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Outlander Wiki

Drums of Autumn is the fourth novel in the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon. The novel takes place in the colony of North Carolina from 1767 to 1770, as well as in Inverness and Boston from 1969 to 1971.

Plot Summary

Claire Fraser, reunited with her husband Jamie, face a new life in the American colonies after being shipwrecked on the Georgia coastline. Meanwhile Brianna Randall, safely ensconced in the 20th century and now essentially orphaned by her mother's departure to the past, struggles to accept her loss and satisfy her curiosity about a father she has never met, only to discover a tragic piece of "history" that threatens her parents' happiness in the 18th century. This discovery sends Brianna back through time on a mission to save her parents, and Roger Wakefield, the young Oxford historian captivated both by Claire's impossible story and Brianna's engaging presence, feels compelled to go after her through the stones.

Timeline of Significant Events


  • June
    • Claire, Jamie, Ian, Fergus and Duncan arrive in Charleston, South Carolina, to witness the hanging of Gavin Hayes
    • Ian acquires a half-wolf companion and names him Rollo
    • The escaped prisoner Stephen Bonnet asks the Frasers' help in escaping Charleston
    • The group travels overland to Wilmington, where Jamie and Claire dine with Governor Tryon in hopes of finding a buyer for one of their gemstones, and they leave with a different kind of offer from the governor
    • Claire meets John Quincy Myers and Phillip Wylie
    • The group is set upon by pirates, including their erstwhile companion Stephen Bonnet, on the Cape Fear while en route to Jamie's Aunt Jocasta's plantation, River Run; the pirates make off with the rest of the gemstones and Claire's gold wedding band
    • Arrival at River Run
  • July
    • An accident at the sawmill summons Jamie and Claire to assist
    • Jocasta holds a dinner party in honor of Jamie &co's arrival; in attendance are Phillip Wylie, Hermon Husband, James Hunter, and, abruptly, John Quincy Myers
    • Claire and Jamie find a woman at the mill, left to bleed to death from a botched abortion
    • Jamie questions Sergeant Murchison, a former guard of Ardsmuir Prison
  • August
    • Claire and Jamie travel with Ian and Myers to help the slave, Pollyanne, escape to the Indians
    • Jamie battles a bear while camping with Claire, eventually killing it, after which three Indians come upon them
    • Jamie shows Claire the land they will settle upon, noting the strawberries that grow there and the plant's connection to the Fraser family name
  • September
    • Work on establishing shelter and winter provisions begins on the newly established Fraser's Ridge
    • Myers and Duncan Innes arrive with more provisions, and join in blessing the hearth of the new cabin
    • Jamie bids Duncan find as many Ardsmuir men as he can, and invite them to settle on the Ridge
  • October: Nacognaweto brings his grandmother, Nayawenne, along with his wife Gabrielle and her daughter Berthe, to meet the Frasers
  • December: Claire ventures out into the snow to find Jamie, who has put his back out while hunting


  • Spring
    • Duncan returns to Fraser's Ridge with 8 of Jamie's Ardsmuir men and their families
    • Claire's abilities as a healer become well-known, and she begins traveling alone on her house calls
  • August: Claire leaves the Mueller homestead in the midst of a severe storm, loses her horse, finds a human skull, and meets the ghost of an Indian
  • October
    • Lord John arrives at Fraser's Ridge with his step-son, William
    • While Claire tends to Ian and John, who have the measles, Jamie takes William on a trip to the Indian village Anna Ooka
    • Gerhard Mueller arrives at the cabin on the heels of a German pastor, distraught by the loss of his daughter-in-law and new grandchild to the measles epidemic; he brings the scalp of one of the Indians whom he blamed for their deaths, offering it to Claire as a protection charm against the disease
    • Jamie finds Anna Ooka decimated by illness


  • June: Brianna arrives at Lallybroch
  • July
  • July/August: Roger meets a young woman named Morag MacKenzie, and helps protect her son, Jeremiah, from being thrown overboard as a suspected smallpox victim.
  • September
    • Brianna worries over Lizzie's recurring attacks of fever
    • On 2 September, Roger finds Brianna in Wilmington; they become hand-fasted and consummate their marriage; Brianna leaves him after finding out he knew about the notice about her parents' deaths, feeling angry and betrayed
    • After seeing Brianna first disturbed by Roger's appearance and later upset after being gone all night, Lizzie mistakenly assumes that 'MacKenzie' (Roger) forced himself on Brianna
    • Brianna is raped by Stephen Bonnet in her quest for getting her mother's gold ring back
    • Brianna finds Jamie and together they return to the Ridge
    • Jamie takes Brianna hunting
  • October
    • Brianna realizes she is pregnant, and tells Claire that she believes Bonnet is the father; at Brianna's request, Claire agrees not to tell Jamie about Bonnet
    • Lizzie tells Jamie and Ian that a man named MacKenzie, who she mistakenly believes assaulted Brianna in Wilmington, is making his way up the mountain
    • Jamie goes with Ian to meet 'MacKenzie' (Roger) and they beat him to a pulp, then pass him off to an Indian they know, thence to be sold to the Iroquois
    • Roger tries to escape his Indian captors and discovers another stone circle in the midst of a rhododendron hell
  • November
    • Claire contemplates how she might help Brianna end her pregnancy, should Brianna wish it
    • Brianna sketches a portrait of Roger, and Jamie and Ian realize 'MacKenzie' is, in fact, the Roger Wakefield they've been putting out word for; Brianna reveals that Bonnet is the one who raped her
  • December: The Frasers come down the mountain to River Run, where Brianna is settled to wait until her parents and Ian return


  • January
    • Claire, Jamie and Ian leave to travel north in their search for Roger
    • The rescue party arrives at the Tuscarora village of Tennago
  • February
    • Brianna busies herself at River Run, worried about Roger and her parents, and fending off the suitors Jocasta tries to put to her
    • Roger makes the best of his situation with the Mohawk
    • Jamie and Claire arrive at Snaketown, the Mohawk village where they believe Roger to be
  • March
    • Lord John Grey arrives as a guest at River Run, with news about his own search for the whereabouts of Roger Wakefield
    • After discovering that Lord John is gay, Brianna tries to blackmail him into marrying her
    • Roger befriends a Jesuit priest called Alexandre Ferigault, also being held prisoner by the Mohawk
    • Father Alexandre is executed, and his lover commits suicide; in the mayhem following, an Indian man is killed
    • Ian offers himself to the Mohawk in Roger's place, and he is adopted into the tribe to replace the dead Mohawk
  • April: Brianna, accompanied by Lord John, seeks one last meeting with Stephen Bonnet before he is sentenced to hang
  • May
    • Claire and Jamie return to River Run, without Roger or Ian
    • In the middle of the month, Brianna gives birth to a son
  • June: Roger finally arrives at the Ridge, vowing to take Brianna's child as his own, regardless of its paternity
  • August: Duncan Innes arrives at the Ridge to ask Jamie's consent to marry his aunt, Jocasta Cameron. Jamie agrees to bring the family to the Gathering at Mount Helicon to attend their wedding
  • October
    • On the journey to Mount Helicon, Roger asks Claire if she remembers who married Geillis and Dougal's son, and she does – Morag MacKenzie
    • The Frasers and MacKenzies attend the Gathering


  • June: Brianna receives a call from Roger in the middle of the night, asking if it would be all right if he came to see her
  • July 19-20: Roger takes Brianna to a Celtic festival in New England where he sings a set of Scottish songs. The next day, they watch the first moon walk at Joe Abernathy's.
  • December: Brianna spends the holidays with Roger in Scotland


  • September: Roger finds the notice about Jamie and Claire perishing in a house fire in 1776


  • March: Roger receives a new letter from Brianna, and doubts her feelings for him
  • April: Roger agrees to attend a conference after receiving word from Brianna that her summer plans have changed
  • May
    • On Beltane, Brianna goes through the stones to 1769
    • Too late, Roger discovers what Brianna has done
  • June: On Midsummer's Day, Roger goes through the stones to 1769

Book Covers

External Resources

  • Point of view guide – A chapter-by-chapter breakdown of character points of view. Includes dates for chapters when noted.


See also