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Queens' Play (The Lymond Chronicles) Paperback – 25 Feb 1999
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Praise for Dorothy Dunnett (-)
A storyteller who could teach Scheherazade a thing or two about pace, suspense and imaginative invention (New York Times)
Marvellous, breathtaking (The Times)
A masterpiece of historical fiction (Washington Post)
One of the greatest tale-spinners since Dumas (Cleveland Plain Dealer)
Lashings of excitement, colour and subtlety (The Times)
Vivid, engaging, densely plotted - are almost certainly destined to be counted among the classics of popular fiction (New York Times)
About the Author
Frequently described as the finest historical fiction writer of her time, Dorothy Dunnett earned worldwide acclaim for her blend of scholarship and imagination. She is best known for her two superb series of historical fiction - The Lymond Chronicles and The House of Niccolo - set in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries and ranging across Europe and the Mediterranean, and for King Hereafter, the eleventh-century story of Earl Thorfinn of Orkney whom Dorothy believed was also King Macbeth. In 1992, Dorothy Dunnett was awarded the OBE for her services to literature, and in 2014 Dunnett's most enduring hero, Francis Crawford of Lymond, was voted Scotland's favourite literary character - beating the likes of Sherlock Holmes, Harry Potter and Ivanhoe. Dunnett died 9 November 2001, having sold half a million copies internationally.
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The plot unravels slowly, as does the still mysterious main character, you never quite know where you are with Lymond. I found this an intensely emotional book, triumph and tragedy go hand in hand.
I can't wait to dive into the next book, I feel I should give myself a bit of a rest first.
“For you are a leader—don’t you know it? I don’t, surely, need to tell you?—And that is what leadership means. It means fortifying the fainthearted and giving them the two sides of your tongue while you are at it. It means suffering weak love and schooling it till it matures. It means giving up your privacies, your follies and your leisure. It means you can love nothing and no one too much, or you are no longer a leader, you are the led.”
For a start you are not going to find Lymond for the first few chapters, and then when you do you get introduced to Vervassal Herald. Dunnett's prose and tendency for her character to quote in different language increases in this book: So unless you can speak the languages or are prepared to research, you should have the first of the two Companion Books beside you. Also in this book I think we come across for the first time Dunnett's ability to shock with devastating style.
In a nutshell. Mary Queen of Scots is a young girl in the Court of France, surround by the most cultured courtiers and sought after by both French and English Kings. Which is why there are also assassins. As for Francis Crawford of Lymond, still a young man, we can be mildly disgusted and disappointed by his behaviour, but we will also get a glimpse (only hinted at in Game of Kings), of the powerful and dazzling leader and extraordinary person he might become.
I suppose I could complain that Dorothy Dunnet didn`t write more but this and the Niccolo series is plenty for one writer in one life time!
Will just have to start again at the start!
One of the very best writers and not just in the historical category, her prose is sublime at times. I learned so much. What a writer!
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