I first encountered Dorothy Dunnet's Lymond Chronicles as an undergraduate (thanks Sharron Albert, wherever you are!). They're a series of complex, intricately plotted historical novels set in late fifteenth century Europe and the Mediterranean. The enormous quantity of literary allusions and quotations in the Chronicles enticed me into a paper chase as I tried to locate Dunnett's sources. I already liked literature, but my researches introduced me to Middle Scots literature, and helped convince me to change my major from Music to English. The Chronicles are at least partially responsible for my decision to specialize in medieval English and Celtic literatures in graduate school. Though Dunnett's prose and historical detail can be slow going at first, the books really are worth the extra effort. They are truly wonderful books. The Lymond chronicles were followed in the nineties by the Niccolo series, and though all the books and both sequences stand alone, the Niccolo books are tied to the Lymond Chronicles, which they precede in historical terms.Below are a few links I've found about Ms. Dunnett's various books. If you are intrigued and can't find the Lymond Chronicles, or her novel about the historical Macbeth, King Hereafter, her sequence of historical novels about Niccolo, or her contemporary mysteries featuring the impenetrable and impermeable Johnson Johnson, at your local bookstore and library, you can order the Lymond Chronicles from Vintage at their web site (linked below), or at one of these online bookstores. I've added links to the Amazon.com bookstore catalog pages for the six books in the Lymond Chronicles below.
Dorothy Dunnett died in November of 2001; she will be deeply missed, but perhaps more importantly, she and her books will both live on in memories and in the lives of new readers.
The Lymond Chronicles and the House of Niccolo are connected, and both series rely on numerous literary and historical allusions. The two Companions books offer the sources and even the translations, for many of the allusions. The Lymond Poetry is a collection of most, not all, of the poetry and lyrics.
Morrison, Elspeth. The Dorothy Dunnett Companion. Vintage Books. 2001. ISBN 0375725873.
Morrison, Elspeth and Dorothy Dunnett. The Dorothy Dunnett Companion II. Vintage Books. 2002. ISBN 0375726683.
Dunnett, Dorothy. Compiler. The Lymond Poetry. New York: Penguin, 2003. ISBN: 0141012447.
The Game of Kings. New York: Vintage Books, 1997. ISBN 0679777431.
Vintage excerpted Chapter 1 from Game of Kings on their website.
Queen's Play. New York: Vintage Books, 1997. ISBN 067977744X.
The Disorderly Knights. New York: Vintage Books, 1997. ISBN 0679777458.
Pawn In Frankincense. New York: Vintage Books, 1997. ISBN 0679777466.
The Ringed Castle. New York: Vintage Books, 1997. ISBN 0679777474.
Checkmate. New York: Vintage Books, 1997. ISBN 0679777482.
Niccolo Rising. New York: Vingage, 1999. ISBN 0375704779.
Spring of the Ram. New York: Vingage, 1999. ISBN 0375704787.
Race of Scorpions. New York: Vingage, 1999. ISBN 0375704795.
Scales of Gold. New York: Vingage, 1999. ISBN 0375704809.
The Unicorn Hunt. New York: Vingage, 1999. ISBN 0375704817.
To Lie With Lions. New York: Vingage, 1999. ISBN 0375704825.
Caprice and Rondo. New York: Vingage, 1999. ISBN 0375706127.
Gemini. New York: Vingage, 2001. ISBN 0375708561.
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