Dorothy Dunnett's Books

The Lymond Chronicles

The series is comprised of six novels set in mid-sixteenth-century Europe and the Mediterranean, which follows the life and career of a Scottish nobleman, Francis Crawford of Lymond, from 1547 through 1558. Meticulously researched, the series takes place in a wide variety of locations including France, the Ottoman Empire, Malta, England, Scotland and Russia. In addition to a compelling cast of original characters, the novels feature many historical figures, often in important roles. The volumes are:
  1. The Game of Kings (1961)
  2. Queen's Play (1964)
  3. The Disorderly Knights (1966)
  4. Pawn in Frankincense (1969)
  5. The Ringed Castle (1971)
  6. Checkmate (1975)
The Lymond Chronicles, set in the 16th century, are part of what Dunnett viewed as a larger fourteen-volume work, which includes the eight novels of The House of Niccolò series, set in the 15th century. The House of Niccolò, which was written after the Lymond Chronicles, tells the tale of Lymond's ancestors in the previous century and includes allusions to events in the Lymond Chronicles.

The House of Niccolò

The House of Niccolò is a series of eight historical novels set in the late-fifteenth-century European Renaissance. The protagonist of the series is Nicholas de Fleury (Niccolò, Nicholas van der Poele, or Claes), a talented boy of uncertain birth who rises to the heights of European merchant banking and international political intrigue.

The series shares most of the locations in Dunnett's earlier series, the Lymond Chronicles, but it extends much further geographically to take in the important urban centres of Bruges, Venice, Florence, Geneva, and the Hanseatic League; Burgundy, Flanders, and Poland; Iceland; the Iberian Peninsula and Madeira; the Black Sea cities of Trebizond and Caffa; Persia; the Mediterranean islands of Cyprus and Rhodes; Egypt and the Sinai Peninsula; and West Africa and the city of Timbuktu. Nicholas's progress is intertwined with such historical characters as Anselm Adornes, James III of Scotland and James II of Cyprus. The volumes are:

  1. Niccolò Rising (1986)
  2. Spring of the Ram (1987)
  3. Race of Scorpions (1989)
  4. Scales of Gold (1991)
  5. The Unicorn Hunt (1993)
  6. To Lie with Lions (1995)
  7. Caprice and Rondo (1997)
  8. Gemini (2000)
As with the Lymond Chronicles, the series features a number of historical persons, many as important characters. Both the historical and fictional characters are, however, taken from a wider variety of occupations and social classes than in the Lymond Chronicles. There are significant differences in narrative approach and writing style between the series, reflecting in part the very different personal journey taken by the central character in each.

King Hereafter

King Hereafter (1982), her long novel set in Orkney and Scotland in the years just before the invasion of England by William the Conqueror, was in Dorothy Dunnett's eyes her masterpiece. It is about an Earl of Orkney uniting the people of Alba (Scotland) and becoming King, and is based on the author's strongly researched premise that the central character Thorfinn, Earl of Orkney and the historical Macbeth, Scottish King, were one and the same person (Thorfinn is his birth name and Macbeth his baptismal name).

The Johnson Johnson Series

This series of mystery novels was written over a long period, starting when Dunnett was writing the Lymond Chronicles, with the final book published prior to the first House of Niccolò book. The date of publication is not the same as the order in the series. Each book is set in the time it is written, and some plotlines were never resolved. Dunnett left a brief outline sketch for an eighth Johnson novel with her papers. The 'Dolly' of the titles refers to Johnson Johnson's yacht.
  1. Dolly and the Bird of Paradise (later retitled Tropical Issue) (1983)
  2. Dolly and the Singing Bird (later retitled Rum Affair) (aka The Photogenic Soprano) (1968)
  3. Dolly and the Cookie Bird (later retitled Ibiza Surprise) (aka Murder in the Round) (1970)
  4. Dolly and the Doctor Bird (later retitled Operation Nassau) (aka Match for a Murderer) (1971)
  5. Dolly and the Starry Bird (later retitled Roman Nights) (aka Murder in Focus) (1973)
  6. Dolly and the Nanny Bird (later retitled Split Code) (1976)
  7. Moroccan Traffic (published in the US as Send a Fax to the Kasbah) (1991)

The Dorothy Dunnett Companions

Dunnett helped in the compiling of The Dorothy Dunnett Companion (1994) and The Dorothy Dunnett Companion II (2002), which were written by Elspeth Morrison. These books provide background information to historical characters and events featured in the Lymond Chronicles and The House of Niccolò, as well as explanations of classical allusions and literary and other quotations used in the two series, notes to sources of these citations, and many maps. The second volume, written after the Niccolò series was completed, also contains a bibliography of many of the hundreds of primary and secondary sources Dunnett used in her historical research. Dunnett contributed more to the second volume than the first, directly authoring many of the entries.

(Adapted from Wikipedia)