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review 2020-01-27 16:13
The Game of Kings buddy read complete
The Game of Kings - Dorothy Dunnett

This was really something of a tour de force by Dunnett. I'm still certain that I missed a significant percentage of the plot, and even more of the literary, historical and linguistic allusions. 


I really did enjoy this book, and will definitely read on in the series. Dunnett is a fearless writer - she didn't hesitate to put her characters (all of them) through a series of trials, some of which were downright awful. She killed off one character of whom I was extremely fond. I was, and still am, shocked at the almost casual speed of that particular death.


Someone else mentioned the women characters and how wonderfully well-rounded they were. I totally agree. I loved Lady Sybilla, especially at the end. 


Dunnett also very much respected the intellect of her readers (maybe sometimes too much, from my perspective, lol). She packed the book with nuggets for the discerning reader to find. I'm sure that I missed a lot of them. She also just takes off with the story and proceeds apace, reaching a breakneck speed toward the end, when the revelations and the action are flying.


The final reveal wasn't particularly shocking to me - I think that she had set it up throughout the course of the book so that it was pretty natural. This was really a swashbuckling adventure, and not a mystery, so she wasn't so much trying to palm the ace as keep it away from the characters view for a while.


Of all of the characters, Lymond remains the most unclear to me. I still don't feel like I have a real handle on who he is - he played so many parts that he almost doesn't have a true identity. He is infinitely iinteresting, and I'd like to get to know him better. 


I'm not sure when I will get to the next book, but I will get to the next book.

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text 2020-01-23 20:38
Reading progress update: I've read 365 out of 543 pages.
The Game of Kings - Dorothy Dunnett

I am bringing up the rear of the buddy read. I am really liking the book, but I've been slammed at work and so I am pretty much reduced to binge watching multiple episodes of West Wing when I get home at night because my brain can't cope with concentrating on things!


I am totally curious about what is really going on with Lymond. Dunnett is doling out information one nugget at a time, so I feel like there is going to be some huge reveal before this is over. 

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text 2020-01-14 21:17
Reading progress update: I've read 212 out of 543 pages.
The Game of Kings - Dorothy Dunnett

Just an update on the buddy read that started over on GR because BL was down on our intended start date of last Sunday! 


There are four of us reading - myself, BrokenTune, Lillelara & Themis-Athena.


The Game of Kings is divided into four parts:


Part One: The Play for Jonathan

Part Two: The Play for Gideon

Part Three: The Play for Samuel

Part Four: The End Game


I'm currently in the last section of Part Two, called French Defence. All of the titles and subheadings relate to chess moves. I don't play chess, so they are more or less meaningless to me, although even I am not such a savage that I don't know that chess has historically been called "the game of kings." This is the first in the six book series that centers on Francis Crawford of Lymond, swashbuckling Scot of dubious morality (or so it seems at this point).


I think everyone is enjoying the book. It's not an easy read, though. Dunnett has basically tossed the readers into the middle of an ongoing political intrigue without an ounce of backstory, and I'm just scrambling to catch up. It's a remarkably effective technique - she is definitely not an author who is willing to dole out information in predigested info dumps - although it takes work to read. Lymond is constantly showing up in different guises so every time a new character is introduced, my antennae start quivering. Is it him? Sometimes it is. Sometimes it isn't. Sometimes I still don't even know.


So, the overarching question is what is going on here? Is Lymond a traitor? Is he not a traitor? Is he being framed? Is he not being framed? Is he good, bad, or just terminally self-centered? Is he hero or anti-hero? I don't know.


Anyway, because it is fairly hard work to read, I'm not gulping it down in a single reading. I'd like to get to the end of Part Three tonight, but that might be too ambitious.


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text 2020-01-01 18:31
Early 2020 Buddy Reads
The Game of Kings - Dorothy Dunnett
Miss Pym Disposes - Josephine Tey

We've been talking about a number of early 2020 buddy reads!


Miss Pym Disposes by Josephine Tey and Game of Kings by Dorothy Dunnett are definitely on the reading schedule. 


In addition, the Agathytes were discussing a Christie readalong, but we haven't selected a title yet. My suggestions were:


A Murder is Announced (Marple)

The Pale Horse (stand-alone/cameo with Ariadne Oliver)

Five Little Pigs (Poirot)

Ordeal by Innocence (stand-alone)


And I'm still open to other suggestions.


So, let's pick some timeframes. Who is planning to play (the more the merrier, of course), and when do you want to do it? I already have all of the books we're considering, and I have a complete collection of Christie's full-length mysteries, so I can read pretty much everything!


Should we stagger the reads over the next six weeks or so?


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text 2014-05-04 17:52
2014 Reading List to Date
The Stockholm Octavo - Karen Engelmann
The Grapes of Wrath (Macmillan Readers) - John Steinbeck,Macmillan Readers,A.W. Steinbeck
Longbourn - Jo Baker
The Hare With Amber Eyes: A Hidden Inheritance - Edmund de Waal
Whose Body? (Lord Peter Wimsey Mysteries, #1) - Dorothy L. Sayers
The Goldfinch - Donna Tartt
The Game of Kings - Dorothy Dunnett
Tortilla Flat - John Steinbeck
The Slap - Christos Tsiolkas

So 2014 was going to be the year I tried to read my backlog of unread books.  I'm not sure if I'm going to get through all of them, but it's been fun trying. 


I've definitely enjoyed being bound by whatever the candy bowl throws at me. Although I have to confess to deviating a couple of times when books I've had on order from my library became available.


I was hoping that having a list of unread books would prevent me from buying any new ones, and to a certain extent it seems to have worked in that I've been putting books on a wish-list rather than hitting that Amazon one-click button. But every so often a book will whisper "buy me, oh please buy me", and boom, there it is, sitting in my Kindle waiting for me. 


Ah well.  At least I'll have plenty of fodder for my 2015 list.

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