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Pawn in Frankincense: Fourth in the Legendary Lymond Chroniclesby Dorothy Dunnett
Synopses & Reviews
The bathers of Baden in summer were few and fat. Winter was the best season, when everyone came home from the fighting, and the baths public and private were filled with magnificent men, their bodies inscribed with the robust holograph of the sword.
The pretty girls came also in winter; the unmarried with their maids and their chaperones: the matrons bright-eyed and dutiful; eager to furnish their lords with an heir.
The rule was mixed bathing. The great officers of the Church went in winter, smoothing off in the sulphurous water the ills of a summer's rich feeding; and rested afterwards sweating in bed, the warm bladders under their armpits, dreaming of Calvin. Noblemen from the Italian States and the Holy Roman Empire; from the France of Henri II and the uneasy England of Edward VI came to Switzerland for the hot baths of Baden: noblemen, soldiers and merchants, lawyers and physicians and men of learning from the universities; courtiers and diplomats; painters, poets and leisured connoisseurs of the human experience.
To trace one man in Baden at the turn of the year was a strenuous but not a disagreeable task. Neither was it impossible, even if the man were international in tongue and appearance, and had no knowledge of, or desire for, your presence. Jerott Blyth and his companion, having crossed half Europe pursuing their quarry, tried four Baden inns before locating the Engel, the largest and most high-priced of all, with the armorial bearings of all its most notable patrons studding the snow-covered front.
Among them, neat, fresh and obliging, was the familiar blazon of Lymond and Sevigny. Their journey appeared to be over.
With Jerott Blyth, innkeepers never shirked the proper discharge of their duties. To the doggedness of his Scottish birth, his long residence in France and his profession of arms had lent a particular fluency. He was black-haired, and prepossessing and rude: a masterful combination. Coming out of the Engel in five minutes flat, he swung himself up on his horse beside the rest of his retinue and led them through the slush and over the square to the far side, where the snow had been swept from an imperial flight of white steps, at the top of which was a pair of carved double doors. Jerott Blyth looked down at his companion. 'He's in there, ' he said. 'In the baths. In the public baths. In the public mixed baths. You're too young to go in.'
'I'm fifteen, ' said Philippa bleakly. She would have lied about that, except that Fogge, the family maid, was on the pony beside her. She added, 'The stable-boys swim in the Tyne.'
'In waist-cloths?' said Jerott. 'Philippa, Baden isn't the same as the northern counties of England.'
'In nothing, ' said Philippa. 'I know.'
She got in, as she had persuaded Jerott Blyth to bring her half across France, by force of logic, a kind of flat-chested innocence and the doggedness of a flower-pecker attacking a strangling fig. Then, followed by a pink, sweating Fogge, they climbed to the gallery which ran at first-floor level overlooking the pool.
The spectators walked there, eating and drinking in their clean velvet doublets and listening to the lute and viol music which ascended in waves through the steam. The discreet abundance of steam and the powerful stink of bad eggs were the first things which Philippa noticed. The next was the size of the pool beneath, and the f
For the first time Dunnett's Lymond Chronicles are available in the United States in quality paperback editions.
Pawn in Frankincense is the fourth in the legendary Lymond Chronicles. Somewhere within the bejeweled labyrinth of the Ottoman empire, a child is hidden. Now his father, Francis Crawford of Lymond, soldier of fortune and the exiled heir of Scottish nobility, is searching for him while ostensibly engaged on a mission to the Turkish Sultan. At stake is a pawn in a cutthroat game whose gambits include treason, enslavement, and murder. With a Foreword by the author.
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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