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Queens' Play: Second in the Legendary…
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Queens' Play: Second in the Legendary Lymond Chronicles (original 1964; edition 1997)

by Dorothy Dunnett

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Member:ingridb
Title:Queens' Play: Second in the Legendary Lymond Chronicles
Authors:Dorothy Dunnett
Info:Vintage (1997), Paperback, 432 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:*****
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Queens' Play by Dorothy Dunnett (1964)

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Showing 1-5 of 11 (next | show all)
Very well done historical fiction. Francis Crawford has agreed to help prevent an assassination attempt on 7 year old Queen Mary, who is living in the French court of her affianced husband, the Dauphin. Throughout this story of Scotland and France runs the story of England and Ireland.

Shifting allegiances, spies, opportunists, pragmatic politicians all play a role in this most opaque novel of the Lymond series. And it is because of its opacity that this is the book in the series I like least. The main plot is more intricate, or perhaps it would be more accurate to say that there is less exposition on its details and less straightforward adventures to carry the reader along. There are adventures or escapades, but they almost all have a hidden motivation. For example, the race across the rooftops was exciting, but we don't learn until almost the end of the book that Lymond had deliberately chosen that night as a way to keep Oonagh and Robin from communicating to d'Aubiney that Cormac O'Connor had arrived in France!

On this rereading, I found that I had forgotten many of the details but remembered the big picture - I was more concerned with the Irish part this time and found that aspect of the book made more sense to me than it had in the past. However, I was more annoyed by O'LiamRoe than I recall. ( )
  leslie.98 | Apr 3, 2014 |
I enjoyed this 2nd in the Lymond Chronicals more than the first book
  karrinina | Nov 13, 2013 |
Two years after the events of "The Game of Kings", this second book in the Lymond Chronicles moves the action to France. Mary of Guise requests Lymond's presence as she travels to Henri II's court to visit her daughter Mary, Queen of Scots. She fears for Mary's life, as the child is all that stands between the throne of Scotland and the ambitions of a number of powerful people; and Lymond is charged to uncover any plots that he can again the little Queen. Lymond does indeed come to France, but rather than keep discreetly in the shadows, he flings himself into the centre of attention, hidden in full view, to lure the plotters into the open.

I was impressed by the escalating scale of this novel, as compared to its predecessor: the stakes are higher - kingdoms rather than reputations - the villains of the piece are of higher station and well-protected by the king's affections, and even the set-pieces become grander. The ceremonial entry to Rouen was a dazzling scene, but even that was dwarfed by the energy and drama of the moonlit steeplechase in Blois (I don't want to say too much here so as not to spoil it for those who haven't read it). I've grown more used to Dunnett's language, which startled me with its elaboration in "The Game of Kings", and here I really begin to admire her ability to write different kinds of scenes with equal skill - comedy, tragedy, and high drama are all equally convincing.

Lymond's talents were on full display in this book and he proves to be a consummate juggler, not only of balls and clubs, but also of political situations. Ringed about by all the factions of north-west Europe - Scotland, France, England and now Ireland, too, in the form of the enigmatic Oonagh O'Dwyer and her aunt - Lymond has put himself in an increasingly dangerous position, as he draws the plotters' attention to himself. The pleasure is seeing how he draws on his reserves of skill, and some very useful old friendships, to play the game and protect the fate of Scotland through that of one little girl.

It's another dazzling and occasionally baffling book, but I'm beginning to get into my stride now and I have the next in the series ready to hand. For a longer review, including some slight spoilers, please visit my blog at:
http://theidlewoman.blogspot.co.uk/2012/06/queens-play-dorothy-dunnett.html ( )
  Leander2010 | Jun 29, 2012 |
In many ways the most difficult book, 'what is Lymond doing here' - Paris this time. The plot is actually simpler than most of the rest of the series but where is Lymond's head at? This a much debated question.
We meet Archie for the first time, yeah. We meet Mary Queen of Scots again.We meet Robin Stewart.
In many ways this book is another stand alone like Kings is but in reality the seeds are sown for all the plot lines to follow. I did not become addicted until the middle of this book, quite late, but after the race across the rooftops I couldn't read fast enough. The first book and a half took a week or so the following 2,100 pages took three sittings basically until my eyes could no longer see the page. ( )
  ValLloyd | Sep 24, 2011 |
See my review of The Game of Kings. ( )
  randalrh | Mar 20, 2011 |
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Once an accused traitor, now a valued, if reluctant, agent of Scottish diplomacy, Lymond is sent to France, to protect a very young Queen Mary Stuart, who is being groomed for marriage to the dauphin. Disguised as a disreputable Irish scholar, Lymond insinuates himself into the glittering labyrinth of the French court, where every courtier is a would-be conspirator.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 067977744X, Paperback)

For the first time Dunnett's Lymond Chronicles are available in the United States in quality paperback editions.

Second in the legendary Lymond Chronicles, Queen's Play follows Frances Crawford of Lymond who has been abruptly called into the service of Mary Queen of Scots. Though she is only a little girl, the Queen is already the object of malicious intrigues that extend from her native country to the court of France. It is to France that Lymond must travel, exercising his sword hand and his agile wit while also undertaking the most unlikely of masquerades, all to make sure that his charge's royal person stays intact.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:38:11 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

It is the 16th century, and the seven-year-old Mary Queen of Scots is in peril. She is under the constant threat of those who wish to keep her from taking the throne in England. The Queen Mother calls upon the former outlaw Francis Crawford of Lymond to protect the young girl. Lymond, in disguise, has infiltrated the palace in order to keep vigil. But will his watchful eye be enough to save the young Queen?… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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