- Outlander -Diana Gabaldon Teases A "Brand-New" Character In The Ninth Outlander Book
With so many characters in her Outlander series, Diana Gabaldon admits it can be a bit tough to keep track of everybody. But that doesn't mean she's shied away from introducing new characters in Go Tell the Bees That I Am Gone (or just, Bees). In a recent interview with The Dipp, Gabaldon discusses some of the characters who will appear in her upcoming ninth installment when it's released on Nov. 23, including one "brand-new" one.
Rest assured, the official Bees synopsis confirmed that the core characters of Claire, Jamie, Roger, Brianna, Jem, Mandy, Lord John Grey, and William will all be there. Where things differ, however, is the way the story will be told. According to the author, she likes to try a new storytelling device with each of her books and for Book 9 (which she notes is a "little bit longer" than she originally anticipated), "It's got an unusual structure in that I'm following multiple people all of the time." In the eighth book, Written in My Own Heart's Blood (MOBY), she followed eight major characters. For Bees, she says, "I think it's about the same number of people, but they're kind of in different combinations." And that means that it could "sometimes" lead to main character interacting with different people than expected.
While discussing the different combinations of characters, Gabaldon says, "There is a brand-new person who is extremely interesting, but I can't tell you who she is as yet." Thankfully, Gabaldon is willing to say who she's associated with. "She occurs on the Lord John Grey end of the character spectrum, I guess you'd say. On the British end."
It's unclear if the character she's referencing in our interview is the same "mystery person" she mentioned on TheLitForum in 2019. (If you want to read TheLitForum thread, it's free after creating a login.) When it comes to the TheLitForum character, Gabaldon didn't specify a gender, but noted that they were important to one of the main six plot lines and readers had already "met the person in question."
If the two enigmatic persons are one and the same, a character that fits the bill is Amaranthus Cowden Grey. She was already introduced in MOBY and since she's the widow of Hal Grey's son Benjamin — and thus, Lord John Grey's niece by marriage — she's solidly "on the Lord John Grey end" of the story.
Considering she's gotten a few mentions in Gabaldon's excerpts, aka "Daily Lines," Amaranthus seems like a good guess when it comes to a new character who will be of bigger importance in Bees. It also seems that she could be a love interest for William... something Gabaldon didn't deny about the mystery person on TheLitForum. William may be her step-cousin by marriage, but in those days, that practically makes them distant relatives.
The evidence of a blossoming romance is in the released excerpts since William remarks on Amaranthus's "lovely smile" in one Daily Line after trying to avoid thinking of her "milky bosom." In another, he notes he finds her intriguing after remarking on "her very round bottom." (I'm detecting a pattern.) And unlike in the case of Rachel Hunter, the feeling may be mutual since Hal notes to John that his daughter-in-law is "disposed toward William." But, of course, things can't be that simple since beyond being attracted to his step-cousin's widow, Ben Grey may not actually be dead. (Hal sure doesn't think his son is dead in this excerpt.)
As for other guesses about who this female character could be that Gabaldon mentioned to me, if she is indeed "brand new" — and not that previously introduced "mystery person" from TheLitForum — one (admittedly far-fetched) theory is that it could be Angelina Brumby. She hasn't appeared in the previous books but is featured in two Daily Lines (here and here). In the Bees excerpts, Bree has apparently been commissioned to paint a portrait of Angelina.
There's not any real proof that Angelina will be a significant character. But even though she's hanging with Bree, Angelina seems to be on the British side of things. She gasps at the sight of a Continental soldier and she lives in Savannah with her husband, who is holding a celebration for Colonel Campbell. The historical figure Lieutenant Colonel Archibald Campbell was featured in MOBY when he took Savannah for the British. Campbell was also involved with William, Jane, Fanny, and... Lord John. Based on Colonel Campbell's real-life trajectory, these Daily Lines may be about Bree before she arrives at the Ridge in 1779, so Angelina could be more a backstory character than anything else. And if the "mystery person" Gabaldon referred to on TheLitForum is the same as the "brand-new person" she mentioned to me, my money's on Amaranthus.
New characters aren't the only people to cause speculation since Gabaldon promises the return of some other interesting folks of the Randall persuasion. One character she confirms is coming back is Denys Randall. He's Mary Hawkins and Alexander Randall's child and the ancestor of Frank, who led Claire to cause a bit of a fuss in Dragonfly in Amber. He was introduced in An Echo in the Bone as Captain Denys Randall-Isaacs as part of William's plot. Like William, the world doesn't know the truth about his paternity since the story goes that Denys is the son of Alex's brother Jonathan Wolverton Randall. The Isaacs in his name comes from his stepfather — his mother Mary married Robert Isaacs after Black Jack died in Culloden.
When it comes to Denys, Gabaldon says, "We'll see him again here, doing something unexpected." She also said that William was a character who surprised her in Bees... though William's surprising moves may have nothing to do with Denys's unexpected actions.
Based on this Daily Line, Denys may help William out of a scrape in Bees. But in another excerpt shared on Gabaldon's Facebook page, he meets Jamie and Claire, which could very well be one of those "different combinations" of characters Gabaldon teases. After all, in the Daily Line, Claire tells Denys that she knew his mother... and Jamie tells him he knew his father.
Speaking of those Randalls, another member of that family tree that Gabaldon tells me is back is none other than Frank Randall. "I'm not giving away too much to mention that Frank Randall still has a small part to play in this story," she says.
When it comes to Frank, Gabaldon brings him up as she's discussing the "threat and mystery" elements of Bees. In MOBY, Bree had found a rather disturbing letter from Frank about people who may be after her due to her Frasers of Lovat heritage and the fact that she's a time-traveler.
A theory that Dorianne Panich from Outlander Homepage had previously discussed with The Dipp was that the "heavy as lead" leather bag that Bree brought with her to the past could contain Frank's books and what he knew about his wife and daughter in the 18th century. Gabaldon already confirmed to me that readers will discover exactly what Frank knew. But Bree's bag clearly holds some importance and gets a shoutout in the Bees Daily Lines. I ask if there might be some of Frank's research in Bree's bag. "There might. Something like that, uh-huh," Gabaldon replies. "She has a lot of stuff in that bag."
No matter which characters she's following, danger could strike at anytime since Gabaldon describes the shape of the story as a big coiled snake with fangs. "The story itself is shaped like a snake and it's got these coils through the middle. It's the coils that have the structural intricacy, as one of my editors put it," she explains. And somewhere along that twisted serpentine path, the two Randalls and a mystery woman will weave their way into the main characters' long and winding road of a story.