The Game of Kings (Lymond Chronicles #1)

The Game of Kings (Lymond Chronicles #1)

by Dorothy Dunnett
4.6 52

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The Game of Kings (Lymond Chronicles #1) 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 52 reviews.
sleo More than 1 year ago
Definitely not for the faint of heart, but so rich and intricate have the heart to keep going. At first, I didn't quite know what to make of this book. It's written in a sort of antique English brogue with frequent French and old English spellings that are hard to read. I have mostly skimmed the parts I don't understand, being basically lazy, but when something was necessary for me to understand what was being said, I used Google, the ubiquitous explainer without which I could not live. I frequently wondered if it was worth all the effort, as it was initially very unclear where the plot was going. The first vignette is quite promising, however, being fairly comic and interesting if convoluted.... about a drunken pig and being smuggled into the country... the story progresses with one vignette or chapter after the other winding a circuitous route around the main character, a dashing, handsome, brilliant, and irrepressible noble by the name of Francis Crawford of Lymond, Master of Culter. As I waded through a bewildering array of scenarios and characters, I gradually became enthralled. I am now almost finished and while reading this afternoon, I found myself responding to the story in a visceral way and realized that Ms. Dunnett had quite magically wound the story around my emotions, pulling them out and into a great knot in my stomach as I wondered how Lymond was going to survive; knowing he would as there are five more books, my heart torn asunder by his battle with his brother, Richard. Now, on the cusp of being finished, I am already sad that this sometimes exasperating and exhausting journey is almost at an end. I am finished and have little to add, except the ending was most satisfactory. The hero is complicated and intelligent and the ideas and thinking are quite deep and profound. I am quite satisfied and am extremely glad I made the effort of reading it.
sdb More than 1 year ago
The Game of Kings is the first, and most difficult, installment in Dorothy Dunnett's wonderful Lymond Series. It took me some time to get into this book but, once I did, I was absolutely hooked and the books in the series are now my favorite books. Dunnett is a masterful historical author whose books are up there with any action/adventure/historical novels in the literary canon. One reads her books first just to find out what happens, then over and over again to get all the little nuances and literary touches missed the first, second, or third time through. They have received increased, and much-deserved, scholarly attention in recent years. I just cannot praise these books enough. Stick with the series and you will be on the edge of your seat by the end of the last book. I have listed some of the other books in the series in the "I Also Recommend" section, but not all of them because we are limited to 5 books and I wanted to include the Companion and one of her non-series books. Be sure to read them in order. The "Companion" is very helpful in terms of understanding her literary allusions and historical background.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I read this series when I was in high school, over 40 years ago. Then I read for the romance and adventure, and of course, I fell in love with the Lymond character. This time I better appreciate the other characters and the historical and social setting. In fact, I though the presentation of some of the minor characters was entertaining and educational. Unfortunately, my library does not have any of this series, so I'm forced to buy the ebooks from B&N. Still worth it if I ration them slowly,
Megabeth68 More than 1 year ago
This is the first book in the Lymond series. It is a tough read, and you must brush up on your foreign language skills. It is a must read for those interested in reading the series, because it introduces many characters that are carried through the series. It is an amazing series, if you can get through this first book.
littlemee More than 1 year ago
this lymond series and the subsequent nicolo one are without peer anywhere. i own all--what is it, 14?-- books in trade paper, and many of them also in hardback, an entire audio set, and now all i have to do is decide if i can really spend what will eventually add up to nearly $150 for the ebooks. well, the first two are only $6.99 at this writing...and dame dorothy, sadly, will write no more.
AislinToo More than 1 year ago
I loved this book. Dorothy Dunnett has the ability to sweep a reader back in time. I highly recommend the series. If you plan on buying the series from B&N, you should buy the paperback version. I bought the first three in hardback and now that I'm ready to buy the last three, they are no longer available in hardback.
Anonymous 3 months ago
I first read these in the 80s with no Companion and no Google. The books are puzzles, scene to scene character to character. One of the best ways to read this first book is to treat it as thriller/mystery. Read for plot only the first time through. Ignore all those foreign quotes never translated, ignore all those literary allusions. If Dunnett needs you to understand she will give it to you via context. The other piece of advice is the puzzle for this whole book is the true nature of Francis Crawford. Dunnett doesn't give Lymond's point of view except maybe 3 or 4 times in the whole series! You have to judge his actions and other characters opinions and his damned crazy utterances. Blow through this series as fast as you can because you'll read them again and again and again. The first read will blow your mind. As others have said the beginning of Game of Kings is a slog, for me until midway through the second book was more like work and most of the time I understood very little except the broad strokes of the plot. Those first ~900 pages took 2 maybe 3 weeks. The next 2700 took 3 days including an immediate reread of the last half of the last book. Somewhere along in these books you'll fall into Dorothy Dunnett's rhythm and POW you will be hooked for life.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Ashley1030 More than 1 year ago
   The Game of Kings, by Dorothy Dunnett, is one of those books that have a little bit of everything.  It’s a story filled with political intrigue and family drama, humor and pathos, adventure and historical accuracy.  This novel is quite gripping, especially in the last few chapters, but is not afraid to meander off the path of the main plot for some funny or interesting side stories.  My one caveat about the pacing is that the book can be kind of hard to get into in the beginning, as a lot of names are thrown at you at once and the dialogue is peppered with French, Spanish, German and Latin quotes (the quotes aren’t necessary to understand the story, but are interesting to translate anyway).             The novel is set in 16th century Scotland during the Wars of the Rough Wooing (which is my new favorite name for a war) in which England attempted to force the Scots to agree to a marriage between Edward VI and Mary, Queen of Scots.  I knew nothing about this period before starting this book, and it isn’t really necessary to know more than very basic European history.  For the most part, the war serves as a backdrop to the Lymond’s many escapades.  Dunnett also uses the setting to discuss war in general, patriotism and tolerance.  “ It [Patriotism] is an emotion as well, and of course emotion comes first.  A child’s home and the ways of its life are sacrosanct, perfect, inviolate to the child.  Add age; add security; add experience.  In time we all admit our relatives and our neighbours, our fellow townsmen and even, perhaps, at last our fellow nationals to the threshold of tolerance.  But the man living one inch behind the boundary is an inveterate foe.”             However, The Game of Kings is not at all a dry, boring book.  Francis Crawford of Lymond is like a mix of Robin Hood, James Bond and Tyrion Lannister (despite their similarity in name, this book has no other relation to Game of Thrones, although that would actually be kind of awesome, now that I’m thinking about it).  He’s a strategic mastermind, a polyglot, a poet, an expert swordsman and funny to boot.  As he leads a bound of outlaws on adventures throughout Scotland in an attempt to clear his name, he’s hunted by his brother, Richard, for reasons that would be super spoilery to mention in this review.  Richard annoyed me at first, but I came to really like him by the end of the story.  His wife Mariotta, however, is another story.  Excluding Mariotta, the female characters in this story were all strong and interesting.  I especially loved Sybilla Crawford, the mother of Richard and Francis, who should not be underestimated, and Christian Stewart, a blind girl who saves Lymond’s life.             The Game of Kings was a twisty-turny, hilarious, tragic roller coaster of a book and I can’t wait to read the rest of the series. Grade: A
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
As suggested by Deborah Harkness as a good read, I read it...wow what an intricate story, loved every line, a tough read due to the language ( dialect ) in some places but oh so enjoyable...well on to the next one. Book 2
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Have you ever wondered where magnificently complex fiction had gone? It starts here, with the first of Dorothy Dunnett's "Lymond" series. This book is a must-read; though it is best to have a bit of French, Spanish, and Latin; that isnt an absolute requirement, as some of the foreign language bits can be understood via context.
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Rich and satisfying storytelling. Can't wait to read the rest of the Lymond series.
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