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Pawn in Frankincense by Dorothy Dunnett

Pawn in Frankincense (1969)

by Dorothy Dunnett

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Lymond Chronicles (4)

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950139,142 (4.64)43



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Showing 1-5 of 13 (next | show all)
This, I think, is the most breathless of all the books in this series. After the night at St Giles, Gabriel has disappeared, and Lymond in the guise of a French Ambassador starts to scour the Mediterranean for his child. Gabriel has left surprises and clues and traps all around the shore towns and cities, while he strives to become the Grand Master on Malta. We are introduced to Marthe, a woman who looks to be the twin of Lymond, and as the team breaks up and chases different clues, it becomes evident that there are two children being chased.
Philippa Somerville enters the seraglio at Topkapi to care for one of the boys; ostensibly beyond the reach of Gabriel as a Christian lord, but his treachery against the Knights of St John lands him a position of power in Suleiman's court.
The finale, a chess game is nail biting and brutally brilliant. ( )
  jkdavies | Jun 14, 2016 |
Not my favorite of all of the Lymond Chronicles.
  winterslights | Jun 12, 2016 |
When we last left Francis Crawford of Lymond in The Disorderly Knights the year was 1552 and Francis had just uncovered and defeated a spy within the ranks of the Knights of St. John of Malta, Graham "Gabriel" Malett. Francis also had fathered a son, Khaireddin. It's this son, hidden away somewhere within the Ottoman empire, that presents Lymond with his next challenge. For Khaireddin is being held as a political pawn in a very dangerous game. While Francis had defeated his enemy Graham, he also had to reluctantly let him go to ensure the safety of his missing son.
Some of Dunnett's best characters return for the plot of Pawn but it's the addition of Marthe that is intriguing. Marthe, a girl much like Francis in attitude and appearance adds sex appeal and a feisty fire to the plot. You later find out later she is his sister. Duh. Could have seen that coming. Another character I liked seeing return is Phillipa. She turns out to be a little spitfire herself.
Of course there are the intricate twists and turns you have come to expect from a Dunnett book. The chase across seas and deserts is pretty intense and as always, Dunnett does a fabulous job describing the people and places. ( )
  SeriousGrace | Nov 23, 2015 |
This fourth in the Lymond series takes us to northern Africa & Turkey at the height of the Ottomon empire, during the reign of Suleiman the Magnificent. I think the main reason I don't give this 5 stars is that I find the battle between Lymond and Gabriel using the children as pawns so emotionally difficult. ( )
  leslie.98 | Jul 11, 2014 |
The first three volumes in the Lymond Chronicles were nice, but with this fourth one the series takes a big leap in quality to being very good indeed. Part of the reason for this is admittedly somewhat rather subjective: Most of the novel takes place in the Ottoman Empire, and I have always had a huge fondness for everything related to Arabian Nights – so everything set against that or a similar background gets a big advance bonus from me.

More importantly though, the series’ hero Francis Lymond is considerably less annoying here than he was in the previous volumes – while I have never held with the view that a protagonist has to be likeable, Lymond’s “tragically misunderstood” posturing was just teeth-grindingly irritating and rather clashed with his exhaustively stated brilliance. There is almost nothing of his former emo attitude left in Pawn in Frankincense, which might be due to the character experiencing some real tragedy – in any case, while still not exactly likeable (which he might not supposed to be anyway) he appears considerably more mature in this volume.

Dunnett evokes the atmosphere of Renaissance Ottoman Empire very vividly – her prose is both rich in historical information and saturated with sensual detail. The compelling, complex plot leads all the way from Switzerland to Constantinople, and another thing which distinguishes Pawn in Frankincense is that while in previous novels in the Lymond Chronicles it was always pretty obvious that no matter how bad things seemed to look for our hero, he was always following some secret master plan that would make him emerge victorious in the end, there is no such certainty in Pawn in Frankincense – this time, it is the bad guy who pulls all of the strings, and Lymond has to struggle to keep up with him, which does not always manage successfully. The final confrontation, while it appears somewhat contrived and not particularly plausible, has a huge emotional impact and I don’t think anyone who read it is likely to ever forget it.
  Larou | Nov 5, 2011 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Dorothy Dunnettprimary authorall editionscalculated
Napier, AndrewNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0679777466, Paperback)

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

Pawn in Frankincense is the fourth in the legendary Lymond Chronicles. Somewhere within the bejeweled labyrinth of the Ottoman empire, a child is hidden. Now his father, Francis Crawford of Lymond, soldier of fortune and the exiled heir of Scottish nobility, is searching for him while ostensibly engaged on a mission to the Turkish Sultan. At stake is a pawn in a cutthroat game whose gambits include treason, enslavement, and murder. With a Foreword by the author.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:24:38 -0400)

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