When I wrote about Queens’ Play by Dorothy Dunnett, I promised to let you know when I got to the next one. So here we are – I’ve just finished the third Lymond book, The Disorderly Knights (warning – link contains spoilers!)
This time it’s set between Malta and Scotland, with a rich cast of historical characters and another rollercoaster ride through a turbulent political era. I knew very little about Malta or the Knights Hospitaller before I started, and quite a lot more by the end.
I’m not sure that I enjoyed it as much as the first two – there are an awful lot of battles and I’ve always been one to skip battle scenes. There was also mention of various practices I thought it was probably better not to look up as they were considered barbaric even at that time, and very dubious sexual politics.
It was more interesting on a human level though, with a few glimpses of Lymond’s real character and what makes him tick. I’m developing a real fondness for Philippa Somerville too. So what’s it about?
Having travelled to Malta as a mercenary for the Knights of St John in their battle against the Turks, we see Lymond in full flow, both as a warrior and at his most irritatingly light and cynical in the company of all these warrior monks. After their inevitable defeat, he returns home to Scotland with the aim of setting up his own mercenary company. It will be the best, bring him fame and fortune, and peace to Scotland and the borders. Or at least that’s the plan.
I was highly annoyed by the massive spoiler on the back cover of the copy I read so I won’t say too much here about the villain of the piece, but very nasty he is too.
And yes, it does end on a cliff-hanger, but I’m strangely reluctant to get started on the next installment. I have an awful lot of other reading to do, and I’ve a horrible feeling I won’t much like it…
- The Game of Kings (shelflove.wordpress.com)
- An Epic Undertaking – the Lymond Saga by Dorothy Dunnett (adiscounttickettoeverywhere.wordpress.com)
- Pawn in Frankincense (Lymond, Book 4) (adiscounttickettoeverywhere.wordpress.com)
- The Ringed Castle, Lymond Book 5 (adiscounttickettoeverywhere.wordpress.com)