The only reason why I hesitate giving this five stars is because I am a dunce! Seriously. At least when it comes to the period of history this book is set in, the 1540s in Scotland, because I knew absolutely nothing of it when I started and I was quite lost, quite lost, even when I enjoyed reading this very much. The wit! The intrigue! The utter perfectness of Lymond! (Though sometimes I felt like strangling him.)
I'll admit to struggling with this book at the start. It's not an easy book to get into, I guess, with all the literary references (in many languages!) and the history and language in general. This book abused my poor Concise Oxford Dictionary -- I swear I came across words I didn't know on every single page of this book. I gave up trying to look things up after page 30. But I enjoyed it nonetheless.
I hear that there's a companion to the series, and it's probably worthwhile to look it up one of these days, but probably after I finish reading the series. It's kinda fun stumbling around blind. XD