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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 3rd of the Lymond chronicles,
And this is where, to some extent, the series really starts to hang together inextricably. The first two books are important, but from now on each volume leads straight into the next, and I can only imagine the painful frustration of readers following the series when it was first published and they had to wait years for the next installment.
Opening in Scotland prior to Queen's Play, we see Lymond first in his home setting, restless and increasingly powerful, before following him to Malta where he fights for the Knights of St John against the Turks before his own personal story (carrying on from Queen's Play) takes central stage for a bit.
Back in Scotland, Lymond creates his own mercenary force (a kind of Renaissance SAS!) but finds both it and his own leadership increasingly undermined.
'Knights' contains some of the most powerful writing you will ever read, especially the last quarter. Lymond is a hero that we don't always understand, and this book shows him, ostensibly, at his worst - but there's always another story or another way of seeing things.
Dunnett never shies away from killing of main and much-loved characters but the two deaths here are some of the most heart-breaking and moving for me. And make sure you have the next volume (Pawn in Frankincense) ready because this one really ends on a cliff-hanger!
18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Lymond Series 3: Brilliant, but not for everyone,
This review is from: The Disorderly Knights (The Lymond saga) (Paperback)
This is the third 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: The Lymond Chronicles
2) Queens' Play
3) This book, "The Disorderly Knights"
4) Pawn in Frankincense (The Lymond saga)
5) The Ringed Castle
The disorderly knights of the title are the knights of St John of Malta and the story features a fascinating re-creation of the mediteranean world of the mid sixteenth century. This book also features a battle of wits and intrigue betweem the central character of the series, Francis Crawford of Lymond, and his great enemy Gabriel.
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 exceptionally unpleasant both for themselves and for the characters who survive them. If you read one of the later books first, advance knowledge of how characters are going to die, and the effect it will have on surviving characters can have an impact on the pleasure you would otherwise have had in reading about them 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. Lymond's story is neither "chewing gum for the brain" nor a comfortable read. And even if you prefer flawed heroes to knights in shining armour, Lymond may infuriate you from time to time. But if you can put up with these features, these books will richly reward the effort you make in reading them.
There is no middle ground: you will either hate the Lymond series or recognise these books as one of the greatest works of historical fiction ever written. Or very possibly both !
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Disorderly knights,
This review is from: The Disorderly Knights (Lymond Chronicles) (Paperback)
The third in the "Lymond" series, but capable of standing alone,this is a rich feast for lovers of history and adventure. Francis Crawford fresh from retrieving his reputation in Scotland (The Game of Kings)has been retained by Mary of Guise to safeguard the life of her small daughter, Mary, Queen of Scots, (Queens Play) and now travels to Malta, stronghold of the Knights. He meets a smiling villain of such charm and iniquity that the reader is barely willing to concede his corruption util the very end of the book. Rich in authentic detail full of sparkling dialogue, rich humour and tantalising scholarship this will enmesh you in 16th century Europe from the opening page. The action never lags. Francis Crawford the hero and anti-hero, continues to cut a swathe maturing with humour and discipline, with ingenuity and military expertise. You will finish this longing for more. It is a magnificent springboard into the poetry, manners and political strategies of the time, and a skillful thriller whose pace never lags.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Has Lymond found his master?,
Fresh from his triumph at the court of France's Henry II, Lymond has arrived in Malta, the beleaguered homeland of the Knights of St John. What has drawn him here? The Order is in disarray, the Ottoman threat from the south matched by internal factionalism and suspicion. Within the ranks of the knights, only one man, Gabriel, appears to embody the Order's vows of chastity, obedience and poverty and hold out hope for its future. In Gabriel has Lymond found his master?
This is Dorothy Dunnett's third book in the Lymond Chronicles and it opens with a reprise full of her signature excitement and humour in Francis Crawford of Lymond's Scottish homeland before transporting us to the sea-bound and sun-baked fortresses that represent Europe's last defence against the Turk. As the Knights are drawn into a desperate defence of their Mediterranean outpost, Tripoli, Mrs Dunnett explores the twin themes of honour and humility, before returning to the Scottish borders for an explosive finale.
To me, and to her world-wide and devoted following, Dorothy Dunnett is simply the finest writer of historical fiction there has ever been. The 16th-century six-book series, The Lymond Chronicles, featuring the enigmatic mercenary, poet and hero Francis Crawford of Lymond, is a wonderful, sweeping tale in the tradition of Walter Scott - high drama, convoluted plotting, a cast of hundreds (most of them real historical figures), all told with great attention to historical accuracy and a painterly eye for vivid description.
The Dorothy Dunnett Readers' Association, or DDRA is a Scottish Charity, founded by Dorothy Dunnett and staffed entirely by volunteers. We aim to promote interest in her novels and the historical times in which are set. We publish a quarterly magazine Whispering Gallery, which is sent to members worldwide, and encourage the running of meetings and conventions at which members meet to discuss Mrs Dunnett's work and, often, listen to expert speakers on topics of historical interest.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Riveting read,
I would recommend anyone to read the first two books of the series before this one, to get a handle on the main characters. The historic detail is immense, it sent me to the historical records to verify some of the story. I think the personality of Francis Crawford can be a little too clever, and the author sometimes has him do things which make him very unlikeable. However I am looking forward to the next book in the series which I have just downloaded on to my Kindle.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "It is beyond the testimony of angels...",
In this fabulous historical novel, third in the Lymond series, Ms Dunnett's geographical range extends over parts of Scotland, Northern England, and the Mediterranean world, mainly Malta, Gozo and Tripoli. Lymond becomes involved in the intrigues surrounding a possible succession to the Knights Templars. He becomes the prey of a man with few scruples and also begins his manoeuvres to create a mercenary army which he plans to take campaigning in Europe. He is pursued by the sister of Lord Graham Reid Malett commonly known as Gabriel, a man with a dangerous charisma. The sister,Joleta, is subjected to sexual violence and a remarkable degree of prurience concerning her past adventures and, for a time, it seems as if Lymond's independent future is at twin risk from the siblings.
Lymond meets up with Oonagh O'Dwyer again. She is on the island of Gozo (very close to Malta), currently the mistress of the Governor, and becomes part of a contingent of civilians captured as slaves by the Moslem corsairs. This is a true story of the capture in July 1551 and the enslavement of about 5,000 Gozoans, virtually the island's whole population. The slaves were taken to Libya where they were sold. The entire siege of Tripoli is also described leading to severe clashes between the Ottoman Turks and the Knights Templars who were hampered by the fiscal policies of Juan De Homedes, (Grand Master of the Knights Hospitallers of St John of Jerusalem, Rhodes and Malta). It is on this adventure that Lymond begins to suspect that Gabriel is not as saintly as he seems, but it is not until there is a meeting in Edinburgh that the climax of their struggle for supremacy comes to a head.
A total of approx 63 characters people this book (thirty-nine of them are actual people recorded in history), and many of the events of the book are true accounts of incidents such as the borderland habits of raiding between Scottish clans (mainly the Kerrs and the Buccleaghs) which led to much impoverishment from raids and cattle stealing, and Lymond's attempts to police these skirmishes are vividly brought to life.
In this novel we see the worst, and the best of Lymond in all his arrogance and complexity. Several plot developments are introduced - including the birth of a child whose parentage may be contentious. Gabriel escapes from capture this time, but one fears for his schemes and ambitions in the future. The misunderstanding that Lymond's carelessness has caused between himself and Philippa,the fourteen-year-old daughter of his friend Kate Somerville is resolved in this part of the series. But it is the adventures on Malta and Gozo - the battles the feuds and the terrors and fears when an alien culture holds sway, that make this an outstanding episode in this tremendously exciting and addictive historical series.
5.0 out of 5 stars the disorderly knights,
These Lymond chronicles cast a spell on the reader. They lure you into a tale so well told that you cannot but move in to the next volume. The first volume was intriguing but a little chaotic. The second took the reader to Malta and seemed an odd interlude, but with this the third volume many of the themes of the series stand revealed and the reader cares most keenly for Francis Crawford of Lymond.
5.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable,
I have always loved this series and happily reread these historical novels. her research is excellent and the story well told
5.0 out of 5 stars In which our hero almost meets his match!,
Gripping stuff! Lymond has to use all his many skills and strength of character to come through this one. Dorothy Dunnett has really created a very complex story!
5.0 out of 5 stars Malta - wow!,
AS ever - the best set of books ever written.
Was in Malta when I read this, and she truly evokes the place in her narrative.
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The Disorderly Knights (The Lymond saga) by Dorothy Dunnett (Paperback - 21 May 1987)
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