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The Game of Kings

The Lymond Chronicles, Book 1
Narrated by: David Monteath
Series: The Lymond Chronicles, Book 1
Length: 21 hrs and 42 mins
Categories: Fiction, Historical
4 out of 5 stars (8 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Penguin presents the audiobook edition of The Game of Kings by Dorothy Dunnett, read by David Monteath. 

It is 1547 and, after five years imprisonment and exile far from his homeland, Francis Crawford of Lymond - scholar, soldier, rebel, nobleman, outlaw - has at last come back to Edinburgh. 

But for many in an already divided Scotland, where conspiracies swarm around the infant Queen Mary like clouds of midges, he is not welcome. 

Lymond is wanted for treason and murder, and he is accompanied by a band of killers and ruffians who will only bring further violence and strife. 

Is he back to foment rebellion? 

Does he seek revenge on those who banished him? 

Or has he returned to clear his name? 

No one but the enigmatic Lymond himself knows the truth - and no one will discover it until he is ready....

©1961 Dorothy Dunnett (P)2018 Penguin Books Ltd

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Awestruck

A beloved book brought to life with brilliance. The reader is excellent! If you haven't read Dunnett, get listening! You have a treat in store for you, one to be unwrapped over and over surprising every time.

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Spectacular

I fell in love with the Lymond Chronicles as a teenager and have re read them countless times. This is a wonderful way to re visit them again. Dorothy Dunnett writes incredibly rich and complex novels and David Monteath does a fantastic job and is a perfect fit. He brings the characters to life and his narration is easy to listen to. If you are a fan of Dunnett you won’t be disappointed. If you haven’t discovered her yet -do yourself a favour.

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  • Bellaro
  • Bangkok, Bangkhaen district Anusawaree
  • 11-20-18

The best audiobook version so far

I love this! The narrator voice is well suited to the story. It's Dorothy Dunnett, what's not to like.

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  • Helen
  • 11-30-18

My favourite character in all of literature

I read these books many years ago and fell under the spell of Francis Crawford. He's the most beguiling man, witty, erudite, scheming, cruel, self-destructive... the list goes on. It's unclear until the last page of the last book how it is all going to end. On this whirlwind tour of the medieval world we meet a host of unforgetable characters, all three-dimensional and full of human strength and frailty. Dunnett's female characters are as powerful and complex as their male counterparts. The narration is wonderful and my only regret is that there isn't the time to try and translate the quotes as the action flies by. I absolutely loved this recording.

30 of 30 people found this review helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 11-10-18

loved it

First read this in paper form many years ago. together with the others in series. my favourite books. have them all on my shelf. having them in this format means I can enjoy whilst taking care of all the rest of the the things I need to. wonderful.

24 of 24 people found this review helpful

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  • Nel
  • 04-14-19

Better than a good read (no spoilers)

I've read this set of books many, many times over the last thirty years. I've enjoyed the rush every time. But this audio book has been the best. I've been lost in the narrative, sitting on the shoulders of the Master, and none of the quick wit, or the subtle nuance is lost. In fact I think I've gained more insight into the machinations of Lymond's mind! I am looking forward to the rest of the series.
The narrator needs a special mention: it's not an easy book. Certainly, there are quotations aplenty, in many tongues, for which I applaud him; there are many characters to inter-distinguish; but more than that, I found got lost in his voice until only the story remained. That is the sign of a lasting audiobook. Thank you.

21 of 21 people found this review helpful

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  • MrsTweedie
  • 09-13-19

Unique storytelling.

Vivid imagery and compelling stories. A great education in classic poetry and prose. I've reread the series for 4 decades and will do so again.

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

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  • Time Poor Avid Reader
  • 06-03-19

Great production of much loved favourite

I have read and reread this book for forty years. I was worried about hearing it for the first time but the narrator does a wonderful job of bringing it to life.

12 of 13 people found this review helpful

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  • Lesley Alcock
  • 04-06-19

I Love Dorothy Dunnett

I have read all the Dorothy Dunnett books so was concerned that an Audible version might not live up to expectations. I was not sure to start with but the more I listened the more I was drawn into the story again. Brilliant narration and I am looking forward to listening to book 2 Queens Play.

13 of 15 people found this review helpful

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  • Debee C.
  • 01-02-20

Don't Give Up - It's more than worth it....

Don't give up on this book - admittedly it is hard to follow initially, so many characters and so many quotes and historical references (often in different languages) but it is more than worth it in the end.

After the first couple of chapters - which I had to re-listen to, I found that I picked up the rhythm of the story and then I was totally hooked. I found all of the characters so well fleshed out and believable that I quickly became so invested in the story of Francis Lymond (a complicated and flawed hero) and his family, friends and foes and the plot line set against the back drop of the reign of the young 'Mary Queen of Scots" and the machinations of the English and others to overthrow her, that it was hard to stop listening to this book.

A special mention must be made of the narrator (always so important in audio books) David Monteath - who is completely excellent. You can easily distinguish all of the many and varied characters (no easy task) and he is the only male narrator that I have ever listened to that narrates the women in the story (of whom there are also many and very interesting strong characters) so brilliantly. He doesn't try to feminise his voice but he brings some, hard to define, element when he is narrating the women, that is so spot on, it is a delight to listen to.

Indeed, he brings such a great nuance and insight into the way each character speaks that I think he actually makes you more aware than you would be of their emotions and motivations - as Dorothy writes each character in a subtle way that does not immediately show their motivations but when you are listening to the dialogue narrated by David - it brings an extra depth.

Overall - I completely loved The Game of Kings - one of the best books I have read in a long time for plot, characters and the sheer art of brilliantly written story telling and I had to immediately download the next book.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Sally
  • 10-06-19

Don't give up on this

I found the first few hours of this book incomprehensible. Everyone seemed to have at least three different names, all used at random. The plot was complex and hard to follow, and the main character speaks almost entirely in quotations, (in a variety of languages) and makes constant reference to mythologies and characters from tales I had never heard of.

I was completely at sea and had no idea who anyone was or what the hell was going on. It was only because this series was recommended by someone whose opinion I respect that I continued to plough on.

And I'm so glad I did. Slowly I began to work out who was who and then, almost without realising it, I found I was starting to care about some of characters. Some of the scenes were amusing, others tense, and that central character ... still hard to understand but growing in complexity and interest. And by the end I was listening at every possible opportunity.

And as soon as I finished I downloaded the next one.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 10-05-19

A gem for lovers of the work of Dorothy Dunnett

Beautifully read by David Monteath. I look forward to listening to the rest of the series.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • helen
  • 09-28-19

A Really Good Book

It took me a while to settle into who the characters were and where they came from, but once I had sorted this in my head a great story unfolded to me. I loved this book, which I only bought because it was " a daily deal" and did really not expect to like it very much. I am now hooked on this series and have put the remaining books in my wish list, along with all the other books by this author.
The narration is perfect.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • agp
  • 11-05-19

First in a great series of books!

Meet Francis Crawford, gorgeous, clever, witty and wicked. The books are dense, cleverly plotted and filled with wonderful characters.

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  • adele mcshanag
  • 02-10-19

Truly amazing!

Dorothy Dunnett's Lymond books are superb - she is a master. David Monteath's narrative perfectly evokes the characters and brings them to life.