Dorothy Dunnett fans discussion

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message 1: by Sandra (new)

Sandra  (sleo) | 314 comments Mod
I thought we could discuss other books here. I am starting Guy Gavriel Kay's newest book, Under Heaven for another book club. I'm also rereading Traitor's Knot, the 7th book in the only other series I've become enthralled with - The Wars of Light and Shadow by Janny Wurts. It is also difficult reading as the prose is quite dense and the plot intricate with many layers of meaning. I have other books in my queue for this month, but doubt I'll finish them all.

My Current Month Shelf.


message 2: by Sandra (last edited Dec 07, 2010 05:45AM) (new)

Sandra  (sleo) | 314 comments Mod
One of the other DD groups recommended Georgette Heyer as someone to read when not reading Dunnett. One of her books was on sale at Audible.com, so I decided to give it a try. It's quite British and absolutely hilarious. Loving it so far. It's called Frederica.


message 3: by Grace (new)

Grace (greengrace) | 71 comments Sandra, you've got a lot of good reading ahead with Heyer. They're not all the same (of course) but there are types.
The mysteries, which I've never read - I've not even tried them for no reason I can think of.
The more serious history, okay but not her best work.
And then the romances which I break down into two categories The weak heroines and the strong.
Yeah strong girls, Frederica is a prime example. It was the first Heyer I read, way back in 1968-69??
Anyway the books are very much like fine chocolates for me, enjoy enjoy.


message 4: by Sandra (new)

Sandra  (sleo) | 314 comments Mod
Gracie wrote: "Sandra, you've got a lot of good reading ahead with Heyer. They're not all the same (of course) but there are types.
The mysteries, which I've never read - I've not even tried them for no reason I..."


Yes, like chocolates. I like that.


message 5: by Mickey (new)

Mickey | 61 comments Hi Gracie,

I really like the mysteries. The romances are broken up with the Georgians and then the Regencis.

Go here to see a list of all of her books

http://www.georgette-heyer.com/genera...

Mickey


message 6: by Grace (new)

Grace (greengrace) | 71 comments Hi Mickey,
I still break them up by heroine in my mind but yes they are really broken up by Georgian and Regency. I always can tell which period is which not by the clothes nor the language nor the hairstyles but by the current spa...Tunbridge Wells v Bath v Brighton. Of course I pay attention to the other things but GH always seems to mention 'the' spa early in each novel so its my little game.
When you mentioned GH on Marzipan I got out my copies of GH And was surprised the we didn't have Civil Contract (must have loaned it out because I know I had it) other than 2 mysteries,The Great Roxhythe and the suppressed ones I own them all. It was interesting putting them in their published order some surprised me.
I am reading the Unknown Ajax now and am really surprised how much slang/dialect there is. I've read it several times but probably not in the last 10 yrs.


message 7: by Sandra (new)

Sandra  (sleo) | 314 comments Mod
The narrator for Fredrica was awesome. Audible has most of her books but with different narrators which is disappointing. I will listen to more. I like having audio books for driving and walking. Have either of you tried Dorothy Sayers ?


message 8: by Mickey (new)

Mickey | 61 comments Hi Sandra,

Oh yes, Lord Peter Wimsey, Dorothy did read Sayers.

Mickey


message 9: by Sandra (new)

Sandra  (sleo) | 314 comments Mod
I have to add a couple of writers here who I think are complex and challenging:

Guy Gavriel Kay - I've read 5 or 6 of his books and they're layered, challenging, and fabulous. Am currently reading his newest - Under Heaven. Wonderful so far.

Carol Berg - a fabulous writer - her Rai Kirah trilogy and her Lighthouse Duology had me by the short hairs and wrung me out.

Janny Wurts whose Wars of Light and Shadows series - currently 8 books published with the 9th soon to be out - is one of the most intriguing, complex, and layered series I've read.

These are all fantasy writers, but I have heard that historical fiction fans and fantasy fans frequently overlap. Kay's books are more historical fiction than fantasy. Under Heaven is about ancient China. He writes authentic history with a fantastical twist - King Arthurian perhaps?


message 10: by Sandra (new)

Sandra  (sleo) | 314 comments Mod
I finished a reread of Disorderly Knights, found so much I missed first time through, and as usual when finishing a DD book, need a come down, so started Whose Body?, then got caught up with listening to another Heyer and am now on the 2nd one of those. I'm deviating from my planned reads for this month, *g*.


message 11: by Sandra (new)

Sandra  (sleo) | 314 comments Mod
MaryZorro wrote: "I am re-reading Pawn and know that I am getting close to the most emotional, sadist, sadistic part. So I am reading shorter and shorter passages each night. I even may just have to skip that. No..."

Oh, it's so sad.


message 12: by lixy (new)

lixy | 3 comments Just have to pop a vote in for Dorothy Sayers! Brilliant writer, and Peter Wimsey is as attractive as Lymond (certainly my favorite fictional heartthrob when I read them as a teenager) They're not necessarily all as satisfying as mysteries, but they're wonderful novels; One also learns alot of Latin reading her (and French, one of those old-time writers that don't have to translate everything and assume an intelligent reader, just like Dunnett) and there's a great ongoing romance, if you can figure out what order to read them in, to get the full progression. DO NOT watch the TV series; IMHO it is not nearly as good as the books, and noone is, or ever will be, a satistying-to-everyone Wimsey.


message 13: by lixy (new)

lixy | 3 comments On the "what else to read" thread, I humbly suggest Patrick O'Brian. Naval warfare of the 18-19C might sound forbidding and tedious, but if you can read DD, you can DEFINTELY read Patrick O'Brian, and Jack and Stephen are characters you will grow to love forever. There's a trick to it, though; much like Dunnett, you have to promise to read the first 2 books before giving up (that's only like a third of Game of Kings, altogether!), or else just start with HMS SUrprise (book #3) and stick with it for 80-100 pages or so. Like DD, do not worry about not understanding vocabulary etc. There are many, many POB companion books, fascinating in their own right, and fantastic audio versions. When I can't always deal with the complexities (and, frankly, jumping the shark) of Niccolo past a certain point, I always come back to POB.


message 14: by Sj (new)

Sj | 24 comments Has anyone read the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldan? They are also historical novels with the time traveller aspect thrown in, but even though I'm not a science fiction fan, I found them fascinating. There's not so much analyzing needed to get through them as with DD, but they are, as I remember, very well researched and give a realistic, brutal, beautiful view of life in 18th century Scotland and the Colonies with intrigue, and romance thrown in for good measure.


message 15: by Grace (new)

Grace (greengrace) | 71 comments I like Gabaldon very much...not in DDs league but very good. A lot of people are getting tired of them or so I've read but I really really liked the last one and for a change it has big time cliff hangers.
They reread well too. A couple of the later ones I didn't love so much on the first read got better on the second.


message 16: by Sj (new)

Sj | 24 comments Am looking forward to the next one after the cliffhanger from Gabaldan, but agree DD is the very best...and she has Lymond!


message 17: by Sandra (new)

Sandra  (sleo) | 314 comments Mod
I read the first Gabaldon, but none of the rest. One was enough. Don't think she holds a candle to DD. Am going to try Wolf Hall. And more of the Dorothy Sayers mysteries.


message 18: by Diana (new)

Diana (lyntochter) | 11 comments Have just seen this thread. Last year I re-read Lymond and Niccolo and then Lymond again so was really looking for a change, reluctantly! I have read a couple of Gabaldan and am undecided. Yes, great storyline but her characters don't ring entirely true. Living in Scotland, I wince at some of her dialogue. I don't have the book in front of me so can't remember a specific quote.

I have just finished the George Martin books, Song of Ice and Fire series and these I liked a great deal, although I am getting a little depressed at the number of characters he's killing off. However, his characterisation I think is brilliant. They spring off the page. I think the books are worth reading.


message 19: by Sandra (new)

Sandra  (sleo) | 314 comments Mod
I finally put Lymond aside and have read many other things since. Still cannot bring myself to read Niccolo. I started the Alexandria quartet because someone who reads Dunnett said Durrell is a match for complexity and depth. Am so far not nearly as charmed, but it is beautifully written. Am planning on reading McCarthy's Blood Meridian. I'm starting the last book in Hobb's Tawny Man trilogy and am already mad about what I see the ending is. Also have read a lot of C.J. Cherryh, and have reread Janny Wurts Wars of Light and Shadow series - the only series to grab me at the same depth as Lymond. She came out with the newest book this year, so I needed to refresh my memory to be prepared. And it was awesome.


message 20: by Zorro (new)

Zorro (zorrom) I think you probably know that Cormac McCarty's Blood Meridian is very violent and is his masterpiece as far as the scholars at http://www.cormacmccarthy.com/ are concerned.

Cities of the Plain is coming out as a movie in 2012, I see.

I have read all of the Western CM novels.


message 21: by Tracy (new)

Tracy I have read 5 of the Lymond books in the past year and desperately needed to take a break. Since "Checkmate" is the final Lymond book, I am saving it like a special box of chocolates!

The suggestion to try Georgette Heyer as a break from intense books is a good one. I've read several recently and they are well-written and delightfully fun. The supporting characters are especially good: quirky and odd at times. That may be where people see a similarity to Jane Austen, besides the Regency time period. I'm currently reading a Heyer biography, "The Private World of Georgette Heyer" and a Victorian sensation novel called "Lady Audley's Secret."

Also, I really loved Cormac McCarthy's books. They combine terror/violence and beauty in a way many writers cannot pull off.


message 22: by Alison (new)

Alison | 8 comments Hi all,

I have just discovered Goodreads and of course straight away typed in Dorothy Dunnett:). I have been reading DD since the late 70's and usually get through both series every three years or so. My children used to live on toasted sandwiches and cornflakes when I was in a DD phase.

A suggested read for DD fans is the Amelia Peabody series by Elizabeth Peters. Amelia's son is a very Lymondian type character.

Cheers,
Alison


message 23: by Sandra (new)

Sandra  (sleo) | 314 comments Mod
Hi Alison! I love the Amelia Peabody series. Delightful.


message 24: by Zorro (new)

Zorro (zorrom) and I have just read the first book of the series. Fun!


message 25: by Sandra (new)

Sandra  (sleo) | 314 comments Mod
Yes, they are fun.


message 26: by Diana (new)

Diana (lyntochter) | 11 comments I have never read any, must look out for them.


jrendocrine ?u get guns-we get forced pregnancy?? | 7 comments the Grand Sophy (Heyer) is ABSOLUTELY wonderful. Like Jane Austen lite.


message 28: by jrendocrine ?u get guns-we get forced pregnancy?? (last edited Apr 19, 2012 05:32PM) (new)

jrendocrine ?u get guns-we get forced pregnancy?? | 7 comments Sandra - I think we like the same books. I love Niccolo - much more than Lymond - though I've heard you love who you meet first - for me it was Niccolo. And I've been besotted for more than 10 years now. You should read him, if you can tear yourself away from the blond Lymond. I love Durrell. And same with Blood Meridian, which is an absolute work of art - how ink on a page can make you so disoriented simply amazes me. Along the same lines - The Sea The Sea by Iris Murdoch belongs on the same reading list as DD.

Not in the same league, but I too like Robin Hobb (though the Dragon Keepers is a real snooze). So, on your recommendation, I am going to look into Janny Wurtz and Carol Berg!


message 29: by Sandra (new)

Sandra  (sleo) | 314 comments Mod
Jrendocrine wrote: "Sandra - I think we like the same books. I love Niccolo - much more than Lymond - though I've heard you love who you meet first - for me it was Niccolo. And I've been besotted for more than 10 year..."

True Hobb isn't in the same league, but she does create characters I can care about. I'm working up to Niccolo. I know it will take lots of energy and focus though and am currently reading fluff as I occasionally need a period of mindless entertainment.


message 30: by Gail (new)

Gail | 2 comments I've read many of the authors mentioned but also see some good suggestions. I've just started reading Lymond for the third time keeping the Dorthy Dunnet Companion by Elspeth Morrison by my side. I've also read Niccolo and even though I read Lymond first Nicholas is my favorite maybe because he struggles to find his way.
I've also read the first Patrick O'Brian book and will give him another try due to suggestion above.
Another naval series is by Dewey Lambdin - the Alan Lewrie series - a little lighter than O'Brian. And if you like that sort of thing Bernard Cornwell's military Sharpe series is also excellent.
Thanks for reminding me about Guy Guvriel Kay I haven't read him for awhile.
Glad I discovered this group.


message 31: by Zee (new)

Zee Kay (zee_kay) | 1 comments Hi everyone, another new person here (although not new to Dunnett). Stopping in to recommend Megan Whalen Turner's "The Queen's Thief" series-- it's YA fantasy and, while not quite Dunnett's level of intricate, makes REALLY excellent use of the unreliable narrative technique so frequently embraced by Dunnett. (Turner is apparently open about her total admiration for Dunnett too so that's definitely where she learned it!) The first one, "The Thief", is a little slow, until you get to the end and realize you've been reading a completely different story than you thought you were. Scratches that same itch that parts of Dunnett's plotting do.


message 32: by Alison (new)

Alison | 8 comments I agree with you totally, Widgetalley. They might be fantasy and YA but I wold not hesitate to recommend them to one and all. Truly engaging read.


jrendocrine ?u get guns-we get forced pregnancy?? | 7 comments Here's a suggestion for the hard core Dunnett fans - Tim Willocks; "The Religion". Very detailed depiction of Valetta's (Knights Hospitalier) defense of Malta in 1565 (close to the Disorderly Knights!) with a GREAT Dunnettesque character called Mattias Tannhauser. Closest to DD of anyone (I've read most of what y'all have listed above), though unfortunately still a stand-alone. Fast moving, easier to ingest for the DD tyro, and fun to recommend.


message 34: by Searock (last edited Aug 01, 2012 01:21PM) (new)

Searock | 34 comments The requests are so fab!!
I haven't heard of so many of these that just checking them all out will be an adventure.

(I'm bumping threads back onto the group page as I run across hidden ones)


message 35: by Contessa67 (new)

Contessa67 | 2 comments Try Nigel Tranter's Master of Gray series. It's hard to say whether Gray ( a real historical person) is a prototype of Lymond or an imitation, as the books were published very closely together. Gray is no Lymond and Tranter no Dunnett - but, if you avoid comparing, the three volume series about the rise and fall of handsome, Machiavellian courtier is excellent reading.


message 36: by Mackay (new)

Mackay | 7 comments Liza wrote: "On the "what else to read" thread, I humbly suggest Patrick O'Brian. Naval warfare of the 18-19C might sound forbidding and tedious, but if you can read DD, you can DEFINTELY read Patrick O'Brian, ..."

Was going to suggest these myself--yes, the only historicals that begin to equal DD. Great reads.


message 37: by Sandra (new)

Sandra  (sleo) | 314 comments Mod
Everyone recommends O'Brien, but I don't care for these books. Have read several and find them ok, but mostly they put me to sleep. Don't begin to compare with DD, IMO.


message 38: by Deeann (new)

Deeann (debbiedeeann) | 1 comments I am making my way through a list of 100 books you must read before you die. There are several lists out there with many books in common. I've combined 3 of them and made my own list, culling children's books.


message 39: by K.M. (new)

K.M. Mara | 1 comments Sandra aka Sleo wrote: "I thought we could discuss other books here. I am starting Guy Gavriel Kay's newest book, Under Heaven for another book club. I'm also rereading Traitor's Knot, the 7th book in the only other ser..."

I am happy to find others who have searched for DD's equal --an entire book club of you! Thank you for these recommendations. Books I enjoyed almost as much are by Mary Doria Russell: The Sparrow, and Children of God.


message 40: by Nina (new)

Nina Reading Mantel's Wolf Hall, first of three in the Thomas Cromwell trilogy (first and second won the Man Booker), and enjoying it. Every now and then, it makes me think of Dunnett.


message 41: by Alexandra (new)

Alexandra | 2 comments Here's a new suggestion: Lois McMasters Bujold's Vorkosigan series. This is space opera, but very well done. The characters are wonderful and the world-building is both intricate and psychologically astute. Definitely read them in order -- start with Shards of Honor. One of the later books in the series is A Civil Contract -- a clear homage to Georgette Heyer and laugh-out-loud funny. Unfortunately, after A Civil Contract, the quality takes a steep nose-dive. I also do not recommend her other novels; the quality is so different, it's hard to believe they were written by the same woman.

I also want to endorse the Mary Doria Russell novels mentioned above -- riveting and intelligent.


message 42: by Pam (new)

Pam (PamLoeb) | 26 comments Sandra aka Sleo wrote: "One of the other DD groups recommended Georgette Heyer as someone to read when not reading Dunnett. One of her books was on sale at Audible.com, so I decided to give it a try. It's quite British ..."


message 43: by Pam (new)

Pam (PamLoeb) | 26 comments I am reading it too on your recommendation. Very entertaining


message 44: by Jocelyn (last edited Mar 31, 2013 01:41PM) (new)

Jocelyn (thenovelreader) | 1 comments I will second the Elizabeth Peters recommendation, but with the caveat that her books (which I adore) do not come close to the complexity of Dorothy Dunnett. I find the Vicky Bliss series to be the most similar to Lymond Chronicles. The male lead, John Smythe (who does not appear until the second novel in the series, Silhouette in Scarlet), is directly based on Francis Crawford according to Peters. Having read the Vicky Bliss novels first, I recognized this fact the second I picked up Game of Kings and then found evidence of it later on the internet. The main romance has elements of that of the Lymond Chronicles (noble intentions, sacrifice, longing, etc.), especially the penultimate book, Night Train to Memphis.


message 45: by Pam (new)

Pam (PamLoeb) | 26 comments Thank you for these recommendations, keep them coming! I am now an Elizabeth Peters fan.


message 46: by Pat (new)

Pat (PatsyV) | 1 comments I have been a DD fan for years. Spoilt for reading anything else. But one author that comes close for me is Neal Stephenson, especially the Baroque Cycle and finish with Cryptonomicon. Fascinating series set in late 17th to early 18th century. Cryptonomicon is set in modern time but links to Baroque Cycle through descendants of its characters. At first, hard to get into just like first time you read DD and feel a little lost however good your knowledge is of the period's history, but worth persevering. Mix of real and fictional characters, broad array of threads (mathematics, physics, alchemy, architecture... On and on).

Check him out and happy reading!


message 47: by Juliea (last edited Sep 18, 2013 09:09AM) (new)

Juliea Q Smith (julieaqsmith) | 1 comments Sandra wrote: "I read the first Gabaldon, but none of the rest. One was enough. Don't think she holds a candle to DD. Am going to try Wolf Hall. And more of the Dorothy Sayers mysteries."

In my opinion the first Gabaldon book, Outlander, is the only one that is really worth reading. I really love the main characters, Jamie and Claire, but DG needs a better editor. She often rambles and puts in plot lines so ridiculous that it feels either like fan fiction or a book that has jumped the shark. Also, most of the supporting characters lack the depth of the ones in her first book.

So I like DG as an author, but I don't think she can hold a candle to DD.

I loved Wolf Hall, but like DD's books, it took me a few chapters to get into it. Stick with it, because it's a great book.


message 48: by Sandra (new)

Sandra  (sleo) | 314 comments Mod
Juliea wrote: "Sandra wrote: "I read the first Gabaldon, but none of the rest. One was enough. Don't think she holds a candle to DD. Am going to try Wolf Hall. And more of the Dorothy Sayers mysteries."

In ..."


I agree. Also, I did try Wolf Hall and abandoned it.


message 49: by Diana (new)

Diana (lyntochter) | 11 comments I agree too. Someone recommended DG but although I like the idea, I did not find the Scottish characters very convincing. I kept getting the impression she was basing Jamie on characters from 'Highlander' (the film series). Don't get me wrong, I love Highlander but the Scottish heros are a bit camped up! I have read about half of Wolf Hall but stopped to cheer myself up. Resolution - must go back to it some day. I hate not to finish a book. But just about to start studying a course with the OU so might have to postpone for a while.


message 50: by Helen (new)

Helen (helenma) | 12 comments I have read some of these, I will need to try others. Someone recommended Nigel Trantor's Master of Gray series and I agree but my favorite Trantors are the trilogy on Robert the Bruce and the single book on Macbeth. I read the Macbeth book a long time before King Hereafter and found the differences fascinating. Also has anyone read fantasy novels by Barbara Hambly? Her Darwath Trilogy is wonderful. I have Wolf Hall on my pile.


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