Dorothy Dunnett

'There are some things – the contents of a dovecote, for instance – which cannot be sold. For, as the soul to body, the birds will find their way back to their master.'
('To Lie With Lions')

The fascination Dorothy Dunnett's historical novels exert over her international readership derives from an artist's gift of observation – she was an established portrait painter by the time her first book, 'Game of Kings', was published in 1961. All the titles of her first series refer to the game of chess. She created as her pivotal character a Scottish soldier of fortune, the charismatic Francis Crawford of Lymond. His travels and exploits on land and sea in the 16th century meant that she had at her disposal the rich palette of renaissance Europe. In 1986 she embarked on the House of Nicccolo chronicles, which are set in the banking world of the 15th century, and range from Trebizond to Timbuctoo. Her books evoke place and personality with painterly sensitivity, conveying the nuances of human interplay with controlled deftness. Power, intrigue and passion drive her vigorous, many-layered plots. Dorothy Dunnett also wrote detective thrillers under her maiden name, Dorothy Halliday. She died on 9 November 2001.

Dorothy Dunnett

Dorothy Dunnett, Edinburgh, 2001.

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