Queens’ Play Book reviews


Author(s): Dorothy DunnettDownload  


Second in the legendary Lymond Chronicles, Queens’ Play follows Francis 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.

Some Reviews: 294 in Goodreads.com


Hobbes rated it      

Hero worship….It’s the only oozing emotion I seem able to inspire.

Lymond certainly does inspire for all his many talents, his swashbuckling and his wit. Yet, essentially, we find Lymond physically and mentally wreaked many times, reduced to self-loathing. It’s stated by one female character that Lymond has no capacity to love but Dunnett skillfully shows in little snatches that perhaps Lymond loves too hard. He certainly loves his seven year old queen Mary of Scots. Hence to France, in disguise, to protect his little queen against assassination. But, throughout Lymond’s dangerous mission we learn the heavy burden is not without responsibility and consequence.

The French court is showcased not only through politics but arts. So many banquets and feasts. But the action never lets up. There is a steeplechase that had my pulse jumping throughout. Sixteenth century Ireland is shown through prince O’LiamRoe which makes for conflicting views about humanity, art and culture as well as nationalism.

The narrative is much easier to follow than the first book. Less literary allusions but still a heavy dose of French phrases. Still, the many twisty plots and courtly intrigue continue to surprise but it is Lymond’s complex character that remains centre stage.

I’m fully entrenched and further impressed with the Lymond Chronicles. It’s possible Lymond may become my favourite fictional character ever. On to book three…


Anna rated it      

This series is the most difficult thing I’ve ever had to read in English, it’s definitely not something to be read after a hard day’s work – and that is what I love and hate about the book. The complexity of the narration, the characters, the languages and the allusions make it quite a challenge, though after the Game of the Kings this one is easier as I know some of the characters and what to expect of them, at least. Although saying “what to expect” is an exaggeration as the plot and the characters surprise a lot. I like how the author adds some short sentences that reveal a different, unforeseen perspective on the situation and that change the whole perception of the scene.
And the main characters are a sight for sore eyes – just what a Hero should be – versatile and complex. I really enjoyed the conversations between Francis Crawford and his brother and the interactions of Francis and Phelim O’LiamRoe.
I’m not sure whether I want to start reading the next book in the series or give some time for this one to settle.


rubywednesday rated it      

I very much liked the first book but the second installment took this series into fave/rec territory as me. Everything clicked into place.

There’s a lot to love – especially the tension and intrigue, the constant surprise, and of course Lymond himself. For me, the amazing set pieces were the best. Big scene after big scene that were truly a rollercoaster to read. I also feel like part of the reason I liked this one so much was because I was more familiar with the French setting than Scotland, there was less language shifting, and the Irish influence.

I talk a lot about my love for Hiberno-English and how awesome it is to see it celebrated in fiction. I also would have said before that only thoughtful native writers can get it right and I despise the hokey dialogue you sometimes. Well, Dunnett (and her characters) pulled off some very unique speech patterns perfectly.

Now, on to Lymond’s next adventure I go.

Beth (moonivy)

Beth (moonivy) rated it      

Read 7/22-8/4/05, 2/1-2/5/05
Queen’s Play continues the story of Francis Crawford of Lymond, a Scottish noble of the 16th century. This installment occurs mostly in France as Lymond plays a dangerous game of false identity to protect the child Queen Mary of Scotland. Political intruige abounds, while deft plotting and the outrageously grand presence
of Lymond combine to make this a truly excellent book. As in The Game of Kings, Dunnett seems to assume an intelligent readership – makes for a challenging read that’s so much more than worth the effort. And Lymond is such a fascinating character that I’ll be forgoing the newest J.D. Robb on my living room table to move
on to The Disorderly Knights, next in the Lymond Chronicles. No greater compliment can I pay, LOL, than to push my beloved Roarke aside.


Cphe rated it      

In this second book of The Lymond Chronicles, Francis Crawford is asked to protect a very young Mary Queen of Scots from assassination.
Many of the characters from A Game of Kings are again present in this book along with a new cast of unique and varied characters.
Francis Crawford is again indefatigible as he cuts a swathe through the French Court in his quest to unmask a murderer close to the throne.
A rich tapestry of politics and intrigue with a larger than life, although vulnerable main character this series is well worth a look at. Time well spent…….


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