Drums of Autumn: Top Four Moments!

Hey, novel2screeners. Welcome to article four on Drums of Autumn, the fourth book in Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series, which will become the basis for this fall’s STARZ show.

At novel2screen, as long-time readers know, we dive into popular books and talk about the process of adaptation from page to screen. Yes, this sometimes means analyzing the books’ flaws as well as their strengths.

So far in my discussion of Drums, I’ve been a bit critical of some of Diana’s choices, especially regarding the rape of Brianna by Stephen Bonnet, which I felt was a bit contrived. (See The Stephen Bonnet Conundrum or The Convoluted MacGuffin for evidence.)

And while many have agreed with me, some readers had some VERY strong ideas about where I could shove my opinions! Yes, we Outlander readers are passionate people, and that’s why I love writing about this series.

But lest anyone think that I don’t have anything nice to say about Drums of Autumn, I want to assure you that I very much do. And so this week, we’re going to put our planned article, “Jamie and the ‘R’ Word,” on the back burner, and instead we’re going to list the TOP FOUR FAVORITE PARTS OF DRUMS OF AUTUMN, which I REALLY hope will make it to the show this fall.



“One front paw landed in a heavy, rending slap and there was an explosive grunt that didn’t sound like the bear’s. The smell of blood was heavy in the air.”

Jamie’s killing of the bear that has threatened to attack Claire on one of their first nights in the woods is an incredible scene. It’s a visceral embodiment of one of the the key themes of this book–man versus nature. And it gives Claire a quintessentially “Claire” thing to do: beating a bear with a dead fish.

It also serves as a fitting introduction to some of the Tuscarora Indian characters who will be significant supporting players in this season of “Outlander.”

Now, that said, I have NO IDEA how the show will pull off filming this one (I guess ask the team from The Revenant for some CGI advice?). But in any event, MAN, I WANT TO SEE THAT BEAR SCENE!


Photo courtesy of tuscaroranationnc.com

Diana’s strong suit is research. Every detail in her books, from language to costume to diet is so beautifully and carefully researched that the books give the reader a feeling of being hurled, well, “through the stones,” if you will, and into another world.

In this book, we meet members of the Cherokee, Creek, and Tuscarora tribes. I know that many native actors have already auditioned for the show, and I am so excited to see their culture and language faithfully represented on this show, as it is in the book.


Photo courtesy of jordanscharmed.wikia.com

Diana has some fun with this scene in the book, subverting the “ripped corset” expectations by setting it essentially in a pig sty. But it that sense of whimsy and irony that makes it fun, sexy, and oddly romantic.

It’s the only “honeymoon” these two kids are going to get in this sucker, so I know we want it to be as fun and special in the series as it is in the book.


“I could feel the movement of his intestines as he breathed, the dark wet warmth of his body surrounding my gloveless fingers in that strange one-sided intimacy that is the surgeon’s realm.”

Honestly, this whole storyline with the herniated testicle doesn’t necessarily do much to move the plot forward, but I don’t care. It’s such a fabulously “Claire” thing to do—operating on a man’s ballsack right on the dining room table, in front of a roomful of guests—that it just has to be there.

We love it when Outlander gives our Claire opportunities to be herself—and herself is a doctor first and foremost.

So those are my top four Drums moments!

Now, I KNOW everybody’s got some strong opinions about this one! So let’s hear it. Leave your favorite Drums of Autumn scene in the comments section below. Can’t wait to read ’em!

Next week, we nosedive into some heavier material: JAMIE AND THE “R” WORD.

Till then, XO,


Keep an eye out for DOWN WORLD, my original sci-fi novel, which will be available on Kindle this summer! More info to come.

To catch up on my Outlander reviews and exclusive content, be sure to click HERE. And don’t forget to follow Rebecca Phelps on Twitter @DownWorldNovel, “like” us on Facebook at Novel2Screen, or just follow this blog.

To read my Voyager mock-episode series in its entirety, click here. Also, be sure to check out my writing on TV Topik.

And if you’re looking for Outlander-themed jewelry, here’s the link:  Sassenach Jewelry

*Unless otherwise noted, photos courtesy of Sony


4 thoughts on “Drums of Autumn: Top Four Moments!

  1. My favorite part of Drums of Autumn is Christmas Eve in the wilderness. Jamie has fallen and hurt his back while out trapping game. He is stuck in a snow drift during a blizzard with a bad back and Claire comes to his rescue. She keeps him from freezing to death and tells him the story of Dickens’ A Christmas Carol while they wait for morning. It has everything I love about Outlander – danger, love, rescue, intimacy. It even has humor when Ian and his Tuscarora friends discover them in an – ahem – compromising position the next day. Does anyone else have this as their favorite scene?


  2. I usually agree with you completely but what about Jamie and Bree meeting for the first time?! That’s almost as noteworthy as the print shop scene in my humble opinion.

    Liked by 1 person

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