This is the second book in the famous Lymond Chronicals by Dorothy Dunnett, exploring the intricacies of 16th century history through the exploits of the soldier Francis Crawford of Lymond. In Queens Play, Crawford is despatched to France and embarks on a nightmare game of hide and seek in the court of Henri II...
©1992 Dorothy Dunnett (P)2001 W F Howes
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"A wonderfully complex, satisfying story"
One of my all-time favorite books, now in Audible. Terrific! Listening to this really makes you hear everything. Dunnett is an amazing writer, and Francis Crawford of Lymond is an amazing character. Subtle, smart and flawed, you never get bored. Queen's Play is a detailed look at the French Court and Lymond's time with them is mesmerizing and at times, hilarious. I found I got more out of the story by listening to it, because it forced me to hear every word. Although I've read this many times, I was hearing parts of this complex story that somehow I'd missed previously!
Dunnett's use of language is remarkable, reminding me at times of Shakespeare. It was fascinating to hear it read, with all the complexity of the quotations, accents, and languages.
Napier's narration was wonderful. At first I thought that he was too fast, as the action moves so quickly, it can be hard to follow. Yet as the story moved on, I found him to be perfect, as I got into the rhythm of his cadence. His accents, and his French, just added to the story.
Can't wait to listen to the rest of the series, and hope they add 'Game of Kings'.
"Lymond's back but where's Book 1 THE GAME OF KINGS"
Having anxiously waited for what seems to be forever, finally The Lymond Chronicles!
Audible, please make the The Game of Kings (Book 1) available as quickly as possible! These books should be savored in the order they were written and as I have read them in the "old-fashioned" way atleast once a year since they were originally released in print.
It is so wonderful to have the books currently available read by such an accomplished narrator. Beautiful inflexion; realistic and measured pace just as I would have imagined Ms. Dunnett to have meant.
So very pleased!! I will keep these books in "My Library" for always!
"Bear with it"
The Lymond Chronicles has been my favorite series for years and has, as trite as it sounds, become a part of my soul. Dorothy Dunnett is a master of intrigue and builds each of her characters with personality, individuality, strengths, weaknesses and a soul.
Francis Crawford is obviously the favorite character. The author takes the reader subtly through his private pain and emotional growth from what is initially viewed as a selfish, rich young man to see his hidden sensitivity and real concern for people which he necessarily buries under the guise of disinterest.
Unfortunately the narrator did not read the whole series through before he began and did not understand Lymond and so I feel some of the lines are not delivered as they were intended. The real problem for me was the accents were so realistic that my untrained ear was unable to understand a large portion of what was said.
All this said, as the series progresses, the narrator lightens up on the accent, and more importantly begins to understand Lymond and the delivers the narrative in a manner more sympathetic to Lymond's personality and emotional state.
In the scheme of things, this book is very little without the entire series, and Audible, by not having the first book to set it off does a disservice to all the listeners.
I noticed most people gave this a 5 stars across the board. I think this is because they love this series as I do and like I, would put up with anything to listen to it all.
"Wonderful to finally have Dorothy Dunnett here!"
This is such a wonderful series to read and the audio version is superlative. Andrew Naiper's narration is authentic, his accents are excellent and his characterization is totally believable. I am thrilled to finally be able to get this author's work in audio form. Her understanding of history and ability to narrate historical events in a way that makes them exciting and relevant while including fictional characters that catch your imagination and keep you listening/reading through long series and then going back to read them again makes Dorothy Dunnett the greatest author of historical fiction, IMO. I was fortunate enough to meet her in person before she passed away, and she was personally gracious and charming as well as being a fascinating speaker.
HOWEVER, I have to note that the first book in the series is NOT available on Audible. This is the second book of the series and although the quality of the writing, performance and production is so high that I think even a new listener could enjoy it, you will definitely not have the whole story of Lymond or the other characters in the book and their relationships to one another. I hope Audible will have the first book soon, because I would hate for anyone to get discouraged and not continue with this extraordinary series because they were a little lost from having to start with the second book.
Probably a book that ought to be read rather than listened to, I am sure reading these is quite demanding and challenging, keep on trying!
"Accessible at last!"
This book, in print form, has languished on my bed stand for years, but I went through the audio version like a stoner with a (patty size) bag of Doritos.
"Poor delivery of Lymond by narrator."
The book itself is fabulous, but I need to complain about this narrator. Why bother putting so much effort into all the accents, only to deliver Lymond's lines, the central and most fascinating character, in such a wooden voice? He makes our dashing hero, Lymond, sound about as interesting as a wet mop.
Also, he reads the entire book mispronouncing the name "Lymond", which is maddening. Did _no_ one notice this during recording? "Limmond" is wrong. Good grief, it's "Lie-mond."
Read the book. You'll hear Lymond as he should sound, not this boring block of wood.
"Amazing feat of cross-genre historical fiction"
It's a spy story! It's an action adventure! It's a mystery!--no, it's all of these, wrapped up in a historical novel set in the 16th century French court, where Mary, Queen of Scots is a child and the also multifaceted but unpredictable Francis Crawford takes an unexpected approach to guarding her life. Andrew Napier's narration takes some getting used to, but he's competent. Don't worry if you can't understand the French bits. This is #2 in the Lymond Chronicles, and things really start heating up in #3.
No spoilers here. More memorable characters. Lessons learned. And the hand of Fate becomes more apparent. Just read it. Read Game of Kings first. Just don't miss this treasure.
Is the pronunciation correct? Is everyone else wrong? The reading is hard to wade through.
"Great book, but narration spoils it"
I love the book, and so listen to it, despite the narration which I find unsatisfactory.
This is book two of a series; it builds to a climax in the sixth volume.For erudite historical fiction I think that, while not quite up with War and Peace and Wolf Hall and sequels, it is vastly better than most and it deserves to be much better known than it is.The books, while on one level serious, have a wonderful comical streak.
I find it hard to listen to, read rather fast and not very audibly and in a flat manner. To me the accents are over-characterised. If I didn't love the books themselves I would return them (apart from Game of King's, read by a different and excellent narrator).If the first narrator, Samuel Gillies (Game of King's), could record the other five in the series, I would buy them.
Yes, it would make a good TV series (as part of the full set of Lymond Chronicles).I have long thought that this is an opportunity being missed.
Please take more care in selecting narrators.If I were blind and unable to read, and had to rely solely on the narrated version, I would find this one really hard. Also, it sells Dorothy Dunnett short.
"Wonderful book but unbearable narrator"
This book was very much for me, but the narration is appalling. I can't imagine who would enjoy it: terrible mispronunciations really marred my ability to listen to the prose.
The narrator could have troubled himself to find out how to pronounce the names of the characters, as a start.
The question format for this review is putting words in my mouth. I love Queen's Play, but I strongly recommend that people read the book rather than listening to this extremely disappointing recording.
Please re-record with someone else!
"What a shame the narrator ruined this book"
The narrator is appalling, not sure his reading aloud is up to this story, sorry he was awful. I adore this series and I wanted to have them to dip into whenever I was walking the dog.
Sad he wrecked it
I adore this series please find someone to read them who stands a chance of making sense of Dorothy Dunnett's prose
Please , please find someone else to read this wonderful series
"Reader lost listener"
I couldn't stand this recording. It was read so quickly that it was impossible to follow. When I did catch some of the story the beautiful prose of Dorothy Dunnett was mangled. So no I wouldn't want to hear this narrator again but I m hoping the next in the series isn't read by Andrew Napier.
It's a complex novel of relationships, intrigue and Scottish history complete with a hero that was the James Bond of his time. This book really does weave the tapestry of history in vivid plaid.
"Such a shame!"
Author definitely, narrator - not if I had any choice in the matter.
Having come to these books after listening to the 'Niccolo' series, I can't say strongly enough what a poor choice of narrator has been made here. While I understand the thinking behind wanting someone with a Scots accent to narrate these books, Napier's attempts at other accents, his pronunciation and his tempo are awful. His attempt at Irish accents (of which there were a lot) was truly appalling, at times veering from Scouse to Brummie to completely unintelligible. So bad in fact that I found myself shouting at the recording for him to shut up! Was there no quality control when they were pumping these things out? It really does take away from very enjoyable tales and having just checked who narrates the remaining books in the series - I am seriously wondering if my desire to see where the author takes the story can outweigh my dread at having to listen to his performance of them.
"Found the narration difficult"
I love this story but found the narration clumsy. Try asking David Tennant if he would record it, I think he would make a brilliant Lymond.
"Who chose this narrator?"
Not if it's narrrated by Andrw Napier. I've read all the books several times.
Dorothy Dunnett is in a class of her own when it comes to historical fiction in my opinion, you can't compare her to anyone else. If you want to try more by this author, then listen to The House of Niccolo series, which have a better narrator as well as a brilliant plot-line
The first thing any narrator should do is to make sure he can pronounce words, especially names. The main character's name 'Lymond' is not pronounced 'Limmond' but as in 'Lie'mond
The pace of delivery was too fast so some words were difficult to hear with the Scottish accent, especially if listened to in the car. It was almost delivered in a monotone, with not enough differentiation between characters and the accents were not good. It was dire!!
None - everything matters. Not necessarily in this book, but something will happen later that links back to Queens' Play.
I shalln't bother buying the rest of this series with Andrew Napier as narrator as he has completely spoiled my listening.
I prefer Samuel Gillies who narrated the first book 'The Game of Kings', although he did sound a little too old for the young Francis Crawford. The overall enjoyment of that book was much greater.
This is an exciting story full of colourful characters marred by poor choices by the narrator - exaggerated accents, poor enunciation, unfamiliarity with Gaelic and French proper and place names, and at times rushed and alternately flat. Worst of all, at times Mr. Napier sounded downright bored by it all. It's a shame as a more empathetic reader with less talent and more preparation might have been less intrusive and irritating.
Terrific well researched and fascinating story that manages to survive an unsympathetic reading.. It's a pity that the person reading this didn't appear to understand or keep the continuity within the story, so you do have to struggle to follow the story line underneath at times but the story is very well worth it.. it feels at times as though in an effort not to add to much of his own personality the actor has gone too far in the other direction and somehow that takes away from the appreciation of the story. Don't let that put you off however - the story is well worth following, and a fascinating insight into Renaissance politics
Any other narrator associated with Dorothy Dunnett perhaps for a start.
Yes, I have listened to and enjoyed all the House of Niccolo and the Game of Kings.
I think the story line was thin......
Well I don't know.........
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