Caprice and Rondo (The House of Niccolo, 7)
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With the bravura storytelling and pungent authenticity of detail she brought to her acclaimed Lymond Chronicles, Dorothy Dunnett, grande dame of the historical novel, presents The House of Niccolò series. The time is the 15th century, when intrepid merchants became the new knighthood of Europe. Among them, none is bolder or more cunning than Nicholas vander Poele of Bruges, the good-natured dyer's apprentice who schemes and swashbuckles his way to the helm of a mercantile empire.
Winter 1474 finds Nicholas exiled in the frozen port of Danzig, Poland. His Machiavellian exploits in Scotland have cost him friends and family--not to mention countless riches. As the ice melts, temptations arise. Will he assist the Muslim Prince Uzum Hasan against the Turks? Will he lose himself among the secret, scented gardens of the Crimea in the arms of a close friend's bride? As Nicholas pursues his future, his estranged wife, Gelis, seeks the truth about his past, only to discover the secret identity of his latest comrade in arms--a tantalizing ghost from the past poised to deal him the crowning death blow.
Shimmering with detail, alive with intrigue, Caprice and Rondo is Dorothy Dunnett's quicksilver evocation of a world where joy is fleeting, love is unexpected, and truth the rarest commodity of all.
said, ‘Such devotion deserves its rewards but I think, my son, that the Governor awaits us.’ And Nicholas rose creakily from his knees and followed him out of the room. Ochoa, when he limped into the commander’s office, looked the way Nicholas felt, with a suffused eye and a lot of rags here and there with dried blood on them. He was not wearing one of his hats, but a common seaman’s woollen cap, jammed on, nevertheless, with panache. His lips were pursed, stretching his rubbery skin into chasms
reading for every ambassador who comes to this country, believing the prince does not dream what the secret duties of an ambassador are: how we are expected to report on every idiosyncrasy of the land that we visit, down to the ability of the prince to hold his drink. But the boon companion is different. He is assumed to be of the prince’s own race.’ ‘Does the Book say so?’ Nicholas said. He drew on his memory. ‘The common society of nobles leads to an assumption of arrogance, and tends to
there. Travelling Europe to raise ransom money, he had come from Scotland to Bruges, and to Nicholas. ‘Claes,’ he said, ruminatively, when she reminded him. ‘He used to be an apprentice called Claes. And now he is in prison again. Should I find it surprising?’ She had enjoyed his company, despite the insistent presence of Andrea, the architect’s son, a good-looking young man of modest attributes, who nodded and smiled at Signor Acciajuoli’s every word. After the meal, his father sent him off on
Street, and Diniz and Father Moriz laid eyes, for the first time for three years, on the discredited patron they had sent into exile. Nicholas, liberated for the occasion into the luxury of Adorne’s empty parlour, greeted them mildly, in the way of a visitor renewing a passing acquaintance. Disconcerted at first, Father Moriz began, without comment, to respond in the same way. Diniz, highly uncomfortable, answered questions about Catherine and Tilde and extracted, painlessly, their stepfather’s
hardihood as Julius must have been from the day that he met her. The story was not unexpected. Establishing a separate business had not been easy for Julius. The company at Cologne did not possess the resources of Venice or Bruges, and all Anna’s own money was sunk in investments. They had no liquid resources. They were living on loans: she had borrowed the gold to pay for her share of the Fleury. Julius had considered it safe; they had successfully extended their business, and had laid out money