''The Scottish Prisoner'' (out Nov. 29) is Gabaldon's latest unmissable blend of real history and high drama. Below, the author shares some of the epics that inspired her own.


Aubrey/Maturin series
Patrick O’Brian
”The series is about a British naval officer during the Napoleonic Wars. I love these books for the main characters. They have wonderful dialogue. You actually feel like you’re on this pitching ship.”

And Quiet Flows the Don
Mikhail Sholokhov
”It’s about a family of Cossacks before World War I. It’s a family drama, but you can feel war looming and see where it’s going to take these people and tear their lives apart.”

James Clavell
”One of my all-time favorites. It’s just so beautifully constructed. It’s like watching clockwork come together. He’s handling enormous pieces of disparate culture and history, and they fit just perfectly.”

War and Peace
Leo Tolstoy
”I enjoyed it for the scope of history. War and peace is what it’s actually about, and that’s what most good books are about. Character and conflict, that’s what it comes down to.”

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