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Drums of Autumn

Cover of Drums of Autumn

Drums of Autumn

Outlander Series, Book 4

BONUS: This edition contains an excerpt from Diana Gabaldon's The Fiery Cross.

The magnificent saga continues....

It began in Scotland, at an ancient stone circle. There, a doorway, open to a select few, leads into the past--or the grave. Claire Randall survived the extraordinary passage, not once but twice. Her first trip swept her into the arms of Jamie Fraser, an eighteenth-century Scot whose love for her became legend--a tale of tragic passion that ended with her return to the present to bear his child. Her second journey, two decades later, brought them together again in frontier America. But Claire had left someone behind in the twentieth century. Their daughter, Brianna....

Now Brianna has made a disturbing discovery that sends her to the stone circle and a terrifying leap into the unknown. In search of her mother and the father she has never met, she is risking her own future to try to change history...and to save their lives. But as Brianna plunges into an uncharted wilderness, a heartbreaking encounter may strand her forever in the past...or root her in the place she should be, where her heart and soul belong....

BONUS: This edition contains an excerpt from Diana Gabaldon's The Fiery Cross.

The magnificent saga continues....

It began in Scotland, at an ancient stone circle. There, a doorway, open to a select few, leads into the past--or the grave. Claire Randall survived the extraordinary passage, not once but twice. Her first trip swept her into the arms of Jamie Fraser, an eighteenth-century Scot whose love for her became legend--a tale of tragic passion that ended with her return to the present to bear his child. Her second journey, two decades later, brought them together again in frontier America. But Claire had left someone behind in the twentieth century. Their daughter, Brianna....

Now Brianna has made a disturbing discovery that sends her to the stone circle and a terrifying leap into the unknown. In search of her mother and the father she has never met, she is risking her own future to try to change history...and to save their lives. But as Brianna plunges into an uncharted wilderness, a heartbreaking encounter may strand her forever in the past...or root her in the place she should be, where her heart and soul belong....

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  • From the book

    A HANGING IN EDENCharleston, June 1767

    I heard the drums long before they came in sight. The beating echoed in the pit of my stomach, as though I too were hollow. The sound traveled through the crowd, a harsh military rhythm meant to be heard over speech or gunfire. I saw heads turn as the people fell silent, looking up the stretch of East Bay Street, where it ran from the half-built skeleton of the new Customs House toward White Point Gardens. It was a hot day, even for Charleston in June. The best places were on the seawall, where the air moved; here below, it was like being roasted alive. My shift was soaked through, and the cotton bodice clung between my breasts. I wiped my face for the tenth time in as many minutes and lifted the heavy coil of my hair, hoping vainly for a cooling breeze upon my neck. I was morbidly aware of necks at the moment. Unobtrusively, I put my hand up to the base of my throat, letting my fingers circle it. I could feel the pulse beat in my carotid arteries, along with the drums, and when I breathed, the hot wet air clogged my throat as though I were choking.

    I quickly took my hand down, and drew in a breath as deep as I could manage. That was a mistake. The man in front of me hadn't bathed in a month or more; the edge of the stock about his thick neck was dark with grime and his clothes smelled sour and musty, pungent even amid the sweaty reek of the crowd. The smell of hot bread and frying pig fat from the food vendors' stalls lay heavy over a musk of rotting seagrass from the marsh, only slightly relieved by a whiff of salt-breeze from the harbor. There were several children in front of me, craning and gawking, running out from under the oaks and palmettos to look up the street, being called back by anxious parents. The girl nearest me had a neck like the white part of a grass stalk, slender and succulent.

    There was a ripple of excitement through the crowd; the gallows procession was in sight at the far end of the street. The drums grew louder. ''Where is he?'' Fergus muttered beside me, craning his own neck to see. ''I knew I should have gone with him!''

    ''He'll be here.'' I wanted to stand on tiptoe, but didn't, feeling that this would be undignified. I did glance around, though, searching. I could always spot Jamie in a crowd; he stood head and shoulders above most men, and his hair caught the light in a blaze of reddish gold. There was no sign of him yet, only a bobbing sea of bonnets and tricornes, sheltering from the heat those citizens come too late to find a place in the shade. The flags came first, fluttering above the heads of the excited crowd, the banners of Great Britain and of the Royal Colony of South Carolina. And another, bearing the family arms of the Lord Governor of the colony. Then came the drummers, walking two by two in step, their sticks an alternate beat and blur. It was a slow march, grimly inexorable. A dead march, I thought they called that particular cadence; very suitable under the circumstances. All other noises were drowned by the rattle of the drums. Then came the platoon of red-coated soldiers and in their midst, the prisoners.

    There were three of them, hands bound before them, linked together by a chain that ran through rings on the iron collars about their necks. The first man was small and elderly, ragged and disreputable, a shambling wreck who lurched and staggered so that the dark-suited clergyman who walked beside the prisoners was obliged to grasp his arm to keep him from falling.

    ''Is that Gavin Hayes? He looks sick,'' I murmured to Fergus.

    ''He's drunk.'' The soft voice came from behind me, and I whirled, to find Jamie standing at my shoulder, eyes...

About the Author-
  • Diana Gabaldon is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the wildly popular Outlander novels--Outlander, Dragonfly in Amber, Voyager, Drums of Autumn, The Fiery Cross, A Breath of Snow and Ashes (for which she won a Quill Award and the Corine International Book Prize), An Echo in the Bone, and Written in My Own Heart's Blood--as well as the related Lord John Grey books Lord John and the Private Matter, Lord John and the Brotherhood of the Blade, Lord John and the Hand of Devils, and The Scottish Prisoner; one work of nonfiction, The Outlandish Companion; and the Outlander graphic novel The Exile. She lives in Scottsdale, Arizona, with her husband.

Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    Starred review from December 30, 1996
    Gabaldon has few rivals in writing exciting--and hefty--historical romances. The fourth in a series of linked sagas (Outlander; Dragonfly in Amber; Voyager), her new epic has a delicious premise. Claire Randall, the post-WWII bride of historian Frank Randall, steps through a skew in the Scottish stone circle Craigh na Dun and lands in Revolutionary America and the arms of Highlander Jamie Fraser--putting a new spin on the notion of a two-timing woman. Bold and bawdy, but a believing Catholic, Claire struggles to live a rich and moral life--or, rather, rich and moral lives--under these extraordinary circumstances. Claire's adventures in 18th-century Charleston alternate with equally engaging chapters devoted to her 20th-century daughter, Brianna. Raised as Frank Randall's child, Bree discovers that Jamie Fraser is her real sire. She takes off on a harrowing, confrontational quest through time and space with her suitor, Roger Wakefield, in hot pursuit. Gabaldon's range is impressive, whether she's evoking the rawness of colonial America, the cozy clutter of a modern Scottish parsonage, the lusts of the body or the yearnings of the spirit. Her legion of fans will love diving into this ocean of romance. Major ad/promo; Literary Guild and Doubleday Book Club featured alternates; author tour.

  • Cincinnati Post

    "Unforgettable characters ... Richly embroidered with historical detail ... I just can't put it down."

  • Arizona Republic "Passionate ... Remarkable--a mix of history, fantasy, romance and unabashedly ribald storytelling."
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Drums of Autumn
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Outlander Series, Book 4
Diana Gabaldon
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