The Fiery Cross by Diana Gabaldon

  The Fiery Cross


  Diana Gabaldon

  In 1771, the Colony of North Carolina teeters on an uneasy edge. The danger is not yet Great Britain, but rather an internal conflict that

  threatens the general peace. On one side are the colonial aristocracy, the rich and settled planters of the coastal plain; on the other, the struggling pioneers of the backcountry, scraping homesteads from the mountains of the west.

  In the middle stands Jamie Fraser, of Fraser's Ridge. Born of good family,

  possessed at last of the land he has longed for, friendly with both the Governor of the Colony and the homeless survivors of Culloden whom he takes as his tenants, he is married to Claire Randall, a woman who is at once his life's greatest treasure - and his greatest danger.

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  Now a wife, mother and surgeon, Claire is still an outlander; out of place, out of time, but now by choice, linked by love to her only anchor - Jamie. Her unique view of the future has brought him both danger and deliverance in the past; her knowledge of the oncoming Revolution is a flickering torch-',

  that may light his way through the perilous years ahead - or may ignite a conflagration that will leave their lives in ashes.

  Claire and Jamie know war, as only those can who have survived it. And no one who has followed the fiery cross to battle would willingly walk that path again - save for one reason: to secure the blessings of liberty not only for

  themselves, but for their posterity.

  THE FIERY CROSS is Diana Gabaldon's fifth novel chronicling the lives and adventures of Claire Randall and Jamie Fraser. Her previous novels are

  I I

  the international bestsellers Cross Stitch, Dr*

  bomber, Voyager and Drum

  ISBN 0-7126-7684-8

  9 117807121167684711

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  Also bi, Diana Gabaldon







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  Century - I-ondon

  13 5 7 9 10 8 6 4 2

  Copyright C Diana Gabaldon 2001

  Diana Gabaldon has asserted her right under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act, 1988 to be identified as the author of this work

  This novel is a work of fiction. Names and characters are the product of the author's imagination and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.

  This book is sold subject to the condition that it shall not, by way of trade or otherwise, be lent, resold, hired out, or otherwise circulated without the publisher's prior consent in any form of binding or cover other than that in which it is published and without a similar condition including this condition being imposed on the subsequent purchaser

  First published in the United Kingdom in 2001 by Century The Random House Group Ltd

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  Random House Australia (Pty) Limited

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  A CIP catalogue record for this book is avaialble from the British library

  Papers used by Random House are natural, recyclable products made from wood grown in sustainable forests. The manufacturing processes conform to the environmental regulations of the country of origin

  ISBN 0 7126 7684 8

  Printed and bound in Australia by Griffin Press

  This book isfor my Sister, 7beresa Gabaldon, with wbom I told thefirst Stories.


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  The author's profound thanks to . . .

  . . . my editor, Jackie Cantor, always the book's champion above all.

  . . . my agent, Russ Galen, who's always on my side, with shield and lance.

  . . . Stacey Sakal, Tom Leddy, and the other wonderful Production people who have sacrificed their time, talent, and mental health to the production of this book.

  . . . Kathy Lord, that rarest and most delightful of creatures, an excellent copy editor.

  . . . Virginia Norey, the book's designer (aka Book Goddess), who somehow managed to fit the Whole Thing between two covers and make it look great.

  ... Irwyn Applebaum and Nita Taublib, publisher and deputy publisher, who came to the party, and brought their stuff.

  ... Rob Hunter and Rosemary Tolman, for unpublished information on the War of the Regulation and their very colorful and interesting ancestors, James Hunter and Hermon Husband. (No, I don't make all these people up; just some of them.)

  ... Beth and Matthew Shope, and Liz Gaspar, for information on North Carolina Quaker history and beliefs. (And we do note as a matter ofstrict accuracy that Hermon Husband was not technically a Quaker at the time of this story, having been put out of the local Meetingfor being too inflammatory.)

  ... Bev LaFlamme, Carol Krenz, and their (respectively) French and French-Canadian husbands (who no doubt wondcrjust what sort of friends their wives have, anyway), for expert opinions on the

  viii A ck no wledgm en ts

  subtleties of French bowel movements, and help with Very Picturesque French idioms.

  . . . Julie Giroux, for Roger's music, and the marvelous "Culloden Symphony."

  . . . Roger H.P. Coleman, R.W. Odlin, Ron Parker, Ann Chapman, Dick Lodge, Olan Watkins and many members of the Compuserve Masonic Forum for information on Freemasonry and Irregular Lodges, circa 1755 (which was agood bitprior to the establishment of the Scottish Rite, so let's not bother writing me about that, shall we?)

  . . . Karen Watson and Ron Parker, for advice on WWII London Tube Stations-with which I proceeded to take minor technical liberties.

  . . . Steven Lopata, Hall Elliott, Arnold Wagner, R-G. Schmidt, and Mike Jones, honorable warriors all, for useful discussions of how men think and behave, before, during, and after battle.

  . . . R.G. Schmidt and several other nice persons whose names I unfortunately forgot to write down, who contributed bits and pieces of helpful information regarding Cherokee belief, language, and custom. (7he bear-bunting chant ending with "Yobo!" is a matter of historical record. There are lots of things I couldn't make up if I tried.)

  . . . the Chemodurow family, for generously allowing me to take liberties with their personae, in portraying them as Russian swineherds. (Russian boars really were imported into North Carolina for bunting in tbel8th century- Tbis may have something to do with the Popularity of barbecue in the South.)

  . . .Laura Bailey, for invaluable advice and commentary on 18th century costume and customs-most of which I paid careful attention to.

  . . .Susan Martin, Beth Shope, and Margaret Campbell, for expert opinions on the flora, fauna, geography, weather, and mental climate of North Carolina (and all of whom wish to note that only a barbarian would put tomatoes in barbecue sauce). Aberrations in these aspects of the story are a result of inadvertence, literary license, and/or pigheadedness on the part of the author.

  . . .Janet McConnaughey, Varda Amir-Orrell, Kim Laird, Elise Skidmore, Bill Williams, Arlene MacRae, Lynne Sears Williams, Babs Whelton, Joyce McGowan, and the
dozens of other kind and helpful people of the Compuserve Writers Forum, who will answer

  A ck no wledgm en ts ix

  any silly question at the drop of a hat, especially if it has anything to do with maiming, murder, disease, quilting, or sex.

  . . . Dr. Ellen Mandell, for technical advice on how to hang someone, then cut his throat, and not kill him in the process. Any errors in the execution of this advice are mine.

  ... Piper Fahrney, for his excellent descriptions of what it feels like to be taught to fight with a sword.

  . . . David Cheifetz, for dragon-slaying.

  . . . lain MacKinnon Taylor, for his invaluable help with Gaelic translations, and his lovely suggestions for Jamie's bonfire speech.

  Karl Hagen, for advice on Latin grammar, and to Barbara

  Schnell, for Latin and German bits, to say nothing of her stunning translations of the novels into German.

  . . . Julie Weathers, my late father-in-law, Max Watkins, and Lucas, for helpwith the horses.

  . . . the Ladies of Lallybroch, for their enthusiastic and continuing moral support, including the thoughtful international assortment of toilet paper.

  . . . the several hundred people who have kindly and voluntarily sent me interesting information on everything from the development and uses of penicillin to the playing of bodhrans, the distribution of red spruce, and the way possum tastes (Pm told it'sgreasy, in case you were wondering).

  . . . and to my husband, Doug Watkins, for the last line of the book.

  -Diana Gabaldon


  I have lived through war, and lost much. I know

  what's worth thefigbt, and what is not.

  Honor and courage are matters o the bone, and !f

  what a man will killfor, be will sometimes diefor, too.

  And that, 0 kinsman, is why a woman has broad

  hips; that bony basin will harbor a man and his child alike. A man's life springs from his woman's bones,

  and in her blood is his honor christened.

  For the sake of love alone, would I walk through

  fire again.


  In Medias Res



  Mount Helicon The Royal Colony of North Carolina

  Late October, 1770

  WOKE TO THE PATTER OF RAIN on canvas, with the feel of my first husband's kiss on my lips. I blinked, disoriented, and by reflex put my fingers to my mouth. To keep the feeling, or to hide it? I wondered, even as I did so.

  Jamie stirred and murmured in his sleep next to me, his movement rousing a fresh wave of scent from the cedar branches under our bottom quilt. Perhaps the ghost's passing had disturbed him. I frowned at the empty air outside our lean-to.

  Go away, Frank, I thought sternly.

  It was still dark outside, but the mist that rose from the damp earth was a pearly gray; dawn wasn't far off. Nothing stirred, inside or out, but I had the distinct sense of an ironic amusement that lay on my skin like the lightest of touches.

  Shouldn't I come to see her married?

  I couldn't tell whether the words had formed themselves in my thoughts, or whether theyand that kiss-were merely the product of my own subconscious. I had fallen asleep with my mind still busy with wedding preparations; little wonder that I should wake from dreams of weddings. And wedding nights.

  I smoothed the rumpled muslin of my shift, uneasily aware that it was rucked up around my waist and that my skin was flushed with more than sleep. I didn't remember anything concrete about the dream that had wakened me; only a confiised jumble of image and sensation. I thought perhaps that was a good thing.

  I turned over on the rustling branches, nudging close to Jamie. He was warm and smelled pleasantly of woodsmoke and whisky, with a faint tang of sleepy maleness under it, like the deep note of a lingering chord. I stretched myself, very slowly, arching my back so that my pelvis nudged his hip. If he were sound asleep or disinclined, the gesture was slight enough to pass unnoticed; if he were not ...

  He wasn't. He smiled faintly, eyes still closed, and a big hand ran slowly down my back, settling with a firm grip on my bottom.

  6 Diana Gabaldon

  "Mmm?" he said. "Hmmmm." He sighed, and relaxed back into sleep, holding on.

  I nestled close, reassured. The immediate physicality of Jamie was more than enough to banish the touch of lingering dreams. And Frank-if that was Frank-was right, so far as that went. I was sure that if such a thing were possible, Bree would want both her fathers at her wedding.

  I was wide awake now, but much too comfortable to move. It was raining outside; a light rain, but the air was cold and damp enough to make the cozy nest of quilts more inviting than the distant prospect of hot coffee. Particularly since the getting of coffee would involve a trip to the stream for water, making up the campfire-oh, God, the wood would be damp, even if the fire hadn't gone completely out-grinding the coffee in a stone quern and brewing it, while wet leaves blew round my ankles and drips from overhanging tree branches slithered down my neck.

  Shivering at the thought, I pulled the top quilt up over my bare shoulder and instead resumed the mental catalogue of preparations with which I had fallen asleep.

  Food, drink ... luckily I needn't trouble about that. Jamie's aunt Jocasta would deal with the arrangements; or rather, her black butler, Ulysses, would. Wedding guests-no difficulties there. We were in the middle of the largest Gathering of Scottish Highlanders in the Colonies, and food and drink were being provided. Engraved invitations would not be necessary.

  Bree would have a new dress, at least; Jocasta's gift as well. Dark blue wool-silk was both too expensive and too impractical for life in the backwoods. It was a far cry from the white satin and orange blossom I had once envisioned her wearing to be married in-but then, this was scarcely the marriage anyone might have imagined in the 1960s.

  I wondered what Frank might have thought of Brianna's husband. He likely would have approved; Roger was a historian--or once had been-like Frank himself. He was intelligent and humorous, a talented musician and a gentle man, thoroughly devoted to Brianna and little Jemmy.

  Wbicb is very admirable indeed, I thought in the direction of the mist, under tbc circumstances.

  You admit tbat, do you? The words formed in my inner ear as though he had spoken them, ironic, mocking both himself and me.

  Jamie frowned and tightened his grasp on my buttock, making small whuffling noises in his sleep.

  You know I do, I said silently. I always did, and you know it, so just bugger off, willyou?!

  I turned my back firmly on the outer air and laid my head on Jamie's shoulder, seeking refuge in the feel of the soft, crumpled linen of his shirt.

  I rather thought Jamie was less inclined than I-or perhaps Frank-to give Roger credit for accepting Jemmy as his own. To Jamie, it was a simple matter of obligation; an honorable man could not do otherwise. And I knew he had his doubts as to Roger's ability to support and protect a family in the Carolina wilderness. Roger was tall, well-built, and capable-but "bonnet, belt, and swordie" were the stuff of songs to Roger; to Jamie, they were the tools of his trade.

  The Fiery Cross 7

  The hand on my bottom squeezed suddenly, and I started.

  "Sassenach," Jamie said drowsily, "you're squirming like a toadling in a wee lad's fist. D'ye need to get up and go to the privy?"

  "Oh, you're awake," I said, feeling mildly foolish.

  "I am now," he said. The hand fell away, and he stretched, groaning. His bare feet popped out at the far end of the quilt, long toes spread 'Aide.

  "Sorry. I didn't mean to wake you."

  "Och, dinna fash yourself," he assured me. He cleared his throat and rubbed a hand through the ruddy waves of his loosened hair, blinking. "I was dreaming like a fiend; I always do when I sleep cold." He lifted his head and peered down across the quilt, wiggling his exposed toes with disfavor. "Why did I not sleep wi'
my stockings on?"

  "Really? What were you dreaming about?" I asked, with a small stab of uneasiness. I rather hoped he hadn't been dreaming the same sort of thing I had. "Horses," he said, to my immediate relief. I laughed.

  "What sort of fiendish dreams could you be having about horses?"

  "Oh, God, it was terrible." He rubbed his eyes with both fists and shook his head, trying to clear the dream from his mind. "All to do wi' the Irish kings. Ye ken what MacKenzie was sayin' about it, at the fire last night?"

  "Irish ki-oh!" I remembered, and laughed again at the recollection. "Yes, I do."

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