Monday, November 23, 2009

The Books That I Read Over and Over, and why

I first read The Game of Kings a lot of years ago. After I read it, I stormed through the others in the Lymond Chronicles:Queen's Play, The Disorderly Knights, Pawn in Frankincense, The Ringed Castle and, finally, Checkmate. Since then I periodically reread them. Dorothy Dunnett's skill with language and character development can't be equalled. As a writer I am full of wonder at the way she controlled dozens of characters and backgrounds. When she went on to write The House of Niccolo series, I found another set of characters to love and hate (sometimes the same character!)
Dunnett had the skills to turn an imperfect, unsympathetic character, such as Lymond and Niccolo, into heroes. The villains who lurk in both books are memorable. In The Disorderly Knights, one of the most interesting characters is the golden, beautiful Graham Reid Mallett, known as Gabriel. All the Lymond books are filled wth the dangerous quarrelsome Borderers, the Scotts, Maxwells and Douglases. Niccolo and Lymond both travel through various countries, so in Niccolo's books, we see the Lowlands, Scotland, the Black Sea, Africa, Iceland.
Dorothy Dunnett
She was called, by Washington Post Book World, "The finest living writer of historical fiction."
I have friends who have never been able to get into these books. Some comments: "They're so complicated." "I find it hard to have main characters who are so bad!"
See what you think

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