My love for the series started quite accidentally. I was browsing in an old bookshop when my gaze fell upon The Game of Kings, the first book in the series, and found myself thinking that the title sounded familiar. Upon reading the blurb I realised it wasn’t what I expected at all—it was about a minor nobleman turned outlaw in 1547 Edinburgh who was trying to trace three men. I considered it for a while. On one hand, if the title stuck to mind it probably was because someone had recommended it. On the other hand, I didn’t even read much historical fiction (my primary genre of choice had always been science fiction and fantasy), and knew nothing at all about 16th century Scotland.
It was on sale. The cover had a castle and horses. Maybe it’ll have interesting sword fights, I thought, so I picked the book up, paid for it, and took it home with me.
Thus began my love affair with the Lymond Chronicles by Dorothy Dunnett.
We decided to go up Arthur’s Seat, my friends and I, that first time I visited Edinburgh. It wasn’t a difficult climb, but somehow we managed to choose one of the harder trails, and we kept being smothered by the wind as it rustled through the grass and heather. Barely anyone was using the trail, but when we came nearer to the peak there were loads of people on the mountain, and they were all coming up from the side pictured in the photo. I believe that’s Dunsapie Loch in the distance.
It was a sunny day, probably a bit warm for September. I can’t recall whether it was a weekend, but there were families hiking up, senior citizens, groups of kids. And us, of course, the perpetually awed tourists, some of us not in appropriate footwear, but I had given up trying to drill any sense into my companions.
The view was lovely. We could see very far into the distance thanks to the good weather, but my geography of the region was (and is still) too poor to be able to pinpoint any major landmarks.