Top Ten Tuesday- Top Ten Books to read if you enjoyed Dorothy Dunnett’s epic historical fiction series, the Lymond Chronicles.

It’s another Tuesday and another Top Ten, so my TTT is books to try if you like the epic historical fiction series the Lymond Chronicles by Dorothy Dunnett( in my humble opinion!).

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.

Even if f you haven’t read the Lymond Chronicles ( review here) by Dorothy Dunnett, you may have read books influenced by them.

 Lymond, the slender,blond,intriguing,seductive,alluring,infuriating.funny,clever and of course tortured with a complicated past is a type of hero I’ve come across many times. This historical fiction series features an overriding arc, political intrigue, mystery,  twists, betrayal, romance and was perhaps ahead of its time in its references to Lymond’s sexuality ( these books were written in the 60’s and 70’s).

Read more: Top Ten Tuesday- Top Ten Books to read if you enjoyed Dorothy Dunnett’s epic historical fiction series, the Lymond Chronicles.

I would love to read more books like this but here are the ones that I think would appeal to fans of this amazing series and of course please leave your suggestions in the comments.

Captive Prince Trilogy by C. S. Pacat

The only fantastical element of the Captive Prince trilogy is the fact it is set up in a made-up country but these books has all of the elements I love from the Lymond Chronicles- a twisty, unreadable character, political intrigue and plenty of twists despite its problematic themes in the first book.

 The Burning Chambers series by Kate Mosse

This incomplete series set in Europe 1562 follows Minou and her family dealing with persecution of the Hugenots. The story spans generations and I can’t wait to see how this story continues.

The Burning Chambers ( review here) and The City of Tears ( review here)

St Mary Chronicles by Jodi Taylor

This hilarious science-fiction series featuring a time traveling agency found of tea may seem like an odd choice but this series features an unpredictable heroine who would do anything for the people she loves and the cause she believes ( like Lymond) and has a mysterious background, plot twists that are truly inspired .The descriptions of places and society in the past reminds of Dunnett.

The Burning Kingdoms by Tasha Suri

This Indian inspired fantasy series features morally grey women who would do anything to get what they want. The books also feature a complicated romance and political manipulation.

 ( The Jasmine Throne ( review here)  / Oleander Throne-review here)

Tarot Sequence by K D Edwards ( series review here)

An urban fantasy series set in a fictional Atlanta. Rune St John is the last of the House of Sun but why did his family have to fall and who was behind it. The overall mystery arc reminds me of Lymond’s quest to find out who his family are.

Chorus of Dragons by Jenna Lyons( series review here)

Kirin, the hero, is slight and blond, like Lymond and plays a complicated game to beat his brother. There is so many stories, plotlines, mysteries, family trees  and characters packed into this series, it could give the Lymond Chronicles a run for its money.

The Expanse by James S A Corey ( series review here)

This science-fiction series has it all space battles, politics, action, betrayal, a glorious arc that last through all of the books of the series and the crew of The Rociante- a literal rag tag group of people who somehow finds themselves having to save the universe.

A Song of Ice and Fire by George R Martin

I don’t think I have to say why this reminds me of the Lymond articles but even through the series is incomplete, these books are worth reading just for the sheer drama of its plots.

House of Niccolo by Dorothy Dunnett

The prequel series to Lymond can be read by itself and of course has all the elements of the Lymond chronicles. Niccolo is a more relatable hero compared to Lymond despite his frightening intelligence and his ability to hold a grudge.

Thank you for stopping by

If there are books similar to the Lymond Chronicles, please leave a note in the comments

Checkmate by Dorothy Dunnett- Book review

An epic finale to the epic Lymond Chronicles, I found Checkmate by Dorothy Dunnett to be the perfect end to this historical series.

Genre: Historical fiction

Series The Lymond Chronicles ( series review here)

There may be spoilers for previous books in this review.

“The more modest your expectations, the less often you will court disappointment.”
― Dorothy Dunnett, Checkmate

Lymond is stuck in France and stuck in a marriage he is desperate to escape, so he agrees to France’s terms to ensure his divorce from Phillipa is granted. He is promptly embroiled in politics, intrigue and actual war but that is easier to manage than then an increasingly complicated relationship between him and Phillipa. Will Lymond ever find out the truth about his parentage? Will he find happiness with the woman he loves? Will he ever be free from Margaret Lennox?

So this is the final book in the Lymond story and I have to say it is the perfect finale to possibly the best historical fiction ever written. The covers for the Lymond books on my Kindle are abstract and boring but some of the older editions have a more romantic theme which always seemed to be a little misplaced. But there is a strong undercurrent of romance and angst throughout Checkmate that would explain why I have sometimes seen these books referred to as historical romance.

Lymond loves Phillipa and Phillipa loves Lymond and they are legally married. But Lymond, supported by almost everyone in his world with one exception, is determined that Phillipa will marry someone more suitable like Austin Grey. Poor Phillipa, even when she realises Lymond loves her too, she still cannot have her man, because he will not stay married to her. This has to be the most original barrier to true love in a book.

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The Game of Kings, Book one of the Lymond Chronicles by Dorothy Dunnett- Book review and discussion

What can be better than reading Game of Kings by Dorothy Dunnett in Stirling? Read my review of the first book in the Lymond Chronicles.

Series review here.


“I despised men who accepted their fate. I shaped mine twenty times and had it broken twenty times in my hands.”

The Game of Kings,Dorothy Dunnett

I have seen the first book of the Lymond chronicles compared to the Game of Thrones and it is easy to see why but The Game of Kings is so much more- you just have to get the first few chapters to get there. I gave up after the third chapter and only picked the book up again when I literally had nothing else on hand to read but so glad I did.

The story is set in a turbulent time in English and Scottish history- the decade before Elizabeth and Mary take up their thrones. Francis Lymond, the Master of Culter, the disgraced, second son of a noble family and traitor has returned to his homeland of Scotland and is on a mission.

Even though Lymond is the hero or more accurately anti-hero, we never read the book from his perspective but we learn about him through the eyes of the people around him and as their perception changes, so does ours. The author does this so well that I didn’t realise that I hadn’t read a single direct thought of Francis till the end of the book. Lymond almost seems too good to be true- good looking, a skilled fighter and leader, clever, fluent in many languages but we share his brother’s, friends’, allies’ and enemies’ frustration as Lymond is a hard person to like especially at the start of the book. His motives are murky and he knows how to use his charm and sensuality to achieve his goals, for example, poor Will, what was he expecting when he followed Lymond up the stairs in that Inn.

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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.

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