The Lymond Chronicles is historical fiction author Dorothy Dunnett's master work. There are six books in the series which were written between 1961 and 1975. In Dunnett's complex and richly textured novels, the stories take place between the years 1545 and 1558. They tell the story of Francis Crawford of Lymond, a Scottish nobleman with the skill, looks and wits to change the course of countries. Lymond's travels over the course of the series take him to Scotland, France, Italy, the Ottoman Empire and Russia as kings and generals vie for his support. Dunnett skillfully weaves the story of Lymond's quest for power, love and belonging into real historical events including the Ottoman raid of Malta, the reign of Mary Tudor, the marriage of Mary, Queen of Scots and the Italian Wars. Superbly developed fictional characters interact seamlessly with genuine historical figures like Ivan the Terrible, Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent, Mary, Queen of Scots, Elizabeth I, and Michel Nostradmus to name the smallest fraction of them.

Dunnett's masterpiece is rich in detail and peopled with fascinating and memorable characters. Her plots twist and turn with a vicious complexity, drawing the reader wholly into her vividly painted world of suspense and intrigue. Most impressive about Dunnett's work however, is the breadth of her historical knowledge. Dunnett's characters, particularly the sardonic and witty Lymond, make regular references to literature, music and history that would be obscure to even the well educated of the 16th century. She regularly includes epigrams, sonnets and madrigals from French, English, Spanish and Italian poets of the era as well as older writing and mythology from myriad cultures and regions.

The Lymond Chronicles
The Game of Kings - 1961 - Scotland
Queen's Play - 1964 - Scotland and France
The Disorderly Knights - 1966 - Malta, Tripoli and Scotland
Pawn In Frankincense - 1969 - Greece, North Africa and Constantinople
The Ringed Castle - 1971 - Russia, Scotland and England
Checkmate - 1975 - Scotland and France

Dunnett's tale of love and betrayal is truly epic in scope. She is a masterful storyteller in a much maligned field, every bit the equal of Mary Renault and Patrick O'Brien. She could teach Dumas a thing or two about suspense. Her grasp of history and masterful description and dialogue make the Lymond Chronicles one of the finest achievements in historical fiction.

Log in or register to write something here or to contact authors.