Francis Crawford of Lymond revealed as favourite character from a Scottish book
- Eszter Simor
- 28 November 2014
Runner up is Irvine Welsh's Begbie, with Rebus in third place and Sherlock Holmes in fourth
Who is the world’s most beloved Scottish book character? According to a poll by the Scottish Book Trust, it’s none other than Francis Crawford of Lymond, the central figure of the historical novel series The Lymond Chronicles by Dorothy Dunnett. Interestingly, this lesser-known 16th century nobleman beat all time favourites like Sherlock Holmes (Arthur Conan Doyle’s detective just missed out on a podium place) and Harry Potter (J.K. Rowling’s young wizard only earned 10th place, and even his sidekick, Hermione Granger came before him).
The poll was carried out as part of the Book Week Scotland 2014, which comes to an end on Sunday 30 November. The ten favourite characters from a Scottish Book, according to the poll, are:
1. Francis Crawford of Lymond (Dorothy Dunnett)
2. Begbie (Irvine Welsh)
3. Rebus (Ian Rankin)
4. Sherlock Holmes (Arthur Conan Doyle)
5. Chris Guthrie (Lewis Grassic Gibbon)
6. Hermione Granger (J K Rowling)
7. Katie Morag (Mairi Hedderwick)
8. Jean Brodie (Muriel Spark)
9 & 10. Oor Wullie (D.C. Thomson) – 223 and Harry Potter (J K Rowling) – 223
Marc Lambert, director of Scottish Book Trust, put the less famous figure’s win down to Dorothy Dunnett’s enduring popularity and devoted fans, and interpreted it as a testament to the strength of Scottish writing talent.
Who is Francis Crawford of Lymond?
Dorothy Dunnett was a prolific historical novelist. She wrote about Francis Crawford of Lymond through six novels in The Lymond Chronicles series, published in the 1960s and 70s and set in the 16th century. Lymond is a versatile hero; not only a nobleman, but a scholar and a soldier.
In the first novel, The Game of Kings (1961), he sets out for revenge against a man who turned him into an outlaw in Scotland. But that’s just the beginning. Through his colourful adventures – during which he tries to save the Scottish Queen (Queens' Play, 1964), fight back a Turkish siege (The Disorderly Knights, 1966) or turn Russia into a modern state (The Ringed Castle, 1971) – readers travel around the whole world with him.