Gemini (The House of Niccolo, 8)
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Scotland, 1477: Nicholas de Fleury, former banker and merchant, has re-appeared in the land that, four years earlier, he had brought very close to ruin in the course of an intense commercial and personal war with secret enemies--and, indeed, with his clever wife Gelis.
Now the opportunity for redemption is at hand, but Nicholas soon finds himself pursuing his objectives amid a complex, corrosive power struggle centering on the Scottish royal family but closely involving the powerful merchants of Edinburgh, the gentry, the clergy, the English (ever seeking an excuse to pounce on their neighbor to the north), the French, the Burgundians. His presence soon draws Gelis and their son Jodi to Scotland, as well as Nicholas's companions and subordinates in many a past endeavor--Dr. Tobias and his wife Clémence, Mick Crackbene, John le Grant, and Andro Wodman among them. Here, too, Nicholas meets again with others who have had an influence, for good or evil, in his life: King James III of Scotland and his rebellious siblings; the St. Pols: Jordan, Simon, and young Henry; Mistress Bel of Cuthilgurdy and David de Salmeton; Anselm Adorne and Kathi his niece. Caught up in, and sometimes molding, the course of great events, Nicholas exhibits by turns the fierce silence with which he masks his secrets, and the explosive, willful gaiety that binds men, women, and children to him. And as the secrets of his birth and heritage come to light, Nicholas has to decide whether he desires to establish a future in Scotland for himself and his family, and a home for his descendants.
Gemini brings to a dazzling conclusion Dorothy Dunnett's House of Niccolò series (synopsized in this volume), in which this peerless novelist has vividly re-created the dramatic, flamboyant world of the early Renaissance in historical writing of scrupulous authenticity and in the entrancing portrait of her visionary hero. Now, in a book infused with wit and poetry, emotion and humor, action and mystery, she brings Nicholas de Fleury at last to choose his heart's home, where he can exercise all his skills as an advisor to kings and statesmen, as a husband, a father, and a leader of men--and where, perhaps, we will discern a connection between him and that other remarkable personality, Francis Crawford, whose exploits Lady Dunnett recorded so memorably in The Lymond Chronicles.
south—willing, amused or cross according to temperament—to visit, placate, explain, and gather what information they could. Tom Yare had already raced back to Berwick in a shower of Browns, with instructions to get hold of Jamie Liddell, no matter what. Alec Brown was at sea with John le Grant. The Prestons and Sinclairs stayed out of it. Colin Campbell came back from Clackmannan, not having, thank God, lost himself in the wilds of Lochfyne-side, and called a council of war in his tavern. Lang
cleared his throat. ‘A good submission, sir. We are grateful. We shall assimilate it, and return to you. As to the Duke of Albany: it is evident that King Louis cannot immediately exploit his presence, but will harbour him against the future. You say, and I concur, that King Louis must realise in the interim that the Duke possesses no value as a hostage, and will not be allowed to return merely to foment unrest. The summons for treason must stand.’ ‘But not a sentence of forfeiture, and
you manage?’ ‘I’ll help him,’ said Crackbene. ‘Jordan can lend me a hand. Was that Adorne?’ ‘Yes,’ said Nicholas. ‘They thought we had cheated them. They probably meant to kill us both anyway.’ ‘It’s the end of Albany,’ Crackbene said. ‘Whether he knew about it or not; that’s the end of him.’ IN THE CELLAR, the change in sound was odd enough to cause Kathi to put out the candle and attempt, by opening one shutter, to see beyond the bars into the precinct. The air outside was raw, and she
Church by the compassionate hands of the churchman-physician who was to be Archbishop of St Andrews, and she was held at the font by her first cousins, Anselm and Katelijne Sersanders. From there, she was returned to her cradle, while those who had attended her walked over the bridge and climbed, in silence, the winding, tree-shaded path to the unfinished church of the Sinclairs, where the northern door was hung with black and white and grey linen. And inside they knelt, still in silence, before
Scotland, your own country now. You can’t put a foot wrong. You can’t put a foot right, either, after all the drink that you’ve had. Neither can I. Gelis, we need to be helped.’ ‘Whenever didn’t you?’ Gelis said. IN BED, HOLDING him in her arms, she said, ‘Davie Simpson?’ ‘Yes,’ he said. It was warm, and the bedding was all over the floor. ‘At least, he sent the silver, although I can’t prove it. I suspect he stole the horses and set Henry on me as well.’ ‘Henry spoke up for you,’ Gelis said.