Dunnett, Dorothy. Niccolo Rising. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1986.
Reason read: Dunnett’s birth month is in August.
When Dunnett finished the Francis Crawford of Lymond series she felt there was more to Francis Crawford’s story that needed to be detailed. By way of explanation she went back to the 15th century. Niccolo Rising is the first in the House of Niccolo series and features Nicholas de Fluery, three generations before Francis Crawford of Lymond’s birth. For reference, the 1459 Queen of Scots is thirteen years old.
Be prepared for high drama! Nicholas (or Niccolo or Nicholas vander Poele or Claes, as he is first called) only wants what every young man craves – acceptance, recognition, and love from his elders. When we first meet him, he is known as Claes, an eighteen year old dyer’s apprentice. Clumsy as a puppy and equally annoying, the people in his life spend most of their time babysitting his actions and cleaning up his messes. It is hard to imagine Claes’s transformation into a good-with-numbers, savvy businessman who capture the heart of one of the most prestigious women in the country. Much like 15th century Bruges’s commerce and trade, Claes undergoes a spiritual and intellectual growth. By the end of Niccolo Rising he is practically unrecognizable. And that’s when the fun starts…
As an aside, the list of characters, both real and fictional, is daunting. Read and reread this book extremely carefully. You might miss something if you don’t.
Author fact: Dunnett also wrote about Macbeth.
Book trivia: Niccolo Rising is the first book in the Niccolo House series and since they tie into the House of Lymond series Dunnett suggested reading them in the order they were written and not in chronological order. Yay! I’m actually reading them in the right order…for once.
Nancy said: Pearl said it would be a shame to miss out on the House of Niccolo series (More Book Lust p 80).
BookLust Twist: from More Book Lust in the chapter called “Digging up the Past Through Fiction” (p 79).