Dossier compiled by Lucie Bidouille for the Facebook group: Outlander, let's talk about Diana Gabaldon's books   




{ SPOILERS volumes 1 to 9 }

When his wife came back and told him her story, Frank didn't want to believe her. But as a good historian that he was, he did research, and we discover as books go by that he probably knew more than it seemed...



In Volume 4 (chapter 71), Roger recites a letter from Frank that he found in the belongings of his adoptive father, Reverend Wakefield. In it, Frank admits to having done some research and having found this Fraser that Claire told him about, and that everything she told him about him matched. He says he doesn't know if he should believe her, or if she imagined this story from facts she read. Frank also confesses that he asked the Reverend to place a fake tombstone bearing James Fraser's name next to Jonathan Randall's, this time real... He explains that he wants to leave a clue to Claire and Brianna:
"Sooner or later, Claire will take Brianna to Scotland, I'm sure. If she goes to St Kilda, she will see them. No one visits an old Scottish church without taking a look at the tombs that surround it. If Brianna wonders, if she wants to know more, if she asks Claire questions... Well, I will have done my part. For what happens after I leave, I can only leave it to chance.
We also learn that Frank knew he was sick with the heart, and that he had only a few years to live according to the doctors.


Later, in Volume 7, Brianna discovers a folded sheet of paper in one of her father's books. It appears to be a draft of a letter written by Frank and intended for him. She will discover this same letter in its entirety inside Brian Fraser's office in Lallybroch in volume 8 (chapter 42). In this letter, he reveals to his daughter that many things:

First, a part of him ended up believing Claire's stories. He found the marriage certificate for him and James Fraser. So, fearing that Brianna had inherited this power to travel back in time, he tried to prepare her as well as possible during these last years: camping, shooting lessons, etc.

Next, Frank talks about the Fraser of Lovat prophecy, the same prophecy Geillis was obsessed with in Volume 3. Frank explains that it comes from the legendary Braham Seer*. She says that "the last of the Lovat line will rule Scotland." According to him, after studying the genealogy of the Frasers of Lovat, Brianna would be the latter*. Frank attaches to the letter a family tree drawn by someone who is visibly aware of Brianna's true affiliation. He mentions that this information was discovered in the papers of a man, Stuart Lachlan, who died suddenly. His widow, knowing of her husband's interest in the Frasers of Lovat with the Reverend, is said to have entrusted the documents to him.

Then, specifying that the secret services have for the moment no connection with all this, he nevertheless warns her: "If someone who works in the shadows of the government discovered that you have this faculty, you would be monitored. Maybe addressed." In addition, the discovered family tree proves that someone has spotted her and is monitoring her. Frank suspects a connection to the prophecy, and points out that this person can be dangerous.

Finally, Frank tells Brianna that the surest way to protect herself would be to take refuge in the past, with James Fraser...
* More info on the Braham Seer here:
* Simon Lovat, known as "the old fox", was heired by Simon the Younger. He had no children. Neither did his younger brother, Archibald. But the old fox had recognized two bastards: Alexander, now abbot with no known child, and Brian, from whom Brianna descends.

This letter raises major questions that have not yet been resolved in the 8 volumes: Who hid this letter in Brian Fraser's office? If it was her father, either in person or through the Reverend, how did he know Brianna would one day live in Lallybroch? Did he make any other discoveries after writing his letter? Is there a link to Rob Cameron and his henchmen, who assaulted Bree and kidnapped her son to (supposedly) recover the gold from the French?


In addition, we still do not know what is in his books, since none of the characters in the story have read them... Something that should evolve in volume 9 according to the author We know that he wrote a book on the Jacobites, and that a section of it is devoted to the "old fox".


Diana Gabaldon also submitted the idea that Frank might not have been unfaithful to Claire during the 20 years they shared after his return. She points out that it is Claire who thinks so, without having proof. As for Frank, he does not deny, but does not confirm it either. He simply replies, "I thought I had been discreet." Diana explains on her forum that there could be something else he was discreet about, and that he could have entertained doubt in order to have an acceptable excuse for his frequent late absences. Would this hide the fact that Frank could have had a hidden life? Something related to the secret service? Only the author has the answers!


To conclude, you should know that Diana Gabaldon intends to write a book about Frank one day, proof that we are far from knowing everything about this character.

And here is a quote from Diana Gabaldon found on her forum:

«I can definitely answer the question about Frank's death - he is indeed dead. On the other hand, it is said that a man's actions continue after his death... And while we know some of Frank's actions (like the genealogical research he undertook, and the letter he left for Brianna, as well as the previous letter he left with the Reverend), I'm pretty sure we don't know them all yet."



Diana Gabaldon has confirmed that "What Frank knew", literally translated as "What Frank knew", will be the title of the spin-off dedicated to him.

What Frank knew  

On February 19, 2023, Diana Gabaldon shared a very short excerpt stating that she was not actively working on this manuscript currently)
"Never put anything in writing." That's the first thing [ ]'s instructor told us. Everyone laughed – including the instructor – as we all sat there, pens in hand on our clean new notebooks, ready to scribble down the basics of resisting interrogation.
This is something exhilarating. Back then.
And ironic, in retrospect. I was a historian when the war broke out. And the main job of a historian is to write things down. Saving things from oblivion. Save things that have been forgotten, if possible. See, record, save and, above all, transmit them. In a simple but elegant frame of its own perceptions and interpretations. We hope.
History and intelligence work give us a unique appreciation of truth; I can say that.
Being married too.

Here are some reactions from readers, and their responses:

" Very interesting. Are we then in Frank's head? I have always viewed this future book as an explanation of Frank's attitude to the "big books", not as a book in which he would be the protagonist in the first person. »
Diana G.: This man worked for the British Secret Service during World War II. It's not like he was going to tell anyone what he was doing or thinking...

“Now I'm addicted. Sigh. (And those snippets will probably be rare.) So it's going to be in first person? Great ! But I shouldn't hope too much that "everything will be revealed". »
Diana G.: Maybe not "everything" - but almost certainly more than you expect.