the Lord John Grey serial?
Information technology’south a subset of the main OUTLANDER series, focused on Lord John Greyness, an important minor graphic symbol from the principal series.
Some years ago, I was invited to write a short story for a British anthology: historical crime stories. “Well,” I said to the editor, “it would be an interesting technical claiming, to see whether I can write annihilation under 300,000 words. Sure, why non?”
Well, the obvious first question was—what or whom to write about? I didn’t want to use the main characters from the OUTLANDER serial for this story, because—owing to the peculiar style I write—if I were to incorporate some significant consequence in this story (and it would need to be, to exist a
story)—that would brand the consequence a stumbling block in the growth of the next novel.
“Simply,” I said to myself, “there’due south Lord John, isn’t in that location?” Lord John Grayness is an important character in the OUTLANDER series, just he isn’t onstage all the time. And when he isn’t…well, plainly he’s off leading his life and having adventures elsewhere, and I could write near any of those adventures without causing complications for future novels. Beyond that obvious advantage, Lord John is a fascinating grapheme. He’south what I telephone call a “mushroom”—1 of those unplanned people who pops upwardly out of nowhere and walks off with any scene he’due south in—and he talks to me easily (and wittily).
He’s too a gay human being, in a time when to exist homosexual was a capital criminal offense, and Lord John has more than most to lose by discovery. He belongs to a noble family unit, he’s an officer in His Majesty’s Army, and loves both his family and his regiment; to accept his private life discovered would harm—if not destroy—both. Consequently, he lives constantly with conflict, which makes him both deeply entertaining and easy to write about. So I wrote the short story—titled, “Lord John and the Hell-Fire Club”—for the British anthology.
Well, it was a good story; people liked it. But but as discussion was spreading into the United states about information technology, the anthology went out of print (it was called PAST POISONS, edited by Maxim Jakubowski, for those bibliophiles who are curious). People kept asking me about the story, though, and I idea, “Well, I enjoyed writing it—maybe I should write two or iii more than curt pieces almost Lord John, just as time an inspiration permit…and when I have a handful, we could publish them as a book, and all the Lord John fans could go the stories easily.”
And so I did that. I began writing the second Lord John story after returning from a volume-bout, every bit a way of easing back into my writing routine, and continued working on it, picking away with one hand whilst picking up the threads of my novel with the other…and six months later, I’d just about finished it. Well, at this signal, I left for another book-tour, in the United kingdom, and stopped in New York on the style, to accept luncheon with my two literary agents.
I was telling them all about what I’d been doing, and casually mentioned that I’d nearly finished the 2d Lord John short story. “Oh?” said they. “How long’s this i?”
“Well, I knew you’d inquire,” I said. “So I checked last dark. Information technology’s about 85,000 words; I demand perchance some other 5000 to wrap it upwardly.”
The agents looked at each other, then looked at me, and with one vox said, “That’south the size
“I thought it was a short story,” I said.
“Well, information technology’due south
not,” they said—and proceeded to accept it off and sell it all over the identify. Publishers were thrilled. “It’s a Gabaldon book we weren’t expecting—and information technology’south short!
Can she exercise that
again?” they asked eagerly. To which my agents—existence Very Adept agents—replied, “Of course she tin can,” and emerged with a contract for three Lord John Greyness novels.
Now, the Lord John books and novellas are in fact an integral part of the larger OUTLANDER serial. Nevertheless, they’re focused (not unreasonably) on the character of John Gray, and—Lord John not being a time-traveler—tend not to include fourth dimension-travel as an element. They’re structured more or less as historical mystery, but do (like anything else I write) include the occasional supernatural bit or other off-the-wall elements. (Yes, they practise have sex, though I don’t consider that really unusual, myself.) And they do reference events, characters (especially Jamie Fraser) and situations from the OUTLANDER novels.
In terms of chronology, the Lord John books autumn during the period covered in VOYAGER, while Jamie Fraser was a prisoner at Helwater. So if you’re wondering where to read the Lord John books in conjunction with the larger series—y’all can read them anytime later on VOYAGER.
In terms of further chronology: As well every bit the three Lord John novels under contract, I’ve also written several novellas for various anthologies. 3 novellas (two previously published and one written specifically for the volume) are included in a book titled LORD JOHN AND THE Manus OF DEVILS, while two farther novellas have appeared or will shortly appear in anthologies. The original short story (“Hell-Burn Gild”) preceded the first novel, and—just to be confusing—the novellas fall between the novels.
The books and novellas do stand alone, and can be read separately in any order. If you lot exercise want to read them in strict order, though, here it is:
- “Lord John and the Hellfire Lodge,” a short story. Originally published in PAST POISONS, ed. Maxim Jakubowski. Collected in
LORD JOHN AND THE Paw OF DEVILS.
LORD JOHN AND THE Individual Matter,
- “Lord John and the Succubus,” a novella, originally published in LEGENDS Two: Curt novels by the Masters of Modern Fantasy, edited by Robert Silverberg. Collected in
LORD JOHN AND THE Mitt OF DEVILS.
LORD JOHN AND THE Alliance OF THE BLADE,
- “Lord John and the Haunted Soldier,” a novella. Published merely in
LORD JOHN AND THE Manus OF DEVILS.
LORD JOHN AND THE HAND OF DEVILS,
a volume-length drove of three novellas: “Hell-Fire Club,” “Succubus,” and “Haunted Soldier.”
“Lord John and the Custom of the Ground forces,”
a novella, originally published in WARRIORS (volume i), edited by George R.R. Martin and Gardner Dozois.
THE SCOTTISH PRISONER,
a novel. Released on November 29, 2011.
“Lord John and the Plague of Zombies,”
which is also titled, “A Plague of Zombies,” a novella. Appeared in Downwards THESE STRANGE STREETS, edited past George R.R. Martin and Gardner Dozois, released in October, 2011.
Below are excerpts from web pages for each of the Lord John novels and stories: