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Outlander

Outlander, Book 1
Narrated by: Davina Porter
Series: Outlander, Book 1
Length: 32 hrs and 38 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (2,492 ratings)

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Summary

This stunning blend of historical romance and time traveling adventure has captured the hearts of millions of readers around the world and catapulted author Diana Gabaldon to the top of the New York Times best seller list. Outlander introduces an exhilarating world of heroism and breathtaking thrills as one woman is torn between past and present, passion and love.

In 1945, former combat nurse Claire Randall returns from World War II and joins her husband for a second honeymoon. Their blissful reunion is shattered when she touches a boulder in an ancient stone ruin and is instantly transported to 1743 Scotland, a place torn by war and raiding border clans. Will Claire find her way back to her own time, or is her destiny forever linked with Clan MacKenzie and the gallant James Fraser?

©1991 Diana Gabaldon (P)1997 Recorded Books, LLC.

Critic reviews

"Davina Porter maintains the distinct voices she creates for each character throughout the lengthy narration. Her delivery of 18th-century language sounds authentic and is easily understandable." ( AudioFile)

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Overall

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    1,734
  • 4 Stars
    423
  • 3 Stars
    163
  • 2 Stars
    81
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Performance

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
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    367
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Story

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • L
  • BridgendUnited Kingdom
  • 01-10-06

First book of a series

This series is a mixture of science fiction, history, medicine and romance. Forget historical or geographic accuracy. This is escape and should be taken as fiction based on fact. Diana Gabaldon wrote this as an exercise and did it extremely well, even though she had never visited Scotland before writing Outlander. It is thought provoking, funny, sad, erotic and dramatic.
There are, to date, six books in the series following the Frasers from Culloden (and the lead up to it) to the beginning of the War of Independence in America. There is one or possibly two more books to come.
Ever wondered where certain ideas came from? Who thought of putting phosphate on bits of wood with an air proof covering? Could have been someone who had already seen the idea in action.
I thoroughly enjoyed the books and Davina Porter is an excellent narrator. She manages to capture a 1940's English female accent but still does a very good Scottish male voice. Quite an achievement and well worth listening to.

67 of 73 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Alan
  • Northwich, Cheshire, United Kingdom
  • 28-03-07

Lose yourself in a gripping story.

I thoroughly enjoyed this. Being a bloke I was looking for a nice time travel adventure but I soon got caught up in the thrills and spills of highland life without missing the real reason for choosing the book. The first couple of chapters drag a bit but keep close attention as they make historic references picked up later on. I was fascinated and enthralled!

49 of 54 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Marcus H.
  • Oxfordshire. United Kingdom
  • 14-09-12

Clichéd chick-lit

I actually fell for the 5* reviews on this book and feel like a bit of a fool for doing so. This really is "chick lit" and quite poor at that. The story is historically very weak indeed and is really aimed at female titillation because every other scene revolves around sex and, to be honest, it's so damned boring! What's more it has the clichéd goody v baddy storyline that has been done to death since time immemorial.



It took so long to get going that I almost gave up on it on three or four occasions. It's a shame really because when it did get going it was actually quite good but for 70% of the time it wasn't. If it wasn't for Davina Porter's amazing narration I don't think I'd have stuck it out til the end. Without her wonderful voice the whole thing would've ground to a halt rapidly.



To put it in the sci-fi/fantasy section is a bit misleading because the only thing that is faintly related to this genre is the initial time slip. With a bit of imagination from the author we could've really been put into the excitement and terror of a 20th century woman suddenly finding herself in the 18th century but instead we have a main character that knew exactly how to behave and speak from the start and was all too accepting of her situation.



Because the times where the story got moving were quite good I give it 3*s but for the most part it was a load of tosh and I certainly shall not be listening to any more of the series!

40 of 46 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Stewart
  • Manchester, United Kingdom
  • 03-11-11

Excruciating!

I acquired this as the free title in a 3 for 2 offer. Thank goodness I didn't pay for it!
Be very careful, the sample is taken from the sensible start of the book.
I only managed half of it - 16 hours of sex and violence fantasies are more than enough for me.
If your idea of fun is a huge 18th century be-kilted Scotsman being beaten and having sex incessantly, this may be for you.

27 of 31 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars

Entertaining romp

A page turning bodice ripper with added pornography. The book started off ok but I found the increasing dominance of the sex scenes became boring. Definitely written to appeal to women rather than men - my husband couldn't stand it and gave up on the first book.

32 of 37 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

Should be Outlawed!

What would have made Outlander better?

A story, plot, interesting characters, less drivel.

What could Diana Gabaldon have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

If you like a book which describes every "blow of the nose" this one is for you. I cant imagine how this became a series. I got bored with the first book after three chapters. This got 1 star only because you have to give a star to write a review.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

Get out of bed and get on with the story!

What would have made Outlander better?

The story gets the narration it deserves. Both are tedious and more Mills and Boon (I imagine as I haven't read any) than serious historical novel. A possibly good idea is interrupted by so much sex and "oooohhhhh Jaaaammmmieeee" that it never really gets a chance. I did listen right through to the end, even though I wanted to stop half way, and have masochistically even gone part way through the second book, thinking it may improve, which it didn't. If anything it got worse. Unfortunately I bought three of this series at the same time on the basis of other reviews, but just couldn't face any more of this tedious drivel.

Would you ever listen to anything by Diana Gabaldon again?

Emphatically not!

Would you be willing to try another one of Davina Porter’s performances?

Highly unlikely.

If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from Outlander?

About 60% of it.

Any additional comments?

I can honestly say that nothing I have read has annoyed me more than this series.

53 of 63 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Victoria
  • High Wycombe, United Kingdom
  • 26-04-12

Mind-numbingly dull

I found this painful to listen to. Firstly the reader speaks as though she is the Queen, which I found really off-putting at times. Secondly, the chapters before the time travel drag on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on.... and they go into so much boring detail about things that no-one could possibly be interested in. It also included some of the most excrutiatingly embarrassing and unsexy sex scenes.
I thought once the time travel happened, I would be embarking on a thrilling historical romp. I was sorely disappointed. It was more of the interminable detailed descriptions of the most boring events and more of the awful sex scenes.
Dreadful!

47 of 56 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

Eat your heart out Barbara Cartland!

What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

Some degree of historical reality/accuracy is useful in a historical novel,.

What was most disappointing about Diana Gabaldon’s story?

Lacked any depth, just a bodice ripper using a historic setting - the Scottish highlands. No conception or the era or realistic characterization.

Did Davina Porter do a good job differentiating each of the characters? How?

No. Heroine, "oh gosh, I've time travelled, never mind."

You didn’t love this book--but did it have any redeeming qualities?

No redeeming features for me. A big error. Thought it may be interesting and a little different. It was certainly different to anything I would spend time listening to.

Any additional comments?

My mistake, but perhaps it should have been made clearer in the blurp that this was a shallow bodice ripper in Mills and Boon gendre and should be avoided by all but those of a certain gender and age.

24 of 29 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Julie
  • Worcester, United Kingdom
  • 07-11-13

Unexpectedly Brilliant

Any additional comments?

I loved this book!!! I downloaded it expecting to be a bit disappointed........time travel/scotland in the 1770's....really!! However, the storyline is thoroughly enjoyable and won't let you turn it off! The narration is extraordinary, you can instantly recognise the vast array of characters!. A word of warning - there are some quite saucy parts, and there are also some quite distressing parts.........I do not recommend having your nan in the car while you're listening to it at certain points, can be a little awkward.

7 of 8 people found this review helpful

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Sara
  • 10-09-14

The Time Travel VS Romance Quandary

I downloaded this book years and years ago and settled down to a 30+ hour listen. Based on many raving reviews I thought the book was a time travel tale of beloved fiction. There was so much about the book that I knew I would enjoy. The time travel, the Scottish highlands, medicinal herbs, life hundreds of years ago, gardening...the list goes on.

However, I have to state up front I hate romance novels. At the half way point I had the sudden realization--I know I'm quick-- that this book was a dreaded romance novel. I was horrified and had heard enough of what Jamie wore or didn't wear under his kilt to last me forever. The heaving bodices were weighing me down as well. This was before Audible allowed returns of hated books. So I shelved the book with a shudder, gave up, and it sat there in my library untouched for years.

Fast forward to last month when the Outlander cable program started and I watched just to see what it was like. Well--to my shock--it is wonderful. The filming, the setting, the costumes--all fantastic. So I'm listening again with renewed interest. I cringe a bit every now and then to be honest. But I am enjoying the book at long last. I can see what those positive reviewers were about. Living proof that if you don't like a book give it time. You might like it after all.

618 of 653 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Lulu
  • 19-08-12

The Reason for the Existence of Audio Books

I had read a few audiobooks and had even joined Audible. But until I read this book I did not understand the magic of the format. Before reading this book I had no interest in1) romance 2) science fiction or fantasy and 3) time travel genres. I'd heard enough about the series that it piqued my interest because I loved historical fiction. Especially the period of time I knew the book covered. And I always found the challenge of tackling a big book rewarding.

This book changed so many of my perceptions of genre and reading format. While I still argue that though there is definitely a romantic and sexual relationship at the books core, it was only one part of the adventure. It still doesn't fit the romance genre to me, but it did such a good job of weaving romance and sexuality into the adventure it made me curious to read more traditional romance novels and see if they handled the topic as well. They didn't, but I discovered other good books I never would have tried of not for Outlander.

Likewise, other than Anne Rice's Vampire series which I had read many years ago, this was one of my very rare ventures into fantasy-science fiction. Setting aside my understanding of reality to accept someone else's is always difficult. But reading Outlander and the subsequent books in the series, I found myself trying to work out in my mind how this might have happened. It encouraged me to explore this genre more thoroughly as well. Even more surprising, it made me evaluate my perception of "time", what it means and how it works. I found myself paying more attention to physics and the study of the time and space relationship.

The twists and turns of the plot kept me turning the page just like the best mysteries I read. While reading the book there were enough unanswered questions, clues and short glimpses of scenes or events that caught my attention and made me store them away to remember "when all was revealed." But all was not revealed at the end and I found myself turning over these clues and snippets, trying to determine their significance, what I thought they meant and what their purpose was. One requirement of a great book is that you cannot get it out of your mind after you turn the last page. This book met that criteria. I thought about it for weeks.

Most importantly I learned that other voices can bring a whole new level to the reading experience, if it is the right voice for the right book. I would have enjoyed this book regardless, but if I read it myself and heard my voice in my head the characters would never have come so alive as they did in Davina Porter's voice. This is a perfect marriage of book and narrator. I was so surprised when I later discovered more about Porter's age, experience and background. She made a 21 year old Scotsman come to life. Her voice is Jamie to me. She handled each character wonderfully, although it is the first and only time I have ever listened to a book or series of books and thought a woman narrator did a better job on the men's voices than she did on the women's. I have loved hearing how the narrator has aged the character's voices throughout the series. You hear the young Jamie in the middle aged Jamie's voice, but you also hear the growth and maturity. I have accepted the narrators in the Lord John series, even when the book includes Jamie and actually think they are narrated well. But I am not certain I could accept another narrator for future Outlander books.

Finally, my initial interest in this book was from a historical fiction viewpoint. A good historical fiction novel, by Bernard Cornwell or Sharon Kay Penman sticks to as much historical fact as possible but presents it in an engaging and relate-able format. It makes you interested enough in the times and events that you will endure the dry-er, less lively recitation of facts of that same event or time in a nonfiction book, just to learn more. Outlander and this series delivered that in spades.





619 of 675 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • crazybatcow
  • 24-09-08

Don't tell anyone that I liked it...

I bought this audiobook because it was in the sci/fi fantasy category. The write up claims it has "a dash of time travel" - and that's all it has in the way of fantasy/time travel - a dash.

Time travel is used as a way to launch a HISTORICAL ROMANCE. And, ultimately, this is exactly what it is: a very detailed romance novel set in 18th century Scotland.

Keeping that in mind: it is VERY well done. The narration is terrific and the story engaging (though I did use the fast forward several times to get through the long descriptions of clan family lines, or details of the clothing/housing/etc of the time).

I don't like romances and I don't like historical fiction so I thought the two together would mean I had wasted my credit. Not so. Even though it's as far from my usual listening choices (sci/fi or cop/detective stuff) as it could be, the story flew by: I caught myself smiling at events in the story pretty regularly.

Assuming a starting point of 3 stars for an average story, I added one star for the narration (which brings the story to life) and a second star for making me smile in public. I took off a half star for requiring me to fast forward some of the descriptions = 4.5 star story. So I give it 5 stars because 4.5 is not possible. (I did buy the next book in the series too.)

Remember though, this is a romantic novel with some/lots of sex (though having made it through the sex scenes in Altered Carbon, this is pretty "romantic" sex) - so if you're looking for sci/fi or fantasy, you will be disappointed in this.

Otherwise... if you're not the romantic type but, like me, stumble onto this story by accident only to find that you like it - don't worry, we won't tell anyone...

300 of 350 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Melissa
  • 09-05-08

Perfect stress reliever!

Not that this series needs one more great review, but if you are still on the fence about giving it a try, I would urge you to do so. I'm a 3rd year doctoral student, overwhelmed with work and obligations, and quite literally the only thing that gets me excited about my 45-mile commute to school each morning is Davina Porter's amazing voice bringing to life Diane Gabaldon's epic adventure/romance story. I miss these characters when I'm away from them for too long - it's that good!! I've read a few comments about these books being too long, but I love them so much that I'm grateful to get to spend this much time with them. It should time out that I will get my degree right as I'm finishing the last book (I only listen on my commute so they last), and I intend to start them all over again when I do. They are simply that good.

194 of 228 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Tracy Wood
  • 28-04-17

mostly romance and gore

narrator was great. i like listening to her voice. amazing how she keeps track of all the voices. Story line, not all that. i don't undetstand why people love it so much. mostly romance, gore, and poor choices.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Katelyn
  • 16-05-09

Best series ever!

My mother was a huge fan of Diana Gabaldon's work when I was growing up and I had always blown it off as a silly interest of my mother's like most kids. I'm 23 now and I thought I'd give it a try to see what all the fuss was about. I was so surprised to find out that my mother had great taste in books.. if not other things :) The idea of a woman going back in time to Scotland in the 1700's and falling in love with a highlander sounds kind of ridiculous, right? Well I was wrong, it was fantastic! There is a real story line here with genuine problems unlike some other 'romance' novels I have read. The sex scenes are tasteful and do not overpower the story. It isn't all love either, there is plenty of fighting even to keep my macho brother entertained. The places, historical events, tools, and lifestyles portrayed in the novel seem very well researched. The narration is excellent. Davina Porter has a very believable highland accent. I would highly recommend this book!

162 of 197 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Robert
  • 09-10-08

A Review for Males

This book was written by a woman for women. About 15% of this book is graphic romance from the woman's perspective. Men listening to these sections will find the discussion extremely boring if not nausiating. These sections are not pornography, but by being graphic and explicit, come close enough to be annoying. During these sessions, the book becomes a Harlequin Romance, and the main character becomes Fabio-like. This greatly distracts from the story-line and will drive many males away from the book.

So why did I give this book a 4 star rating? Because the rest of the story is compelling, the reader is excellent, and the characters have depth and realism during the non-Fabio moments. The author takes pains to be historically accurate, and if one has visiting Scotland, the descriptions are enjoyable and vivid.

Be warned, however, that this is not science fiction. Time travel is a mechanism, not a concept in this book. As the author herself admitted at her website, this happened by accident, and she simply went along with it. So dont get this book if the goal is to explore the ramifications and paradoxes of time travel. Such topics are explored superficially in the second book, and ignored here.

If one wants a great time travel story, I recommend To Say Nothing of the Dog by Connie Willis.

395 of 482 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Paula Aiello
  • 17-06-18

too long & unsatisfying

The writing is beautifully detailed but the story is too drawn out, the book too long as and the ending unsatisfying. Too bad. I forced myself to finish it but feel quite disappointed.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Andrew Erdman
  • 21-07-17

Not what I expected

This book was more of a romance than a fantasy novel. Fine if that's what you are looking for.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars
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  • xocoolio
  • 08-07-17

Not for me.

I didn't enjoy this book. Wish I wouldn't have used a valuable credit on it.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful