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The Ringed Castle: Fifth in the Legendary Lymond Chroniclesby Dorothy Dunnett
Synopses & Reviews
Not to every young girl is it given to enter the harem of the Sultan of Turkey and return to her homeland a virgin.
The most prosaic schoolgirl in England, Philippa Somerville arrived home from Stamboul in the summer, having travelled stoically through Volos, Malta and Venice where she received, with mild distaste, the unexpected bequest of a fortune. From Venice, she crossed Europe to Calais, and at Calais she took ship for Tynemouth, whence she set off for her home in Flaw Valleys.
With her rode her henchman, guide and protector, a Scotsman called Abernethy. And on Archie Abernethy's stout arm, complaining, was a two-year-old boy named Kuz?m.
Sir Thomas Wharton and his company came across them all just outside Newcastle, and since there seemed to be a great many sumpter mules and a large number of hired soldiers guarding them, he gave himself the trouble of investigating. The sight of the Somerville child, returning after two years' absence on unexplained orgies abroad, was the reward of exemplary vigilance. His companion, a fledgling nobleman from Northumberland, was inclined to be more sentimental, but Sir Thomas quite rightly ignored him. Sir Thomas halted Philippa dead in her tracks, and made her vivaciously welcome.
It was a chaste encounter, conducted with grim efficiency by Archie Abernethy, with Philippa brazenly helping him. Yes, she remembered the Whartons, beside whom her late father had often fought. And yes, she remembered Austin Grey, Marquis of Allendale, although from a viewpoint four feet high, to a target not very much higher.
The Allendale estates were not far from Flaw Valleys. At twelve, this boy had been packed off to Padua and was now returned, dark, engaging and fragile in a doublet clearly fashioned in London. Peering from under her hood, Philippa favoured Austin Grey with a generous smile and returned to the business of supporting the lies Archie Abernethy was telling.
Yes, they had just come back from Malta. Yes, Mistress Somerville had been travelling abroad with a party, including her mother's friend, Crawford of Lymond. And that-indicating the now sleeping Kuz?m-was Mr Crawford's motherless son, being taken home to his grandmother in Scotland.
They looked at Mr Crawford's motherless son. 'Who's his mother?' Sir Thomas said with blossoming interest. 'Don't tell me Lymond married before he left Scotland. Too busy with other men's sisters.'
Archie said, 'No. He didna marry Kuz?m's mother. She's deid.'
Which was true. With a charming artlessness, Philippa squashed Tom Wharton's further inquiries and, prattling, prepared to detach herself. Austin Grey said, 'You aren't going home to Flaw Valleys?'
For a moment, staring at him, she thought of disaster. Her home was burnt down and Kate dead? The Scots had come over the Border and levelled it? Kate had married again without telling her? Philippa said, 'Yes. Why not?'
And Austin Grey said quickly, 'It's all right. Your mother is quite all right. She isn't there, that's all. She's gone to stay at Midculter Castle in Scotland.'
Which was how, wheeling about, the small but resolute migration from Turkey abjured the delights of home and Flaw Valleys and turned up six days later in Scotland.
Austin Grey, as it happened, reached Scotland before them. Voluntary and kind-hearted harbinger, he took his horse over the Border and
In the fifth volume of the Lymond Chronicles, Lymond leaves Tudor England to journey to Muscovy, where he becomes advisor to the half-mad czar and finds himself caught up in the intrgues of barbaric Russia, while his enemies at home continue to conspire against him. Reprint. 20,000 first printing.
For the first time Dunnett's Lymond Chronicles are available in the United States in quality paperback editions.
Fifth in the legendary Lymond Chronicles, The Ringed Castle leaps from Mary Tudor's England to the barbaric Russia of Ivan the Terrible. Francis Crawford of Lymond moves to Muscovy, where he becomes advisor and general to the half-mad tsar. Yeteven as Lymond tries to civilize a court that is still frozen in the attitudes of the Middle Ages, forces in England conspire to enlist this infinitely useful man in their ownschemes.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
About the Author
Dorothy Dunnett was born in 1923 in Dunfermline, Fife, Scotland. Her time at Gillespie's High School for Girls overlapped with that of the novelist Muriel Spark. From 1940-1955, she worked for the Civil Service as a press officer. In 1946, she married Alastair Dunnett, later editor of The Scotsman.
Dunnett started writing in the late 1950s. Her first novel, The Game of Kings, was published in the United States in 1961, and in the United Kingdom the year after. She published 22 books in total, including the six-part Lymond Chronicles and the eight-part Niccolo Series, and co-authored another volume with her husband. Also an accomplished professional portrait painter, Dunnett exhibited at the Royal Scottish Academy on many occasions and had portraits commissioned by a number of prominent public figures in Scotland.
She also led a busy life in public service, as a member of the Board of Trustees of the National Library of Scotland, a Trustee of the Scottish National War Memorial, and Director of the Edinburgh Book Festival. She served on numerous cultural committees, and was a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts. In 1992 she was awarded the Office of the British Empire for services to literature. She died on November 9, 2001, at the age of 78.
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