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The Game of Kings (Legendary Lymond Chronicles) [Paperback]

Dorothy Dunnett
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (55 customer reviews)

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Book Description

May 1997 Legendary Lymond Chronicles (Book 1)
For the first time Dunnett's Lymond Chronicles are available in the United States in quality paperback editions.

The first book in the legendary Lymond Chronicles, Game of Kings takes place in 1547. Scotland has been humiliated by an English invasion and is threatened by machinations elsewhere beyond its borders, but it is still free. Paradoxically, her freedom may depend on a man who stands accused of treason: Francis Crawford of Lymond.

Product details

  • Paperback: 543 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage Books; 1st Vintage Books Ed edition (May 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0679777431
  • ISBN-13: 978-0679777434
  • Product Dimensions: 20.4 x 13.2 x 2.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (55 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 738,115 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

About the Author

Dorothy Dunnett is the author of the Lymond Chronicles and the on-going House of Niccolo series. She was awarded the OBE for her services to literature in 1992. She was married to the late Sir Alastair Dunnett, and lives in Edinburgh. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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First Sentence
ON Saturday, September 10th, the English Protector Somerset and his army met the combined Scottish forces on the field of Pinkie, outside Edinburgh, and smashed them to pieces in a defeat as dire as any the Scots had suffered since Flodden. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
37 of 37 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The first of a wonderful historical series 28 Nov 2005
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I have just finished the last of the six - Checkmate. I was gripped from the first - Game of Kings. The writing is stunning, the plots complex and very exciting and the hero, Francis Crawford, is mesmerising. I highly recommend all six to anyone who is fond of historical fiction. The stories are all set in amongst genuine characters and events over a period of 10 years in the middle of the 16th C starting in Scotland with the young Mary Queen of Scots but taking in history and politics during that same period in England, Russia, Malta, Turkey and France. The personal stories of Francis, his family and friends/enemies are twisted through the whole in a wonderfully witty, moving and fascinating manner. To start with I was slightly daunted by the detail but persist - the rewards are great.
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71 of 72 people found the following review helpful
By Marshall Lord TOP 500 REVIEWER
This is the first book in a series which you will either love or hate. It is also one of those multi-book series which must if at all possible be read in the right order, which is

1) The Game of Kings
2) Queen's Play
3) The Disorderly Knights
4) Pawn in Frankincense
5) The Ringed Castle
6) Checkmate

There are two reasons why this series, and indeed the author's similar "Niccolo" series, should be read in chronological order. The first is that the plots are incredibly complicated and if you read them out of sequence you have no chance of understanding what is going on. The second is that many of the characters meet their deaths in ways which are particularly nasty both for themselves and for the characters who survive them. I know from experience having made the mistake of reading one of the later books first, that advance knowledge of when someone is going to die, and of the horrible shock Lymond will experience when he finds out about it, can spoil the pleasure that the reader might otherwise have had when meeting that character for the first time.

Like the books the central character, Francis Crawford of Lymond, is brilliant, violent, and extremely complicated. Unlike the books he is very flawed. Lymond is a mercenary with particular interests in Scotland and France, and gets involved in nefarious deeds all over the world as 16th century Europeans knew it. Dunnett brings the splendour, cultural ferment, and violent cruelty of the Renaissance world splendidly to life.

If you are at all squeamish, or do not like having to make your brain work overtime to follow a book, leave this series alone. This story is neither "chewing gum for the brain" nor a comfortable read.
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60 of 61 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars First book in greatest series ever written 16 Feb 2002
By A Customer
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Game of Kings is the first in a series of six books: Queens' Play, Disorderly Knights, Pawn in Frankincense, Ringed Castle and finally Checkmate are the other books in the series. They centre on Francis Crawford of Lymond, 16th century Scottish mercenary soldier, spy, wit, lover... think of the most dazzling hero you've ever read about and then multiply it by a few thousand. Whilst this book takes place solely in Scotland and Northern England, the other books will take you to Russia, North Africa, France, Germany, Mala and Istanbul. You'll encounter the young Mary Queen of Scots, Mary of Guise, Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent, Ivan the Terrible, Bloody Mary and the young Princess Elizabeth, to name but a few. Dunnett's sense of period is impeccable and with a few words she can conjure up the sixteenth century so well you feel you are there in person. Did I mention wit? There is that in plenty, any high drama is always tempered with irony or laugh out loud farce. She is simply brilliant.
Above all there is Lymond, the most tortured of all heroes. If you can get past the first couple of chapters and get used to Dorothy Dunnett's style of writing (she never insults the intelligence of her readers, quite the opposite), her books are the sort you'll read and re-read until they fall apart. This is the first in the series, so enjoy!
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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant beginning to a brilliant series 7 Jan 2007
By Roman Clodia TOP 100 REVIEWER
Shockingly I didn't discover Dunnett till about 10 years ago, but since them I have read both her huge series of books innumerable times and still return to them for the amazing story-telling, beautiful writing, and sheer compelling-ness of her charcters.

Francis Crawford of Lymond just has to be the ultimate literary hero: brilliant, flawed, haunted and haunting; I think he was the first written man I ever truly fell in love with and it's a relationship that hasn't palled.

But these are not 'romantic' novels in any kind of reductive Mills-and-Boon or Georgette Heyer way: they are incredibly robust, violent at times, and amazingly rewarding. As other reviewers have rightly said, DD never writes down to her readers, and if that means quoting lightly in Latin, medieval French or Arabic, then she goes right on ahead to do it, because that's the way the character would speak.

Not that these are over-intellectualised, 'novels of ideas' either - they are simply the most stunning evocation of 16th century Europe, brought to us with true charcters who walk off the pages and live their lives as they choose.

In 'Kings', Lymond returns to his home in Scotland, pursued by his bad reputation and an aura of evil. Called traitor, murderer and, potentially, fratricide, he plays out the game amongst the Scottish families closest to the throne of Mary of Guise and her young child, Mary Queen of Scots.

I don't want to give anything about the plot, because it is so intricate and every small comment fits in later, but just try it for yourself and I defy you not to be enthralled!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Introducing Francis Crawford
This book introduces readers to Dorothy Dunnett's hero Francis Crawford of Lymond, his family, friends and enemies in 16th Century Scotland, and follows his attempts to clear his... Read more
Published 13 days ago by Cicero
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Exactly what my mother wanted for her birthday, thanks.
Published 2 months ago by Sally F.
5.0 out of 5 stars A grand series of historical novels
I've no idea how as an avid reader it has taken me so long to uncover the extraordinary skill of Dorothy Dunnett as an historical novelist. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Rmarcella
5.0 out of 5 stars Re-reading
A great series that I am re-reading. The first time round you want to keep reading to find out what happens and when you have finished you wish it hadn't. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Judy Thompson
3.0 out of 5 stars Game of Kings
Book came promptly and the price was very good. Unfortunately, I was disappointed by the condition of the book! Read more
Published 5 months ago by Dave O
5.0 out of 5 stars Great read
Book arrived well within the timeframe promises and was in perfect condition. The book is one of a series and is a replacement for a worn out paperback that had been read so many... Read more
Published 5 months ago by D. W. Horder
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful
I read this series years ago in paperback and was thrilled to see it out on Kindle. I am really enjoying becoming aquainted with the characters all over again. Read more
Published 6 months ago by Mrs Evelyn Baxter
5.0 out of 5 stars Compulsive reading.
A background knowledge of Scottish and The Borders history is useful but not essential for this fantastic book which I first read 30 years ago as a hardback and now on Kindle for... Read more
Published 7 months ago by Nina
5.0 out of 5 stars Worth pursuing
A difficult book to start with but worth pursuing as it grips by the middle! Lots of plot threads begin to be established which then take the next 5 books in the series to unravel.
Published 7 months ago by GLM1
5.0 out of 5 stars the lymond chronicles
These are unsurpassed in their story telling, historical accuracy, erudition and wit. They are unputdownable and I always feel bereft when I have finished them.
Published 7 months ago by elizadale
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