Friday, September 13, 2013

Written in My Own Heart's Blood Excerpts (#1) from Diana Gabaldon


You can click here to pre-order from Amazon.

Diana Gabaldon has a fantastic Facebook page and if you are a fan and haven't been to it you can click here to see it for yourself. It's a great page because she actually interacts on it often. If you are a fan like I am it's great to be able to see what's going on in her world and get all of the glorious updates for the upcoming series that will air on Starz in 2014. Gabaldon has also been posting snippets from the upcoming book so I have collected them for you here to peruse at your leisure! Visit her page it's definitely worth it!


Posted September 4th:

“You said you were afraid,” I said quietly, eyes on the spools of coarse thread and twists of silk floss I was stowing in a wooden box. “But that won’t stop you doing what you think you have to do, will it? _I’m_ afraid _for_ you—and that certainly won’t stop you, either.” I was careful to speak without bitterness, but he was as sensitive to tones of voice this morning as I was.

He paused for a moment, looking down at his shining shoe-buckles, then lifted his head and looked at me straight.

“Do ye think that because ye've told me the rebels will win, that I am free to walk away?”

“I—no.” I slid the box-lid shut with a snick, not looking at it. I couldn’t look away from him. His face was still, but his eyes held mine, intent. “I know you have to. I know it’s part of what you are. You can’t stand aside and still be what you are. That was more or less my point, when I--.”

He interrupted me, stepping forward and seizing me by the wrist.
“And what is it that ye think I am, Sassenach?”

“A bloody _man_, that’s what!” I pulled loose and turned away, but he put a hand on my shoulder and turned me back to face him.

“Aye, I _am_ a bloody man,” he said, and the faintest trace of rue touched his mouth, but his eyes were blue and steady.

"Ye've made your peace with what I am, ye think--but I think ye dinna ken what that means. To be what I am doesna mean only that I'll spill my own blood when I must. It means I must sacrifice other men to the ends of my own cause--not only those I kill as enemies, but those I hold as friends...or as kin.”

His hand dropped away, and the tension left his shoulders. He turned toward the door, saying, “Come when ye’re ready, Sassenach.”


Posted September 5th:

William said something bad in German, and a young voice repeated it, rather doubtfully.

“What’s that mean, sir?” asked Zeb, who had popped up beside his cot with a covered tray.

“You don’t need to know, and don’t repeat it,” William said, sitting up. “What happened to my head?”

Zeb’s brow creased.

“You don’t remember, sir?”

“If I did, would I be asking you?”

Zeb’s brow creased in concentration, but the logic of the question escaped him, and he merely shrugged, set down the tray and answered the first one.

“Colonel Grey said you was hit on the head by deserters.”

“Desert—oh.” He stopped to consider that. British deserters? No…there was a reason why German profanity had sprung to his mind. He had a fleeting memory of Hessians, and…and what?

“Colenso’s got over the shits,” Zeb offered helpfully.

“Well, good to know the day’s starting out well for somebody. Oh, Jesus.” Pain crackled inside his skull and he pressed a hand to his head. “Have you got anything to drink on that tray, Zeb?”

“Yes, sir!” Zeb uncovered the tray, triumphantly revealing a dish of coddled eggs with toast and a beaker of something that looked suspiciously murky, but smelt strongly of alcohol.

“What’s in this?”

“Dunno, sir, but Colonel Grey says it’s a hair-of-the-dog-what-bit-you sort of thing.”

“Oh.” He regarded the beaker with a cautious interest. He’d had the first of his father’s restoratives when he was fourteen and had mistaken the punch being prepared for his father’s dinner-party as the same sort that ladies had at garden-parties. He’d had a few more in the years since, and found them invariably effective, if rather startling to drink.

“Right, then,” he said, and taking a deep breath, picked up the beaker and drained it, swallowing heroically without pausing for breath.

“Cor!” said Zeb, admiring. “The cook said he could send some sausages, was you up to eating ‘em.”

William merely shook his head—being momentarily incapable of speech—and picked up a piece of toast, which he held for a moment, not quite ready to consider actually inserting it into his mouth. His head still hurt, but the restorative had jarred loose a few more bits from the detritus in his brain.

Posted September 7th:

“What would you have wanted to be?” I asked, on impulse. “If you hadn’t been born the laird of Lallybroch?”

“I wasn’t. If my elder brother hadna died, ye mean,” he said. A small shadow of regret crossed his face, but didn’t linger. He still mourned the boy who had died at eleven, leaving a small brother to pick up the burden of leadership and struggle to grow into it—but he had been accustomed to that burden for a very long time.

“Maybe that,” I said. “But what if you’d been born elsewhere, maybe to a different family?”

“Well, I wouldna be who I am, then, would I?” he said logically, and smiled at me. “I may quibble wi’ what the Lord’s called me to do, now and then, Sassenach—but I’ve nay argument wi’ how he made me.”

I looked at what he was—the strong, straight body and capable hands, the face so full of everything he was…and had no argument, either.

“Besides,” he said, and tilted his head consideringly, “if it had been different, I wouldna have you, would I? Or have had Brianna and her weans?”

_If it had been different_… I didn’t ask whether he thought his life as it was had been worth the cost.

He leaned over and touched my cheek.

“Aye, it’s worth it, Sassenach,” he said. “For me.”

I cleared my throat.

“For me, too.”

Posted September 8th:

He rubbed a blood-wet sleeve across his face, the wool rasping his skin, sweat burning in his eyes. It was a church they’d chased the British into—or a churchyard. Men were dodging through the tombstones, vaulting them in hot pursuit.

The British had turned at bay, though, their officer shouting them into a ragged line, and the drill began, the muskets grounded, ramrods drawn…

“Fire!” Jamie bellowed, with all the power left in his cracked voice. “Fire on them! Now!”

Only a few men had loaded weapons, but sometimes it only took one. A shot rang out from behind him, and the British officer who was shouting stopped shouting and staggered. He clutched himself, curling up and falling to his knees, and someone shot him again. He jerked backward, then fell over sideways.

There was a roar from the British line, which dissolved at once into a rush, some men pausing long enough to fix their bayonets, others wielding their guns like clubs. The Americans met them, mindless and shrieking, with guns and fists. One militiaman reached the fallen officer, seized him by the legs and began to drag him away toward the church, perhaps with the notion to take him prisoner, perhaps to get him help…

A British soldier threw himself upon the American, who stumbled backward and fell, loosing his hold on the officer. Jamie was running, shouting, trying to gather the men, but it was no use, they’d lost their wits in the madness of fighting.

Leaderless, so had the British soldiers, some of whom were now engaged in a grotesque tug-o’-war with two Americans, each grasping the limbs of the dead—for surely he must be now, if he hadn’t been killed outright—British officer.

Appalled, Jamie ran in among them, shouting, but his voice failed altogether under strain and breathlessness, and he realized he was making no more than faint cawing noises. He reached the fight, grasped one soldier by the shoulder, meaning to pull him back, but the man rounded on him and punched him in the face.

It was a glancing blow off the side of his jaw, but made him lose his grip, and he was knocked off balance by someone shoving past him to grab some part of the hapless officer’s body. 

Drums. A drum. Someone in the distance was beating something urgent, a summons. 

“Retreat!” someone shouted in a hoarse voice. “Retreat!”

Something happened; a momentary pause—and suddenly it was all different and the Americans were coming past him, hasty but no longer frantic, a few of them carrying the dead British officer. Yes, definitely dead; the man’s head lolled like a rag-doll’s.

_Thank God they’re not dragging him through the dirt_, was all he had time to think. Lieutenant Bixby was at his shoulder, blood pouring down his face from an open flap of scalp.

“There you are, sir!” he said, relieved. “Thought you was taken, we did.” He took Jamie respectfully by the arm, tugging him along. “Come away, sir, will you? I don’t trust those wicked buggers not to come back.”

Posted September 11th:

“You’re a very brave man,” I said quietly, and touched Denzell’s sleeve. “I saw that. When you played Jamie’s Deserter Game, at Saratoga.” 

“It wasn’t courage, I assure thee,” he said, with a short, humorless laugh. “I didn’t seek to be brave; I only wanted to prove that I was.”

I made a rather disrespectful noise—I wasn’t in either Jamie’s or Ian’s class in terms of Scottish noises, but I _had_ picked up a few pointers—and he glanced at me in surprise.

“I do appreciate the distinction,” I told him. “But I’ve known a lot of brave men in my time.”

“But how can thee know what lies—“

“Be quiet.” I waved my fingers at him. “’Brave’ covers everything from complete insanity and bloody disregard of other people’s lives—generals tend to go in for that sort—to drunkenness, foolhardiness and outright idiocy-- to the sort of thing that will make a man sweat and tremble and throw up…and go and do what he thinks he has to do _anyway_.”

“Which,” I said, pausing for breath and folding my hands neatly in my lap, “is exactly the sort of bravery you share with Jamie.”

“Thy husband does not sweat and tremble,” he said dryly. “I’ve seen him. Or rather, I have _not_ seen him do such things.”

“He does the sweating and trembling on the inside, mostly,” I replied. “Though he really does often vomit before—or during—a battle. It takes him in the wame, he says.”

Posted Today-September 13th:

Ian hastily opened his eyes again, in time to see several powder-blackened Continental soldiers, stripped to their shirts, some bare to the waist, dragging a cannon down the slope. They were followed in short order by more men and more cannon, all staggering with the heat and white-eyed with exhaustion. He recognized Colonel Owen, stumping along among them, sooty face set in unhappy desperation.

Some sense of stirring drew his wandering eye away toward a group of men, and he realized with a faint sense of interest that it was a very large group of men, with a standard hanging limp as an unstuffed haggis against its pole.

That in turn stirred recognition. Sure enough, there was General Lee, long-nosed and frowning, but looking very keen, riding out of the mass toward Owen.

He was too far away and there was too much noise to hear a word, but the trouble was obvious from Owen’s gestures and pointings. Two of his cannon were broken, burst probably, from the heat of firing, and another had broken free of its limber and was being dragged with ropes, its metal scraping on the rocks as it juddered along.

Lee’s brows drew in and his lips thinned, but he kept his composure. He had bent down from his saddle to listen to Owen; now he nodded, spoke a few words and straightened up. Owen wiped a sleeve across his face and waved to his men. They picked up their ropes and leaned into the weight, disconsolate, and Ian saw that three or four were wounded, cloths wrapped round heads or hands, one half-hopping with a bloody leg, a hand on one of the still-mounted cannon for support.

Ian’s wame had begun to settle now, and he was desperately thirsty. He’d taken no notice where he was going, but seeing Owen’s cannon come down the road, knew he must be near the bridge over the Middle Branch, though it was out of sight. He crawled out of his hiding place and managed to stand up, holding on to the log for a moment while his vision went black and white and black again. 

It took several tries, but he got water at last from an infantryman who had two canteens hanging round his neck.

“What happened to you, chum?” the infantryman asked, eyeing him with interest. 

“Had a fight with a British scout,” Ian replied, and reluctantly handed back the canteen.

“Hope you won it, then,” the man replied, and waved without waiting for an answer, moving off with his company.

Happy Reading!

2 comments:

  1. I love following author's fb pages. Sometimes I think their posts are better than their books. LOL

    ReplyDelete
  2. Melanie-I hope that you enjoy Gabaldon's as much as I do. Thanks for stopping by!

    ReplyDelete

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