|“||Perhaps I was destined to live, after all. My grandsire said the Lord had chosen me—though God only kens what for.||”|
— Duncan Innes, A Breath of Snow and Ashes
Duncan Innes is one of the men that was imprisoned with Jamie Fraser at Ardsmuir. Years after most of the prisoners had been sold to indenture in America, Jamie found Duncan starving in Edinburgh, for he was missing an arm and could not be hired to do work for a living. When Jamie's nephew, Ian, is captured by pirates, Duncan accompanies Jamie and his wife Claire to the Americas to rescue the boy, and he travels with them to the Royal Colony of North Carolina.
Duncan almost died as an infant, as he was born with a harelip and couldn't suckle. Fortunately, a traveling healer was passing through his village, and was able to repair it. As an adult, Duncan customarily wears a mustache to hide the faint scar.
Before the Rising in 1745, Duncan lived as a fisherman near Ardrossan, Scotland.
Events of the Novels
Between c.1746-1756, Duncan was a Prisoner at Ardsmuir Prison where he loses his left arm from infection after catching it on a nail. This saves him from being transported as indentured labor with the other prisoners as he cannot do hard labor with one arm. Instead Duncan is pardoned and set free, however he struggles to survive and comes close to starving to death.
In 1764, after Jamie Fraser is given his pardon and released from Helwater, he tries to track down the other prisoners from Ardsmuir to see if any have returned from their indentureship. None have but he finds Duncan who is close to starvation. Jamie makes sure Duncan is able to survive and eventually gives him work as a smuggler.
In 1766, Duncan is present during the ambush at Arbroath. Jamie suspects one of the smugglers is a traitor who tipped off the excisemen at Arbroath but knows it isn't Duncan as with only one arm he could not have strung up the exciseman on the Arbroath road. Duncan joined Jamie and Claire aboard the Artemis when they go in search of Young Ian. Duncan suffers from constipation and trapped belly gas and is treated by Claire, much to his embarrassment.
In June 1767, Claire, Jamie, Young Ian, Fergus and Duncan arrive in Charleston, South Carolina, to witness the hanging of Gavin Hayes a former inmate of Ardsmuir Prison. The escaped prisoner Stephen Bonnet asks the Frasers' help in escaping Charleston and Jamie allows it.
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.
In September 1767, Myers and Duncan 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.
In the spring of 1768, Duncan returns to Fraser's Ridge with 8 of Jamie's Ardsmuir men and their families. Owing to his loss of limb Duncan does not settle upon the Ridge with the others and instead acts as Factor at River Run for Jocasta.
In August 1770, Duncan 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.
In October 1770, Duncan attends the Gathering at Mount Helicon with Jocasta with the intention of having their wedding during the gathering. However, the wedding plans fall through when Father Kenneth Donahue, the Catholic priest who was to perform the wedding ceremony not only his marriage but also Brianna and Roger was arrested.
In March 1771, at River Run Duncan is more than a little nervous at his pending nuptials to Jocasta. he is missing during most of the pre-ceremony events. Jamie finding him and Duncan confines in him about an accident when he was a young man that resulted in his impotence. At Jamie's request Claire speaks with Jocasta on the subject to determine if she still wishes to get married. Jocasta and Duncan are married despite all the chaos.
Betty is discovered to have died, suspecting foul play Claire and Jamie go out to the shed to perform an autopsy. However, they are interrupted by Phillip Wylie happening upon them. His appearance did concern them but not as much as seeing Stephen Bonnet behind him. Both men run and Jamie chases after them, only catching Wylie with Roger's help. Bonnet managed to escape stealing Lucas.
Inside the house Jocasta and Duncan had been attacked by two men, who rendered Duncan unconscious. Once it was only family in the room, Jocasta explained what happened. She told them about how two men tried to force her to tell them about the French Gold that King Louis XV had sent, too late, to aid Charles Stuart at the rising. She described to them that one man reeked of drink but did not speak while the other spoke with an Irish accent. Though her story she explained that the gold had been entrusted to three men, whom brought each a second person; her late husband Hector Cameron, her brother Dougal MacKenzie, and a masked man she could not identify. She also told them of her daughters Clementina, Seonag, and Morna who all have died because of Hector wanting to keep the gold.
In the morning Roger and Jamie interrogate Wylie considering that he was the silent accomplice to Bonnet. However, they determine he was not involved in the attack on Jocasta and Duncan. They let him go with the warning to not speak a word of what he'd seen Claire doing in the shed with Betty's body.
While going over all the evidence Jamie, Claire, Roger, Brianna, Jocasta, Duncan and Ulysses figure out that Lieutenant Wolff, a scorned suitor of Jocasta's, had tried to get rid of Duncan however was unsuccessful and had to cover his tracks by killing Betty. And given that he had been drinking heavily that day they also connected he was probably the second man that attacked Duncan and Jocasta.
Duncan tells Jamie that he'd promised to provide money for guns to the British for the war, however the gold has gone missing.
In August 1775, Phaedre tells Brianna MacKenzie while they are both held by Stephen Bonnet that she'd been gotten rid of by Ulysses because she threatened to expose his affair with Jocasta if he exposed her affair with Duncan.
Duncan is an extremely taciturn man due to shyness.
Duncan met Jocasta via her nephew Jamie Fraser, a man whom Duncan holds in high regard and great respect. Initially he worked as Factor of her plantation, River Run, to keep some of her less desirable and money hungry suitors at bay.
In August 1770, Duncan sought Jamie's, being the only male relative in the area, permission to marry Jocasta. The marriage making the most sense to him, since as her husband he would have more authority at the plantation and it would put an end to any suitor's trying to take the property from Jocasta by marrying her. He had not considered that Jocasta would want an intimate relationship.
After a failed attempt to get married in October 1770 the marriage was pushed back to March 1771 and held at River Run. Duncan confided in Jamie about his physical issues with being able to perform in the bedroom. Despite this Jocasta still wed him.
In spite each having their own affairs, there was still an appreciation and respect between Duncan and Jocasta. When the gold went missing and it became unsafe for loyalists in the colonies the couple moved to nova Scotia leaving behind their lovers.
Duncan had thought for many years since his injury as a younger man that he could not preform in the bedroom, thus leading his marriage with Jocasta lacking intimacy. However with Phaedre he felt an attraction and found that he was capable. This resulting in his affair with her.
When Phaedre went missing in November 1774 Duncan did everything he could to try and find her holding great concern for her and her safety. Jamie did see to Phaedre's rescue from Stephen Bonnet while Brianna MacKenzie was being rescued as well. Then Jamie saw to Phaedre getting a job away from River Run.
- Duncan is the anglicized form of the Gaelic name Donnchadh meaning "brown warrior" or "dark-skinned warrior", derived from Gaelic donn "brown" and cath "warrior".
- Innes comes from the Gaelic word innis meaning "islet".
- Duncan's left arm was amputated after contracting blood poisoning from a scratch.