By: Diana Gabaldon

Series: Outlander

Book Number: 0.5

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Spoiler Disclaimer


Flogged by the English captain, Jack Randall, and mourning the death of his father who perished after witnessing it, a young Jamie Fraser finds himself a fugitive who needs to stay away from Scotland for a while. He lands with a band of mercenaries in France where he reconnects with his friend, Ian Murray. The pair are still virgins who've been reluctant to bed the women of easy virtue who've shown an interest, and neither has yet killed a man. They quickly find themselves with much bigger problems, though, when an elderly Jewish doctor hires them to protect both his granddaughter, Rebekah, and an old Torah scroll, which is her dowry, as she travels to Paris for her arranged marriage. Both Jamie and Ian are attracted to Rebekah, and in their admiration of her beauty, they let down their guard around her, underestimating the woman they're dealing with, which leads to her escaping their protection and taking them on a merry chase through the French countryside.


"Virgins" is a short novella prequel to Diana Gabaldon's Outlander series, featuring Jamie and Ian, that takes place just after Jamie was arrested by Jack Randall the first time. He was taken to Fort William where he was flogged and Jamie's father died of an apoplexy while witnessing it. After escaping, Murtagh took Jamie, who was now a fugitive, to France where he meets up with Ian, who is working with a band of mercenaries. They're tasked with protecting a shipment of valuables headed for a Jewish merchant, but are attacked along the way by outlaws who make off with some of the loot. However, they did well enough to get a referral to a wealthy Jewish doctor who needs protection for his granddaughter, Rebekah, and her dowry as she travels to Paris to take part in an arranged marriage. The mercenaries split up, with Jamie and Ian assigned to go ahead with the young woman, while the others protect the money. Along the way, Rebekah escapes from them and they track her to the country manor of an aristocrat who is connected with the outlaw attack on their first job. There they discover just how devious of a creature she really is.

It was rather fun to go all the way back before the events of Outlander to see Jamie and Ian as very young men just starting out in their adult lives. It hasn't been long since Jamie finished his university studies in Paris, so he kind of has a tendency to show off just how smart he is and how much he learned. I love intelligent men, though, so I didn't really mind him being a bit of a wise guy. I also know that as he gets older, he's able to express it in a more mature way. Ian, as always, is his loyal friend to the end. They both exhibit many of the qualities readers, myself included, have come to appreciate in the characters throughout the series, but they're very green and immature, still finding their footing. As the title suggests, they're also still virgins, both in the sexual sense and in the sense that neither has killed a man in battle yet. They're working on figuring that all out, though, and by the end, they've gained some first-hand experience. As for the plot, it's a typical Outlander story where things don't quite go as planned nor are they quite what they seem at first glance. There's a touch of the true love conquers all aspect that we've seen time and time again in the series, but at the same time, getting there requires Rebekah to be pretty devious. Overall, I enjoyed the peek into Jamie's life before Claire and thought the story was a nice addition to the series. "Virgins" was originally published in the multi-author anthology, Dangerous Women, and as a stand-alone novella in eBook and audio format. It's most recent publication is in the single-author anthology, Seven Stones to Stand or Fall, along with several other Outlander related novellas.


Diana Gabaldon