|I met Dorothy only once at a book signing in Leeds following the publication of Gemini. I did not succumb to the temptation of getting her to sign ALL of my books, for which I'm sure she was grateful. I was so glad to have the chance to finally say 'thank you'. She was a warm and wonderful person, and transmitted easily her enthusiasm for so many things.
I came to Dorothy Dunnett via the Johnson Johnson books that I'd foolishly identified as 'light' reading to take my mind off my coursework at University. They certainly succeeded. I went on to King Hereafter. Niccolò Rising, then Queens' Play, Ringed Castle, back-tracked to Game of Kings and so on up the scales. Waiting impatiently for the publication of Spring of the Ram onwards.
However when I think of Dunnett my most intense memories are of actually reading the books. Some people say that smells can bring back instant recall of past occasions. I find that rereading books of such intense quality can have the same effect.
Sitting at four in the morning, throat sore and full ashtray (Sorry dreadful ex-habit), in rather sordid student digs, having read straight through Pawn in Frankincense to THAT scene. The cat I had then, squirming in astonishment as I squeezed him so hard, trying to keep the sobs down to prevent waking the rest of the household.
Sitting on the deck of a tall ship in rough weather in the middle of the North Sea reading about a certain apprentice riding in a bath, and knowing I was in for another wonderful read. Trying to prevent the library copy being covered with salt spray but unable to either put the book down, or go below where if I wasn't asleep I would be seasick!
Always, when I have to select books for awkward situations (hospital stays or training courses in strange hotels), I choose to take a Dunnett or two with me. No matter how many times I read them I have never been disappointed. There aren't many experiences you can say that about!