Title: The Outlandish Companion
Author: Diana Gabaldon
Publisher: Doubleday Canada
Publication Date: 1999, revised March 2015
Synopsis from Goodreads:
#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. 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.
This wonderful book combines all things Outlander in one beautiful compendium rich with history, characterization, synopsis, maps, definition, description, and so much more. It’s the perfect companion to the series, both written and televised. If you’re looking to dive further into the thrilling and breathtaking world that Gabaldon has created, look no further. You’ll get all those extra little bits that will help bring the world of Claire and Jamie alive. Walk through the story again, learning the in’s and out’s of the world. Read about the motivation behind the characters, and Gabaldon’s own thoughts on her books.
What I really enjoyed about this book is that Gabaldon addresses those controversial topics that we’ve all discussed with our book clubs and reading groups, in particular the infamous wife-beating scene in the first book. While this is a hard scene to stomach, the author very thoroughly explains her positioning and her reasoning behind including this scene in the book. Arguably, it’s a very pivotal scene in the series, but it’s also one of the most infuriating. If you don’t read anything else, I suggest you check out this passage and get a bit of the author’s insight (pages 411-413).
The book contains the following:
• 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 Gabaldon Theory of Time Travel, explained
• 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
• the making of the TV series: how we got there from here, and what happened next (including “My Brief Career as a TV Actor”)
• behind-the-scenes photos from the Outlander TV series set
If you love the Outlander series, this is a necessary companion to your collection. While a heft volume, it contains essential information that definitely rounds out the reading experience.