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Queens' Play: Second in the Legendary…

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

by Dorothy Dunnett

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

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Queens' Play by Dorothy Dunnett (1964)



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Showing 1-5 of 13 (next | show all)
Queens' Play is the second book in the Lymond series starring "cool, daring, strangely haunted" Francis Crawford of Lymond. [By the way, don't you just love that description of him? Not my words, though.] The year is 1550 and Mary, Queen of Scots is now a seven year old. She has been sent to France as the betrothed to the Dauphin. Francis (or Lymond as he is sometimes called) goes "undercover" to follow her and protect her. There are a lot of other people who have designs on the throne and she is constantly at risk. As "Thady Boy Ballage" Lymond has dyed his hair jet black and poses as the companion to an Irish prince. He doesn't stand on the fringes of politics and just watch for enemies. True to Francis form, Thady prefers and enjoys being in the thick of it, causing most of the trouble. He still drinks like a fish and plays just as hard as he protects. ( )
  SeriousGrace | Sep 22, 2015 |
Queen's Play begins with Sir Francis Crawford of Lymond traveling incognito to France to investigate a threat to the life of the now eight year old Mary Queen of Scots at the request of her mother the dowager queen. The excesses required of him to maintain his cover inside the French court begin to take their toll on him, but the story really picks up in the second half with the political intrigues of certain Irish and English factions, some of whom were introduced in The Game of Kings, such as the Stewarts.

I found this second installment of the Lymond Chronicles somewhat less interesting than the first in terms of its character and thematic development and its plot (and it probably didn't help that the narrator of the audio edition wasn't as good either), but since the first set a fairly high bar that still leaves this well up the list of good historical fiction. I enjoyed it enough that I'm going to pick up the next book in the series, The Disorderly Knights, which sounds even better.

http://www.amazon.com/review/R26ULD5BFOZTJU ( )
  AshRyan | Jan 12, 2015 |
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 |
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Dorothy Dunnettprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Napier, AndrewNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Book description
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 Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:14:16 -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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