How Many Outlander Books Are There?

Historical fiction is one of the most interesting forms of speculative fiction.

It takes the narrative that has been established in our own history and either reimagines it to suit the story or allows the story to play out along the same lines, but changing or revealing parts of it we never considered before or that are entirely imagined.

How Many Outlander Books Are There?

This is something that is done with the widely popular Outlander series, a series of books set in 18th century Scotland, which has spawned not just the series of fiction books that were written about it, but an incredibly popular television series as well that has even developed into tourist attractions in Scotland itself.

However, with such a widely popular series of books, the question becomes, just how many Outlander books are there? In this article, we are going to look at the series in more detail and particularly the number of books.

A Look At ‘Outlander’

Before we dive into the Outlander publications and series, let’s have a quick look at the plot, the history, and the universe of Outlander itself, while trying not to give too much away for those who may not have yet read the books or seen the TV show.

The first Outlander book was published in 1991 by Diana Gabaldon. Gabaldon is a writer from Scottsdale, Arizona, and she has quite a storied history before her writing career took off.

Her forte has always been the sciences, earning a Zoology degree, a master’s in Marine Biology, and finally a PhD in Behavioral Ecology, before working for Arizona State University.

Over time, Gabaldon found herself writing more and more, being a founding editor of the Science Software Quarterly in 1984, as well as technical reviews, popular-science articles, and Disney comics.

In 1988, she started writing a novel for ‘practice, just to learn how’ with the idea being once it was finished, it would be kept away from the public eye.

After settling on historical fiction, she struggled to relate to a particular period or setting until she watched the Doctor Who episode ‘The War Games’. This episode shows one of the Doctor’s companions, a Scottish Clansman from 1745 named Jaime McCrimmon.

This became the inspiration for the main male character of Outlander, James Frazer, and his home time and location, 18th Century Scotland, became the inspiration for Gabaldon’s world.

The story of Outlander is centered on Claire Beauchamp, a former British Army nurse who lives in the year or so just after the Second World War.

She and her husband, Frank Randall, go on a second honeymoon to Inverness, where Claire is drawn to the ancient stones of Craigh na Dun.

After touching one, she awakens, transported into the past and encounters both her husband’s ancestor and the enigmatic James Frazer of Clan MacKenzie.

The story is one that follows closely the time when England was trying to consolidate cultural control over the British Isles.

How Many Outlander Books Are There?

While it had established itself as a world power and initiated brutal campaigns against the other native peoples, it had always struggled to establish complete dominion.

Wales had been subjugated for some time, the Irish lords and people had always fought ferociously against dominion that culminated in a series of wars during the Tudor reign that gave England uneasy control of the island, but Scotland’s clans had managed to keep some autonomy.

The 18th Century was the point when the last pitched battle – the Battle of Culloden – occurred between Scotland and England and England initiated the Highland Clearances, thus dismantling the Scottish Clan’s power and culture.

Setting the story in this period allows not only for interesting romance, but to portray the struggles of the Scottish people, the cultural destruction, the brutality of the time, and the intrigue between different powerful groups.

How Many Outlander Books Are There?

In total, there are currently 9 Outlander books, with a total of 10 being planned for the entire series. In order, the current books are:

  • Outlander (1991).
  • Dragonfly in Amber (1992).
  • Voyager (1993).
  • Drums of Autumn (1996).
  • The Fiery Cross (2001).
  • A Breath of Snow and Ashes (2005).
  • An Echo in the Bone (2009).
  • Written in My Own Heart’s Blood (2014).
  • Go Tell the Bees That I Am Gone (2021).

Each of these books follows the story of Claire and James/Jamie and uses a time travel mechanic throughout the books.

The stories jump back and forth between the Scotland of the past and the Scotland of the present day, with new characters and familial plots constantly introduced throughout.

The historical aspect of the fiction piece keeps everything grounded, allowing for Gabaldon to weave fantastical elements into the story without any worrying about destroying the plot or making it unreadable.

As such, these time jumps can happen with the story remaining utterly grounded.

Which Outlander Books Are Worth Reading?

The stories follow a linear pattern in their plot devices and so you have to read them all to understand what is going on, you cannot simply just jump to the best ones. However, if you were to reread them, then we have an idea of which might be best for that purpose:

  • Outlander (1991). (Best).
  • Voyager (1993).
  • Written in My Own Heart’s Blood (2014).
  • A Breath of Snow and Ashes (2005).
  • Drums of Autumn (1996).
  • Dragonfly in Amber (1992).
  • An Echo in the Bone (2009).
  • The Fiery Cross (2001). (Worst).

We haven’t put in ‘Go Tell the Bees That I Am Gone’, because it is so recent that people have yet to really make up their minds about it yet, and we don’t want to influence you with our own opinions.

However, the general consensus is that the top three books are the ones people always end up coming back to when rereading.


Outlander is a fantastic set of books that really knocks it out of the park with historical fiction to the point where it has become a must-read series. There are currently 9 Outlander books, with one more still to come.

Sophie Andrea
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