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
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.
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.
I can't bring myself to listen to the narration again. If I didn't want to have the entire series in my library I would return it. I'll have to just read the ebook when I want to enjoy this wonderful series again and again.
It can only compare to the other five books in the series. It's so rich, complex, mature, and also frequently hysterically funny!
He's way too mature for the main characters, especially Francis Crawford of Lymond. This is supposed to be a young man with a voice that's described as light, mellow, extremely witty and clever, sometimes cutting and sarcastic. Mr. Gillies sounds like an over-aged and over-dramatic stage actor, and is completely wrong for this series. My dearest hope is that someday Andrew Napier, the narrator of the rest of the series, will redo this volume.
I frequently laughed and cried when reading this book multiple times. The narration of this audio book however just makes me angry.
I would listen to it many times over the years. I had read the books several times, but it's so much easier to listen to this one due to the elegance and complexity of the story and the language. The reader is terrific.
He brings the 1547/1548 era to life with his understanding of the language of the day.
"Lymond is back." The fist line of an incredible book. I absolutely adore this series, and I'm so glad to see Game of Kings finally on Audible. An amazing sage covering one end of Scotland to the other, and encompassing a large cast of character, the first book in the Lymond saga is perfect as a listen. Lymond is a complex character, and in this, our first introduction to him, we see him in all his glory, running the English ragged, driving the Scots crazy, and inspiring strong emotion in everybody around him. One thing you can never say about him - he is never boring. So enjoyed listening to a book I've read many, many times, and I must say, I got even more out of it.
Truth is I couldn't make myself listen to it past the first hour! The narrator sounded so pompous and mush mouthed I could barely understand. Disappointing considering other reviews which touted the story!
It has been many years since I last read the Lymond Chronicles. Game of Kings remains gripping, amusing, and satisfying. The characters live and breathe. The plot twists are delightful. The use of language is sparkling. Mr. Gillies reads very well, with wit and eloquence. It was fun to hear the Scots, Latin, French, Spanish and Middle English quotes. He gives Lymond, one of my favorite "scoundrels" ,a dry brilliance and erudite charm. The lack of a fifth star is because there were sections of the book that seemed to drag a bit. Most of the time, I enjoyed revisiting this clever historical romance with its lovely scoundrel very much.
I have been waiting to start this series for a while now because only books 2-6 were available. Finally book 1. (i know it mostly likely had to do with some one else having the rights or some such).
6 books x 24 hrs each = 144 hrs.
(so far not as good has house of niccolo series.
"A kaleidoscope of the 16th Century"
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!
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.
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.
Yes - more than one - again, plot spoiler.
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.
"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.
"Couldn't get to grips with this"
I have read most of the Dorothy Dunnett books in the past and loved them, but had to give up on the audiobook as I found it tedious and long-windeded.
Marietta, almonds mother who was spiky, wise and intelligent.
The book is wonderful, complex and many layered but the audio version just didn't capture this for me at all.
A real disappointment.
"Something missing in narration"
Excellent but Disappointing
Not possible!! Takes days!
Well Done Audible.
I know these books inside out .... and the first shock was hearing the pronunciation of the main character's name! In my head he has always been Lymond as in "limpet' not Lymond as in "lyre"! but that is a moot point. It has been a revealing experience listening rather than reading the story, and even though I know it well, it's still been absorbing. Finding people to read the Dorothy Dunnett novels must be extremely challenging. They need a good Scots and Irish accents. They need to be able to speak Italian, French and heaven knows what else - authentically and accurately. They need to be able to read complex poetry and imbue obscure references with meaning; so on the whole Mr Gillies does a very good job. but its not quite enough. His voice is mature, steady and the reading is professional, but these books are full of subtle humour, sarcasm and irony, and are sometimes hilarious (the drunk sow) but this does not come across in Mr Gillies reading. Which is a shame.Nonetheless, if you are a fan of Dorothy Dunnett or you like incredible historical novels, you'll still enjoy it.
I'm looking forward to Queens Play - already downloaded!
"The best historical novel you will ever read"
Not the best narrator but the story is marvellous and nothing can detract from its intricate, intertwining plot :-)
"An old story."
I read all the books originally , but hearing them again with the narrator's clever accents brought it to life. I was addicted all over again !
"Good story spoiled by poor narration"
No. The narration makes it hard to follow
Lemons. A latter day Robin Hood
Intonation in the correct place. Some emotion in the reading...
It has one.
Report Inappropriate Content
If you find this review inappropriate and think it should be removed from our site, let us know. This report will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.