The Lymond Chronicles

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Name: The Lymond Chronicles
Abbreviation(s): TLC (GoK, QP, TDK, PiF, TRC, CM), HoN, JJ, DD
Creator: Dorothy Dunnett (1923-2001)
Date(s): 1961-2000
Medium: books
Country of Origin: UK
External Links: Official Dorothy Dunnett Site, Random House publisher site, Simon Hedges' fan site, Marzipan fan mailing list
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The Lymond Chronicles is a series of six historical novels by Scottish author Dorothy Dunnett, set in the middle of the 16th century and describing ten eventful years in the life of Francis Crawford of Lymond - nobleman, outlaw, patriot, poet, musician, lover, leader of men and adviser to kings. They are written in a highly baroque and allusive style with wide-ranging quotations, often in foreign languages.

The series comprises The Game of Kings (1961), Queens' Play (1964), The Disorderly Knights (1966), Pawn in Frankincense (1969), The Ringed Castle (1971), and Checkmate (1975).

Dunnett is also the author of The House of Niccolo, an eight-volume prequel series; a standalone novel about the historical Macbeth called King Hereafter; and a series of contemporary mysteries featuring portrait-painter Johnson Johnson. However, these don't seem to have inspired the same level of fannish involvement as the Lymond books.

Lymond himself (along with his precursor Lord Peter Wimsey) has been influential in the portrayal of heroes in fiction, so that highly erudite, tortured, and deliberately-misunderstood male characters (whether or not they are blond) are sometimes referred to as "Lymond clones".


Dorothy Dunnett fandom is largely discussion-based, focused on tracing obscure allusions, discovering more about the novels' historical and geographic context, and illuminating difficult passages and unanswered questions from the books. There are several mailing lists, the most active of which is Marzipan (originally a print zine called Marzipan and Kisses, founded in 1984 and now published as The Whispering Gallery[1]), and two Livejournal communities, lymond and reading_dunnett (for spoiler-free discussion). Two companion volumes to Dunnett's work and a collection of relevant poetry have been published with the author's participation. A fandom also exists in German (more info needed).

Before her death, Dunnett attended several conventions ("Gatherings"), some of which featured performances of Francesco y Filipa, a fan-written opera based on the Lymond Chronicles, and The Nikado, a fan-written musical based on the House of Niccolo.

Fanfiction for the Lymond Chronicles exists but is rare, and seen as rather daring due to the books' demanding style and sense of closure. They are a Yuletide fandom, and a handful of stories tends to appear every year. Ishafel has created a master list of Dunnett fanfiction.

The Lymond Chronicles Tumblr presents beautiful images of places associated with the book series.


  1. Whispering Gallery, published in Edinburgh by the Dorothy Dunnett Readers' Association.