“Go Tell the Bees that I Am Gone”, Synopsis and Shape

“Go Tell the Bees that I Am Gone” the title has intrigued us and it’s been a long time coming… the title for Diana Gabaldon’s ninth book was announced way back in 2016. I’m the first to admit that the title had me a bit worried, however we do know it’s not the end for Jamie and Claire (especially since we know there is going to be a book 10), but we don’t know who has “gone” so we’re still a tad concerned! 

The book covers are stunning! The classic combination of blue and yellow, complementary colours on the colour wheel, make it pop!

Talking to your bees is a very old Celtic custom (known in other parts of Europe, too) that made it to the Appalachians. You always tell the bees when someone is born, dies, comes or goes—because if you don’t keep them informed, they’ll fly away. Let’s hope someone has been chattering away to the bees on the Ridge! 

The synopsis for “Go Tell the Bees that I Am Gone” is as follows as per the official announcement in EW Magazine:-

“The past may seem the safest place to be . . . but it is the most dangerous time to be alive. . . .” begins the book’s description. “Jamie Fraser and Claire Randall were torn apart by the Jacobite Rising in 1743, and it took them twenty years to find each other again. Now the American Revolution threatens to do the same.

“It is 1779 and Claire and Jamie are at last reunited with their daughter, Brianna, her husband, Roger, and their children on Fraser’s Ridge. Having the family together is a dream the Frasers had thought impossible,” the copy continues. “Yet even in the North Carolina backcountry, the effects of war are being felt. Tensions in the Colonies are great and local feelings run hot enough to boil Hell’s tea-kettle. Jamie knows loyalties among his tenants are split and it won’t be long until the war is on his doorstep.

“Brianna and Roger have their own worry: that the dangers that provoked their escape from the twentieth century might catch up to them. Sometimes they question whether risking the perils of the 1700s—among them disease, starvation, and an impending war—was indeed the safer choice for their family,” it concludes. “Not so far away, young William Ransom is still coming to terms with the discovery of his true father’s identity—and thus his own—and Lord John Grey has reconciliations to make, and dangers to meet . . . on his son’s behalf, and his own. Meanwhile, the Revolutionary War creeps ever closer to Fraser’s Ridge. And with the family finally together, Jamie and Claire have more at stake than ever before.”

We know that the folks on the Ridge don’t have the same loyalty to Jamie as the Highlanders he led, so that makes their choices unpredictable. 

William… William! William had a shock awakening, learning that Jamie is his father. His behaviour may not have endeared him to many readers, but I feel his pain. His life history has been ripped away, he is not who he thought he was. I think he feels unworthy of his position in society and uncertain of his future. Remember he has been brought up by a most honourable man, Lord John Grey, and he’s now lost, living a lie. How can that sense of honour serve him now? 

Have Brianna and Roger fled the threat in the future only to find it followed them into past? I don’t know but it’s a fascinating and very scary thought. 

The Shape of “Go Tell the Bees that I Am Gone” 

Diana has told us all her books have an internal geometric shape. Below is a graphic created by Alyssa Gray with the shapes of Diana’s other books. The shape is something which  that emerges in the course of writing. She has said that once the shape is apparent to her the writing goes much faster and the missing pieces become more obvious. Diana says “I may have no idea exactly what happens, what’s said, etc.–but I do know approximately what the missing pieces look like (e.g., I need a scene here that involves these three people, and it has a sense of rising tension and a conclusion that will lead into that scene over there …).”

The shape of the Outlander series books

The shape of “Go Tell the Bees that I Am Gone” has been known since Diana announced it on TheLitForumcom in August 2019, here it is:- 

“Snake” is the overall shape of the book. It glides, it coils, it slithers, it climbs (and then drops out of a tree on you), it turns back on itself at the same time it goes forward, it has occasional bulges where it’s swallowed something large…and it has fangs.”

Diana Gabaldon shape of “Go Tell the Bees that I Am Gone”

I think, given that description, we have some twists and turns waiting for us with the pages of “Go Tell the Bees that I Am Gone”! One thing we know for sure is we’ll be excited to get our hands on the book in November.