Queens’ Play

Dunnett, Dorothy. Queens’ Play. New York: G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1964.

Reason read: to continue the series started in August in honor of Dunnett’s birth month.

Queens’ Play is the second book in the Lymond series starring “cool, daring, strangely haunted” Francis Crawford of Lymond. [By the way, don’t you just love that description of him? Not my words, though.] The year is 1550 and Mary, Queen of Scots is now a precocious seven years old. Actually, she’s not in this enough for me to call her precocious, I’m just imagining her that way. She has been sent to France as the betrothed to the Dauphin. Francis (or Lymond as he is sometimes called) goes “undercover” to follow her and protect her. There are a lot of other people who have designs on the throne and she is constantly at risk. As “Thady Boy Ballage” Lymond has dyed his hair jet black and poses as the companion to an Irish prince. He doesn’t stand on the fringes of politics and just watch for enemies. True to Francis form, Thady prefers and enjoys being in the thick of it, causing most of the trouble. He still drinks like a fish and plays just as hard as he protects.

I thought the cheetah/hare hunt was pretty outrageous and not nearly as fun as the rooftop scavenger hunt.

A word of warning – there are a great many characters in Queens’ Play and while Dunnett introduces you to the main players (three pages worth), there are more. I have read that Queens’ Play is the “slowest” of all the books in the Lymond series. For that I am grateful because I don’t want to give up quite yet. I still have several books to go!

Quote I liked for some weird reason, “Strong wine and stretched muscles disregarded, Lymond strode to the window and stayed there, gripping his anger hard until he could speak” (p 165).

Author fact: Dunnett was also an artist.

Book trivia: Queens’ Play is the second book in the six-book series.

BookLust Twist: from Book Lust in the chapter called “Lines That Linger, Sentences That Stick” (p 142).

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