Francis Crawford of Lymond
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The six novels in The Lymond Chronicles series are as follows:
- The Game of Kings (1961) - Living by his wits and his sword-arm in 16th-century Scotland, Francis Crawford of Lymond is many things: polyglot scholar, soldier, poet, musician, nobleman—and accused outlaw. Lymond has just re-entered the country in defiance of the charges against him, and has two goals in mind: to find, and punish, the man who framed him for treason against the Scottish Crown and condemned him to hard labor as a French galley slave, after two years of which he escaped; and to prove his innocence and restore his honorable name. He is aided and abetted in his quest by a number of people, including Sybilla, the Dowager Lady Culter (his mother), Will Scott (Lymond's second-in-command), Lady Christian Stewart (Sybilla's blind friend and neighbour), Gideon Somerville (one of Lymond's chief suspects), and a variety of colorful characters ("Turkey Mat", "the Lang Cleg", and "Johnnie Bullo", for example) under Lymond's command. Further complications arise from the fact that Lymond's brother Richard, third Baron Culter, is relentlessly trying to kill him, while Lymond tries desperately to not only save his brother from a murder plot, but also thwart an English scheme to apprehend Mary, the five-year-old Scots Queen. A number of real historical characters appear in the novel, including Archibald Douglas, 6th Earl of Angus, Margaret Douglas, Countess of Lennox and Mary of Guise.
- Queens' Play (1964) - Lymond, his status in Scotland restored, travels to France in a surprising (and amusing) disguise on the pretext of having some fun at the expense of the country that enslaved him for two years. He soon becomes embroiled in the intrigue, danger, politics, and madcap antics of the 16th-century French Court and quickly realizes that something in the fertile flower of France is rotten. After narrowly deflecting the first of a series of assassination attempts against Mary, the six-year-old Scots Queen, he sets out to expose and capture by any and every means possible those who would do the young Queen harm. However, he must do so in the most circumspect manner, as he finds his own well-being and the lives of his friends, new and old, at deadly risk from many quarters.
- The Disorderly Knights (1966) - This part of the Lymond Chronicles finds Francis Crawford on the exotic and sweltering island of Malta, the home of the Crusading Order of Knights Hospitaller of St John; a Turkish siege is about to be laid upon Malta, and the Knights, under the rule of their Grand Master Juan de Homedes, are anything but prepared. Lymond faces a series of trials, each more difficult than the next. Whilst Malta is under attack by the fleets of Dragut Rais, trouble arrives in Scotland in the form of beautiful Joleta Malett, younger sister to the saintly Knight Grand Gross, Graham Reid Malett, a man, who, due to his reputation, is also known as Gabriel. Lymond's troubles do not end on the Isle of Malta, for Gabriel is set upon his destruction. Now begins a merciless game that will devastate all those used as pawns - a game that begins with a child and a woman by the name of Oonagh O'Dwyer.
- Pawn in Frankincense (1969) - Lymond embarks upon a hunt for the child who may or may not be his, crossing Europe and North Africa following the trail of clues his malevolent adversary has laid for him. Reaching the glittering court of the Ottoman sultan Suleiman the Magnificent, Lymond must summon all of his courage and willpower to win freedom for himself, his child and his companions.
- The Ringed Castle (1971) - Lymond arrives at the semi-barbaric court of the Russian Tsar Ivan, known as the Terrible, and begins the immensely difficult task of transforming this backward and alien country into a modern state. But circumstances - and the finger of destiny - may not intend for Lymond to end his days as the Voivode of all Russia, and he must return to his homeland one last time. There to face the family he has rejected, and the woman who calls herself his wife.
- Checkmate (1975) - Betrayed by his friends and forbidden to return to Russia for a year unless he wants to abandon his hopes for a divorce, Lymond is forced to take on the role of leader of France's armies in the war against the Spanish Empire. But here, in the country where his family roots run deeper than he suspects, Lymond will be forced to acknowledge the truth of his origins, even if that truth destroys everything, including his own mind.