Book # 24 is Queen's Play by Dorothy Dunnett.
So while I liked the first Lymond book, I loved this one. Lymond, in disguise!, travels to France in the company of an Irish Prince, Phelim O'LiamRoe, for the express purpose of ferreting out a plot to kill 8 year old Mary, Queen of Scots. He's also there to protect her of course, and he does so with his usual, flashy (and yet also strangely subtle) aplomb.
This book runs from one action packed set piece to the next. All the attempts on Mary's life are huge and amazing; there's an elephant stampede, there's a hunting accident (complete with cheetah), there's a night time foot race over rooftops, there's a horse race, there's poison, there's boats and gunpowder. It's all glorious and grand.
And midst it all, Lymond plays his usual games and people are hurt and end up dead and Lymond himself nearly ends up dead a few times as well. There's the poor, sad figure of Robin Stewart, who comes to hero worship Lymond and of course, be let down. There's the mysterious Oona O'Dwyer, who styles herself a patriot and may play the game nearly as well as Lymond himself, and the O'LiamRoe himself; who goes from being a rather silly character into something else entirely.
Definitely looking forward to the next one now.