Pawn in Frankincense

Dunnett, Dorothy. Pawn in Frankincense. New York: Random House, 1997.

Reason read: to continue the series started in August in honor of Dunnett’s birth month. This is book #4.

When we last left Francis Crawford of Lymond in The Disorderly Knights the year was 1552 and Francis had just uncovered and defeated a spy within the ranks of the Knights of St. John of Malta, Graham “Gabriel” Malett. Francis also had fathered a son, Khaireddin. It’s this son, hidden away somewhere within the Ottoman empire, that presents Lymond with his next challenge. For Khaireddin is being held as a political pawn in a very dangerous game. While Francis had defeated his enemy Graham, he also had to reluctantly let him go to ensure the safety of his missing son.
Some of Dunnett’s best characters return for the plot of Pawn but it’s the addition of Marthe that is intriguing. Marthe, a girl much like Francis in attitude and appearance adds sex appeal and a feisty fire to the plot. You later find out later she is his sister. Duh. Could have seen that coming. Another character I liked seeing return is Phillipa. She turns out to be a little spitfire herself.
Of course there are the intricate twists and turns you have come to expect from a Dunnett book. The chase across seas and deserts is pretty intense and as always, Dunnett does a fabulous job describing the people and places. The “live” chess game is intense.

Only quote to grab me, “With children, you have no private life” (p 293). Not very profound, but I liked it.

Book trivia: Pawn in Frankincense is book #4 in the Lymond series. I said that already. The other thing I would like to add is that you can definitely tell the Lymond series was written by a woman. There is so much attention given to clothing: fabric, style and fit.

Author fact: “In 1992, Queen Elizabeth appointed [Dunnett] an Officer of the Order of the British Empire.” I wonder what one gets out of that besides an impressive title?

BookLust Twist: from More Book Lust in the chapter called “Digging Up the Past Through History” (p 90).

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