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The Game of Kings | [Dorothy Dunnett]

The Game of Kings

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.
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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

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.2 (17 )
5 star
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4.1 (16 )
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3.8 (15 )
5 star
 (7)
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Performance
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  •  
    Laurie A. Bobskill 08-14-15
    HELPFUL VOTES
    13
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    "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.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Annee Brizo 08-24-15
    Annee Brizo 08-24-15 Member Since 2011
    ratings
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    3
    1
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    "Narrators voice is too mature for Lymond."

    Gillies' voice works for some of the characters but not for Lymond or Will. Gillies' maturer voice just didn't work for me.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Cheri Munro 08-24-15
    Cheri Munro 08-24-15 Member Since 2013
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    "Excellent!"

    Excellent, excellent, excellent! My tour guide in Edinburgh, highly recommended the author and this series, in particular. I thoroughly enjoyed both.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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  • prior.mary
    FARNBOROUGH, United Kingdom
    1/29/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "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.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Caroline
    Winchester, United Kingdom
    1/20/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Something missing in narration"
    If you could sum up The Game of Kings in three words, what would they be?

    Excellent but Disappointing


    Did the narration match the pace of the story?

    Not always


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Not possible!! Takes days!


    Any additional comments?

    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!

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Marianne
    8/5/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Caz
    5/25/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "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 :-)

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • S. T. Wills
    oxfordshire, england
    5/23/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "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 !

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • ingrid
    Worcester, United Kingdom
    5/5/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Couldn't get to grips with this"
    Would you try another book written by Dorothy Dunnett or narrated by Samuel Gillies?

    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.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Marietta, almonds mother who was spiky, wise and intelligent.


    Would you be willing to try another one of Samuel Gillies’s performances?

    No


    You didn’t love this book--but did it have any redeeming qualities?

    The book is wonderful, complex and many layered but the audio version just didn't capture this for me at all.


    Any additional comments?

    A real disappointment.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Valerie
    Highworth, Swindon, Wilts.
    12/8/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Good story spoiled by poor narration"
    Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

    No. The narration makes it hard to follow


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Lemons. A latter day Robin Hood


    How could the performance have been better?

    Intonation in the correct place. Some emotion in the reading...


    Do you think The Game of Kings needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

    It has one.


    2 of 4 people found this review helpful

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