Sunday, 31 January 2016

Review: The Outlandish Companion: Volume 1 by Diana Gabaldon (Outlander)

Title: The Outlandish Companion: Volume 1
Series: Outlander
Author: Diana Gabaldon
Publisher: Cornerstone Digital
Pages: 608
Genres: Historical Fantasy

In this beautifully illustrated compendium, Diana Gabaldon opens a door through the standing stones and offers a guided tour of what lies within. Including:

  • 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’)
After a couple of months hiatus from the world of Outlander, this book was immensely helpful to me. The books of Outlander are colossally enormous, packed full of hundreds (possibly tipping into the thousands) of details and hundreds of characters - if they are not read quickly back to back, some of the details inevitably fade from memory. I read the first four books of the series pretty much consecutively before deciding to take a break before reading the final four books of the series to date. Most conveniently, The Outlandish Companion provides handy synopses for Outlander, Dragonfly in Amber, Voyager, and Drums of Autumn; as well as a handy character glossary that includes many of the secondary and minor forgettable characters. Lifesaver, I can't stress enough.

The Outlandish Companion also includes a wealth of extra information about the series which I found fascinating as an Outlander fan. All sorts of details from family trees, FAQs, fan letters, theories of time-travel, controversies, the TV show, Gaelic, differences between published editions, research, drawings, and much more. Most of which I found interesting, some of which I glossed over.

This is not an essential read if you are simply looking for something to remind you of the synopses or characters. I am sure an Internet search could give all the information you need on the first four books. However, as an Outlander fan it is a great book to add to the collection and it's easy to have on hand to dip into whilst reading.

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