Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander TV series is nearly here, celebrate with Signed Bookplates!

Finally Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series has made it onto the small screen, with the TV series on it’s way. These are books for a reader to obsess over. Hours, days and weeks can be lost in the sheer enjoyment of wonderful storytelling. And now Diana has delivered book eight, Written in My Own Heart’s Blood. Whether you’re a fan or a newbie, grab a copy of the special TV tie-in edition OR book eight Written in My Own Heart’s Blood today!

BIG NEWS: we received a very special package from the US – bookplates signed by DIANA GABALDON! Order your copy of Written in My Own Heart’s Blood now and you will receive a signed bookplate… but hurry, stock is limited.


by Diana Gabaldon


Claire Randall is leading a double life. She has a husband in one century – and a lover in another.

In 1945, Claire Randall is back from the war and reunited with her husband on a second honeymoon in Scotland. Innocently she walks through a stone circle in the Highlands, and finds herself in a violent skirmish taking place in 1743. Suddenly she is a Sassenach, an outlander, in a country torn by war and by clan feuds.

A wartime nurse, Claire can deal with the bloody wounds that face her. But it is harder to deal with the knowledge that she is in Jacobite Scotland and the carnage of Culloden is looming. Marooned amid the passion and violence, the superstition, the shifting allegiances and the fervent loyalties, Claire is in danger from Jacobites and Redcoats – and from the shock of her own desire for James Fraser, a gallant and courageous young Scots warrior. Jamie shows her a passion so fierce and a love so absolute that Claire becomes a woman torn between fidelity and desire, and between two vastly different men in two irreconcilable lives.

Thank you for all those who entered the Outlander Preview Screening Tickets Competition. The winners are…

Heidy White (Brisbane)
Stu Turner (Melbourne)
Shelley Napper (Sydney)

Winners, please email us at promos@booktopia.com.au ASAP!

Dreaming of the Orient Express – by Booktopia’s Christopher Cahill

If you’re going to dream, dream big.

So when my partner and I were throwing around ideas for how to spend our not too far off honeymoon my first thought was a trip on the legendary Orient Express.  As Caroline’s eyes lit up in excitement I knew in a heartbeat that her love for Agatha Christie was going to cost me. This love affair with one of history’s greatest crime writers began with the novel Murder on The Orient Express, which Caroline loved so much that her book case is slowly being filled with every Agatha Christie book ever printed.

This love for the books led to an interest in the many film and television incarnations of Agatha Christie’s two most beloved characters; Miss Marple and the world’s greatest Detective Hercule Poirot. It was the 1974 film adaptation that got me interested in the works of Agatha Christie and in turn the luxury train The Orient Express.

As much as I enjoyed Albert Finney’s interpretation of Hercule Poirot it was English actor David Suchet who really took my mild interest in the arrogant and eccentric Belgian Detective and turned me into a huge fan. His performance as Hercule Poirot in its recent reincarnation is nothing less than a masterclass in acting. When he’s on screen as the slightly hunched and rotund Detective he simply disappears into the role. There’s no actor playing the role here, he is Hercule Poirot.

So it was with great delight that I came across an audio version of Murder on the Orient Express read by none other than David Suchet himself. The audio book format is sometimes a forgotten art form but as we listened to this excellent performance on a long trip to Mudgee I couldn’t believe the quality of this one man production of the classic novel.

This is no mere reading of the book. David Suchet shifts bet ween his role as the reader to voicing every character in the book, both male and female.  It’s an astonishing performance as he shifts effortlessly between up to five characters at once and made me wonder what I was missing out on with the audio books in general. Long drives are seldom fun for all involved but listening to this performance made it an absolute delight.

As Caroline and I marvelled over what we heard all thoughts turned to our trip on the Orient Express. The idea of lounging around the bar car of this beautiful train, cocktail in one hand and a copy of Murder on the Orient Express in the other, is a dream we both now share.

Christopher Cahill is the Product Strategy Manager at Booktopia. You can read other posts by Christopher here.

The Last Chance Saloon – Take these Novelists off the cusp and into the shortlist

We here at Booktopia are a democratic lot so we thought we’d give you one last chance to mold your shortlist, which you will be voting for all next week. We’ve taken the first 12 from every heat and these are the top 60 (see the list on the pad below) who will go straight through to the final round of voting. Congratulations to all!

Top 60

But this weekend we’re deciding which of the next, wonderful, fantastic, lot of novelists will get to the final 75. Here’s the list of 25 below, the top 15 will get through to the final poll which will run all week right here.

And one final thing that we must stress. You can select as many novelists as you like with your vote. So you can vote for every person, all 25 of them, or just vote for one. The choice is yours.

So without further delay, here is the 25 that must become 15. A terribly difficult task we know, but it must be done.

Happy voting!


Kerry Greenwood on the Phryne Fisher Murders: Why I Did It

Guest Blogger, Kerry Greenwood: I shall always remember the day that Phryne Fisher walked into my life. I was on the Brunswick Street tram, with a two book contract in my hand (which later practically needed surgery to remove) and no idea of what to write.

Who is my hero? I asked myself. 1928. John Buchan’s Mary. Leslie Charteris‘ Saint. THAT sort of hero. Or even a touch of  Sapper‘s femme fatale, Irma Petersen, or Dorothy Sayers‘ Harriet Vane.

And I found her name in the remnants of a classical education. Phryne the courtesan. Fisher to out-scholar the critics of detective stories (Fisher of Men, Roi Pechoneur, grail legends, etc) And I saw her. Small, slim, stunningly dressed in a red woollen coat with an astrakhan collar. Shiny black hair cut in a cap. Russian leather boots and gloves. Enough style to knock your eye out. That was Phryne Fisher. She hasn’t paid any attention to me ever since. I just have to type fast enough to get the story down before it vanishes. Sometimes I think I hear the roar of the Hispano-Suiza coming round the corner of my little street in humble Footscray. Very late at night after I have been binge writing for a few days, I can see a vaporous, but very elegant, shade, perched on the corner of my desk, leaning over so I can smell her scent: Jicky or Floris Stephanotis.

And she stayed with me. The first book, Cocaine Blues, was published in 1989. Thereafter I have written at least one a year, all different, all very carefully researched because without meticulous research I cannot start the novel. Besides, I love research. It was reading 1928 newspapers that got me into this.

I have written a lot of other novels in between – classical Greece, Ancient Egypt, the Depression, The Gold Rush, the Influenze epidemic. I have written five fantasy novels about an uncertain future. But I always came back to Phryne, because her prose is so elegant, her humour so pointed, her time so enthralling, her mysteries so interesting.

So when I was asked to SELL her to the film people, I was firm. I had to choose the Phryne, I had to vet all the scripts, otherwise, no deal. The books were optioned since 1990. I began to think they would never be made and didn’t greatly care. I loved Phryne as she was: written. But then two remarkable women made me an offer that I couldn’t refuse. They’d pay attention to every period nuance. They’d let – indeed, encourage – me read and medddle with all the scripts. They’d show me all the auditions and let me choose my Phryne. That was a different proposition, indeed.

I went to Byron Bay to a script conference with a group of people who knew more about my books than I did. So I agreed, and it has all been fascinating. I knew nothing about making films, but they knew nothing about making novels, so we were even and courteous and polite. Of course it is different from the books. It’s film. It has actors in it. But it’s true in essence to what I wanted it to be. They found a Hispano-Suiza. They set the costume department to trawling Vogue 1928 (the lady at Spotlight in Cheltenham said they had such a lot of fun amongst the fabrics). They built Phryne’s house so exactly that I was astonished. The right wallpaper. The lalique glass birds of exactly the right period. The Warrander’s essences in the perfect 1928 kitchen. The ineffable Robbie Perkins painted all the pictures, including a very good early Cubist Phryne nude and a Fantin Latour of white roses which I could not immediately recall. Then I remembered that Phryne was given an armload of white roses at the end of Queen of the Flowers and arranged them in that manner. That sort of attention to detail was SO gratifying. Marion Boyce’s costumes would have earned her a place in Erté’s atelier.

Then I had a bit part in Blood and Circuses. They insisted. I demurred.

They told me that I was prettier than Hitchcock. I had to agree. So is anyone. Made up and costumed I saw Farrell’s Circus, MY Farrell’s circus, big top and horses and snake-lady and even my Sherlock Holmes joke, the tent show with the Giant Rat of Sumatra. It was like walking into my own head.

Everyone on the set knew about Phryne. Everyone wanted to be there. It was beyond wonderful. It is going to be fantastic.

Booktopia would like to take this opportunity to thank Kerry Greenwood for sharing her thoughts with us on the filming of the Phryne Fisher novels. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Did you know you can have Cocaine Blues: Book 1 of the Phryne Fisher Mysteries  by Kerry Greenwood in your hands in an instant? Buy the eBook, now only $2.25

Starts Friday, 24 February, 8.30pm

Click here to visit Booktopia’s Kerry Greenwood author page

Kerry 'in character' for her cameo role in Blood and Circuses.


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