A series of novels by Diana Gabaldon. Claire Beauchamp Randall is taken back in time from 1946 to 1743, where she marries and begins a passionate love affair with Jamie Fraser, a Scottish Highlander. They face many dangers and political intrigues as they attempt to prevent the tragic battle of Culloden from happening. And that's more or less just the first two books. The later books span more than twenty years, expanding the focus of the novels beyond just the main couple to their families, their close friends, and the historical situation in general. Depending on who you ask, they're romance novels of the upper 10% under Sturgeon's Law or Historical Fiction — or a bit of both. Absolutely nothing to do with that film. Also not to be confused with Johji Manabe's manga series from the 80's (and the subsequent anime adaptation) titled 'Outlanders'.The books in order:
Outlander (published as Cross Stitch in the UK)
Dragonfly in Amber
Drums of Autumn
The Fiery Cross
A Breath of Snow and Ashes
An Echo in the Bone
Written in My Own Heart's Blood
The main series has a spinoff of sorts, the Lord John series, focusing on the life of a secondary character featured in later books, Officer and a Gentleman (and Straight Gay) Lord John Grey. In 2013, Starz announced a TV adaptation with Ronald D. Moore at the helm. The series will premiere on August 9, 2014, and the first episode will be available online from August 2. Watch a teaser, another teaser, and the trailer.
Cold-Blooded Torture: Randall in Wentworth Prison, Jamie's shattered hand. Claire is somewhat upset, in later books, with Jamie's manipulative interrogation of a sixteen-year-old John Grey; she's inclined to take pity on John due to his age and innocence, despite him having made a credible attempt to kill her husband. Jamie, however, does not see this as anything but fair play during wartime.
Chekhov's Gun: The body in the beginning of Voyager, among others.
Cliff Hanger: Too many to count. The most egregious ones are at the end of An Echo in the Bone: Jem is kidnapped, Roger on his way back in time to get him, William just found out he's Jamie's bastard and is off to do something rash, Jamie has kidnapped Lord John and John just confessed he slept with Claire
Christianity is Catholic: Averted. While several characters, including Jaime and Claire are Catholic there are also significant characters who are Anglican (like the Greys), Presbyterian or Quaker. In fact the tensions and interactions between the various sects are an important sub-theme throughout the series.
Did Not Do the Bloody Research: Mostly averted. Gabaldon did. And then some. However, only after the first couple of books did she acquire the help of a Gaelic speaker, so there were some early problems in that area, as noted by her in The Outlandish Companion.
Some of her French sentences have some problems as well, eg. "Reste d'retour! Oui, le tout!" in A Breath of Snow and Ashes, chapter 56, which doesn't mean "Stay back, all of you!" as Gabaldon mentions (but rather something like "Rest back! Yes, all!" which makes little sense) in French.
Distress Ball: Claire's attempt to escape to Craigh na Dun and the 20th century, Brianna's ill-advised visit to Stephen Bonnet's boat.
Domestic Abuse: Jamie beats Claire in a memorable scene in the first book. Their different values concerning this issue cause several subsequent arguments. Since Claire's a doctor, cases of severe domestic abuse occasionally come to her attention elsewhere, and she usually does her best to stop it, with Jamie's backing. (An in-universe example of Values Dissonance occurs with this - when Claire speaks of beating one's wife, as it's used in her time, Jamie sees nothing unusual with it, but the thought of a man using his fists on his wife is disturbing and alien to him.)
Door Stopper: Don't drop any of the hardcover copies on your foot. Especially not A Breath of Snow and Ashes.
Downer Ending: Dragonfly in Amber, as well as A Breath of Snow And Ashes, do not have especially happy endings.
Expy: Word of God has it that the author based Jamie Fraser on Jamie McCrimmon from Doctor Who, a character played by Frazer Hines.
Eye Scream: A Breath of Snow and Ashes has someone getting a needle jabbed in their eye to remove pressure from built-up fluid. Fun times. Also, in Voyager, Claire ... assists a young man with a parasite that keeps moving back and forth between his eyes.
Future Slang: Played with, in that the one doing the swearing is Claire, a 20th century woman. She manages to baffle those around her with her anachronistic, and so confusing, use of "fucking", "sadist" and in what becomes a plot point at least once, "Jesus H. Roosevelt Christ!")
Identical Grandson: Roger's eyes and Geilis Duncan, his great-great-great-great grandmother. Also, hello, Frank Randall and ... all of the ancestral Randalls, it would seem. Jack Randall's physical resemblance to her spouse makes Claire very disturbed at multiple points.
Multiple Demographic Appeal: Gabaldon mentions several times on her podcast that this is the case - she used to be able to pitch the book to absolutely anyone she encountered at promotional appearances. It's a romance novel. No, it's a straight-up historical. No, it's time travel, and therefore science fiction! No, the subtle supernatural elements make it Magical Realism! It's military history! (It apparently has some following among people actually in the military - in no small part due to the fact that the books are very, very long and very, very detailed, which can be convenient for those deployed and bored.)
Multiple Narrative Modes: When the focus is on Claire, the narrative is in first-person. On the rare occasion when it isn't, it shifts to third-person.
Narrative Profanity Filter: Claire sometimes does this, especially with Gaelic curses, although she more frequently reports curses (and says them herself) without any filter.
Jamie was a virgin on his wedding night. Claire wasn't. Not that either of them really seemed to mind.
Subverted in Voyager when Jamie beds a young girl, under coercion. She resists and cries out in pain, and Jamie wonders aloud why anyone would ever want to sleep with a virgin.
Nobody over 50 Is Gay: The entire cast is getting quite old, so Lord John may still avert this. Of course, there's the Duke of Sandringham, but his age is unstated.
Not Quite Dead: Jamie after Culloden. Randall, after the first book. Geillie, after her supposed burning. This happens so often, it's best to assume nobody is dead until Claire has examined the corpse.
Ontological Inertia: The reason Claire and Jamie can neither prevent the Battle of Culloden from happening, nor help the Scots to win. Fear of this not being true is part of why Claire attempts to keep Jamie from killing Randall outright - he's an ancestor of her husband from her own century, and she fears all kind of disturbing time paradoxes.
Overprotective Dad: Jamie beats up Roger and sends him to be Indians' slave because he thinks he raped Brianna. (He's mistaken, but his reaction is sort of justified because Brianna had really been raped.) Lord John as well, in some regards in Echo In The Bone.
Portal to the Past: The rocks at Craigh na Dun, and implicitly at least one similar place in America.
Rape as Drama: There's quite a lot of rape, mostly threatened for female characters but executed fairly even-handedly among the genders. Jamie, Fergus, an attempt on Jenny, Brianna, Claire herself, and in backstory, Lord John, come to mind.
Redheaded Stepchild: Literally. Redhead Brianna, raised lovingly by Frank, who was 200 years too late to the party to be her biological father, (not to mention infertile). Also Brianna's son Jemmy, whose paternity was questionable due to her rape by Stephen Bonnet, although Roger raises him as his own.
Saintly Church: They pop up, here and there, at a contrast with some of the truly rabid and unkind believers Claire encounters.
Scarpia Ultimatum: This one happens at least twice, allowing Jamie and Claire each to make the Sadistic Choice. When Jamie is held captive in Wentworth Prison by Jack Randall, Claire tries to rescue him and is caught by Randall. Jamie offers to let Randall torture him in whatever way he wants - including rape/coerced sex—for Claire's freedom. Later in the story, when Jamie is in a French prison for dueling (with Randall of course) Claire makes a bargain with the king, exchanging sex for her husband's release. (A third, variant version occurs with Bree and Stephen Bonnet — for the sake of a plot-important wedding ring.)
Scars Are Forever: Notably, Jamie's whipping, but injuries and their repercussions are played out in glorious full.
Someone to Remember Him By: Claire leaves Jamie at the end of Dragonfly In Amber, and goes back to the 20th century pregnant with Brianna. Of course, once she figures out he's still alive, she comes back.
Spy Speak: Or rather, time traveller speak. Whistling the tune to Yellow Submarine, at one point, and the name "Ringo Starr" at another.
That Old Time Prescription: Claire Beauchamp demonstrates even more knowledge when she comments that willow bark tea can make bleeding take longer to stop while discussing the healing properties of herbs with the keeper of Castle Leoch's herb garden.
Triang Relations: Jamie, Claire, and Laoghaire form a type 4 triangle, with Laoghaire as Alice and Jamie as Bob. Later, Lord John takes up the mantle as a much less bitchy Alice.
Virginity Makes You Stupid: The 18th century isn't treated as a more innocent time, but there are a few young and exceptionally sheltered female characters.