2017-04-17 08:42:46 UTC
1, The first story is "Lord John and the Hellfire Club" 44 pages which is in the anthology "Lord John and the Hand of Devils. Murder involved.
2, The next is "Lord John and the Private Matter". 300 pages This one was published separately and is not in any of the anthologies. This is a murder mystery, with a side story involving syphilis.
3. Then "Lord John and the Succubus", 120 pages set in Germany. This is the 2nd Novella in LJ & the Hand of Devils. It also involves a certain amount of suspicion of witchcraft.
4. LJ and the "Brotherhood of the Blade". 484 pages A stand alone in which John is injured by an exploding cannon. Set in Germany and involving the Battle at Crefeld. It is not just a battle story. After John is wounded he recovers at the home of a landgraf who becomes a good friend. This is published alone.
5. "Lord John and the Haunted Soldier" 140 pages 3rd in the "Hand of Devils" anthology. This follows through from #4 It involves the military investigation into why British cannons are exploding in the "Brotherhood of the Blade". Set in England.
6. "LJ and the Custom of the Army",80 pages a includes John's participation in the Battle of Quebec when the British army captures Montreal by scaling the cliffs in the middle of the night. This is in more than one of the anthologies. Trail of Fire is the 2nd anthology that includes it, then will be in the anthology published come June called "Seven Stones to Stand or Fall" and was originally in in "Warriors" ed by George R R Mattin and Gardner Dozois 2010.
7. "The Scottish Prisoner" is considered a Lord John book and is a mystery, but Jamie Fraser is also in it. It tells part of the story of Jamie's years between when Claire goes back to the 20th century and returns. He spent 7 years hiding in a cave and then 4 years in prison for his Jacobite activities. Most of the Jacobites were transported, but Lord John was the governor of the prison while Jamie was there which was when they became friends for a while. But John fell in love with Jamie and made a romantic overture so Jamie very dramatically ended the friendship. But because John suspected Jamie of hiding the secret of French Jacobite gold, he would not transport him and paroled him to a place called Helwater in the Lake District. "Scottish Prisoner" is the story of John being assigned to take Jamie to Ireland on a mission to resolve some Jacobite issues. It is a stand alone.
8 "Plague of Zombies" 100 pages set in Jamaica. Originally published in Down These Strange Streets ed George R R Martin and Gardner Dozios 2011 and is in the Gabaldon anthology Trail of Fire"
Also in "Trail of Fire" is a story called "A Leaf in the Wind of All Hallows" 60 pages which in chronological order comes after the last BEB, but is about a time traveler from WWII. He is the father of Jamie and Claire's son in law Roger. And another story "The Space Between" 135 pages about other time travelers from the main story but bulges out from that. It takes place after the 7th BEB, "Echo in the Bone". This one implies or explains some parts of the way the time travel works in Gabaldon's world. So all three of the stories in this anthology are sci-fi themed.
There is one other stand alone story from Gabaldon which is a PREQUEL to Outlander. "Virgins" 290 pages was originally published in an overpriced anthology called Dangerous Women. I liked her story and the one by Sharon Kay Penman, but the rest were so not to my taste that I didn't even read them all. "Virgins" has now been published alone in hardcover, which was cheaper than the paperback anthology. This is "Outlander" themed, rather than Lord John, if one doesn't want to try reading "Outlander". But it might very well make you think you'd like to spend more time with these characters.
But to enjoy/understand "Virins" you must know that Jamie, the romantic heroic highlander had been in Paris to study but come home to Scotland. One day while his father was away the very evil Black Jack Randall, the sadistic villain of the first two books, shows up at their farm with his troops to confiscate supplies for Fort William. Jamie, working in the fields, hears his sister screaming and races to the house. He clashes with the redcoats and is overcome. Jack takes the sister, Jenny, into the house to have his way with her. Jamie believes that occurs. He awakens to find himself prisoner carried to the fort where he is whipped 100 lashes twice in one week. This leaves permanent scars over his entire back. All this is told in a few sentences in "Outlander" but 4 years have passed at that point. The scarred back is a major plot point through the series.
In "Virgins" Jamie. after escaping from the fort, is brought back to France by his godfather Murtaugh to serve as mercenary along with Jamie's best friend Ian. In "Outlander" which begins 4 years later, Ian has lost his leg and returned to Scotland where he has married Jenny. This is the story of Jamie and Ian as very young men 19 and 20 years old, learning to be soldiers and running up against a very interesting young woman. They are virgins both sexually and in warfare. For that matter so is the dangerous lady. It has suspense, a whole lot of humor and for "Outlander" fans is a wonderful look into the friendship between Jamie and Ian which gives Ian a new side to his personality barely touched in the BEBs or even on screen. And it gives those who do love the main storyline, an explanation of some of Jamie's thoughts and attitudes and how his character was formed.
You should be able to find most of these in a library or if not, used copies cheap from Amazon. For some odd reason not all people who read these books become addicts so some people actually don't keep them. Unimaginable. Others get new copies or collector editions and pass on the old ones to infect new readings with outlandermania.
Without reading the other about 8,00 pages you won't get as much out of these stories, but they are written to stand on their own, and Diana says they can be read in any order. You'll certainly experience some wonderful adventures and humorous events. Her writing style is superb and delicious. The words stay with you, and you carry them around with you in your head. I do not read books a 2nd time because I remember them. But I have read the whole Gabaldon series more than twice. So if after reading them anyone decides to try the larger books, these stories will not have spoiled them.
As for the BEB's - "Outlander" is about 850 pages so the length of 2 regular long mysteries or 3 shorter ones. Only one is a book that doesn't exactly end in a place where one can say this is it, I'm done with the series. That one is "Drums of Autumn" #4. It ends in the middle of a "gathering". The next book "The Fiery Cross" picks up on the same day as the last one ended. So if you feel up to about 800 pages you could get through the first book. And if you don't care about the '45 Jacobite rebellion and Culloden you could stop there. It ends in a good place. I'd sure for anyone to not experience a sample of something Diana wrote.