The Lymond Chronicles by Dorothy Dunnett- Review of a series that fantasy fans should read ( if they haven’t already).

It’s time for my annual re-read of The Lymond Chronicles, a historical fiction series by Dorothy Dunnett that remains popular despite being first published in 1961. Game of Kings, the first book in the series is one of the hardest and most difficult books I have ever read but while it takes time and effort to read all the books in this series, the reward is well worth it. Francis Crawford of Lymond is a truly unforgettable character that has been much imitated in fantasy fiction.




Books in series
The Game of kings( review here)
Queen’s Play( review here)
The disorderly knights (Review here)
Pawn in Frankincense( Review here)
The ringed castle (Review here)
Checkmate ( review here)

Review ( Spoiler free)

I will be honest, I gave up reading the first book in the series, about 150 pages into the Game of Kings. The first few chaotic chapters with a possibly drunken pig, people speaking in poetry, the splattering of French and other languages takes some getting used to. Dorothy Dunnett makes no allowances for the reader with limited French and no explanations for  Lymond’s rotten behaviour at the start of the book. So, I gave up.

But then, I was on holiday and had finished all my books and had only this partially left book on my kindle as reading material. But this time, I was hooked by the story and the characters especially Francis of Lymond. I ended up reading the entire series in days.

Overriding story arc

The books ( titles based on chess moves ) follows Francis Crawford of Lymond, Master of Culter over a period of ten years in a tumultuous and eventful period of Scottish and English history ( ten years before Elizabeth the first ascends to the throne). Francis in the course of these books plays fugitive, spy, mercenary, courtier, politician, hero and villain. The books cleverly intertwine real history with historical characters into Francis’s story.

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