Outlander books: Start reading from The Fiery Cross or the beginning?

LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 30: Display of Diana Gabaldon's books at Entertainment Weekly's PopFest at The Reef on October 30, 2016 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images for Entertainment Weekly)
LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 30: Display of Diana Gabaldon's books at Entertainment Weekly's PopFest at The Reef on October 30, 2016 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images for Entertainment Weekly) /

Everyone has their own opinions about where to start reading from. If you’re just picking up the Outlander books, is it better to start from The Fiery Cross or from the very beginning? I delve into the pros and cons of both.

While we’re in Droughtlander, you may have decided to pick up the Outlander books. Don’t worry if you’ve never read them before. There are plenty of people out there like you and they all have the same question. Should you start from the book that Season 5 will be based on or start from the very beginning?

Everyone you speak to will have different opinions. At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter what others say. It’s all about you and what you would prefer to do. But you want to know the pros and cons of starting part way through with the books or working from the very beginning, right?

Which book is production on?

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Outlander Season 5 will be based on the novel “The Fiery Cross.” There are certainly going to be moments that come from other books now that the show has time to breathe with a sixth season confirmed, most of the storylines are going to come from book five in the Outlander books.

If you want to get ahead of the fifth season, then it’s “The Fiery Cross” you’ll want to read. This is the longest novel in the series — and there are mixed reviews about whether it’s drawn out or exciting — and you’ll likely get through it before the end of Droughtlander.

From that point, you can move onto books six, seven, and eight. By the time you read them all, you’ll likely be ready for the ninth book, which is being released at some point during this year.

Outlander conventions 2019
SAVANNAH, GA – OCTOBER 28: (L-R) John Bell, Maria Doyle Kennedy, Sophie Skelton, Caitriona Balfe, Sam Heughan, Richard Rankin and Ron Moore, attend the 21st SCAD Savannah Film Festival premiere screening and costume exhibition for “Outlander” Season Four on October 28, 2018 in Savannah, Georgia. (Photo by Dia Dipasupil/Getty Images for SCAD) /

Why start from “The Fiery Cross?”

The biggest benefit of jumping into the fifth book is that you continue the storyline that you’ve currently watched with the fourth season. While there are certainly elements of the show that you won’t find in the books (such as Murtagh), there are plenty of others that continue on.

You’ll be able to read fresh material instead of reading content that was used for the previous seasons. If the first four seasons are currently fresh in your mind, you may want to jump ahead to book five for now. It really depends on how you do with material you already know.

When I first started reading the books, I started from the very beginning. The earlier seasons weren’t as fresh in my mind and I find it hard to rewatch or reread a lot without getting bored. I didn’t want to risk my enjoyment of the books so started with “Outlander” instead of “Voyager” as I started reading after Outlander Season 3.

Outlander book The Great American Read
Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images for Entertainment Weekly /

Go to the very beginning

There have been changes over the years. I’ve noticed substantial changes from the very beginning of the Outlander books, so starting from the very beginning could be much better for you. The fifth book should make sense without knowing the details of the first four books, but you’ll delve more into the world by starting from the very beginning.

You’ll get the chance to gain more details from the show. If there are moments that you weren’t quite sure about in the show, the books will fill in the details.

I’ll admit that one of my biggest questions was in the first season. I didn’t know if Claire chose not to go through the stones or couldn’t go through the stones. It took reading the book to see that it was all explained properly there.

If you like to watch the show first and then read the books, starting from the beginning is a no brainer. You may even find you want to start with “Drums of Autumn” and then jump back to the very beginning since the fourth season was based on this book.

Next. Outlander books: The chronological order of the series. dark

Will you start with “The Fiery Cross?” How did you start reading the books? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

Get the Outlander books on Amazon or the audiobooks on Audible.