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Partita sul Corno d'Oro
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Partita sul Corno d'Oro (The Lymond Chronicles #4)

4.64 of 5 stars 4.64  ·  rating details  ·  2,119 ratings  ·  123 reviews
Inverno 1552. Francis Crawford di Lymond, soldato di ventura e rampollo esiliato della nobiltà scozzese, è alla disperata ricerca di suo figlio, un bambino biondo con gli occhi azzurri, che il suo implacabile nemico Graham Mallet, già vile traditore dei Cavalieri di Malta, tiene segregato in qualche angolo remoto dell’impero ottomano. Lymond non ha mai conosciuto il bambin ...more
Hardcover, 674 pages
Published January 1st 2006 by Corbaccio (first published 1969)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Marquise
How do you review a book for which the current rating system with its maximum five stars looks so insufficient? That’s the dilemma facing me. And as much as I think I can’t do justice to it, words might convey what the five stars can’t: explain why exactly I came to love this.

The Chronicles of Lymond had a very rough start for me, very rough; not so much for the usual reasons as for the protagonist character himself, and I was highly sceptical of the day I’d adore the series ever arriving. Like
...more
Algernon

I have run out of stars to award and out of superlatives to describe how awesome this historical epic by Dorothy Dunnett is. The previous three books were all five stars for me, but Pawn takes the game to a whole new level of emotional turmoil. Gone is the playful, mischievous tone of the youtfull Francis Lymond. Gone is, for the moment, his political ambition to make a name for himself and to prop up his beloved Scotland teetering monarchy. This time it's personal!

- 'I wish to make my fortune
...more
Sandra
Holy smokin' story! I nearly had a heart attack several times and if I hadn't been at work, I would've sobbed my eyeballs out.

And of course, now I can't stop, so planned November reads??? Bye-bye! This series is absolutely wonderful.

Why are people surprised that Lymond loves? Of course he does -- so intensely he just can't show it.

I can't say anything at all without it being a spoiler...Lymond takes a gift to Sultan Suleiman in Istanbul from the King of France chasing his bastard son before the
...more
Morgan
OH MY GOD MY HEART. I just....WHAT. SO UPSETTING. Every book I think it can't possibly get worse and then it DOES. And every book I think I can't possibly love this book series more and I do.

I think it's been years since a book has made my cry uncontrollably like I did reading this one. So heartbreaking and yet so good.

The plot is crazy as usual and this book, like the third, was action packed pretty much from start to finish. All the new characters were great, especially Marthe, who is badass
...more
Misfit
Pawn in Frankincense opens up shortly after the end of The Disorderly Knights, as Jerrott and Philippa track down Lymond on his search to find Francis' child, stolen by renegade Knight Graham Reed Malett and hidden somewhere in the heart of the Ottoman Empire. Francis uses his position as an emissary of France delivering gifts to Suleiman the Magnificent as an entrée into the mysterious world of the east as he and his companions continue their desperate search for Lymond's son. However, the deli ...more
Elizabeth
May 06, 2008 Elizabeth added it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Elizabeth by: Sherwood Smith, Ellen Kushner
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Brittany
Well, I keep changing my mind about which of these books is my favorite. This one comes up more often than others, though, so I think this may just be It. (For the curious, the books in order of quality (generally) go: 4, 3, 6, 1, 2, 5.)

In this book, Lymond finally squares off with Gabriel. Of course, there are plenty of enigmas, traps, and red herrings along the way, before everyone finally ends up in Istabul (Byzantium, Constantinople, or Stamboul, depending on where and when you are in the bo
...more
Supriya
I have NEVER read poetry so obscure that Googling it doesn't turn up at all. I can now paraphrase the Koran's injunctions on left-handed people, recite the names and succession of upto ten of the 16th century Grand Masters of the Hospitaller Knights, use the word 'corybantic' in conversation, and probably even play a little bit of chess. And for all that, my god, the book still took my heart out and ate it. I hate Lymond. HATE him.

Oh Jerott Blyth, I love you, though.
Kate Sherrod
The character of Philippa Somerville pretty well stole my heart in the second half of the prior Lymond novel, The Disorderly Knights, as I watched her turn from passionate Lymond-hater to grudging Lymond supporter largely via her well-developed sense of fair play. You've got to enjoy any character who can not only admit she's wrong, but take all the necessary steps to redress the wrongs she's done in thought or deed. Philippa is, in other words, a character with character. And she's not even a g ...more
Shannon
Please, do me a favor, and block off a significant portion of your day to finish this book ALONE. I had a busy week, and ended up only having time to read on the bus. When it got to that scene I was finding it difficult to breathe, difficult to continue reading without shaking and crying, and I had to take breaks from the scene to breathe and look out of the window so I wouldn’t throw the book across the crowded Ride On bus and break down into tears. On the walk from the bus stop to my building ...more
Danica
Oooooh boy. I feel like I'm at the top of a rollercoaster's first, steepest drop. Here I go.

Edit: ARRRRRGH SO FUCKING GREAT.

EXTREMELY LENGTHY THOUGHTS TO COME LATER.

Edit the second:

I could not stop reading this book. Stayed up until 4 am on a weeknight again, then proceeded during the next day to read it in the bathroom, over a breakfast of oatmeal, and in the car, while waiting for traffic lights to turn green. Seen by the lucid light of day this fixation seems a little overwrought. Why am I w
...more
Cphe
Fourth book in the series of the wonderful Lymond Chronicles. In this action packed adventure Francis Lymond and his entourage (for want of a better word) find themselves in the heart of the Ottoman empire on the trail of Lymond's arch nemesis, the wonderfully sinister and machiavellian Graham Reid Mallet.

Another convoluted and compelling plot, in the hands of a masterful storyteller. Well worth a look.
Jackie
The words now had meaning. All poetry had meaning, and sorrow she had never envisaged.

It would take a review approximately the length of the book itself to do Pawn in Frankincense justice, and even that would likely only capture a fraction of the topics up for discussion. I'm going to breeze past the ever-sexy brand of Orientalism, the through-line of drugs, and the beautiful and telling descriptive language Dunnett employs.

Is this entire series about a man learning, at long last, how to have fr
...more
Erica Smith
A perfect, horrible book.

(Anyone who's read it knows exactly what I mean. For those who haven't: the structure, urgency and clarity of the previous three books can be faulted; this one, no. It's completely readable and enticing down through the part where your nails are digging holes in your palms.

I meant to say something about Lymond and point of view, and I'd forgotten that this book barely ever gets into his head either: the dreadful climax is seen from Jerott's perspective. I love Jerott, ev
...more
Bibliophile
Still one of the most emotionally devastating and beautifully written novels I have ever read. There are a couple of scenes in here, that still, a dozen years and three re-reads later, make me sob like a baby. (If you've ever wondered what an ichneumon is - a kind of mongoose - or what 16 century Constantinople looked like, you'll satisfy those cravings with this book too. Did I mention how beautifully written it is?)

And Lymond … he is at his most human in this one, vulnerable, lovable and self-
...more
Korynn
This book introduces Phillippa, girl adventurer, determined to make up for her past bad behavior by finding Lymond's lost child. However, she is joined by some of the regular cast and a new character, a mysterious woman who is disturbingly similar to Lymond. The entire book is a game as the cast dashes from exotic destination to the next, unsure if they are the pursuer or being toyed with. Lymond is finally faced with a horrific choice and is it unclear if he will be able to recover.
April
This was gripping, if sometimes painful, reading. As other reviewers have mentioned, a 5 star rating feels inadequate. At this point, I'm certain this is the best fiction series I have read. Ever. Bar none.
Great characters. Ripping story. Fantastic writing. The historical elements are meticulously researched, yet woven into the stories perfectly. The books get rave reviews from virtually all readers. Many reviewers mention reading the series multiple times. I expect I will do so also. I am extre
...more
DayDreamer
So so so good. The bad part of finishing it is that I can't start the next one before the end of the holidays. Or, to be on the safe side of passing my exams, before the end of January. Which sucks big time.

Still, I got to read one hell of a mind fuck, one that I need time to process properly, so perhaps it is better this way. Or that is what I'll be telling myself for the time being.

Marthe - I see in her what most people only see in Lymond - the surface. The anger, bitterness, rough edges. They
...more
Stuart
Ms. Dunnett far outstripped the first three books in the series with this one in terms of both quality and plot.

Far from being a superbly-crafted adventurous romp with surprising depth and emotional weight, as the three previous novels were, Pawn in Frankincense is a much more internal novel. Despite a plot that spans the Mediterranean and the wonders of the court of Suleiman the Magnificent, the internal landscape of each character is explored lovingly but thoroughly.

From the struggles of Jerro
...more
Susan
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Susan
This is my second time through the Lymond Chronicles. I read them for the first time about a decade previous. Turns out, for me, that's about the perfect amount of time to have forgotten many of the twists and turns. So it's been a joy to reread them and fall in love with Lymond all over again. Ms. Dunnett has a knack for not telling the whole story right up front, she's always got a trick or two up her sleeve. So if you come to the end of this book and feel that Lymond has become something of a ...more
Karen
In this book, the light-hearted, mischievous fun of the previous books in the series is gone. In its place, we are given deepening loss and sadness. In previous books, Francis Crawford was the character who possessed secret information on which the plot turned, and that, along with his extraordinary talents, made him powerful. In this book, there are layers of secret information that give others power over Crawford, or that simply make Crawford aware that his world is not quite what he thought i ...more
Joana Leitão Teixeira
Um grande livro (para quem gosta do género!). Mais uma vez a autora leva-nos através de um jogo de xadrez muito bem montado, com reviravoltas brutais e que nem sempre acabam bem. O final do livro é triste e pesado mas não menos fantástico por isso! E tendo em conta que este é o 4º volume de uma saga de 6 ainda há esperança, que no final, tudo acabe (minimamente) bem! :P O facto de maior parte da narrativa se passar em Istambul, cidade que recentemente visitei, durante o século XVI dando vida a t ...more
Anita
Okay, six stars already. All I can say is, start at the beginning of the series, and feast!

Update, after completing the book: this book continued many of the deleriously enjoyable descriptive and action acrobatics which I've so enjoyed in this series. However, I'm always disappointed when an accomplished author resorts to horrific acts of brutality, albeit to explain the vileness of a certain character. I suppose we, as readers, get inured to this, but I fear we also consent to a certain amount
...more
Cathy
Now this is the best so far in the series. We have Lymond growing into a real, caring fellow who uses his best intellectual gifts to save as many of his friends, including his 2? children, as possible. Very emotional ending. We now really like him. Dunnett creates the mystic, etheral characters, mostly women, who seem to keep circling into Lymond's life in unusual ways. Are they real? Are they spiritualists? Are they relatives? Are they really guiding his life? A neat little mystery that keeps y ...more
Hilary
This was a devastating book about impossible choices. I'm amazed that a writer in 1969 could write so directly about child prostitution, drug addiction and sexual politics -- all set largely in the Court of Sulieman the Magnificent in the 1550s. The historical detail is incredible. The human tangle is profound.

Lymond survives, just - but other characters including Graham Reid Mallet, Phillippa Somerville, Lymond's illegitimate half sister Marthe are incredibly vivid.
Tim
Still not grasping it all, but there is a deeper appreciation for the skills of the author to tell you only so much as you need to know, while laying it all within the text (the connections, mysteries, hints) for the truly sharp reader to tease out.

This book takes it up a notch in describing both the Ottoman Empire, as well as some very sobering dilemmas that the principal character, Francis Crawford of Lymond, must make.
sarah
Actually kept me up until 1 am one night reading compulsively and weeping uncontrollably. The best one so far, without a doubt. The final showdown in this was a bit implausible but it still basically smashed me in the face with emotion.

And I don't even know where to start with the perfection of Philippa Somerville.

This series is climbing pretty high on my "favorite reads of all time" list.
Leslie
4½ stars. This fourth in the Lymond series takes us to northern Africa & Turkey at the height of the Ottomon empire, during the reign of Suleiman the Magnificent. I think the main reason I don't give this 5 stars is that I find the battle between Lymond and Gabriel using the children as pawns so emotionally difficult.
Katherine
In my opinion this book in the series blows the previous books right out of the water! It's complex and compelling, suspenseful, and intense and contains one of the most unforgettable, heartrending scenes I've ever read. Amazing.
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Dorothy Dunnett fans: Pawn in Frankincense - clock question 9 66 Sep 24, 2013 05:08PM  
  • The Dorothy Dunnett Companion: Volume II
  • The Heaven Tree Trilogy
  • The Bruce Trilogy: Steps to the Empty Throne, Path of the Hero King & Price of the King's Peace
  • The Reverse of the Medal (Aubrey/Maturin Book, #11)
  • The Emperor's New Clothes: An Interstellar Heist (Royce Ree #1)
  • Fade (In the company of shadows, #4)
  • The Reckoning  (Welsh Princes, #3)
  • The Vizard Mask
  • Turn (Turn!verse, #1)
  • Born of the Sun (Dark Ages of Britain, #2)
  • Someone You Might Have Been
8361
Dorothy Dunnett OBE was a Scottish historical novelist. She is best known for her six-part series about Francis Crawford of Lymond, The Lymond Chronicles, which she followed with the eight-part prequel The House of Niccolò. She also wrote a novel about the real Macbeth called King Hereafter (1982), and a series of mystery novels centred around Johnson Johnson, a portrait painter/spy.

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More about Dorothy Dunnett...

Other Books in the Series

The Lymond Chronicles (6 books)
  • The Game of Kings (The Lymond Chronicles, #1)
  • Queens' Play (The Lymond Chronicles, #2)
  • The Disorderly Knights (The Lymond Chronicles, #3)
  • The Ringed Castle (The Lymond Chronicles, #5)
  • Checkmate (The Lymond Chronicles, #6)
The Game of Kings (The Lymond Chronicles, #1) Queens' Play (The Lymond Chronicles, #2) The Disorderly Knights (The Lymond Chronicles, #3) Checkmate (The Lymond Chronicles, #6) Niccolò Rising (The House of Niccolò, #1)

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“The coast's a jungle of Moors, Turks, Jews, renegades from all over Europe, sitting in palaces built from the sale of Christian slaves. There are twenty thousand men, women and children in the bagnios of Algiers alone. I am not going to make it twenty thousand and one because your mother didn't allow you to keep rabbits, or whatever is at the root of your unshakable fixation."

"I had weasels instead," said Philippa shortly.

"Good God," said Lymond, looking at her. "That explains a lot.”
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“Perfectly prepared to be an eavesdropper but unwilling to look like one, Philippa backed quickly towards the door and collided, hard, with an unseen person striding forward equally fast into the room. There was a hiss, more than echoed by herself as the breath was struck from her body. Then two cool, friendly hands held and steadied her, one on her shoulder and one on her flat waist, and a low voice said, ‘Admirable Philippa. I always enter my battlefields in reverse, too. But my own battlefields, my little friend. Not other people’s.” 9 likes
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