I found it interesting what upset people about the books, but I also enjoyed reading her responses because I learned even more background stuff about the historical period and the characters. I know- you're curious about what the controversies are. Well there was- bad language, sex, wife beating, homosexuality and eating disorders though there might have been more. And if you haven't got around to Fiery Cross or what was then called King, Farewell then there are snippets from those stories. These are followed by research and further reading stuff for those who want to go more in depth into things like Scotland, medicine, magic and Native American history. Also, I should mention that there are two good maps of the Outlander World in the cover leafs and another map inside the book. There are also several wonderful graphics scattered through out the guide both pictures and illustrated drawings that have something to do with the pages they are on. Very nice! Like the Outlander series books, this is a nice hefty tome, but also like the books, it is so easy to get caught up in Diana's voice, explanations and witticisms that before I knew it I was reading it with pure enjoyment. No, there are no earth shattering revelations; it was more a reminder of how far we have come. It was so enjoyable that I hope she does a second companion covering the next four books. Recommend for the Outlander fan!

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