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Dorothy Dunnett

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MLE (Emily Cotton)
Bibliomaniac
Interest in HF: started in childhood with the classics, which, IMHO are HF even if they were contemporary when written.
Favorite HF book: Prince of Foxes, by Samuel Shellabarger
Preferred HF: Currently prefer 1600 and earlier, but I'll read anything that keeps me turning the page.
Location: California Bay Area

Postby MLE (Emily Cotton) » Fri March 25th, 2011, 8:29 pm

You nailed my feelings exactly, Sintra! I loved Dunnet while I was in the midst of them (the Lymond series, anyway, couldn't gag the Niccolo one) but afterwards, I found myself wondering why all those people would CARE so much to keep Francis from consummating his marriage. Or why he would go through so many convolutions for one child he never met, by a woman he had only the briefest acquaintance with.

But I do thank DD for a good ride while it lasted.
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Sintra
Reader
Location: Moscow, Russia

Postby Sintra » Fri March 25th, 2011, 9:01 pm

"MLE" wrote:You nailed my feelings exactly, Sintra! I loved Dunnet while I was in the midst of them (the Lymond series, anyway, couldn't gag the Niccolo one) but afterwards, I found myself wondering why all those people would CARE so much to keep Francis from consummating his marriage. Or why he would go through so many convolutions for one child he never met, by a woman he had only the briefest acquaintance with.

But I do thank DD for a good ride while it lasted.


Yes, it's really strange that in both Lymond and Niccolo series there were a lot of secondary characters who tried to control the main heroes. Francis and Nicholas are grown men, they don't exactly need excessive supervision.

As for the child... I thought that the child was not as important (at first) to Francis as Gabriel was. I think it was stated somewhere that he went to catch Mallett in the first place, and he meant to do it through finding that child.
Maybe he wanted to win that game. I mean, he created the whole Scotland gang plot only to lure Graham Mallet, so that chase was another round of their wicked competition. And Francis strated to care about the boy himself only when they had met in Istanbul.

I was more bothered by the whole Grand Master plot. Knights of St. John were a religious order of course, but politics meant a lot to these people. Gabriel had to know that Grand Masters were not elected for thier piety and that the title itself was more like a constitutional monarch.
He wanted power but he chose a really strange and complicated way to get it.

Head_Unit
Newbie

Postby Head_Unit » Sat April 9th, 2011, 5:43 pm

Hi from a newbie-I'll try this question here and see if anyone is still looking at this thread.

I've gotten into a new habit at my local library of just randomly stopping at a shelf and scanning it in detail. They do segregate out science fiction, fantasy, mystery and so forth which is great-I can grab some SF really quick-but they have a lot of other good things on the shelf.

And so, I stumbled on Dorothy Dunnett's Scales Of Gold. A fascinating book both for the scope and the style. By style I mean a couple of things. One, her writing really lets me mentally pictures those long-ago scenes: camel caravans, medieval Venice, etc. But two, ya kinda never know exactly what the heck is going on. I've read this as a criticism of Dorothy Dunnett, but it seems to me it's strength as well. That "what the heck is going on here!?!?!?" factor is what led me through Dune at around age six. Yes, six years old.

But one thing at the end of Scales really stumped me. I just don't understand why Gelis becomes pregnant by Simon and how "that's the best revenge for Katherine." I missed something along the way, I guess, and it's bugging me. I reread that part, but still didn't get it. Maybe because I haven't read the earlier books? Who is it revenge against? Nicholas? (seems not, since she asks him what he wants to do with the baby). Simon? If so, how.

:confused:

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Sintra
Reader
Location: Moscow, Russia

Postby Sintra » Sat April 9th, 2011, 6:47 pm

"Head_Unit" wrote:
But one thing at the end of Scales really stumped me. I just don't understand why Gelis becomes pregnant by Simon and how "that's the best revenge for Katherine." I missed something along the way, I guess, and it's bugging me. I reread that part, but still didn't get it. Maybe because I haven't read the earlier books? Who is it revenge against? Nicholas? (seems not, since she asks him what he wants to do with the baby). Simon? If so, how.

:confused:


SPOILER

Yes, that part is explained in previous books. Nicholas got Gelis' older sister Katelina pregnant in the first book and she had to marry that same Simon and pass the child as his.
Everyone thought that Nicholas did it to get back at Simon (because of the whole "Luke, i'm your father issue") but he actually didn't. It just sort of happened.
So Gelis thought that the best way to avenge her sister was to marry Nicholas and later announce that Simon got her pregnant.

Gelis is just complicated that way :)

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Misfit
Bibliomaniac
Location: Seattle, WA

Postby Misfit » Tue October 4th, 2011, 11:50 pm

Just spotted this cover on my feeds at Goodreads. Image
At home with a good book and the cat...
...is the only place I want to be

annis
Bibliomaniac

Postby annis » Wed October 5th, 2011, 1:33 am

Got to love those old covers- this looks like a '60s/'70s version. Hey, at least they got to keep their clothes on :)

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Misfit
Bibliomaniac
Location: Seattle, WA

Postby Misfit » Wed October 5th, 2011, 1:46 am

"annis" wrote:Got to love those old covers- this looks like a '60s/'70s version. Hey, at least they got to keep their clothes on :)


I know. I've got a couple of friends who pick up boxed lots at Goodreads and you never know what's going to show up next in your feeds. Love it.
At home with a good book and the cat...

...is the only place I want to be

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EC2
Bibliomaniac
Location: Nottingham UK
Contact:

Postby EC2 » Wed October 5th, 2011, 10:08 am

But what ARE they wearing? They must surely be time travellers!
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

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Manda Scott
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Location: Shropshire, UK
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Postby Manda Scott » Wed October 5th, 2011, 12:16 pm

Coming late to this... I grew up devouring Lymond (I lived in Scotland - I can't tell you how amazing it was as an adolescent to find that we had our own heroes who weren't Bruce or Wallace - it was only years later that I discovered my contemporaries were in love with Francis Crawford while I wanted to be him... quite telling, really)

but for me, the outstanding, best, most amazing book Dunnett wrote, and easily her best was KING HEREAFTER, her take on the true history behind MacBeth. There, she was able to let rip with her quite outstanding language - passages in there are so beautiful they still leave me breathless - and her sense of period detail, of danger and passion. It's the one I look back to when I'm stuck in writing and want to remember how a good story flows. That and Mary Renault's 'FIRE FROM HEAVEN' tho' WOLF HALL has rather supplanted all of these - it's the one that sits on my desk now.

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annis
Bibliomaniac

Postby annis » Thu October 6th, 2011, 1:39 am

Posted by Manda

Coming late to this... I grew up devouring Lymond (I lived in Scotland - I can't tell you how amazing it was as an adolescent to find that we had our own heroes who weren't Bruce or Wallace - it was only years later that I discovered my contemporaries were in love with Francis Crawford while I wanted to be him... quite telling, really)

but for me, the outstanding, best, most amazing book Dunnett wrote, and easily her best was KING HEREAFTER, her take on the true history behind MacBeth. There, she was able to let rip with her quite outstanding language - passages in there are so beautiful they still leave me breathless - and her sense of period detail, of danger and passion. It's the one I look back to when I'm stuck in writing and want to remember how a good story flows. That and Mary Renault's 'FIRE FROM HEAVEN' tho' WOLF HALL has rather supplanted all of these - it's the one that sits on my desk now.


King Hereafter is definitely my favourite Dunnett, too, Manda, though I do have a soft spot for Francis Crawford of Lymond. Funnily enough, I’ve just finished re-reading Fire From Heaven, some 30 years after I originally read it. Although I was happily re-captivated by Mary Renault’s wonderfully vivid picture of the young Alexander the Great’s life and times, I was initially taken aback when I started Fire From Heaven by just how uncritically my romantically-inclined younger self had accepted Renault’s portrayal of Alexander, which I now see clearly reflects a serious case of hero-worship. The other thing that struck me was that Renault’s Alexander could very easily be Lymond in a chiton. Both have that glamour, almost a shining aura- they have the same golden-haired good looks, an idealized masculine beauty, and are multi-talented, charismatic, daring, fiercely intelligent, sensitive and tormented. Both also have a strong sense of responsibility for others, a powerful awareness of noblesse oblige. I’ve always thought that Dunnett was at least a bit in love with her Lymond. I suspect that Mary Renault rather envied Hephaistion :)
Last edited by annis on Thu October 6th, 2011, 1:45 am, edited 2 times in total.


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