In 1949, when three month old Brianna sneezes when Frank kisses her, Claire laughs for the first time in nearly a year. The resulting awareness between her and Frank makes Claire realize that Frank wishes to resume sexual relations with her. Frank reminds Claire that he has invited the Dean and his wife to dinner that night.
Claire experiences a day from hell, with Brianna suffering badly from severe nappy rash resulting in her being grizzly and not feeding well, and the furnace dying making the house freezing, on top of which she has to tidy the house and prepare dinner for their guests that evening. Consequently Frank arrives home and finds Claire looking disheveled. Acting like a male chauvinist pig, Frank berates Claire for not fixing up her appearance, telling her it's not like she has anything else to do all day. Claire, who has reached the end of her tether, loses the plot completely, thrusts Brianna into Frank's arms, smashes the bottle of wine Frank has bought and runs out of the house just as the Dean and his wife arrive.
Claire drives around aimlessly for a while and then goes to the church of St Finbar where she observes the act of Perpetual Adoration and prays for Jamie. Frank comes looking for her and finds her there and they both return home. Claire breastfeeds Brianna who falls asleep after only feeding from one side. When Claire picks up the breast pump to express the other breast, Frank takes it from her and suckles her and they make love.
In 1955, when Brianna starts school Claire goes to Medical School to become a doctor despite Frank not wanting her to. Frank suggests to Claire that if she is bored she can volunteer to write letters for the inmates of the nursing home. Claire meets Joe Abernathy, he is the only black student and Claire is the only female student, but they don't become friends until the end of their internship when they bond over a badly written romance novel. Claire considers that Joe is probably the only person close to her who truly understands what she does and why.
In 1957, Claire is late home from Medical School one day, a not uncommon occurrence. The babysitter gets fed up and leaves the house, leaving seven year old Brianna alone. After waiting about an hour Brianna goes out in search of Claire and is hit by a car but fortunately is not badly hurt. Claire is devastated and tearfully decides that she must quit her medical training, but Frank unexpectedly tells her not to. He says that she has a rare passion for knowing who she is and what she must do. Frank says that he will take care of Brianna. She can go to the university after school and play in his office until he has finished for the day. When Claire asks him why he would do this when he's not keen on her being a doctor, he replies that he doesn't think he can stop Claire but if he helps out he can minimize the damage to Brianna.
Between the years 1958 and 1965, while working as a doctor in Boston, Claire occasionally uses herbal remedies on her patients, calling on the knowledge she gained while in the 18th century. This is met with skepticism and horror from her colleagues.
In 1966, Frank is due to take sabbatical leave from Harvard University in February. He plans to take a series of short trips through the northeastern US, and then go on to England for six months. A month before he's due to leave, Frank and Claire are snuggled up in bed together when Frank casually mentions that he's decided to go to England first and that he's taking Brianna with him. Claire can't understand why Frank can't wait for herself and Brianna to join him in the summer after Brianna finishes her final semester and graduates.
Frank then tells Claire - "I'm going now. For good. Without you." Claire keeps her composure and coldly asks Frank if his latest mistress is putting pressure on him. Frank gets very angry and replies that he thought he'd been most discreet. Claire says she's counted six mistresses over the last decade but this one must be very special.
Claire then tells Frank that Brianna won't want to go so close to graduating, but Frank says she can go to an English boarding school. He informs Claire that he's going to take up a position at Cambridge University and he is not going to leave his daughter behind but Claire can come and visit whenever she likes.
Claire understandably reacts rather badly to this decree and they start to argue over how much parental supervision Bree needs at almost 18 years of age. When Claire tells Frank that he can't keep Bree swaddled in cotton wool, he shoots back at Claire that it's better to have Bree swaddled in cotton wool than 'fucking a black man' like her mother.
Claire reacts with outrage to the accusation that she is having an affair with Joe Abernathy, especially as she believes that Frank is about to leave her to go and live with his latest in a long line of mistresses. Frank tells her that everyone thinks that she and Joe are having an affair because they spend so much time together, and Claire's friendship with Joe means that Bree is exposed to black people and danger.
Frank reasserts his statement that he is taking Brianna to England, saying he doesn't need Claire's permission to take his daughter with him as Bree is still a minor. Claire gets very angry at Frank saying that Bree is his daughter. She tells Frank that Bree is her daughter and she won't let Frank take her anywhere.
When Frank says that Claire can't stop him, she tells him that he can divorce her if he likes, but if he tries to take Bree then Claire will use the fact of his adultery against him to gain custody. While Frank stands there in shock, Claire informs him that she had told his mistresses that she would give Frank up in a minute if he asked, but he never had. Frank attempts to regain his composure and says to Claire that he wouldn't have thought she minded as she never made a move to stop him. When Claire incredulously asks Frank what she was supposed to do, he tells her that she could have acted as though it mattered.
Claire says it did matter, but Frank says it didn't matter enough. He then asks Claire if Bree looks like Jamie and when she says yes, he curses her for having a face that shows everything she feels and thinks. Claire tells Frank that she did love him once, and when she tried to make him leave and he wouldn't go she tried to love him again.
Frank says he couldn't leave Claire when she was pregnant as that would have been the action of a cad, and once Brianna was born he couldn't give her up. He reveals that he had found out a few years ago that he is sterile and could never father a child. He knew Brianna would be the only child he would ever have but he also knew that every time Claire looked at her she was reminded of Jamie.
Frank wonders aloud if Claire could have forgotten Jamie if Brianna hadn't resembled him so strongly and Claire says No. This shocks Frank so much that he pulls his clothes on over his pajamas, walks out of the house and drives off in the car, leaving Claire shaking by the bed.
Claire keeps reliving the argument over and over in her head and can't sleep so decides she may as well go into work and check on her patients. She arrives about 4am, driving on icy streets while snow falls. After checking on her patients Claire goes to the cafeteria and wonders how she is going to tell Bree what Frank intends to do. As she sits there an ER nurse enters the room and stops dead at the sight of Claire. Claire knows immediately that the nurse has come to deliver news of a death.
The nurse tells Claire that Frank has been brought into the hospital after a car accident in which his car slid on black ice. He was DOA. Claire walks to the emergency room cubicle where Frank's body has been placed. He is covered by a blanket and there are no visible wounds. Claire whispers to Frank - 'Frank, if you're still close enough to hear me - I did love you. Once. I did.". Then Joe Abernathy appears and Claire rests her head on his shoulder and weeps for Frank.
In 1968, Claire is shocked at Roger's finding that suggests Jamie may not have died at Culloden, but tells Roger that even if Jamie did survive he probably would have died soon afterwards, as he was wounded and there was a famine in the Highlands. Roger asks Claire if she would like him to look to see if he can find what happened to Jamie and it suddenly occurs to Claire that if Jamie survived she may be able to go back to him. The realization shakes her to the core but she asks Roger to go ahead and look for Jamie.
Claire, Roger and Brianna begin their research to track down Jamie. Brianna finds the legend of the Dunbonnet that leads them to believe that Jamie returned to Lallybroch after Culloden. Fiona Graham overhears them talking about the Dunbonnet and fills them in on the rest of the legend - that the Dunbonnet had someone betray him to the English so his people could have the reward money and he was tried and sent to prison. Roger is really excited on learning this because if Jamie was sent to prison he will exist in official documents and they will be able to track him.
A week later the Reverend's study is covered in papers and they still haven't found Jamie. That night Claire continues searching late into the night and at 3 o'clock in the morning she finds Jamie's name entered into the prison register of Ardsmuir Prison.
Roger takes additional leave from his college for the summer term to help continue the search for Jamie. By August, he, Claire and Brianna have found the records for Ardsmuir Prison and learned that Jamie was paroled to Helwater, and they then find his Royal Warrant of Pardon dated 1764. Roger and Claire are both aware that if Claire were to take another trip back through the stones she would probably arrive twenty years after she left, in 1766. If they can find evidence that Jamie is alive in 1766 then Claire may be able to go back to him.
In September Claire flies back to Boston, leaving Roger and Brianna in Scotland to continue the search for Jamie. Claire has used up all her vacation leave and must deal with matters at the hospital where she works and at home. She also wants to talk to one of her closest friends, Joseph Abernathy, before making any final decisions. On the plane trip home Claire thinks about Jamie and imagines that she feels someone ruffling her hair with a light lover's touch and can smell the scents of wool and heather.
Claire returns to her house in Boston and gives good long thought to exactly what sort of modern conveniences and advances in technology she would be giving up if she chose to go back to Jamie. Claire realizes that none of that matters, the only considerations are herself, Brianna and Jamie. When Claire remembers Frank she weeps for him, but she knows that she and Frank really parted twenty years before when she first went through the stones.
The next morning Claire receives a telegram from Roger saying that he and Brianna have found Jamie and wanting to know if Claire will come back to Scotland.
Claire has a studio photo of herself taken to leave with Brianna. She spends a week going through the house collecting all the papers and documents that Brianna will need to take ownership of the house, etc, and then Claire writes a letter to Brianna, filling it with practical information such as her family history and medical history, and lots of memories and motherly advice and wisdom. Claire is in tears as she writes to Bree, and feels the enormity of what she is about to do. She tells Bree to choose a good man like either of her fathers, and signs off with the words, 'Stand up straight and try not to get fat, With All My Love Always, Mama'.
Claire is with Joe at the hospital when a man arrives with a box of bones for him to examine. Joe asks Claire to stay and look at them as he wants to know if she can do the same empathetic diagnosis on a dead person as she can on a living one. Claire holds the skull in her hands and gets a sense of sadness and surprise. She declares that the dead woman was killed, that she didn't want to die.
Joe then reveals that the bones are between 150-200 years old and were found in a cave in the Caribbean with a lot of artifacts. When he pieces the skeleton together he confirms Claire's feeling - one of the neck bones is completely missing while others are fractured. Joe surmises that someone killed the woman by chopping her head off with a blunt blade. Joe also determines that the bones belong to a white woman.
When the man leaves, Claire tells Joe that she wants his opinion on something, and then possibly a favor. Claire then asks Joe if she is sexually attractive. He gives her an honest assessment that she is and draws the obvious conclusion that Claire is interested in a man. When Claire explains that it's someone she hasn't seen for twenty years, Joe asks outright if it's Bree's father. Claire is shocked that Joe has guessed, but confirms that it is and she feels intoxicated at being able to talk about Jamie after twenty years of silence.
Claire then tells Joe that the favor she wants to ask concerns Bree. Two hours later Claire leaves the hospital, leaving with Joe her letter of resignation, all the documents for the handling of her property until Bree comes of age, and the document to pass that property onto Bree once she is of age. As Claire drives away she feels a mixture of panic, regret and elation.
Claire arrives back in Scotland in October. Bree and Roger show her the documents they have found - the Deed of Sasine that Claire had signed deeding Lallybroch to Young Jamie, and a handwritten draft of something published by an Alexander Malcolm in Edinburgh in 1765. By comparing the handwriting of the two documents, Bree and Roger are convinced that Alexander Malcolm is Jamie. When Claire sees the draft she is also certain that it is Jamie's handwriting. Claire realizes that Jamie would have been 44 years old in 1765, and that if time runs in parallel then she could go back to him. Bree tells Claire that she will be able to go back and find him.
Claire buys a suitable dress to wear on her trip through the stones. With the help of Roger and Bree, she amasses a small collection of 18th century Scottish coins. Most of the coins are made of gold. On the night before Claire is to leave, at Samhain, Claire, Roger and Bree go out for a meal together and then return to the manse for drinks. Claire thanks them both, tells them how much she will and miss them and hugs Bree tight before retiring to bed.
Claire awakes later in the night and goes downstairs. Bree has gone to bed but Roger is still up. Roger assures Claire that he will look after Bree when she is gone. Claire gives Roger an envelope and asks if he will give it to Bree. In it is everything Claire wants to say to Bree but she can't bring herself to say goodbye to her. Claire tells Roger that she is very afraid and doesn't know if she can go through with this, but she is just as afraid of not doing it.
Early the next morning Claire takes a taxi to Craigh na Dun. She is full of doubt and fear about whether she can go through with it, but finds her feet moving towards the stones as though no longer under her control. When Claire walks into the circle she is startled to see Roger and Bree there, standing in front of the cleft stone.
Bree tells Claire that she will try to go back through the stones if Claire can't do it. She says that they owe it Jamie to tell him that he did what he meant to do for them - that he had saved both their lives. Bree says that Jamie had given Claire to her and now she must give Claire back to Jamie. Then Bree tells Claire that when she finds Jamie she is to give him this, and she kisses Claire fiercely, then tells Claire she loves her and to go. Claire walks into the stone cleft.
In 1766, Claire wakes under a rowan tree below the stones. It is raining and she is soaking wet but also certain that Jamie is alive in this time. Her plan is to get to Inverness and then take a public coach to Edinburgh. If she can't find Jamie in Edinburgh then she will go to Lallybroch.
Claire makes it to Inverness and boards a coach to Edinburgh, a journey which takes two days. After disembarking in Edinburgh Claire makes her way through the streets and asks directions to the printing shop belonging to A. Malcolm. She is directed to Carfax Close and heads straight there, stopping only briefly to check her appearance.
Claire walks to the print shop, gathers her courage and enters. Jamie is in the back room, with his back to the door. He assumes that it is his colleague Geordie who has returned and calls out to him. When Claire replies 'It's me. Claire', Jamie turns around. He stares at Claire as she walks towards him and asks him when he broke his nose. When he answers, Claire reaches out and touches Jamie's nose and he loses all color from his face, whispers 'you're real', and promptly faints, knocking over an alepot as he does so.
Jamie comes round from his faint sitting in a puddle of ale. He and Claire end up sobbing in each others arms and hugging each other tightly. They are both aware of a strange feeling of shyness and intimacy after twenty years apart. Jamie asks if he can kiss Claire and they share a slow, light kiss. Jamie explains that he had often seen visions of Claire when he was sick or lonely or dreaming, but she had never spoken to him before. He says to her, 'Dinna be afraid, there's the two of us now'.
Jamie goes up stairs to change his breeches which are wet from sitting in the puddle of ale and Claire accompanies him. Claire is relieved to find that Jamie obviously lives alone with no sign of a female presence in his spartan rooms. As soon as Jamie has clean breeches on he turns to Claire and asks her urgently about their child.
Claire pulls out a package of photographs wrapped in waterproof packaging. They are photos of Bree from babyhood to adulthood and Claire shows them to Jamie, one by one. Jamie is overcome with emotion and breaks down in tears.
Jamie asks Claire what his daughter's name is. When Claire tells him it's Brianna, he's taken aback and reflexively replies 'What an awful name for a wee lassie." Surprisingly this doesn't go down well with Claire who gets upset and tells Jamie that he told her to name their child after his father Brian. When Jamie responds that he thought the baby would be a boy, Claire angrily demands to know if he's sorry she isn't. Jamie replies that of course he isn't sorry but both Brianna and Claire are a huge shock to him.
Claire realizes that while she has had months to prepare herself for this reunion, Jamie has had no time at all. Claire asks him if he's sorry she came back. Jamie grips her tightly and says 'no'. He then tells Claire that she is pronouncing Brianna's name wrong - it should be pronounced Bree-anah, and it's a beautiful name.
Jamie suddenly notices how late it's got and realizes he was supposed to get Mr. Willoughby from the tavern at noon and it is now 4pm. He hastily throws on some shoes and asks Claire if she will come with him. She replies that wild horses wouldn't stop her.
They find Mr. Willoughby seriously drunk in the basement of The World's End tavern. As Jamie is carrying him out, a prostitute recognizes Mr. Willoughby and accuses him of doing disgusting things to her feet. Her companions become aggressive and Jamie and Claire are forced to run for it, with Jamie carrying Mr. Willoughby.
Once they have eluded their pursuers, Jamie takes Claire and Mr. Willoughby to a building owned by Madame Jeanne where Jamie has a permanent room. When Claire realizes that they are in a brothel she asks Jamie why he has a room in a brothel. Jamie explains that Madame Jeanne is a customer of his and provides a room for him to stay in when he gets in late from business abroad. When Claire asks what business that might be, Jamie says that's not the question. The question is why has Claire come back?
Claire asks Jamie if he wants her to go. He tells Claire that he has burned for her for twenty years and does not want her to go, but he is not the man she knew. He asks Claire if she will accept him as he is now, and Claire replies yes, and points out that Jamie no longer knows her either. The distance of their twenty year separation stretches between them and they know it will take time to bridge it.
Claire and Jamie eat dinner together and then go to bed. They are both nervous and scared but their bodies respond to each other instinctively and they make love for the first time in twenty years. Claire learns that Jamie's printing activities have caused him to be arrested six times, but she vows that nothing will make her leave him, not even if he has committed bigamy and public drunkenness. Jamie startles at this declaration and tells Claire that he is also a smuggler.
The next morning Jamie and Claire are surprised by a visit from Ian who has come to search for Young Ian. Ian is disgusted at finding Jamie in a brothel and then shocked to his core to find Claire with him. When he recovers himself he tells Jamie and Claire that Young Ian had left home over a week ago, leaving only a note saying he was going to his uncle. Upon learning that Jamie has not seen him, both Ian and Jamie are worried.
Jamie and Ian go off to look for Young Ian, leaving Claire to stay in Jamie's room at the brothel. Claire has not been there long when there is a knock on the door, and Young Ian himself enters. During an awkward conversation Ian learns that his father is in Edinburgh looking for him and that Claire knows his father. Assuming Claire is a prostitute, Ian leaps to the wrong conclusions about his father and leaves in anger.
No sooner has Young Ian left than there is another knock at the door and Mr. Willoughby enters. He prostrates himself on the ground and apologizes for thinking Claire a whore when she is actually Jamie's most honorable First Wife.
Claire gives up waiting for someone to bring her food or clothes and wraps herself in a quilt and goes downstairs. She joins the prostitutes for a delicious breakfast before Madame Jeanne finds her and is horrified. Madame Jeanne takes Claire upstairs to a room full of clothes and Claire selects a dress to wear. Claire overhears Madame Jeanne talking about a girl who had been murdered by the Edinburgh Fiend the night before.
Claire questions the porter and learns that the Edinburgh Fiend has killed eight women over the last two years, most of them women of easy virtue. The Fiend killed them by hitting them with a heavy-bladed instrument and some of his victims had been dismembered. His latest victim is the sister of one of Madame Jeanne's prostitutes.
Claire is contemplating this information when the door bursts open and Fergus rushes in. Claire doesn't recognize him, but Fergus recognizes Claire and throws himself down on his knees, wraps his arms around Claire's thighs and hugs her. Understandably taken aback by this Claire commands him to let go, but in his joy Fergus ignores her. When he smiles, Claire suddenly realizes who he is and they embrace enthusiastically. Jamie then bursts in the room and tells Fergus to come quickly as he has smuggled brandy in the alleyway and excisemen on his heels. They both rush out to deal with that.
Claire grabs a shawl and heads down the stairs, trying to find where Jamie is. She is grabbed by an exciseman, but Mr. Willoughby appears, quite drunk and holding a pistol. Mr. Willoughby tells the exciseman to release Claire and when he doesn't do so, he shoots him. Claire catches the exciseman as he falls and he ends up sprawled across her lap. Fergus comes running and Claire is shocked to see that he has a hook in place of one of his hands. Then Jamie comes running, tells Fergus to guard the front of the building and wraps the exciseman's body in the shawl and picks him up. Claire and Jamie take the body downstairs to a hidden cellar where Jamie carries out his smuggling operation.
Claire washes the blood off herself using some of the water that Jamie has piped down from the roof to cut the brandy. When Claire tells Jamie the dead man is an exciseman Jamie is shocked. He looks at the man's face and checks his pockets where he finds only a small Bible. Jamie heaves a sigh of relief as he realises the man is not one of Edinburgh's excisemen. Jamie explains to Claire that he bribes the Superintending Customs Officer to turn a blind eye to his smuggling and so the real excisemen do not come into the brothel.
After dealing with the dead body and the smuggled brandy, Jamie and Claire go to Moubray's Tavern to dine. They are interrupted by Sir Percival Turner who sends Jamie a veiled warning against pursuing his next planned smuggling activity. After Sir Percival leaves, Jamie and Claire take a room upstairs at Moubrays and indulge in some afternoon delight.
Claire and Jamie are walking back to the print shop in the evening when they realize there is a fire in Carfax Close. They rush there to discover that it is Jamie's print shop that is on fire. Jamie rushes in to save his printing press and aided by others manages to remove it from the shop just before the stairs cave in. Claire remains outside and is joined by Ian, who looks up and notices that Young Ian is trapped upstairs. Ian tries to go inside the building to rescue his son, but he is held back by neighbors. Jamie is trying to catch his breath outside when Claire and Ian rush up yelling that Young Ian is trapped upstairs in the building. Jamie accesses the print shop roof via the chocolate shop next door and drags Young Ian out. Ian throws a rope up to Jamie and Jamie and Young Ian are lowered safely to the ground.
Jamie, Claire and the two Ians go back to Madame Jeanne's and Jamie questions Young Ian about how he came to be in the printshop and how it came to be on fire. When Ian admits he set the fire, Jamie asks him to explain himself. Ian tells Jamie about the man he followed. When Ian reacts angrily at the news that Young Ian had been to the brothel, Young Ian calls him a hypocrite as he believes that Claire is a prostitute that Ian has been visiting. Ian sets Young Ian straight and tells him that Claire is his aunty. Young Ian asks Claire if she is a fairy. While Claire struggles to answer, Ian replies that Claire had escaped to France after Culloden and had thought Jamie dead.
While telling his story Ian drinks porter and becomes quite drunk. Claire goes off to fetch some tea to try and sober him up while Jamie and Ian help him vomit. When Claire returns she tends to Ian's burns and he resumes his story. When Ian hears that Jamie has been printing seditious pamphlets and Young Ian is mixed up with it, he gets really angry and demands to know how Jamie could do such a thing to him and Jenny after all the suffering they endured after Culloden because of Jamie's part in the Rising. Jamie reacts angrily and points out that Ian's son is now the heir to Lallybroch, while Jamie has nothing.
Ian berates Jamie for not sending word that Young Ian was with him, to stop Jenny worrying. Jamie replies that he meant to bring Ian home himself and ask permission for him to come and live with him as he cares for the lad as if he were his own son. Ian Senior replies that he may do so, but Young Ian is not Jamie's son, but his. Ian then tells Young Ian that they are leaving, but Young Ian refuses to go with him that night, saying he will go in the morning. Ian is shocked and angry at Young Ian's disobedience, and leaves defeated.
Ian is very upset at hurting his father and Jamie tells him that he shouldn't have said that to him. Young Ian anguishedly tells Jamie that he couldn't go with his father as he needs to tell Jamie something else and he doesn't want his father to hear as he would be hurt. Ian then tells Jamie that he thinks he killed the seaman, as he doesn't think the seaman could have escaped the fire. Jamie tells Ian that he hasn't done anything wrong, but Ian bursts into tears and is comforted by Claire. When Ian has finished crying Jamie tells him he isn't damned because it's not a sin to kill in self defense, and that he shouldn't be afraid of telling his father.
Jamie realises that Ian confided in him because he had killed men and would know what to do. Jamie tells Ian to do the following things - Ask himself if he had a choice in killing the man, and as he didn't, put his mind at ease. Go to confession, or if that isn't possible, say a good Act of Contrition. Then say a prayer for the soul of the man he's killed. And then live with it.
The next morning Claire goes to Haugh's apothecary to get supplies and meets the Reverend Archibald Campbell who asks her to come and see his sister who suffers from a nervous complaint. Claire visits Margaret Campbell that afternoon, finding her in a catatonic state. On learning of the events that caused Margaret's mental illness, Claire decides there is very little she can do for her. Ian arrives with a message from Jamie just as Claire is about to leave. When Margaret Campbell hears the name Jamie, she comes out of her trance, calls out 'Jamie?' and then starts screaming.
That afternoon Jamie and Fergus make alternative plans to land the smuggled liquor at Arbroath in light of Sir Percival's warning about the ambush. Young Ian wants to be involved with the smuggling, but Jamie tells him that he is not to be a part of it, but instead is to stay with Claire at the inn above the abbey at Arbroath, and once the smuggling is over, they will return Young Ian to Lallybroch, as his father has already gone home. Young Ian starts to blurt out a question, 'But Uncle, what about ...', but Jamie snaps at him and cuts him off before he can finish his sentence.
Jamie, Claire and Young Ian travel to Arbroath, with Ian constantly pestering Jamie to be allowed to take part in the smuggling. When they reach Arbroath after four days of riding, it is to find that the inn has been burnt down. Jamie cannot leave Young Ian and Claire without shelter and is forced to take them both with him to the smuggling rendezvous. Jamie tells Ian that he is only to go as far as the cliff edge and is to take care of Claire.
Jamie, Claire and Young Ian go to the cove where the rendezvous with the smuggling ship is to take place, meeting up with Fergus, Mr. Willoughby and Jamie's men. Just as the ship is about to reach shore, excisemen burst from their hiding places in the sand and the smugglers take flight. Young Ian and Claire flee inland towards the small village of Arbroath. Just as they reach the road they hear voices, two men lying in wait to capture Jamie for a fifty pound reward who also mention more men lying in wait at Arbroath Abbey.
Young Ian heads to Arbroath Abbey to warn the other smugglers, while Claire heads towards the two excisemen they had overheard, in the hopes of distracting them. Claire crosses paths with Jamie and Fergus and six of Jamie's smugglers. When Claire tells Jamie about the excisemen, Jamie goes looking for them and finds one of them hanging from a tree. Jamie suspects that the murder will be pinned on him. Young Ian returns and they all leave for Lallybroch.
Jamie, Claire and Young Ian arrive at Lallybroch to a tense reunion with Ian and Jenny. Jenny is initially wary of Claire, finding it difficult to believe she has reappeared after so long away, and so unchanged.
Ian berates Young Ian for running away and causing so much worry and sends him out to the gatepost to be whipped. Jamie pleads with Ian not to whip Young Ian, saying that he is no longer a child. Ian says that he has told Ian he will be punished and can't go back on his word, but that Jamie can be the one to administer the whipping. Jamie is shocked and does not want to do it but has no choice. Claire, Jenny & Ian all watch through the window as Jamie goes to join Young Ian. Young Ian is shocked when Jamie comes out to the gatepost and even more surprised and taken aback when Jamie finishes the beating and then orders Ian to whip him in return to punish him for leading him astray. As both Ian and Jamie gingerly rub their bottoms afterwards, Jamie tells Ian that he'd prefer not to have to do that again, and Ian agrees.
The mutual punishment of Jamie and Young Ian releases the tensions in the household and Jamie and Claire go to bed that evening in a much happier frame of mind. They awake the next morning and are engaged in some amorous foreplay when the door to the bedroom flies open and a teenage girl stares in horror at the sight of Jamie lying between Claire's thighs. Jamie is just as horrified, but not nearly as much as Claire as the girl exclaims, "Daddy! Who is that woman?".
Suddenly Laoghaire appears in the bedroom and hisses at Claire to go back to where she came from as Jamie is hers. Jamie shoves Laoghaire out of the room, and tells Claire that he can explain everything but Claire is in shock and in no state of mind to be reasonable. After shouting angrily at each other, Jamie tells Claire he will sort things out and then come back and talk. He then leaves to deal with Laoghaire who has been pounding on the bedroom door.
When Jamie leaves the room Claire falls to pieces. She is particularly hurt by the fact that Jamie married the woman who tried to have her killed as a witch, even while admitting to herself that Jamie doesn't know about Laoghaire's part in that. Claire realises that she can't stay at Lallybroch when Laoghaire and her daughters usually live there with Jamie and she gets dressed so that she can leave.
Jamie returns to the bedroom to find Claire ready to leave Lallybroch. Claire is filled with anger at Jamie for lying to her about the fact that he was married and Jamie confesses that he was afraid that Claire would leave him if she knew. All the pain and hurt they have carried over their twenty years apart is released in a vicious argument and as Claire makes to leave, Jamie grabs her and kisses her violently. Claire responds in kind and their anger finds release in furious, noisy sex which is abruptly interrupted by Jenny tossing a pail of cold water over them. Jenny angrily demands to know whether Jamie is ashamed of rutting like a wild beast for all the house to hear. Jamie dazedly shakes himself, replies that he is ashamed and leaves the room.
Jenny settles Claire down and leaves her daughter Janet in the room while she goes to find Claire a new dress to wear to replace her ripped one. Janet is upset and confesses to Claire that she was the person who told Laoghaire that Claire was back. When Claire asks Janet why she did that, Janet says that Jenny told her to. Jenny reappears with a dress for Claire. Claire puts on the dress and tells Jenny she wants to leave. Jenny says, 'I think that's best'. Claire sets off in late morning, heading back to the stones to leave Jamie forever.
Claire rides off towards Craigh na Dun, spending the night in the mountains. The next day her spirits plummet and in mid afternoon she stops her horse, slumps down on a fallen tree and gives in to grief. Sunk in misery, Claire is startled to find Young Ian appear next to her. Claire tells Ian to go back home and makes to leave but he grabs the reins of her horse and forces her to listen. Ian explains that Jamie was furious when he learned that Claire had left and had made to come after her but was waylaid by Laoghaire. On hearing this Claire's anger fires up again and she goes to yank the reins out of Ian's hands. In desperation Ian tells Claire that Laoghaire has shot Jamie, and Jamie has sent Ian to fetch Claire back because he is dying.
Claire learns that Jamie was shot in the left arm, with the ball penetrating into his side, and had become feverish. As Claire and Ian ride back to Lallybroch, Claire has a lot of time to think. She does not know if Ian is telling her the truth and wonders if Jamie might have even shot himself deliberately to make Claire come back.
Claire and Ian arrive back at Lallybroch. Jenny is not at all happy to see Claire again but the two of them put their differences aside for the sake of Jamie. Claire goes into the parlor where Jamie is asleep on a camp bed in front of the fire with a raging fever. Not wanting to waken him before the fever does, Claire contemplates Jamie's actions and hers. She realises that Jamie had not told her about his marriage to Laoghaire because he was still shaken by her reappearance and unsure about how to juggle his obligations to Laoghaire, her daughters and Claire. Claire realises that she had fled because she was afraid that Jamie wouldn't choose her, but she now knows that her future is with Jamie and she will stay.
Jamie awakens but thinks that Claire is part of a fever dream until she touches him and he realises she is real. Jamie is certain he is dying but Claire has a secret weapon, some penicillin that she brought with her through the stones and she gives Jamie his first dose.
While Claire tends to Jamie, he tells her how he came to be married to Laoghaire and how unhappy he'd been. Claire realises that she had been just as lonely and lost married to Frank. They both re-vow their love for each other.
The penicillin works like a charm with Jamie's fever disappearing within two days and the inflammation much improved after four days. The Murray clan descend on Lallybroch to visit Jamie, and Claire is reintroduced to Jenny & Ian's children and introduced to all their grandchildren. Jamie is a magnet for his great-nieces and nephews and settles down to a storytelling session with them while Claire seeks out the women in the kitchen. Claire notices that Jenny is absent. She and Jenny have been avoiding each other since Claire returned and have not spoken in four days. Claire decides the time has come for a reckoning and she goes out to the dairy shed in search of Jenny.
Claire is surprised to see Fergus outside, looking morose. Fergus reveals to Claire that he is unhappy because the destruction of the print shop has put paid to his plans for the future. Fergus had invested some of his smuggling profits in the print shop and was hoping to become a full partner in time, thus achieving some sort of respectability which he does not have as a one-armed, bastard smuggler. Respectability is important to Fergus as he has fallen in love with a young lady and knows that he will not be an acceptable suitor in his current state. Claire suggests that Fergus asks Jamie to help him, but he vehemently asks Claire to say nothing to Jamie.
Claire is cold and goes back inside and finds Jenny in the parlor with Jamie. Jenny has received a warning from a neighbor that Hobart MacKenzie is on his way and she tells Jamie that he should leave Lallybroch. Jamie refuses to leave stating he is not scared of Hobart and Jenny has to accept that. Jenny leaves the room and then goes outside to the barn. Claire sees her through the window and follows her.
Claire catches up to Jenny who realises that she can no longer avoid this confrontation. They go to the root cellar for privacy. Claire confronts Jenny about why she made Jamie marry Laoghaire and why she sent word to Laoghaire that Jamie had returned with Claire. Jenny admits that Jamie would not have married Laoghaire if she hadn't forced the issue, but explains to Claire that Jamie was so lonely and wretched when he returned home that she could not bear it.
Jenny tells Claire that she sent word to Laoghaire because she was afraid that Claire would take Jamie away from her again, as she had seen Claire's shade at Jamie and Laoghaire's wedding. As long as Jamie was married to Laoghaire he wouldn't go further than Edinburgh and would return home regularly, but if he was married to Claire he would no longer be bound to the Highlands and Jenny may never see him again. Claire explains that she just wants to stay at Lallybroch with Jamie and promises she will take good care of Jamie even if they do have to go elsewhere.
Claire and Jenny have cleared the air and now have an understanding of each others actions when Young Ian bursts into the cellar to announce that Hobart MacKenzie has arrived with a lawyer. Claire and Jenny return to the house where Claire finds herself in the awkward situation of being introduced to Hobart MacKenzie who seems equally nonplussed. Hobart's lawyer then enters then enters the room and Claire is delighted to see that it is Ned Gowan.
Jamie, Claire, Hobart, Ned, Jenny and Ian are present as Ned lays out Laoghaire's case for compensation. Jamie declares that he will continue to support Laoghaire and her daughters, but Jenny insists that that support should stop if Laoghaire remarries. This is agreed to and the final settlement agreed to is that Jamie will pay Laoghaire an initial sum of £500 in compensation for distress, inconvenience and loss of conjugal services. He will then continue to pay Laoghaire £100 per year until she remarries. In addition Jamie will pay a bride-portion of £300 to each of Laoghaire's two daughters, and he agrees to not take a suit against Laoghaire for attempted murder. Laoghaire agrees to accept this offer in full and final settlement.
After Hobart and Ned have left, Jenny asks Jamie where he is going to get the money to pay Laoghaire. Jamie replies that he will have to use some of the seal's treasure, but as he cannot swim because of his gunshot wound he wants to take Young Ian to retrieve it. Jenny automatically says no, being unable to let go of her youngest child. But Ian acknowledges that Young Ian is a capable enough swimmer and Jenny realises they cannot treat Ian as a child forever, but must give him his freedom while he still thinks it is theirs to give. Jenny reluctantly agrees, and Jamie tells her that for Laoghaire's sake he must leave Lallybroch for a while. He proposes going back to France to work for Jared and taking Young Ian with him so he can be schooled in Paris.
Despite it being winter, Jamie, Claire and Young Ian travel to the seal's cove. When they arrive the weather is very misty with poor visibility. Ian is lowered down to the beach and swims out to the seal's island. Jamie and Claire can do nothing but wait until he returns, a round trip that Jamie knows will take about two hours.
While Claire and Jamie are waiting on the top of the cliffs, Jamie hears shouting. Striding to the cliff's edge, the mist lifts long enough for Jamie and Claire to see two men on the island - one man carrying the box of treasure, and the second carrying the limp body of Ian. The men put the box and Ian into a small boat and row out to a larger boat waiting nearby. Jamie and Claire jump on their horses and follow the boat, but they are spotted and the boat opens fire on them, lifts anchor and sails away.
Jamie and Claire are both shocked and distressed at what they have just witnessed. Jamie decides that the only thing they can really do is to go to France as planned and hope that Jared can help them to identify the ship. They cannot leave until the morning so try to sleep but Jamie cannot. Claire wakes and finds Jamie praying for guidance. He shares his feelings of guilt with Claire. He thinks that he has caused misfortune to fall Ian's way by trying to use the treasure for selfish reasons - to rid himself of Laoghaire and be with Claire. Jamie does not know how he can face Jenny after convincing her to let Ian go with him and promising to keep him safe. Claire tells him he is a terrible fool, that they are married in the eyes of God and it is not wrong for them to be together. About 4 o'clock in the morning they decide to leave as neither can bear waiting any more.
Jamie, Claire and Mr. Willoughby travel to Le Havre and go immediately to see Jared in his warehouse where they explain everything that has happened. Jared explains that as it is so late in the season there are few ships still available to travel on, and the best he can provide is a mid-sized sloop called the Artemis which will be ready to sail in a week. Jared has searched the harbormasters records and discovered that the Bruja has its home port listed as Bridgetown in Barbados. Not knowing the destination of the ship, Jamie and Claire plan to sail to Barbados in the hope that they will find it. Jared informs them that the sailing time to the West Indies is normally two months, but this late in the year they may well be delayed a month or more by winter gales. Both Jared and Claire are concerned about how Jamie will survive the voyage, but Jamie will endure anything to get Ian back.
Jared appoints Jamie in the role of supercargo on the ship. This means Jamie is responsible for the cargo and his authority can override the captain's in decisions relating to the cargo. The Artemis will sail to Jamaica with a load of cargo and then reload with rum from Jared's sugarcane plantation to be brought back to France. The return trip will not be able to be made until May when the weather improves, and Jamie and Claire will have the ship at their disposal until that time to search for Ian.
Unable to sleep that night Claire finds herself thinking about how much has happened to her in the short time since she returned through the stones. Despite now facing a dangerous sea voyage and an unknown future, she finds herself oddly excited by the prospect after so many years being rooted to one place, tied to Frank, Brianna and her patients.
Claire prepares for the voyage by putting together a medical kit. Jamie meets with a coin dealer, Mayer, and describes to him the coins he found in the seal's treasure. Mayer reveals that the original buyer of those coins was the Duke of Sandringham. Claire wonders if the coins would be worth £50,000 and if so whether that was the money the Duke of Sandringham had promised to Charles Stuart. Claire notes that the Duke hadn't paid the money to Charles Stuart because he was killed by Murtagh before Charles got to Scotland and she agonizes over whether this would have made a difference.
Jamie and Claire agree that the coins could possibly be the money the Duke had promised, but the really pressing questions are, what was Duncan Kerr doing - had he come to remove the treasure or deposit it? And, who sent the Bruja to retrieve it?
Claire goes shopping for medical supplies with Mr. Willoughby who proves surprisingly knowledgeable about herbs. They run into the Reverend Campbell who eyes Mr. Willoughby with distaste. The Reverend Campbell explains that he is still traveling to the West Indies with his sister, but had some some urgent business to attend to in France first. When the Reverend goes on his way. Mr. Willoughby tells Claire that he has seen the Reverend at Madame Jeanne's engaged in unholy behavior.
Over dinner one night Jared gives a Masonic greeting to Jamie which he returns. Jared tells Jamie that there are Freemason lodges in the Caribbean and Jamie should use the contacts there to help find Ian. Claire is startled to learn that Jamie is a Mason and suddenly very aware of the many years they have spent apart and how many things she doesn't know about Jamie. She is feeling a bit lost when Jamie plays footsies with her under the table, and smiles deep into her eyes. Feeling much reassured about their future together, Claire and Jamie go off to be.
The next day Jamie, Jared and Mr. Willoughby have errands to do. Claire takes advantage of their absence to visit L'Hôpital des Anges where she is delighted to find that Mother Hildegarde is still alive. Claire visits Faith's grave and is surprised at how emotional she feels after all this time.
When the Artemis is ready to sail, Jamie, Claire & Mr. Willoughby board and sail back to Scotland to pick up Fergus and the men from Jamie's smuggling group. Jamie explains to Claire that the smugglers will provide protection against the men who took Ian, and will help crew the Artemis. The Artemis arrives at Cape Wrath before Fergus and the men, and Jamie is forced to wait for their arrival despite desperately wanting to begin the search for Ian. Claire prepares copious quantities of ginger in the hope that it will help Jamie with his seasickness.
Two days after arriving at Cape Wrath, the six smugglers arrive but Fergus is not with them. Jamie learns that Fergus had sent the men on ahead saying that he had business to attend to. Fergus has still not arrived the next morning and the captain tells Jamie they must leave by mid-afternoon as there is bad weather on the way. Jamie grows more and more anxious as the day wears on, but just as the Artemis is about to cast off, he hears the sound of galloping hoof beats as Fergus approaches. Jamie's relief quickly turns to anger when he realises that Fergus is not alone. He has arrived with Marsali who is boarding the Artemis with him.
Jamie angrily demands to know what they think they are doing. Fergus and Marsali reveal that they have been secretly handfast in front of witnesses. Jamie is furious with them both when he discovers what they've done and tells them he will put Marsali ashore when they stop for provisions. Marsali refuses to obey and tells Jamie that she doesn't care that Fergus is a property-less, crippled, criminal bastard - she wants him. Marsali argues fiercely with Jamie and starts to get abusive, calling Claire a whore, but Fergus brings her up sharply, saying that Jamie has done a lot for both of them and she owes him respect. Marsali calms down and tells Jamie that she will not go back to Balriggan, and if Jamie puts her ashore she will tell everyone that Fergus has slept with her, thus ruining her name. Jamie realises she has him over a barrel and lays down the law. Marsali may stay on board, but she and Fergus are to be married properly in the West Indies and Fergus is not to touch her until that happens.
Jamie's edict to Fergus has immediate consequences. With only two private cabins on the ship, Jamie and Fergus have to share one, and Claire and Marsali the other. This is particularly awkward for Claire as Marsali hates her. Fergus isn't much better off sharing with Jamie, as Jamie is crippled by seasickness and vomiting constantly.
On the second day, Jamie is very ill. He tells Claire that someone is trying to kill him, but that it isn't Innes. Jamie tells Claire to ask Fergus for more information. Claire is very worried but Mr. Willoughby is outside Jamie's cabin and tells Claire he will keep watch over Jamie. Claire finds Fergus who informs her that Jamie has been involved in two suspicious incidents that appeared to be accidents but may not have been. In one case a shed he was working in burst into flames, and in the second Jamie was almost crushed by falling casks in his warehouse. Even more worrying is that the man who Mr. Willoughby shot at Madame Jeanne's was carrying a copy of the New Testament which Jamie had printed in his printshop, raising the possibility that someone knows that Jamie Roy the smuggler and Alexander Malcolm the printer are the same person. Add to these events the ambush on the beach at Arbroath and it is possible that one of Jamie's smugglers is a traitor. Claire realises that if this person should make further inquiries they may discover Jamie's real name, and given the seditious material he had been printing, that could lead to him being hanged.
Fergus explains that they don't know for certain if there is a traitor among the smugglers, but if there is it will be one of the six on board the Artemis as they were all present during the other events. And as Jamie is sailing under his real name, they now all know his true identity so it is imperative that if one of the smugglers is a traitor that he is flushed out.
Claire spends her days trying to cure Jamie's seasickness, treating patients and avoiding Marsali who is openly hostile to her. Jamie can't keep anything down and is wretched. Mr. Willoughby mentions to Claire that he has some Chinese medicine that will help but that Jamie has flatly refused to have it. Claire mentions in a very loud voice all the terrible things that can happen to a person constantly dry wretching, such as twisted testicles that have to be amputated and Jamie gives in and allows Mr. Willoughby to treat him with his acupuncture needles. Fortunately for Jamie, the treatment works.
With little to do during the voyage, Jamie and Claire spend most of the time together, regaining the intimacy of their initial relationship and filling in the years they spent apart. One time after Jamie has been looking at the photos of Brianna that Claire brought with her, he asks Claire if perhaps she should have waited to come after him, as Brianna is now alone with no husband to protect her and no family to see her wed. The 200 year time difference between Claire and Jamie gapes as Claire tries to explain to Jamie that women in her time don't need protection from men, but that doesn't mean they don't still need men.
Claire treats Duncan Innes for constipation and learns that the smugglers have not been given the oatmeal and peas that were supposed to supplement their diet because the cook, Murphy, can't be bothered going to the effort of soaking and cooking them. Claire sorts it out but recognizes the stark difference in the relationship between Jamie and his smugglers and the tenants of Lallybroch. The fact that the men had not already approached Jamie about this, and that he had not realized what was happening would never have happened at Lallybroch. Claire finds this distance between Jamie and his men troubling. When Claire mentions this to Jamie he tells her that he is not their laird, just the man who pays them, and that apart from Innes he doesn't really know them.
The crew catch a shark one day which provides Jamie and Claire with a golden opportunity. While everyone else on the boat is preoccupied by the dead shark, Jamie and Claire sneak off and have a quick, lustful encounter in their cabin - their first since boarding the boat.
In 1767, Marsali overcomes her dislike of Claire in order to approach her while they are on board the Artemis, and ask her for contraceptive advice. During their conversation, Marsali tells Claire that Laoghaire did not like to be touched by Jamie and seemed to be afraid of him, although there seemed to be no reason for this. Laoghaire had told Marsali that sex was something to be endured, but Marsali had seen enough of the way Claire and Jamie touch each other to know that it must be possible for sex to be very pleasurable.
Claire gives Marsali some sponge to use soaked in tansy oil, but is interrupted in her advice by a sudden shout from above. Claire dashes up stairs to find that a large British man-o-war called the Porpoise has fired a warning shot and is planning to board them. Captain Raines tells Claire and Jamie that the Porpoise is shorthanded and they are probably intending to press as many British crew members of the Artemis as they can, as they are legally entitled to do this.
Jamie tells Claire that they will not press Fergus or Duncan because of their disabilities, and so if he is pressed, Claire is to continue onto Jamaica and hunt for Ian with the help of Fergus and Duncan. Claire protests that Jamie could pass as a Frenchman, in which case the British could not press him, but he refuses to leave his men. Jamie tells Claire that if they are separated he will find her in Jamaica, but for now it is best if they say that their surname is Malcolm.
The Porpoise draws alongside and a very young, tired and disheveled man climbs on board. He turns out to be the acting captain, Thomas Leonard, forced into the position after all the senior crew died of sickness. Half his crew are ill and thirty men have died. Thomas Leonard is desperately seeking a ship's surgeon. When he explains the symptoms to Claire she thinks the illness is typhoid fever and is happy to go aboard, but Jamie is not happy for her to do so. Claire explains to Jamie that when she became a physician she swore an oath to help whomever needs medical help, and Jamie reluctantly accepts her obligation. Jamie says he will accompany Claire, but she says he cannot as typhoid is very infectious and while she has been vaccinated against it, he has not.
Once on board the Porpoise Claire confirms her diagnosis of typhoid. Claire tells Captain Leonard that the only thing that can be done is to nurse the men and try and prevent any more of the crew getting infected. Claire knows that Jamie will be eager to get them all away from the Porpoise, but Captain Leonard begs her to stay for a while and help get things sorted. Claire signals to Jamie that she will be on the Porpoise for two more hours.
Claire starts the process of moving the sick men to the deck and goes down to the galley to talk to the cook about food hygiene when the Porpoise starts to move. With dismay Claire realises that they are sailing and she rushes upstairs to confront the captain. Captain Leonard is embarrassed but unapologetic. He sees no other way out of his predicament and no way of safely reaching Jamaica without Claire to help. Captain Leonard explains that Jamie was extremely unhappy about his plans, but when he threatened to press all the Englishmen and Scots on board the Artemis, Captain Raines agreed to let him keep Claire. Captain Leonard has promised Jamie that he will provide Claire with accommodation in Jamaica until the Artemis arrives.
Having no other choice in the matter, Claire grits her teeth and gets to work battling typhoid. She asks Captain Leonard if there is any alcohol on board and he goes with her to show her where it's kept when one of his crewmen, Tompkins, tries to speak with him, saying that he has recognized the red haired man on board the Artemis. Claire's ears prick up, but Captain Leonard sends the man off to tell the mate, saying he doesn't have time to deal with it.
Captain Leonard leaves Claire to talk to the purser, Mr. Overholt, about what sort of food is on board that would be suitable for the sick men. Overholt tells Claire that there is a small supply of special food which is for the use of their important passenger - the new governor of Jamaica, Lord John Grey.
Claire gains the assistance of a young midshipman called Elias Pound. Her priorities are to establish a quarantine to try and prevent the spread of the disease, and to try to find its source. Claire suspects the outbreak probably originated with the food handlers.
Claire slowly makes progress with halting the number of new infections but has not yet managed to find the source of the outbreak. She has additional problems with crew members stealing her supplies of pure alcohol and killing themselves by drinking it. Claire goes to see Captain Leonard to discuss these issues and enters his cabin to find him asleep at his desk and looking very young. Turning to leave, she knocks over some books and the Captain awakes. Startled he begins to call Claire 'Mrs Fraser', but catches himself and quickly changes it to 'Mrs Malcolm'. Claire doesn't notice at first and asks him for more alcohol and more fresh air in the sick bay. A bell rings summoning Captain Leonard to take a navigation reading and he apologizes that he must leave. Just before he does, Claire asks him how old he is. He replies that he is 19 years old and leaves the room, asking Claire to wait.
Claire is shocked to discover that he is only the same age as Brianna. She realises that his kidnapping her was due to pure desperation and feels a lot of empathy for him. Then Claire glances at the Captain's logbook and the name 'Fraser' catches her eye. She reads the entry and finds that Tompkins has told the Captain that Jamie is a criminal called James Fraser, and also known as Jamie Roy and Alexander Malcolm. The Captain has written that although he will not turn back to arrest Jamie, he may be able to arrest him in Jamaica. Claire immediately wonders how Tompkins knows so much about Jamie and who else knows it?
Claire asks Elias Pound where Tompkins came aboard the Porpoise, and learns that he was pressed at Edinburgh and that Tompkins had been a customs agent working for Sir Percival Turner. A couple of days later Tompkins injures his leg and is brought to Claire. Claire immediately recognizes him as being the man that Young Ian though he had killed in Jamie's printshop, as he is one-eyed, with the scars of a bad burn down one side of his face and wears his hair in a pigtail. With Tompkins unable to walk and at her mercy, Claire seizes the opportunity to extract information from him, by holding a bone saw to his injured leg and commanding him to talk.
Tompkins tells Claire all about Sir Percival's ambitions to gain elevation to the peerage. When Sir Percival hears that a seditionist is working out of Edinburgh, he realises that if he can be to one to apprehend this person, he may be rewarded with a peerage. He makes little headway in learning the identity of the seditionist however, until one of Jamie's associates tips off another one of Sir Percival's agents that Jamie Roy is Alex Malcolm and his real name is Jamie Fraser. Tompkins does not know which one of Jamie's men tipped off the agent, but he tells Claire that the man was English. Claire cannot think who this Englishman could be.
Tompkins tells Claire that although he did not take part in the ambush at Arbroath due to his injuries, he had heard that Sir Percival had learned from this Englishman that Arbroath was the fallback landing place for Jamie, and so had warned Jamie of an impending ambush so that Jamie would change his plans to Arbroath and not suspect Sir Percival. Tompkins also tells Claire that the customs officer killed at Arbroath was killed by another customs officer on instruction from Sir Percival in an attempt to frame Jamie for the murder, as due to the print shop fire Sir Percival had no evidence that Jamie was a seditionist.