Jul 20, Morena rated it it was ok Shelves: historical-fiction. This review will be long because D. Dunnett had drawn me to her outlandish stories until she had outdone it and stuffed her story with something I couldn't digest. I don't think I can force myself to finish the series, In fact I am not even sure if I can read her Lymond chronicles because maybe they are more like the book 4 and 5 Let me start by stating - I cannot stand Katelijne.
Prior to the introduction of a teenage girl Katelijne, I enjoyed the series. There was the larger than life charact This review will be long because D. There was the larger than life character of Nicholas who took a while to stomach as the story grew but when equally improbable character like Katelijne was slammed into the story my teacup-sized capacity for tolerance was overfilled. It's clear that Katelijne will continue to play a major role. It makes my stomach turn as bad as when mother Marian had sex with her surrogate son Nicholas. At least in that case Dunnett had the daughters hating their mother for it and she killed Marian pretty soon.
This is not the case with Katelijne, everyone loves this chaotic 14 year old, especially Tobbie. Only cousin Jan dislikes Katelijne for the nosy busybody that she is but we are shown and told that Jan is a mediocre, simpleton, a disappointment even to his own father, while of course Kathi, this little child is THRICE her age on the inside, we are told. I didn't need another God like character. Nicholas is plenty too much. At first I thought that sly Adorne brought this teenage girl with him to Scotland, to Africa to wherever Nicholas was so that she would spy on Nicholas but that would be stupid, everyone knew that she was his niece.
The Unicorn Hunt
There must have been some other reason then. You would think that Dunnett would explain somewhere in the book why did Adorne a shrewd, wise man let his teenage niece Katelijne tag along. So if Adorne had no reason what so ever I am not going to recount the lame ones and he even knew how she encumbered him, then this shrewd man was being suddenly stupid for the sake of the plot? Don't tell me that the powerful Adorne couldn't stop his niece from joining him. It's clear that Dunnett had fun creating a character like Katelijne and she slammed her into the story where every character is a wheel.
She broke the clock thinking that a hammer strike would improve it. The story was already breaking in Africa and this finished it. Sure the turks were bad but she brushed over their acts by briefly summing up some of their atrocities. By the end of the fifth book the double standards grew out of proportion. Only mamluks were not depicted in flattering way but Dunnett was quick to remind us that they were not arabs but mongrels from all over — mostly slaves from Europe.
And of course there is also our alpha antagonist of the series: the vain womanizer, vengeful, conniving and stupid Simon who is of course blond with bright blue eyes, your typical arian precursor of everything that is wile. I would like to read more about Henry and little Jordan but I would have to suffer Katelijne again. Nov 22, Johanne rated it really liked it.
A battered and bruised Nicholas in Scotland, damaged by the events of book 4 and a long way from the aimiable, fortunate apprentice Claes. This is the 5th book in the series. I have read the House of Niccolo Series of eight books, and I have found her characters to be deep and rich. They are not without flaws and make mistakes and suffer from the consequences. She often has a grand event, for example Carnival in Venice that she describes vividly. She takes time to give rich details of the time period, her settings, and the backgrounds for her plots.
Her impeccable research is second to none. But that's not the only reason I love her work so much. What she does best is tell a great story. New discoveries, strong trade amongst a wide variety of countries from the Mediterranean to Iceland and Scotland give the characters great opportunities to make and loose fortunes.
She draws you into the book and then keeps you there like a river with a strong current that sweeps you along over rocks and rapids as well as thundering waterfalls of action and emotion. Dorothy Dunnett books stand the test of time, because great writing and story telling will never go out of style. Friends, foes and business rivals alike have different plans for Nicholas.
As does his wife Gelis: the one enemy he cannot face directly. Nicholas is as brilliant and dangerous as ever, but no longer as joyous. Driven by a range of motivations, he undertakes a series of journeys which range across Europe and the Levant. Along the way, he makes a number of discoveries, learns some painful truths and is forced to confront all manner of demons. This richly layered story is told against the backdrop of the complicated politics, religious issues and trade of the times.
Underlying it all is the enigma that is Nicholas himself: a complex contradiction of strengths, weaknesses and at times suprahuman brilliance. This is the fifth in the eight book series: House of Niccolo. I would strongly recommend anyone reading these novels to read the series in order. The plot and character developments build progressively and are interrelated.
Feb 16, Diane rated it it was amazing Shelves: historical-fiction. Another marvelous adventure with Nicholas, this time known not as Nicholas van der Poele but Nicholas de Fleury he has taken his mother's name. After the devastating news he received from his wife, Gelis, at the end of the last book, Nicholas is following a dangerous course in Scotland Forced by a promise to a dear, dying friend, he leaves his Scottish concerns and heads to Veni Another marvelous adventure with Nicholas, this time known not as Nicholas van der Poele but Nicholas de Fleury he has taken his mother's name.
Forced by a promise to a dear, dying friend, he leaves his Scottish concerns and heads to Venice and Cairo, wreaking havoc wherever he goes. The action is heady, the relationships are intense, the descriptions and sense of place and time are, again, incredibly real and wonderful. I fall more and more in love with our Nicholas as we go.
And in this book, it is the first time that we hear Nicholas's own thoughts. In all the others, we only see Nicholas through the eyes and interpretations of other characters. I am anxiously heading into the next book, To Lie with Lions. Nicholas heads, with his son, Jordan, to Iceland, I can't wait! Mar 21, Carol rated it really liked it Shelves: historical-fiction. This is the fifth book in the House of Niccolo series.
It's also the first book of the second half, and things are definitely different. Nicholas is a rather changed person in this volume - he's much more burdened by his responsibilities and endeavors, and much less happy, too.
Although the lack of happiness has a lot to do with the fact that Nicholas' personal and professional intrigues and conflicts have become much more complex, involving higher stakes and greater dangers. This new mood as we This is the fifth book in the House of Niccolo series. This new mood as well as the lack of satisfying resolutions it is the middle of the series, after all made for a less satisfying read than the previous books. Overall, though, I am still very much enjoying the series as a whole, and although I was not satisfied by the ending, I was left with a strong desire to see where all of the plot threads lead and how they will be wrapped up over the remaining three novels.
Aug 07, Joy rated it really liked it. Book 5 of the House of Niccolo series. Nicholas's third wife has been a severe disappointment to him. She has hidden their son and used him as a lever to put Nicholas through as much suffering as possible. Our genius businessman is finding his personal issues are damaging his Bank.
The Unicorn Hunt takes us from Scotland to the Sinai and just about everywhere in between. After an attempted murder in Scotland we make a short and interesting visit to the Tyrol, and Nicholas is nearly killed in Egy Book 5 of the House of Niccolo series. After an attempted murder in Scotland we make a short and interesting visit to the Tyrol, and Nicholas is nearly killed in Egypt. His wife Gelis is the evil genius throughout, but there is some question about Nicholas's motives as well.
It is his hunt for his son that keeps my sympathies firmly on his side, and makes me loathe Gelis until we see a tiny bit of her vulnerability at the very end. Dorothy Dunnett's writing, as always, shines like sunrise. Jul 15, jrendocrine rated it it was amazing. This is my 3rd time reading this series in the last 15 years. It may be the series low point, but it's still amazing.
So carefully and extensively plotted. Didn't even mind the divining this time. This book more about Gelis relationship than others, This is my 3rd time reading this series in the last 15 years. This book more about Gelis relationship than others, carefully read you learn alot.
Adorne character carefully handled. And you see Nicholas move away from people as he is just too badly treated and misunderstood. Nov 11, Stuart Lutzenhiser rated it really liked it Shelves: fiction. This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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I'm not sure how you even summarize briefly a Dunnett novel. A million things happen and very little happens - Nicholas is estranged from his new wife who has had a child - whether or not anyone gets to actually see this child is a subject of long discussion in the novel while the team traipses from Scotland to Bruges to Italy and then Alexandria and Cairo - only to then go to Mt.
Sinai, of all places, Cyprus, and then back to Venice. I'm exhausted just writing that. Many schemes get concocted a I'm not sure how you even summarize briefly a Dunnett novel.
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Many schemes get concocted and some come to fruition and others get frustrated. At the end of the book, Nicholas seems to still be estranged but at least some of his plans worked a bit. Jul 23, Ruth rated it it was ok. I found this book far more cryptic that the others in the series so far. Perhaps, I was too eager to read the tale of Claes than to understand what the hell was going on. I am starting to think that poor old Claes can surely not be such a lodestone for misfortune both of his own and others doing.
The ploy of using differing names for the protagonist depending on who and what the circumstances are does help but I started to get very confused from about P out of the mouth watering A c And the ending was not at all satisfying but does drive me to find the next in the series which is what I am now going to do. Mar 12, Anita rated it really liked it Shelves: historical-fiction.
I have long since become an ardent fan of Dorothy Dunnett's historical fiction, but I am chagrined by the enforced cooling of the hero-reader relationship in the first quarter of this, the fifth book in the series. The reader has been through so much with the hero, Nicholas, and by the end of Scales of Gold, is there rooting for him right by his side. But from the beginning of this book, the reader is thrust into the background, and has cherished notions about Nicholas' character and value tramp I have long since become an ardent fan of Dorothy Dunnett's historical fiction, but I am chagrined by the enforced cooling of the hero-reader relationship in the first quarter of this, the fifth book in the series.
But from the beginning of this book, the reader is thrust into the background, and has cherished notions about Nicholas' character and value trampled. I realise that this skilled author means to draw this reader forward into Nicholas' glow once again, but geesh! Mar 14, Becca rated it liked it. I loved this book as well as all the others in the series.
This time the setting is Scotland and there is more bitterness created between Simon and Nicolas. Also the character Kateljine is more developed. I feel like the author is holding back something with her. Almost like she has some great secret that will just destroy everyone. I'm not sure if I think of her as a good guy or a bad guy.
This book was a little hard to follow because Nicolas had so many schemes going on and then part of the bo I loved this book as well as all the others in the series. This book was a little hard to follow because Nicolas had so many schemes going on and then part of the book he has to take a break from Scotland due to a promise. All in all, it was interesting. Sep 27, Tim rated it it was amazing. Another fine tale - basically read in a fog of not catching clues and implications set by the author throughout the narrative.
What DOES stand out, is Dunnett's deep understanding of life in the late s among the civilizations around the Mediterranean Sea and her ability to articulate the societies and mores of the day. So fascinating to read of the power and intrigue of Egypt, as well as adventures in the Sinai peninsula and the port of Gaza. We read of these lands through such different eyes Another fine tale - basically read in a fog of not catching clues and implications set by the author throughout the narrative.
We read of these lands through such different eyes today, so these descriptions provided much needed depth and history. Mar 01, Penelope Green rated it it was amazing. The plotting of the characters is beginning to stretch credulity but the world is still intricate and vivid, the quest still worthy and the motivations of the key players still opaque. Dunnett's fondness for Scotland begins to show through along with the seeds of the Lymond Chronicles.
It doesn't detract from the story though and the introduction of Kateljine Sersanders and the greater role of Anselm Adorne both enrich the story. A worthy instalment. Nov 17, Miko Mayer rated it it was amazing. Found this wholly engrossing. Bought it immediately after finishing the previous book and read it in every spare moment I could create. If you're already reading the series, you'll know what this is about so I'm not going to get into summarising or analysing the plot; if you're not reading series yet and you appreciate intelligently written and constructed historical fiction, find yourself book one, Niccolo Rising, and get started!
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