The Lymond Chronicles follow the exploits of Francis Crawford of Lymond, younger son of a mid-16th-century Scottish noble family. When we first meet him, Lymond (as most call him) has just returned to his homeland, despite having been declared an outlaw and excommunicate. He is an autodidact and a polyglot, with a broad knowledge of literature and philosophy, a talented musician and master of disguise, and an expert swordsman, archer, and military strategist. Using these talents, he inserts himself and his band of mercenaries into the border war between England and Scotland — though on whose side, other than his own, it's difficult to tell. He always has plans in motion, but their purpose is not clear until the end of the first book, when we learn more of his history and his true loyalties.

In subsequent volumes, Lymond travels to France, to the Ottoman lands around the Mediterranean, and to Russia. He becomes increasingly isolated and alienated from his family, his friends, and even from the woman he falls in love with, alternately seeking and turning away from what an astrologer calls the "two things you desire. The first you will have. The second you shall never have, nor would it be just that you should." Until the last pages of the last volume, the reader will be left wondering precisely what those two things are and especially which one is which. Published in the U.S. by Vintage Books and in the U.K. by Penguin Books.

  1. The Game of Kings (1961)
  2. Queens' Play (1964)
  3. The Disorderly Knights (1966)
  4. Pawn in Frankincense (1969)
  5. The Ringed Castle (1971)
  6. Checkmate (1975)