Welcome to the Historical Fiction Online forums: a friendly place to discuss, review and discover historical fiction.
If this is your first visit, please be sure to check out the FAQ by clicking the link above.
You will have to register before you can post: click the register link above to proceed.
To start viewing posts, select the forum that you want to visit from the selection below.

Dorothy Dunnett

User avatar
Misfit
Bibliomaniac
Location: Seattle, WA

Postby Misfit » Mon April 26th, 2010, 3:53 pm

Image

Just found this cover and had to share :)
At home with a good book and the cat...
...is the only place I want to be

User avatar
Diiarts
Scribbler
Location: I'm based in Hampshire (UK) but we also have a partner based in Kentucky, USA
Contact:

Postby Diiarts » Sun August 22nd, 2010, 9:37 pm

I'd always read "withdrew its claws" as "removed its claws from Luadhas's neck". It doesn't necessarily imply that the claws were retractable. [Edited to say that this is in response to the early posts on this thread about 'Queens' Play'.]

DD remains, for me, the absolute gold standard of historical fiction.
Last edited by Diiarts on Sun August 22nd, 2010, 9:41 pm, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
Michy
Bibliophile
Location: California

Postby Michy » Mon August 23rd, 2010, 4:04 am

I've never read anything by Dorothy Dunnett, but after hearing about her on this forum I want to give her a try and have added one of her books to my library list. Although, given the various comments people have made, I'm not expecting her to be easy to read, or necessarily even my cup of tea. But I have to at least give her a shot!

Eigon
Reader
Location: Hay-on-Wye, Town of Books
Contact:

Postby Eigon » Sat August 28th, 2010, 5:45 pm

I've just finished Queen's Play. Poor Robin Stewart - he couldn't do anything right, could he?
I'm moving on to the Disorderly Knights - and since I read Pawn in Frankincense way before either of these, I hope I'll finally understand what on earth was going on!
"There were no full time Vikings back then. Everybody had another job."
Neil Gaiman, from Odd and the Frost Giants.

M.M. Bennetts

Postby M.M. Bennetts » Sat August 28th, 2010, 7:16 pm

I first encountered Dunnett's Lymond sequence when I was at university at St. Andrews and skiving. I was meant to be in the library; in fact, I was upstairs at Innes, sitting in a corner of that delightful shop, reading the opening of Game of Kings. And I was hooked. Because as a mediaevalist, specialising in the Renaissance, she brought everything I had been studying for several years to brilliant life, and shewed how interconnected events and countries were even back then.

Whether I would have appreciated her work so much had I not already studied comparative mediaeval societies--Byzantium, Christendom and Islam--I cannot say.

Latterly, as a book critic I was given the first of the Niccolo sequence to review and I noted that in the intervening years, Dunnett's style had clarified and grown less opaque--and this I felt was a good thing. I loved the first book, loved the second. Met and interviewed her and wished I might have been adopted by her, although we did become good friends. And I think it must have been the sixth book in that sequence that I didn't like--and had to review and say so publicly--not my favourite hour. But I did feel that she brought the whole thing round beautifully by the end of the sequence. And it was a huge loss when she died suddenly of pancreatic cancer not long afterward.

As for the large cast of characters--yes, but then so has Dickens, Tolstoy...and like them she always has a list at the back or the front of the book.

annis
Bibliomaniac

Postby annis » Sat August 28th, 2010, 8:30 pm

I first came across Dorothy Dunnett when I was about 14. I picked up a copy of Queen's Play at the local library and was blown away by it. To a rather romantically inclined teenager, Lymond was the ultimate dashing hero, intelligent and sensitive to boot, and of course I've always been obsessed by historical settings of any sort.

I enjoyed the Niccolo series, but thought things got unnecessarily complicated just for the sake of complication near the end - actually possibly around Book 6. Part of the joy of Dunnett is enjoying the literary allusions and untangling the various threads of the plot, but that one just felt rather overdone.

My all-time favourite Dunnett remains King Hereafter, though, regardless of whether Macbeth was in fact Thorfinn :)

SGM
Compulsive Reader

Postby SGM » Sun August 29th, 2010, 7:33 pm

Image

This is the cover of my copy of Game of Kings, 1972 edition. All my others in this series are from a rather later edition.

I hope I've done this correctly -- Gosh I got it right!
Currently reading - Emergence of a Nation State by Alan Smith

M.M. Bennetts

Postby M.M. Bennetts » Sun August 29th, 2010, 7:54 pm

Funnily enough, I happen to know she hated those covers. Positively loathed them and couldn't see what they had to do with her books--however, she was as courteously cheerful about them as with everything. She thought the covers for the Niccolo sequence much much better.

User avatar
Misfit
Bibliomaniac
Location: Seattle, WA

Postby Misfit » Sun August 29th, 2010, 8:32 pm

"SGM" wrote:Image

This is the cover of my copy of Game of Kings, 1972 edition. All my others in this series are from a rather later edition.

I hope I've done this correctly -- Gosh I got it right!


You did it! Always scary doing one's first image posting.

Is that supposed to be Philippa? I'm sure she's still just a young'in in the first book. As for the beehive, oh my.
At home with a good book and the cat...

...is the only place I want to be

User avatar
EC2
Bibliomaniac
Location: Nottingham UK
Contact:

Postby EC2 » Sun August 29th, 2010, 8:33 pm

I had several attempts at getting into Dorothy Dunnett, partly caused by reading the Lymonds out of sequence - which you can't do. Then I had another go with The Game of Kings and suddenly I got it, and it was like turning a key into another world. The only one of the Lymonds I didn't like was Pawn in Frankincense because I felt it crossed the line and went over the top. I know many readers cite it as a masterpiece, but it's just too much for me. On the whole, though, her writing blows me away.
With Niccolo I struggled with book 3 - too clever for its own good again, but I enjoyed 4 and 5. I haven't read the last one yet because I burned out while doing a group read. I should have known better and interspersed them with other books.
Les proz e les vassals
Souvent entre piez de chevals
Kar ja li coard n’I chasront

'The Brave and the valiant
Are always to be found between the hooves of horses
For never will cowards fall down there.'

Histoire de Guillaume le Mareschal

www.elizabethchadwick.com


Return to “Dorothy Dunnett”