Outlander has already been on hiatus for months since the intense Season 5 finale back in May, and Season 6 may be a ways off, but Diana Gabaldon still has some good news to give away. Gabaldon, who has penned eight books in the Outlander saga all about the Frasers so far (along with several books and stories centered on other characters), is hard at work on the ninth, and she teased some details that should excite and possibly unnerve fans about Jamie and Claire. After all, the big twists of the books generally become big twists in the show!
Diana Gabaldon spoke with Outlander TV show executive producer Maril Davis in the first installment of the Outlander End of Summer series, and she shared this about the upcoming ninth book in the Outlander novel saga:
I’m very close to finishing writing it. As to what it is, it’s a really really interesting book and I’m having such fun with this. Especially now that I’m in the final phases where I actually really know everything that’s left. I can’t say that there’s no tragedy in it… Let’s put it this way, it’s not Jamie.
An author being close to finishing a book certainly isn't the same as a book being ready to hit the bookshelves, but at least Diana Gabaldon is making very real progress! For fans of George R.R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire saga, Gabaldon's writing pace since the publication of Book 8 in 2014 must feel positively breakneck. Her promise that Jamie isn't going to meet a tragic fate in the next book is definitely reassuring, considering all that he's gone through so far.
Fortunately, Diana Gabaldon went on to explicitly confirm that at least one member of the Fraser family will make it to the end of Book 9:
Somebody a few months ago asked me, ‘Can you say something in five words or less that will make people want to read Book 9?’ And I said yes. He’s still alive, because that’s what they’re afraid of, is that Jamie is gonna die in this book. And I don’t think that I’m amiss in telling you that he doesn’t.
On the one hand, Diana Gabaldon came right out and confirmed in no uncertain terms that Jamie isn't going to die in the next book in the saga. On the other hand, however, Gabaldon didn't say anything about Claire surviving the events of Book 9. Gabaldon did hesitate when asked if the character with the tragic fate is "someone we love" and said that she wasn't sure, so that may point to somebody outside of the Fraser family (and who's not exactly popular with fans) biting the dust.
Outlander TV show executive producer Maril Davis questioned Diana Gabaldon about not guaranteeing Claire's survival like she did Jamie's, to which Gabaldon had a cryptic response that likely won't reassure any anxious book fans:
We'll have to wait and see.
Since Diana Gabaldon is still working on Book 9, fans will probably have to wait for a while to "see" for themselves. With the end of Season 5, the Starz adaptation of the Outlander saga has finished covering the events of the first five books, with the finale even including some of the devastating events from the sixth book. Outlander presumably won't run out of source material any time soon. The big question -- other than, of course, whether or not Claire survives -- will be whether Gabaldon will finish the tenth and final book before the TV show catches up.
George R.R. Martin famously didn't finish A Song of Ice and Fire before Game of Thrones came to an end, and the show definitely veered in some different directions after the producers ran out of source material. Outlander still has a ways to go on TV without running out of book content, and Diana Gabaldon seems to be keeping a steady pace of writing, so I'm optimistic that the full story will be told on the page and on the screen without producers having to fill in blanks. Gabaldon has already revealed how the books will end, though!
For now, you can always check out the first eight books of Diana Gabaldon's saga to pass the time until Book 9 releases or Outlander Season 6 premieres. The first three seasons of Outlander are also available streaming on Netflix, with all five seasons so far streaming on Starz, and our 2020 fall TV premiere schedule is packed with TV options for the coming weeks!