Lymond Chronicles Book Covers

Anyone who has worked in publishing or bookselling knows that publishers' ideas of suitable covers for their authors' books can be, shall we say, a little erratic!

The authors themselves seldom have any say in the process and all too often the illustrators have at best a sketchy idea of the contents of the books. This can result on some very inappropriate results.

Dorothy's books have had many different covers over the six decades since Game of Kings was first published - some of them extremely polished and elegant, and some of them utterly laughable. In general the House of Niccolo has been rather better served, partly because by that point Dorothy, very unusually, did have some influence on them. However The Lymond Chronicles, perhaps because some publishers tried to portray them as romantic rather than historical in nature, have suffered some hilariously bizarre treatments.

Here they are all the covers I've been able to collect so far, presented oldest first. There are a few missing - in particular there seems to have been a third set of Sphere covers of which I've only found one example - so if anyone has a copy of any of them then please get in touch and see if we can scan or photograph them to complete the collections.

Putnam's Hardbacks

Putnam's and Cassell's earliest editions were a bit variable with little consistency. Tartan makes an early appearance desplte Lymond being a lowland Scot and the Putnam's Ringed Castle is a real over-the-top look.

Putnam's Game of Kings

The Game of Kings

Putnam's Queens' Play

Queens' Play

Putnam's Disorderly Knights

The Disorderly Knights

Missing

Pawn in Frankincense

Putnam's Ringed Castle

The Ringed Castle

More like Gandalf than Lymond!

Putnam's Checkmate

Checkmate

Cassell Hardbacks - first covers

The first two are rather odd drawings that look like they're from widely different time periods, but Disorderly Knights isn't bad and both Pawn in Frankincense and Ringed Castle have a certain watercolour charm - though in rather different styles. However they seem to have run out of ideas for Checkmate and used one very similar to the Putnam's cover

Cassell Game of Kings

The Game of Kings

Cassell Queens' Play

Queens' Play

Cassell Disorderly Knights

The Disorderly Knights

Pawn in Frankincense - Cassell

Pawn in Frankincense

Cassell Ringed Castle

The Ringed Castle

Cassell Checkmate

Checkmate

 

Fawcett Popular Library - paperbacks

This is where things start to get a bit flowery.

Popular Library Game of Kings

Game of Kings

A castle straight out of Disney, more tartan, and a Spanish-looking girl with improbable costume.

Popular Library Queens' Play

Queens' Play

We seem to have turned back the clock to medieaval times for this one - more like Ivanhoe than Lymond.

Disorderly Knights

Has anyone ever tried walking across Scottish moorland carrying someone?! You'd sink up to your waist!

Popular Library Pawn in Frankincense

Pawn in Frankincense

Now we seem to be in Poldark territory with Demelza.

Popular Library Ringed Castle

Ringed Castle

Improved costumes but that's rather a big castle for Hadrian's Wall

Popular Library Checkmate

Checkmate

Lymond's gone brown and Phillipa seems to be a redhead. Not sure where the deer fit in.

 

Sphere - early editions - paperbacks

Sphere Game of Kings

Game of Kings

There's that castle again and this time Lymond's turned redhead and seems to be with Sophia Loren

Sphere Queens' Play

Queens' Play

Sphere Disorderly Knights

Disorderly Knights

Presumably this same rider, whoever he is, has ridden from France to Malta

Sphere Pawn in Frankincense

Pawn in Frankincense

Richard and Agnes Herries seem to have been moved to Istamboul, and she has a dreadful crick in her neck

Sphere Ringed Castle

Ringed Castle

Lymond in a kilt, outside a castle in the desert, with a wild-looking gypsy girl. Amazing place Russia.

Missing

Checkmate

 

Warner

Warner Game of Kings

Game of Kings

Funny but I don't recall Lymond wearing a red beret and tartan trews in any of the books

Warner Queens' Play

Queens' Play

Back to the lances and warhorses again

Warner Disorderly Knights

Disorderly Knights

Pirates of the Caribbean! Johnny Depp as Jerott anyone?

Warner Pawn in Frankincense

Pawn in Frankincense

Hi-ho Silver, away! Funny costume for the Seraglio too.

Warner Ringed Castle

Ringed Castle

Wow, this one's actually close to appropriate. Must be a mistake.

Warner Checkmate

Checkmate

I never thought of Donny Osmond to play Lymond...

 

 

Sphere - later editions - paperbacks

Sphere Game of Kings

Game of Kings

Well Lymond did say that yellow didn't suit Mariotta. But would Will have guessed he was about 60?

Sphere Queens' Play

Queens' Play

Missing

Disorderly Knights

Sphere Pawn in Frankincense

Pawn in Frankincense

I think we've stumbled into an episode of Dune.

Sphere Ringed Castle

Ringed Castle

Guzel doesn't seem to feel tthe cold! But Lymond seems to be ageing rapidly.

Sphere Checkmate

Checkmate

And putting on weight! Francis channelling Fat Father Jordan.

 

Century

The last two I've found from this set are actually fairly realistic. Makes a nice change. Unfortunately missing the first three so far.

Game of Kings

Missing

Queens' Play

Missing

Disorderly Knights

Missing

Century Pawn in Frankincense

Pawn in Frankincense

Bit of a Spanish feel on this one.

Century Ringed Castle

Ringed Castle

But this is much better

Century Checkmate

Checkmate

and this could be before the Traboules incident

 

Arrow

These are actually the best attempt at picturing our hero so far, and at the right sort of age. I particularly like Queens' Play and Ringed Castle, though Lymond's face in Disorderly Knights and Checkmate seems different to the others, and maybe has a hint of Peter O'Toole about it.

Arrow Game of Kings

The Game of Kings

Arrow Queens' Play

Queens' Play

Arrow Disorderly Knights

The Disorderly Knights

Arrow Pawn in Frankincense

Pawn in Frankincense

Arrow Ringed Castle

The Ringed Castle

Arrow Checkmate

Checkmate

 

Arrow later paperbacks

Original and attractive designs by Andrew Skilliter, with input from Dorothy, which is very rare. Apparently they were originally designed so that the entire series could be put together side-by-side into a banner and the background colours would blend in that format, which is a lovely idea, but the banner was never printed.

Game of Kings - Arrow

Game of Kings

Queens' Play - Arrow

Queens' Play

The Disorderly Knights - Arrow

The Disorderly Knights

Pawn in Frankincense - Arrow

Pawn in Frankincense

The Ringed Castle - Arrow

The Ringed Castle

Checkmate - Arrow

Checkmate

 

Michael Joseph trade paperbacks and Penguin paperbacks

Michael Joseph and Penguin Game of Kings

The Game of Kings

Michael Joseph Queens' Play

Queens' Play

Michael Joseph and Penguin Disorderly Knights

The Disorderly Knights

Michael Jospeth and Penguin Pawn in Frankincense

Pawn in Frankincense

Michael Joseph and Penguin Ringed Castle

The Ringed Castle

Michael Joseph and Penguin Checkmate

Checkmate

 

Vintage

These are much more tastefully done, although it's a pity that of the six castles pictured only one of them has a connection to the books.

Vintage - Game of Kings

The Game of Kings

Dunottar Castle, which does get a mention in Ringed Castle

Vintage Queens' Play

Queens' Play

Thirlstane Castle near Lauder

Vintage Disorderly Knights

The Disorderly Knights

Hermitage Castle is also at least in the Borders

Vintage Pawn in Frankincense

Pawn in Frankincense

Castle Campbell in Clackmannanshire

Vintage Ringed Castle

The Ringed Castle

Castle Stalker in the West Highlands

Vintage Checkmate

Checkmate

Glamis Castle in Angus, north of Dundee

 

Penguin - latest editions 2018

Penguin Game of Kings

The Game of Kings

Penguin Queens' Play

Queens' Play

Penguin Disorderly Knights

The Disorderly Knights

Penguin Pawn in Frankincense

Pawn in Frankincense

Penguin Ringed Castle

The Ringed Castle

Penguin Checkmate

Checkmate

 

Russian Editions

These rather curious editions were published in Russia in 1997 and the covers were sent to me by a very interesting and well-read correspondent called Galyna who is a fervent Lymond fan and regards him as very much a Russian style hero - despite not having yet had the opportunity to read Ringed Castle. They are in fact Game of Kings and Queens' Play split into four books, with the former called Game of Kings and Game of Queens and the latter called Game of Jokers and Game of Knights.

Russian vol 1

Game of Kings

Russian vol 2

Game of Queens

Russian vol 3

Game of Jokers

Russian vol 4

Game of Knights

 

Spanish edition of Game of Kings

Juego de Reyes