Reading Is Good For You

Book Reviews, Literary News, and Thoughts on Life

Teaser Thursday (5): The Game of Kings by Dorothy Dunnett

Yes, I know once again that this is not Thursday, but due to some unforeseen family drama, I decided I’d rather take a bubble bath than get on the computer and post this last night. Sorry!

This week’s tease is from Dorothy Dunnett’s The Game of Kings, the first book in the Lymond Chronicles. I heard quite a few recommendations for this series from readers of the Queen’s Thief series, so I decided to give it a try.  I really want to like it, though I have run into a few difficulties thus far. You know there’s bound to be trouble figuring things out when the author provides a list of characters two pages long and they’re not only referred to by their given names or surnames, but by property names as well. It also doesn’t help that the main character starts spouting random phrases in French or Spanish or some other foreign language and no footnotes are provided to tell readers just what the heck he is saying. Nevertheless, I will prevail with this book. I am too stubborn to give up on it.

“Now, ” he said, putting thirteen generations of ice into his voice, “let uth thee what we have here.” And he fixed Scott with the kind of look linked with Assizes.

“You have not, of courthe, come from Roxthburgh?”

“Find out!”

“I propothe to thend to Roxthburgh to do juht that.” He paused. “Do you know the penalty of arthon and attempted murder? . . . or wath it a kidnapping? In any cathe, you won’t dithpothe me to lenienthy thith way.”

No reply.

Grey tried again. “I prethume you are a Thcotthman?”

His Lordship’s misfortune was Scott’s downfall as well. He couldn’t resist it.

“Yeth!” said Scott, and got his mouth shut for him by the buckle of his own belt. He tasted blood (108-109).


4 comments on “Teaser Thursday (5): The Game of Kings by Dorothy Dunnett

  1. Ah Yuan // wingstodust
    January 8, 2010

    *winces at all the ths* Somehow I have this feeling me and this book won’t get along…

    btw I have a blog award for you here! =D

    • Jenn
      January 9, 2010

      I’ve kept with this book, and I must say that I was a bit quick to judge it. It’s gotten quite a bit easier for me to follow (though I’d still like some footnotes). There are still times when I feel like a big idiot for not being able to understand quite what’s going on, but I’ve come to realize that some of that is intentional on the author’s part – she’s unraveling the mystery of Lymond quite slowly.

      And thank you for the blog award — I really appreciate it!

  2. Sandi
    January 12, 2010

    Of course, the “Ths” in the above quote is part of the plot. The character in question has been injured in the mouth and cannot pronounce his ‘s’. At one point he exclaims in total exasperation, “Hell and perdithion, ith there no word in the Englith language wanting an Eth?” It is actually a very funny scene, especially when Don Luis comes in to the room.

    The author reveals the character of Lymond very slowly as you have realised. It really takes until the end of the sixth book in the series before the reader really understands him, but major insights are gained by the end of this first book. This aspect of her writing style means that subsequent rereads always give rise to new insights into characters and motivations and the puzzles that underlie a lot of the action. I hope you manage to stick with the book and find an interest in reading the rest of the series.

    • Jenn
      January 13, 2010

      I agree – that scene was hilarious. I knew as soon as I read it that I had to include it in my weekly teaser.

      I think once I realized that the author was intentionally revealing mysteries about Lymond slowly and that I wasn’t meant to understand everything all at once that I began to enjoy reading the book quite a bit more.

      I do think that when I read the subsequent books in the series I will take notes on the main skirmishes and such, so I can remember what the characters are referring to when they are mentioned again. I find myself now at the end of the book thinking ‘I know what happened at Hume, but what’s this about Arran now?’

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This entry was posted on January 8, 2010 by in Action/Adventure, Adult Fiction, Historical Fiction, Teaser Thursday and tagged , , .
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