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The Disorderly Knights: Third in the Legendary Lymond Chroniclesby Dorothy Dunnett
Synopses & Reviews
(Catslack, October 1548)
On the day that his grannie was killed by the English, Sir William Scott the Younger of Buccleuch was at Melrose Abbey, marrying his aunt.
News of the English attack came towards the end of the ceremony when, by good fortune, young Scott and his aunt Grizel were by all accounts man and wife. There was no bother over priorities. As the congregation hustled out of the church, led by bridegroom and father, and spurred off on the heels of the messenger, the new-made bride and her sister watched them go.
'I'm daft, ' said Grizel Beaton to Janet Beaton, straightening her headdress where her bridegroom's helmet had knocked it cockeyed. 'And after five years of it with Will's father, you should think shame to allow your own sister to marry a Scott. I've wed his two empty boots.'
'That you havena, ' said Janet, Lady of Buccleuch, lowering her voice not at all in the presence of two hundred twittering Scott relations as they gazed after their vanishing husbands. 'They aye remember their boots. It's their empty nightgowns that get fair monotonous.'
Being a Beaton, Will Scott's new wife was riled, but by no means overcome. The war between England and Scotland was in its eighth year and there had been no raid for ten days: it had seemed possible to get married in peace. Creich, her home, was too far away. So Grizel Beaton had chosen to marry at Melrose, with the tarred canvas among the roofbeams patching the holes from the last English raid, and the pillars chipped with arquebus shot.
Duly packed like broccoli into lawn, buckram and plush and ropes of misshapen pearls, she had enjoyed the wedding, and even the cautious clash of plate armour underwriting the hymns. Lord Grey of Wilton with an English army was occupying Roxburgh only twelve miles away, and had twice emerged to plunder and burn the district since October began. If the wedding was wanted at Melrose-and Buccleuch, as Hereditary Bailie of the Abbey lands, had fewer objections than usual to any idea not his own-then the congregation had to come armed, that was all. The Scotts and their allies, the twenty polite Frenchmen from Edinburgh, the Italian commander with the lame leg, had left their men at arms outside with their horses, the plumed helmets lashed to the saddlebows; and if then were a few vacant seats where a man from Hawick or Bedrule had ducked too late ten days before, no one mentioned it.
For a while, standing next to her jingling bridegroom, her gaze averted from his carroty hair, Grizel had thought the other absentees had escaped his attention. Then, as alto and counter-tenor rang from pillar to pillar, the red head on one side of her leaned towards the unkempt grey one on the other and hissed, 'Da Where are the Crawfords?'
And Buccleuch, the bride saw out of the tail of her eye, sank his head into his shoulders like a bear in its ruff, and said nothing. For by 'the Crawfords', Sir William Scott meant not Lord Culter and his wife Mariotta, or even Sybilla, their remarkable mother; but the only man in Scotland Will Scott had ever obeyed without arguing: Francis Crawford of Lymond.
And it was then, as the Bishop bored on through the pages of print which were making these two man and wife, that the Abbey's chipped door-leaf moved and a man entered, in the blue and silver livery of Crawford, to speak quietly to one of the monks. From bent h
The daring Scottish nobleman Francis Crawford of Lymond travels to Malta to assist in the battle against the Turkish armada, only to discover that the knights of the Order of St. John have become corrupt. Reprint. 20,000 first printing.
The third volume in The Lymond Chronicles, the highly renowned series of historical novels by Dorothy Dunnett, Disorderly Knights takes place in 1551, when Francis Crawford ofLymond is dispatched to embattled Malta, to assist the Knights of Hospitallers in defending the island against the Turks. But shortly the swordsman and scholar discovers that the greatest threat to the Knights lies withintheir own ranks, where various factions vie secretly for master.
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.
Table of Contents
The saltire and supporters--The eight-pointed cross--The double cross.
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