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Pawn in Frankincense: Fourth in the…

Pawn in Frankincense: Fourth in the Legendary Lymond Chronicles (alkuperäinen julkaisuvuosi 1969; vuoden 1997 painos)

– tekijä: Dorothy Dunnett

Sarjat: Lymond Chronicles (4)

JäseniäKirja-arvostelujaSuosituimmuussijaKeskimääräinen arvioMaininnat
1,0591814,128 (4.62)63
For the first time Dunnett's "Lymond Chronicles" are available in the United States in quality paperback editions. Pawn in Frankincense is the fourth in the legendary "Lymond Chronicles," Somewhere within the bejeweled labyrinth of the Ottoman empire, a child is hidden. Now his father, Francis Crawford of Lymond, soldier of fortune and the exiled heir of Scottish nobility, is searching for him while ostensibly engaged on a mission to the Turkish Sultan. At stake is a pawn in a cutthroat game whose gambits include treason, enslavement, and murder. With a Foreword by the author.… (lisätietoja)
Teoksen nimi:Pawn in Frankincense: Fourth in the Legendary Lymond Chronicles
Kirjailijat:Dorothy Dunnett
Info:Vintage (1997), Paperback, 512 pages
Kokoelmat:Oma kirjasto
Arvio (tähdet):*****
Avainsanoja:fiction, historical

Teoksen tarkat tiedot

Pawn in Frankincense (tekijä: Dorothy Dunnett) (1969)


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Näyttää 1-5 (yhteensä 18) (seuraava | näytä kaikki)
I read this in February and have been procrastinating from reviewing it because this was a lot to process and I wanted to say more than “Well, that was devastating!”

In the aftermath of revelations made at the end of The Disorderly Knights, Francis Crawford of Lymond embarks on a journey through the Mediterranean. Officially he is an emissary of France, delivering a gift to the Sultan of Turkey; unofficially, Lymond has people he is desperate to find.

This is more sombre, more stressful and less surprising than its predecessors, because, after The Disorderly Knights, one has a clearer sense of Lymond’s goals and of what he is up against, and because there are children to worry about.

And it is, at times, utterly devastating.

… oh, this is such a difficult book to discuss without spoilers! There’s a hauntingly unforgettable scene and I am impressed by how it fits this story, and moreover that it didn’t make me want to throw the book across the room and shout “DUNNETT, CLEARLY YOU CANNOT BE TRUSTED WITH FICTIONAL CHARACTERS EVER AGAIN! OR CHESS!”

I think it’s because it doesn’t feel like Dunnett is just trying to traumatise her characters and her readers because she can mwahahaha, or like she’s just following through on things already set in motion. She’s using this moment to reveal things of significant importance. And, while things end badly, it’s not as bad as I feared. As if Dunnett knows she can throw a devastating punch but chooses to employ that move sparingly.

Anyway, this is also brilliant and captivating. And still surprising. And I would have liked this a lot less if Philippa Somerville, now in her mid teens, hadn’t had such a large part. She’s delightfully determined and resourceful -- by force of logic [...] and the doggedness of a flower-pecker attacking a strangling fig -- and acquits herself admirably in the face of difficulties. She’s certainly not immune from things not going to plan, but I am very glad that she survives certain situations unscathed.

I think if I reread this, I would have a better understanding of Marthe; I ended up liking her more than I expected to.

I’m sure I will be signing up for further devastating developments, er I mean, the sequel, eventually.

“ [...] As I have said before, and am now saying for the last time, I cannot tell you with what awe my family and friends, not to mention yours, would receive the idea that I should ship a twelve-year-old girl along the Barbary coast --”
“Fifteen-year-old,” said Philippa, furiously, for the third time.
“Or a fifty-year-old: what’s the difference?” said Lymond. “The coast's a jungle of Moors, Turks, Jews, renegades from all over Europe, sitting in palaces built from the sale of Christian slaves. There are twenty thousand men, women and children in the bagnios of Algiers alone. I am not going to make it twenty thousand and one because your mother didn't allow you to keep rabbits, or whatever is at the root of your unshakable fixation."
“I had weasels instead,” said Philippa shortly.
“Good God,” said Lymond, looking at her. “That explains a lot. [...]”
( )
  Herenya | Apr 13, 2021 |
Pawn in Frankincense is the fourth book in the six-volume Lymond Chronicles, set in mid-16th century Scotland and Europe. Francis Lymond is a mercenary, serving first the Scots and then the French. I nearly gave up on the series after the third book, in which Lymond joined an order of knights on Malta, and engaged in overly complicated battles culminating in a showdown with his nemesis, Graham Reid Mallet aka Gabriel. But I had the fourth book on my Kindle and, after a year-long hiatus I thought why not try again. I’m glad I did.

In Pawn in Frankincense, Lymond seeks vengeance against Gabriel even as he knows Gabriel has laid a series of traps for him. Chief among these traps is the search for Lymond’s illegitimate son, now about two years old. Gabriel has decreed the boy will die if Gabriel is killed. The action takes Lymond and his allies all over the Mediterranean, from Algiers to Constantinople, and ultimately into the palace of Suleiman the Magnificant, ruler of the Ottoman Empire. Lymond and Gabriel are well matched in their intellect and ability to deceive the other, and when new characters are introduced it’s often unclear whose side they are on. The reader quickly learns to suspect everyone, even characters who have been with Lymond in previous books. The showdown between Lymond and Gabriel culminates in a game of “live chess,” with devastating consequences that were quite upsetting to read. In the denouement, Lymond dispenses with a few more enemies and disloyal followers and sets his friends and allies up for safety.

In addition to its solid storyline, Pawn in Frankincense further developed some of the characters surrounding Lymond, particularly the ex-knight Jerrott, young Philippa Somerville, and a somewhat mysterious young woman named Marthe, who I am sure will figure more prominently in the remaining two books. And now, of course, I’m hooked again. ( )
  lauralkeet | Mar 7, 2021 |
Francis Crawford of Lymond has discovered that he has a son. That son has been taken somewhere in the Ottoman Empire, and Lymond needs to find him while trying to outwit his nemesis from the previous book, Gabriel.

To be honest, I found this book a real slog. Perhaps it really didn’t work as a bus book, or I had too much else going on in my life while trying to read. Perhaps the less-familiar-to-me setting had something to do with it. Perhaps Gabriel is just the Worst. Human. Ever. and I didn’t enjoy reading about him (especially when there were scenes set in harems or seraglios — I was skipping pages to make sure I didn’t inadvertently read anything horrifying). That said, the last third really picked up, and any scenes with Philippa were great, because she is a highly resourceful, determined character. And Archie Abernethy is always a welcome visitor on these pages. But overall, this is certainly my least favourite book in the series. ( )
  rabbitprincess | Oct 10, 2019 |
After my reservations about The Disorderly Knights, I felt some anxiety as I embarked on Pawn in Frankincense, the fourth book in the Lymond Chronicles. However, there is very little to find fault with here: it is a magnificent novel, richer and more powerful than any of its predecessors in the series. I found it interesting to compare it to Queens’ Play, which I also enjoyed, for very different reasons. While Queens’ Play takes place in a small area of France, Pawn in Frankincense unfurls across the breadth of Europe and North Africa, embracing Switzerland, France, Algiers, Djerba and then Constantinople, the greatest and most dazzling city of all. At the time I thought that Queens’ Play had raised the stakes, placing the focus on the struggle between nations rather than individuals; here, though, faith pits itself against faith and empire against empire. It’s truly epic, in every sense. And, while Queens’ Play had plenty of comedic moments, sparkling with youthful mischief, Pawn in Frankincense subjects its characters and readers to a greater dose of bitterness and tragedy. One thread of the story closes; another begins...

For the full review, please see my blog:
https://theidlewoman.net/2012/07/17/pawn-in-frankincense-dorothy-dunnett/ ( )
  TheIdleWoman | Aug 6, 2019 |
May I consider this fourth of the six books that make up Dorothy Dunnett’s Lymond Chronicles to be the beginning of the second of two acts?

I ask because the last book finished on a cliffhanger, and because I see parallels between this book and the very first book in the sequence.

They are both stories of quests, but his time the field of play is much wider and the stakes are much, much higher.

The narrative moves across Europe and North Africa; beginning with a remarkable scene in Switzerland where much is not as it seems, and then on to France, Algiers, Djerba, and finally the grand and great city Constantinople, where scenes played out that left me emotionally drained,utterly lost for words and desperate to know what would happen next.

The journey through this series of book is for the faint-hearted; but for those prepared to commit time, heart and intellect, they are richly, richly rewarding.

The quest in the first book was to find justice and the right place in the world; while the quest in this book is to find an infant, hidden away far from the place he should know as home, and in the power of a ruthless, devious and very clever enemy.

I’m trying not to say too much for anyone further back in the series or contemplating reading in the future, but I really can’t write about this book without referring to particular names and situations.

The ostensible reason for Lymond’s journey is to deliver a gift from the King of France to the Sultan in Constntinople; but the deeper reason is to rescue the child – complicated by the fact that there are two children, one his and one his enemy’s, and that he has no way to tell them apart – and to destroy that enemy.

The travelling party includes Philippa Somerville, who is set on looking after the child; Archie Abernathy; Jerrott Blyth, from the company formed at St, Mary’s; the maker of the spinet and the young woman who is his apprentice. Along the way the party will fracture, shining a different light on to familiar characters and illuminating new ones.

I knew that many readers love Philippa Somerville, and in this book I thought that she came into her own as a principled and strong-willed young woman, and I found that I loved her too. Jerrott Blyth became a complex character with a life and a story of his own, moving forward from the shadows in the last book. I came to love Archie Abernathy, and I wished I could spend more time with him and learn more of his back-story. I can’t help feeling there are volumes and volumes of history and biography that I would so loved to read that Dorothy Dunnett distilled to create her books.

There are some exceptional women in this series of books, and the young woman apprentice is as exceptional as any of them. I can’t say that I liked her, but I was intrigued by her and it was clear that she was significant for the thread that has been running throughout this series of books: the mystery surrounding the Crawford family and the possibility that a greater power than the enemy being sought is weaving an elaborate plot around Lymond.

I found a great deal to think about, I found a wealth of wonderful plot twists, some of which I saw coming but many of which I did not. I was pleased with some of the things I spotted, but I suspect that I am being cleverly managed by the author. When I read the first book in this series I wrote that it was lovely to be able to listen to someone so much cleverer than me, who was so articulate, who had so much to say about a subject that she loved, and that still holds true.

The evocation of places, of events, of cultures, continues to be vivid, deep and complex,

The thing that made this book distinctive for me was the use of perspective – most of the story is told from the perspective of Philippa Somerville or Jerrott Blyth. That illuminated their characters, and it also held Lymond at a distance so that much of his character remains in shadow.

I could see that he had matured since the earlier books, that he took responsibility for his companions in a way that he hadn’t often before, and he had no ready answer when he was asked if the object of his quest justified the price that he and others were paying. The price that he paid was highest of all, and the choice that he was forced to make in the grand set- piece of this book – a live game of chess – was utterly devastating.

The story went on a little too long for me after that, but I understood that there had to be a return journey, that pieces had to be put on place for the next book.

The consequences of what Lymond went through in this book – and of what he and others learned – have still to play out.

One side of the story seems to have played out in this book, but another side – the deeper story, I think, is coming to the fore.

As is another exceptional woman.

I’m not sure that I’m ready to be so close to the end of all of this, but I have to press on with the next book …. ( )
  BeyondEdenRock | Apr 5, 2019 |
Näyttää 1-5 (yhteensä 18) (seuraava | näytä kaikki)
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» Lisää muita tekijöitä (5 mahdollista)

Tekijän nimiRooliTekijän tyyppiKoskeeko teosta?Tila
Dorothy Dunnettensisijainen tekijäkaikki painoksetcalculated
Monteath, DavidKertojamuu tekijäeräät painoksetvahvistettu
Napier, AndrewKertojamuu tekijäeräät painoksetvahvistettu

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Englanninkielinen Wikipedia (2)

For the first time Dunnett's "Lymond Chronicles" are available in the United States in quality paperback editions. Pawn in Frankincense is the fourth in the legendary "Lymond Chronicles," Somewhere within the bejeweled labyrinth of the Ottoman empire, a child is hidden. Now his father, Francis Crawford of Lymond, soldier of fortune and the exiled heir of Scottish nobility, is searching for him while ostensibly engaged on a mission to the Turkish Sultan. At stake is a pawn in a cutthroat game whose gambits include treason, enslavement, and murder. With a Foreword by the author.

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