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 Post subject: DUNNETT: PiF: Ch.29: Volos
PostPosted: Thu May 04, 2017 10:41 am 
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Clan Fraser
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Pawn in Frankincense
by Dorothy Dunnett

© 1966 - © 1994

Chapter 29: Volos

This final chapter is a distressing, yet beautiful, conclusion of the journey through the land of frankincense and myrrh for Francis, Philippa, Jerott, and Marthe.

In the previous chapter, Philippa leaves Volos with an unexpected yearning to discover the depths of the character of the man who lays unconscious and drug-addled.

Lymond, in contrast, vows never to return to Scotland and proceeds, efficiently, to meet his future with Güzel, negotiated months prior at the home of Dragüt.

While most of the chapter details Lymond’s painful withdrawal from opium, woven within its harrowing midst is a reconciliation between Francis and Marthe. There is an acceptance of their sibling relationship, along with, perhaps, the only time in Pawn where either of the two expresses true emotion.

When Lymond embarked on the search for his son, his underlying goal was the annihilation of Gabriel. Lymond was ready and willing to sacrifice all he possessed – financial and physical – to eradicate the cancerous evil of Graham Reid Mallett. Lymond never expected to live past achievement of that one goal. Gabriel’s death would signal Lymond’s own death.

Lymond could marry Philippa and send her back to Scotland socially intact: there would be no long-term repercussions as he would be dead. He could contract his future away to Güzel: he would be dead come time to fulfill his promise to her. Lymond never expected to survive, yet he remains tied to the Earth, his body an empty shell devoid of emotion, the reality of the journey simply too great for the mind to bear.

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The Ultimate Guide to Dorothy Dunnett's THE GAME OF KINGS available here.


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 Post subject: Re: DUNNETT: PiF: Ch.29: Volos
PostPosted: Thu May 04, 2017 12:27 pm 
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Clan Fraser
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Whew! It's been an emotional ride through this book. :thud:

Nice to see you join in Laura. :Melissa: Thanks for your thoughts on this chapter.

As I believe DLT pointed out a few chapters ago, with two more books to go in the series, it was likely that Lymond would survive, so that aspect isn't unexpected (at least for those reading after the series was complete). But, it doesn't sound like a pleasant experience and it wasn't what Lymond expected or particularly wanted, but we can hope that he will change his mind about that.

It was nice to have some reconciliation between Lymond and Marthe. I loved that she went in and quoted poetry with him as he suffered.

I was wondering how Guzel communicated with Lymond about plans while he was in the almshouse, but clearly he knew the plan, and Jerrott and Marthe didn't know about it because he slipped away from both of them.

As little as I remembered of this book from my first time through, I remember least about RC than about any of the books, so I really have no idea what is next for all our characters as Lymond and Guzel head off for their "journey together". :wall:


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 Post subject: Re: DUNNETT: PiF: Ch.29: Volos
PostPosted: Thu May 04, 2017 1:43 pm 
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Clan Fraser

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Thank you, Laura for bringing us the this emotional and exhausting conclusion for the characters and readers alike.

Lymond is really amazing with all he has physically and mentally endured and is now going through a heinous withdrawal from opium:"In the spirit, there is also a peculiar anguish and isolation, a madness I can compare only with the frenzy of total bereavement"(478) which is an irony since Lymond had just experienced a total bereavement so he is getting a double dose now.

Marthe finally shines in her devotion to and help with Lymond's recovery. I wonder how she knew of the Dame's passing? This suggests a supernatural connection with the creepy old girl. Why would DdeD leave all her assets to Lymond and not Marthe?

We finally see what Guzel's fine hand in things was leading to and why she did not let them escape with the children. She has much to answer for in my opinion. :(


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 Post subject: Re: DUNNETT: PiF: Ch.29: Volos
PostPosted: Thu May 04, 2017 2:03 pm 
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Clan Fraser
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Well, I'm glad I won't have to wait years for the next book as I am still very confused. :wall:
I was hoping we would find out how Marthe and Lymond are brother and sister, but now Marthe says that the only person who knows is dead? :wall:
How can she know that DD is dead? Pigeons again?
Presumably Sybilla must know something?

LynnL wrote:
Why would DdeD leave all her assets to Lymond and not Marthe?

Not that it isn't convenient, as he is out of funds, but why? :thinking:

I was astounded at the amount of poetry Marthe and Lymond were both able to quote from memory. Education in those days must have been very different to what it is now.

And Marthe flying into Jerott's arms? Did she get a dose of opium too? :lol:


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 Post subject: Re: DUNNETT: PiF: Ch.29: Volos
PostPosted: Thu May 04, 2017 3:10 pm 
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Clan Fraser
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Yay, Laura! :Melissa: :Melissa: Thank you . :bow:
Laura wrote:
Lymond never expected to live past achievement of that one goal. Gabriel’s death would signal Lymond’s own death.
Indeed, not. I've always thought FC's decisions and choices --especially the Chess game-- were predicated on the certainty he would never survive the opium withdrawal.

DLT wrote:

I was hoping we would find out how Marthe and Lymond are brother and sister, but now Marthe says that the only person who knows is dead?

I was astounded at the amount of poetry Marthe and Lymond were both able to quote from memory. Education in those days must have been very different to what it is now.
Hang in there, DLT. Answers follow in the next two books. :bigsmile:

A classical education then does not resemble ours. In addition, the fact that both remember the same poems reinforces their brother/sister relationship.

ABL: The plans between Güzel and FC were concocted in Djerba, continued in Constantinople using Mikál as a go-between. Lymond would agree to anything Güzel proposed if it worked with his intent to kill GRM, after that he didn't care anymore, and if he didn't survive the withdrawal, tant pis for Güzel.

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But the wine had been too strong for her, as it had for the others; and like the others she had stepped from the safe shores of friendship. She stood now in another country, whose sun burned and whose air was too rare for her breathing. Checkmate


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 Post subject: Re: DUNNETT: PiF: Ch.29: Volos
PostPosted: Thu May 04, 2017 3:21 pm 
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Clan Fraser
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I understand that the broad plans were made earlier, but clearly Lymond had a plan to leave the alms-house without Jerrott and Marthe knowing, there was a horse for him and he knew exactly where to go to meet Guzel. Those plans presumably were made recently during his process of opium withdrawal because before this, they didn't know if he'd be alive, where he'd be, or when he might be in a condition to go anywhere.

Thanks Lynn for bringing up the question I meant to post but didn't, which was why the Dame left everything to Lymond and nothing to Marthe. (And, how Marthe knew about her death, which was kind of strange.)


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 Post subject: Re: DUNNETT: PiF: Ch.29: Volos
PostPosted: Thu May 04, 2017 8:20 pm 
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Clan Fraser
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Laura, thank you for your summary. You touched so much in few words. Nicely done.
Laura wrote:
There is an acceptance of their sibling relationship, along with, perhaps, the only time in Pawn where either of the two expresses true emotion.
The scene was touching as Lymond heard words he never thought he'd hear.
Quote:
"You have guided me into a world which has been closed to me all my life. You have shown me that what I hold by, you hold by and more. You have shown me strength I do not possess, and humanity I thought belonged only to women. You are a man, and you have explained all men to me..." p. 483 Vintage
Truly wonderful medicine to salve the inner scars and turmoils this young hero has endured. Words to build him up after all the humiliation of the drug's onslaught.
In saying them, Marthe too must be feeling the gentleness of her words.

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"'I wish to God,' said Gideon with mild exasperation, 'that you'd talk--just once--in prose like other people.'"
--Game of Kings


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 Post subject: Re: DUNNETT: PiF: Ch.29: Volos
PostPosted: Fri May 05, 2017 9:25 am 
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LynnL wrote 'Thank you, Laura for bringing us the this emotional and exhausting conclusion for the characters and readers alike.'

I second that!! Really exhausting, this book left me drained when I finished it. So much that it was a few weeks until I felt prepared to start The Ringed Castle.

It was a powerful and moving scene, Francis and Marthe fighting death and madness together, declaiming poetry, fighting evil with beauty, with the depth of their soul. You have to believe there's good in Marthe beneath the bitternes and rancour.

At first Lymond rejected her company as one would reject facing oneself when hating oneself. But she knew better of course.

It was also moving Jerott's care for his friend, his loyalty... Well, this whole chapter felt so moving to me.

Marthe did run to Jerott's arms after, but what were her reasons? Were they the right ones? She learned that men can be trusted, and she flung herself unto the nearest arms she found (that weren't those of her brother, of course). We know that, misguided or not, Jerott loves her deeply, could she have learned to love him back in a moment?.

With regards to the final scape with guzel, as DLT, I didn't understand also how did he plan it all, being that sick? The horse, the meeting place, the date? Maybe it was Guzel following him all along...

And two things I never understood about the whole series: how people got to learn so many languages, and so much poetry, in so few years of education? And, how come it was so common for people to be unconcious after a blow, for so much time, and people around just took their pulse and forget about it? Think if you just faint a few minutes nowadays (which is not common at all) you probably will end up in a hospital with thousands of studies and medical procedures..... Is it evolution? We don't lose conciousness so easily, but if we do is more dangerous?
Just babbling, and I'm afraid I've made a ton of mistakes. It's sad to say goodbye to another book, and I can't wait for Ringed Castle group read to begin! It's been an honour and a pleasure to share this with you all.

Enviado desde mi BLU DASH X mediante Tapatalk

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 Post subject: Re: DUNNETT: PiF: Ch.29: Volos
PostPosted: Fri May 05, 2017 3:23 pm 
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Thank you, Laura, for a superb introduction to what you so aptly call a "distressing, yet beautiful conclusion" to PiF. I feel exhausted, as others have said. I simply cannot stretch my imagination far enough to embrace how it must have felt to read the book when it was first published and there was no RC as yet!

I found this chapter extremely moving. In fact, it brought me to tears when Marthe tells Francis what he has done for her. And this...

Quote:
...Marthe said suddenly, ‘How many souls on this earth call you Francis? Three? Or perhaps four?’ For a moment he looked at her unsmiling; and for a moment she wished, angrily that she could recall the question. Then quite suddenly he smiled, and held out his hand. ‘Five,’ he said. ‘Surely? Since last night.’

So few words, so much meaning. I love it.

As to the Dame...no, I don't think Marthe had pigeons this time. She says to Lymond,

Quote:
Surely you felt her [DdD] beside you when you chose Kuzucuyum? Surely you knew she was with us last night? She died when you slept, at daybreak this morning.’ He didn’t ask how she knew. He accepted what she had said because he had reason to do so,...

There is something of mystical significance going on here, something that may offend Lymond's rationality, but something he accepts because he has reason to do so. Interesting! I imagine this isn't the last we've heard of this story line.

Also, the fact that Marthe says "Surely you felt her [DdD] beside you when you chose Kuzucuyum?" supports the Kuzum-is-Lymond's-son argument because the Dame would want Lymond's offspring to survive.

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"Look up," said the Master, "and see them. The teaching stars, beyond worship and commonplace tongues. The infinite eyes of innocence." Dorothy Dunnett, Game of Kings


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 Post subject: Re: DUNNETT: PiF: Ch.29: Volos
PostPosted: Fri May 05, 2017 4:23 pm 
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Clan Fraser
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Thank you for closing our read of PiF, Laura. :)

This was a calm ending to such a tumultuous book. I also felt that Marthe was trying to tell Lymond that the Dame de Doubtance helped guide his final decision about the two boys. Kuzum is his flesh and blood. "He didn't ask how she knew. He accepted what she had said because he had reason to do so" (p. 484 Vintage pb). Marthe has a gift which Lymond does not question, but at this point he is resigned to leave this phase of his life behind him as he embarks on another adventure with Guzel. Their plans must have been finalized a while ago and notes may have been exchanged unbeknowst to anyone in his party.

I agree that Marthe does have some good in her. She is Lymond's 'unhealthy reality" and he is hers. She is no longer the bitter woman he met at the beginning of his journey. "'. . . You see,' said Marthe. 'I am not here to mock. I have worn out my revenge. You have guided me into a world which has been closed to me all my life. You have shown me that what I hold by, you hold by and more. You have shown me strength I do not possess, and humanity I thought belonged only to women. you are a man, and you have explained all men to me . . . ' (p.483 Vintage pb). I do think Marthe is ready to forgive and give love a chance, perhaps with Jerott.

Marthe doesn't seem to care about her parentage. "The secret died with her [DdD]. It would trouble her little. She had breathed life into her puppets: you and I to discover what in ourselves we still lacked. Philippa to be gilded as befitted her spirit. Jerott. . . to be taken from you. And my lover and I to be parted" (p. 484). So her lover from whom she was parted is presumably Guzel.

Once again Dunnett describes Marthe as having a della Robbia face so like Lymond's. It was comforting to know they have made their peace with one another and that Marthe is ready to show Jerott kindness. Let's hope it lasts.

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 Post subject: Re: DUNNETT: PiF: Ch.29: Volos
PostPosted: Fri May 05, 2017 5:12 pm 
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In regards to the Dame's possible guidance, I don't recall her being a big fan of Oonaghs so her plans for Lymond's child may not have been obvious. Marthe's agenda may not be clear either. Her treatment by the Dame was quite poor. GRM was not the only one who used Pawns.


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 Post subject: Re: DUNNETT: PiF: Ch.29: Volos
PostPosted: Fri May 05, 2017 5:25 pm 
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LynnL wrote:
In regards to the Dame's possible guidance, I don't recall her being a big fan of Oonaghs so her plans for Lymond's child may not have been obvious. Marthe's agenda may not be clear either. Her treatment by the Dame was quite poor. GRM was not the only one who used Pawns.


Very true, but she did love Francis... she said so herself. So I think that would outweigh any negative feelings she might have towards Oonagh.

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“...I prize freedom of the mind above freedom of the body. I claim the right to make my own mistakes and keep quiet about them. ... My life is at your disposal, but not my thoughts.”
Francis Crawford, in Dorothy Dunnett's Game of Kings


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 Post subject: Re: DUNNETT: PiF: Ch.29: Volos
PostPosted: Sat May 06, 2017 12:06 pm 
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Some great questions in your post, lormza.
lormza wrote:
With regards to the final scape with guzel, as DLT, I didn't understand also how did he plan it all, being that sick? The horse, the meeting place, the date? Maybe it was Guzel following him all along...
I never thought of this.
It seems obvious that Lymond and Guzel had made plans, in Djerba, as everyone is commenting--a lot of 'if-then' plans, I should think. The caravan arrived, quite near to the spot--and took a bit of looking to find him. That Guzel was following is quite plausible. The wagon looked plain and unassuming, yet inside it was palatial.

What great trust Lymond had. Although I doubt he cared what happened at that point. His mission impossible had been achieved.

Clewless wrote:
Also, the fact that Marthe says "Surely you felt her [DdD] beside you when you chose Kuzucuyum?" supports the Kuzum-is-Lymond's-son argument because the Dame would want Lymond's offspring to survive.
I had the same thought. Surely the Dame would want Lymond's line to survive. It would be Lymond's blood flowing in the child, even if the Dame considered the child begotten through an imperfect match. Since there was no mention of future heirs, it was important that the true one survive. That being said, even without this last clue, I still believe Kuzúm is Lymond's child, thanks in large part to A-C's posts on The Saffron Child. A-C, thank you! :bow: :bow: :bow:

Something else, I'd like to share: I have debated with myself if Marthe would have lied to Francis in order to justify another incentive to live, or moreso to help him form a father and son bond--but then, I've no doubt. Lymond wants the money the Dame has willed to him to be used for the protection of his family. I'm not sure if Marthe would have needed to lie to him. (In the previous chapter, Lymond did not eschew holding Kuzúm and the child clearly must have gone to him without hesitation, his head on his shoulder. They fit so perfectly. It was a counterpart to the image of Madonna and Child. Here it is father and child. :<3: ) That's a portrait painter for you. I wish Dorothy had done that painting.

I also wonder if Marthe truly knew whether the Dame was there in spirt--I will give her the benefit of the doubt that the Dame might have been and Marthe truly sensed her. (Many people report sensing loved ones after their passing.)

Clewless wrote:
As to the Dame...no, I don't think Marthe had pigeons this time. She says to Lymond,
Marthe surely must have known the date of the dame's death. Perhaps, without thinking it through, Lymond just accepted that his sister knew all things about the old women who had loved him so much. Were he to given it some thought he might conclude that the Dame must have revealed the day of her passing to Marthe before the young woman left for France; off the page, the two women might have even exchanged final goodbyes.

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"'I wish to God,' said Gideon with mild exasperation, 'that you'd talk--just once--in prose like other people.'"
--Game of Kings


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 Post subject: Re: DUNNETT: PiF: Ch.29: Volos
PostPosted: Sat May 06, 2017 7:07 pm 
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NigheanDubh wrote:
Marthe surely must have known the date of the dame's death. Perhaps, without thinking it through, Lymond just accepted that his sister knew all things about the old women who had loved him so much. Were he to given it some thought he might conclude that the Dame must have revealed the day of her passing to Marthe before the young woman left for France; off the page, the two women might have even exchanged final goodbyes.


I've paid some attention to these aparent "paranormal" situations, and I've noticed, I think in all of them, that DD always left a plausible rational explanation, along with the paranormal one. You are certainly induced to believe the mystical one, but if you refuse you have the logical explanation (pigeons? in this case? maybe Marthe knew the date beforehand?) I think it has to do with the beliefs of people during that time in history... astrology, prophecies, people took it seriously.

As to the DdD inducing Lymond to choose Kuzum, one could doubt the Dame's intentions regarding a child that shouldn't have been begotten (according to her plans), but not only she did love Lymond, but if she wanted Francis child dead, then why concern herself with the search, with Guzel, with all she planned? I can't believe she didn't want the true child to be saved. She's a fervent believer in heredity and genetics!!!

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 Post subject: Re: DUNNETT: PiF: Ch.29: Volos
PostPosted: Sun May 07, 2017 1:08 am 
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Laura, thanks so much for bringing us to the end of our book - beautiful summary.

Much as I'm desperate to race onto RC, a pause to review how we got to this place is less greedy. At the end of PiF, Lymond was at the peak of physical condition after months of drilling his company, a rich man forging future as a second son, he had strong family ties and an avowed purpose to recover his child and kill GRM. He ends this book lucky to be alive physically, with huge family secrets and no purpose whatsoever than to honour his promises to KK and Philippa, because we know he's a man of honour.

I've also mentioned before I'm not entirely comfortable with the supernatural elements of the Dame, but accept that it fits the beliefs of the time and the style of the book. So I'll go with Marthe feeling the Dame's passing in some way, and Lymond does have a connection with the Dame - she read his mind after the accident and fire in Blois back in QP when he asks (but does not speak) 'take me to Sevigny'.
DLT wrote:
I was astounded at the amount of poetry Marthe and Lymond were both able to quote from memory. Education in those days must have been very different to what it is now.
I've referenced the Dorothy Dunnett Society's publication Whispering Gallery before, and a glorious article in the most recent edition by Dierdre Sergeantson titled 'That Private Labyringth - the books that made Lymond'. She explains what a humanist education would have entailed at the time Lymond - and Jerott - would have received, initially from a priest and then University aged 13 in France. The early years would have involved endless Latin, ten hours a day, six days a week. Repetition and rote is probably how Lymond came by that storehouse of poetry too. There's also a lovely bit about how the children were supposed to make notes from all the great minds and orators in their own exercise book, ready for the next step in their education when they'd create their own rhetoric speeches. Therefore you'd have a quote for every occasion .. sound like anyone we know?
lormza wrote:
It was a powerful and moving scene, Francis and Marthe fighting death and madness together, declaiming poetry, fighting evil with beauty, with the depth of their soul. You have to believe there's good in Marthe beneath the bitternes and rancour.
I agree lormza - she's not easy to like, but Marthe did not get an easy life either. And now she has neither the Dame nor GG. Her point about how many people call him Francis is interesting - there is something inherently solitary about the both of them.

Lady Jayne wrote:
This was a calm ending to such a tumultuous book. I also felt that Marthe was trying to tell Lymond that the Dame de Doubtance helped guide his final decision about the two boys. Kuzum is his flesh and blood.
Another clue or another red herring? I know DD believes she made this clear, but we're not all as clever as she is! I shall use the next few weeks to pour through The Saffron Child thread to revise, but I did find another Whispering Gallery article between DD and her editor published recently interesting too. It was my first glimpse into the writer/editor process and it showed the way at which RC was edited and amended just prior to publication to clear up a plot point. If DD was undecided as a writer as to what child would survive when writing PiF, then she threw out lots of lovely clues and misdirection which could fall either way. Lymond believes his child died; the 'mo crihdh' is something only his child should know from Kedi who spoke Gaelic. But then GRM used that line to Oonagh in the tent, so it's tainted evidence. The other thing I can't resolve is that only Kuzum has been described as having 'cornflower' eyes - so far Lymond, Sybilla, Marthe and just once, Kuzum. But he doesn't affirm to Marthe that he knew the Dame had died or that Kuzum is his child .. so Marthe's certainty could be as flawed as Philippa's.

The only thing I know with any certainty is that reading with ya'll has added so much to my understanding and appreciation for this astounding book. Thanks for sharing.


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