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Publisher's Summary

The Game of Kings: First in The Lymond Saga. It's August 1547, and unrest in Europe is rife. Scotland, nominally ruled by 4 year old Queen Mary, is heaving with intrigue - and hot gossip. The notorious rebel, Crawford of Lymond, is rumoured to be back in Edinburgh.
The city is sealed, but such things never worry 'Lymond'. As usual, he leaves a characteristic trail of hue and cry, vanished contraband, and a drunken sow.Infamous for his ingenuity, Lymond has his own plan, starting with setting fire to his brother's castle and purloining his mother's silver. Stories about him abound, agreeing only that he's not a man to sit idle. With Europe recently unbalanced by royal deaths, he'll take a hand in The Game Of Kings.
©1961 Dorothy Dunnett (P)2000 W F Howes
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

By Laurie A. Bobskill on 08-14-15

At Last, the best in historical fiction!

I'm a fan of the Game of Thrones series (assuming it will one day be finished). But Dunnett's "Lymond Chronicles" has everything GoT has, squared. To begin this book is to step into another universe. The first time I read the series--this is my third time through--when I closed the cover at the end of Book 6 I felt like Adam or Eve, unwillingly leaving Eden behind.
Francis Crawford of Lymond is a hero you will never, ever forget.
The story begins in Scotland in 1547. The series takes you across Europe and Asia and back. The characters become a part of your world. The settings are exquisite, or barren, or squalid, or magnificent. The research is impeccable. The humor can be dry, droll, or outrageously slapstick. The danger is breath-taking. The background story--of the little girl, Mary Queen of Scots--is a compelling scaffold for the drama of the Crawford family.

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13 of 13 people found this review helpful

By Elizabeth on 12-02-15


I've loved the Lymond Chronicles since I discovered them in the 80s and have reread them so many times my books are literally falling apart. I just couldn't take this production and gave up on it after about an hour. Samuel Gillies read this as if it were a stage play with an almost vaudeville cadence; it was painful to hear. Definitely wish Andrew Napier had done the narration.
The rest of the recorded books in the series are SO much better.

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10 of 10 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

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By MJP on 01-29-14

A kaleidoscope of the 16th Century

What made the experience of listening to The Game of Kings the most enjoyable?

I've always loved this series and it was great to be able to listen to it at my leisure as I got on with my household chores. It's an intricate and carefully developed story, like a piece of beautiful embroidery. It's a high romance with characters who develop over time and there are all kinds of twists and turns in the plot, some of which will only become clear in later volumes. It may take a little while to get attuned to Dorothy Dunnet's style but once you do, you'll be hooked for life!

What was one of the most memorable moments of The Game of Kings?

Don't want to answer this as far as character and plot are concerned as it would spoil the book for others. The jewel bright descriptions of life in 16C Scotland though are brilliant and the constant twists and turns of the plot are a delight.

What do you think the narrator could have done better?

The narration was good in many ways. However, the Lymond character and many of the others are young, challenging and humorous and this needs to be reflected in their dialogue. The narrator's style was a bit ponderous and didn't really reflect the sharp wit of the characters he portrayed. Even Sybilla, although not a young woman, sounded really ancient rather than the 'Helen Mirren' image I've always held of her.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

Yes - more than one - again, plot spoiler.

Any additional comments?

This is a very welcome series and I thoroughly enjoyed listening to the story again. However, I did feel that the narrator had gravitas rather than the smooth sophistication and wit that the story needed.

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2 of 2 people found this review helpful

By Marianne on 08-05-15

Such a wonderful story

I have read Dorothy Dunnett's novels a number of times in the past and marvelled at the historical detail and the story telling invention. Reading has become more difficult for me recently, and I listened to this audio book with great pleasure.

Of course, I already have Lymond's voice in my head, so the narrator would have found it difficult to have exceeded all my expectations. I expect that many listeners will feel the same. It is for this reason that I have not given five stars for the narration, but the story was well told.

If anyone could persuade David Tennant to record these books I think he might render a very acceptable Francis Crawford.

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

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By Suzanna on 11-18-16

Excellent historical fiction, but hard to follow

I think this very interesting book has not transitioned well to audio book. Dorothy Dunnett introduces a fascinating period in Scottish history. The story is slow moving but comes to a fantastic climax. However, I really struggled with the book in some parts. Like most nobles of the time, the characters are fluent in English, ancient French and Latin, as well as other languages. Her writing is peppered with these languages. If I was reading the book I could stop and look them up, but with the audiobook I could not follow these parts of the story and dialogue.

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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