Outlander Book 1 by Diana Gabaldon Summary Study Guide

Detailed plot synopsis reviews of Outlander Book 1

Plot Summary Part 1

The book starts out with Claire married to Frank in 1945. The war has just ended but they haven't seen much of each other and are making up for lost time. Frank tells her that since they only saw each other 3 times in six years he would understand if she let herself be boned by another guy. What a putz. He's giving her permission to cuckold him, which she readily takes advantage of in just a few minutes.

Frank gets his one and only chance at action when he feels Claire up:

He laid me carefully back in the grass, the feathery blossoms of the cow parsley seeming to float in the air around his head. He bent forward and kissed me, softly, and kept on kissing me as he unbuttoned my dress, one button at a time, teasing, pausing to reach a hand inside and play with the swelling tips of my breasts. At last he had the dress laid open from neck to waist.

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He sprang the clasp of my brassiere with one accomplished flick of the thumb, and bent to pay a skilled homage to my breasts. Then he drew back, and cupping my breasts with both hands, drew his palms slowly down to meet between the rising mounds, and without stopping, drew them softly outward again, tracing the line of my rib cage clear to the back. Up and again, down and around, until I moaned and turned toward him.


But their almost-sex is cut short when Claire is drawn to sounds from a nearby circle of stones. When she gets there she is transported to 18th century Scotland. She encounters a British soldier named Jonathan Randall who starts boning her not five minutes after she arrives. That was quick!

 He ground his hips hard against mine, and his hands pinned my shoulders to the earth. He kissed me, cutting short my expostulations. His tongue thrust into my mouth and explored me with a bold familiarity, roving and plunging, retreating and lunging again. Then, just as suddenly as he had begun, he pulled back

This is nutty. British officers just start randomly raping women they encounter on the road? It makes zero sense. Diana Gabaldon wants to establish immediately that Randall is a bad guy, but this is just totally unrealistic.  Furthermore we are told that Randall looks exactly like Claire's husband Frank! (He's also a distant relative) Frank is being turned into a bad guy so we will feel sympathy when Claire decides to cheat on him.

Anyway before Randall can bone her, Claire is rescued by some guys who talk like they have marbles in their mouth. But it turns out they don't have a speech impediment, they're just Scottish.

Claire, while a captive of the Scots, does first aid, mending a broken arm, which impresses them.

She is brought back to the local Scottish castle and witnesses a young girl about to be punished for letting young men bone her. She is to be beaten. Claire sees a young man named Jamie who offers to be beaten in her place. Why does Jamie volunteer to be beaten? He gives some lame excuse that he doesn't want the girl to be humiliated. A girl he doesn't even know.

Jamie's behavior borders on the totally unrealistic. People are not super-moral beings. No normal person volunteers to be beaten on behalf of a stranger. You kind of get the feeling that Jamie likes it.

The man waited for him to straighten up before moving in and administering a series of sharp jabs to the ribs and arms. Jamie made no effort to defend himself, merely shifting his balance to remain upright in the face of the assault.

The next blow was to the face. I winced and shut my eyes involuntarily as Jamie’s head rocked back. The executioner took his time between blows, careful not to knock his victim down or strike too many times in one spot. It was a scientific beating, skillfully engineered to inflict bruising pain, but not to disable or maim.

“Thank you,” he said, with some difficulty, and bowed formally to the bigger man before turning to go

See? He thanked the guy who beat him! I told you he liked it.

 “But why you?” I asked [wanting to know why Jamie volunteered to be beaten]. He looked as though he thought this an odd question.

“Why not me?” he said.

You see? Totally unrealistic.

Claire meets Geillis Duncan, the local abortionist, and takes an immediately like to her. Geillis shows Claire the flower that can be used to kill your own baby. She also meets the local ruler, Jamie's uncle, Colum MacKenzie. Colum is rumored to be sterile and Jamie is rumored to be the real father of Colum's son, Hamish.

Claire observes a boy being punished for stealing. They nail his ear to a big piece of wood, and keep him there for an hour, and then the boy has to break free. Claire feels sympathy and helps to denail the boy.

Claire meets Jamie's uncle, Dougal, who mouth rapes her and presses his erect p_nis against her.

Dougal “True enough, lass,” he said. “Ye shouldna be here. Since ye are, weel, you’ll have to pay the penalty for that,” he murmured, eyes gleaming in the half-dark. And without warning, he pulled me hard against him and kissed me. Kissed me hard enough to bruise my lips and force them apart. His tongue flicked against mine, the taste of whisky sharp in my mouth. His hands gripped me firmly by the bottom and pressed me against him, making me feel the rigid hardness under his kilt through my layers of skirts and petticoats.

But then after doing that, Dougal redeems himself when he kills a giant pig that was threatening Claire. They find a dying man who was attacked by the pig, and Dougal and Claire bond over the dying guy.

Dougal and I leaned close together over the struggling body, murmuring and comforting, sharing the messy, heartrending, and necessary task of helping a man to die.

I think the dying guy sexually arouses Claire. But then, most everything sexually arouse Claire.

Sometime later, Claire gets captured by  British soldiers, specifically Captain Randall. He punches her a bit, thinking she is a spy. She is temporarily released into Jamie's custody. Dougal tells Claire that Randall once gave Jamie 200 lashes.

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