Pawn in Frankincense opens up shortly after the end of The Disorderly Knights, as Jerrott and Philippa track down Lymond on his search to find Francis’ child, stolen by renegade Knight Graham Reed Malett and hidden somewhere in the heart of the Ottoman Empire. Francis uses his position as an emissary of France delivering gifts to Suleiman the Magnificent as an entrée into the mysterious world of the east as he and his companions continue their desperate search for Lymond’s son. However, the deliciously evil Graham’s schemes lead them on from one false lead to another, as the web is spun to bring Francis and troops further into Graham’s evil web. Nothing and no one is as they seem, and the author throws many red herrings and surprises into her tale and eventually we discover that there are two blond, blue eyed children being sought. One child is Francis’, who is father of the other?
Although separated, Lymond and his followers all end up in Constantinople, as Graham’s plots come to fruition and Lymond, Jerrott, Archie and the mysterious Marthe with the striking resemblance to Lymond begin the fight of their lives in a real life chess game with deadly consequences for any who are “captured”, and Francis battles to maintain his wits against the deadly addiction Graham’s schemes have unknowingly afflicted him with.
As with the first three books in the series, Francis Crawford is a fascinating hero, and is as suave, debonair, flawed and fascinating as only a 16th Century version of James Bond could be. This book is filled with non-stop action and suspense and ends with quite a big surprise of a cliffhanger which will send the reader reaching for the next book in the series, The Ringed Castle (Lymond Chronicles, 5). A solid five stars and my favorite so far in the series.