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Race of Scorpions (1989)

por Dorothy Dunnett

Outros autores: Ver a secção outros autores.

Séries: The House of Niccolo (3)

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7021024,401 (4.31)12
The exquisitely-researched standalone prequel series to Dorothy Dunnett's revered Lymond Chronicles, following the ancestors of Francis Crawford of Lymond in Continental Europe. This is the third book in the "House of Niccolo" series. Set in 15th-century Cyprus, this novel continues the saga of Nicholas van der Poel, international mercenary who started out as a dyer's apprentice, as he plays for the highest stakes with the greatest super-powers in Europe.… (mais)
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Mostrando 1-5 de 10 (seguinte | mostrar todos)
Race of the Scorpions is the third installment in the House of Niccolo series. Nicholas vander Poele is a mere twenty-one years old and already a widower. His stepdaughters want nothing to do with him and summarily locked him out of house and business.
Of course there are interesting character maneuvers as well. Niccolo has a new enemy in Katelina van Borsten. She seduced Claes into taking her virginity and after their second tryst became pregnant. She ended up marrying Simon who's first wife gave birth to Claes. Ultimately, Kate married Claes's stepfather and together they are raising Kate and Claes's child, unbeknownst to Simon. All the while, Nicholas is growing in power. His business sense is blossoming which further irritates his enemies.

Dunnett continues to masterfully weave fictional story-lines around real people, places and events. It's what could have happened and probably did.
As an aside, her sex scenes are only hints of trysts and conquests, tastefully done. ( )
  SeriousGrace | Nov 5, 2018 |
The Perils of Niccolo continue. An ax is buried in his shoulder and yet he survives and perseveres. This is the third installment of the House of Niccolo series and takes place in Greece and Cyprus, where Niccolo is caught between the warring half-siblings, Carlotta and James of Lusignan, who both claim the throne. The Genoese and Venetians are here, scheming, Uzum Hassan's Turkomans are in the background, and the Mamelukes have arrived. The politics and warfare are very twisty and complicated. And so are the personal relationships. Simon St. Pol is mercifully absent, but Katelina is an important character and we meet more people Nicholas seems to be related to.

I had my usual troubles with Dunnett. The overwriting is everywhere and I wish her editor had rationed her comma use. More seriously, her treatment of female characters continues to be frustrating and stereotyped. They all labor under their gender disadvantages in ways that feel more 19th/20thC than 15thC. All are frustrated, most are angry, the devious ones survive and the ones who become more sympathetic don't. Why does Dunnett kill off her non-horrible female characters? At this point it's both a feature and a bug.

The ethnic stereotypes are pretty much a given, but they are still unpleasant to read, and the homosexual and ephebophilic plot elements are just as clumsily (and pejoratively) rendered in the narrative viewpoint. The European villains are interesting, the Muslim ones are mostly not. Loppe continues to be a great, if under-specified, character, though. I assume his mysteries will be revealed in later books.

That said, I enjoyed the novel overall. The complexity is fun if you just go with it, Niccolo continues to be intriguingly opaque as he matures, and he's nowhere near as annoying as Lymond. What I like most is that the pursuit of commerce stays front and center, even as royals and aristocrats do battle with each other. It's not just about gaining thrones, it's about gaining trade routes, minerals, and the like. ( )
  Sunita_p | Jun 30, 2017 |
A journey to Cyprus, a courtesan, political and business intrigue, the usual Niccolo. You are never entirely sure who is on which side until the very end. Which I both like and dislike. I like it because too many books semaphore what is to come. I dislike it because I'm never entirely sure that I've caught everything, so much is somehow ambiguous in Dunnett's storytelling. But her writing and historical detail woven into the story is stunning, just part of the weave of the narrative, not tacked on for show. ( )
  devilish2 | May 1, 2017 |
Book 3 of the Niccolo series, and we are just about starting to root for Niccolo, who on the whole seems to have come back from Trebizond having tried his best for the Charetty company; only to be met by the cold shoulder of his daughters in law. He sets out for himself, but is caught up in the war between brother and sister in Cyprus. There are a hell of a lot of double crosses going on, difficult to keep track of, and we are introduced to the Vasquez family, who Simon's sister married into. Kateline has been staying with them. In all the politicking, Nicholas marries a courtesan and spy, Primaflora, we are never sure if there is a genuine relationship between them, or just physical attraction. She contrives to dispose of Kateline on several occasions, one of which results in Kateline and Nicholas becoming reconciled, He thinks he has sent her and Diniz Vasquez (who he thinks of as his nephew) home to Portugal, but finds that they are holed up in Famagusta, which he has been besieging on behalf of Zacco.
After Famagusta, Nicholas's disputed grandfather, Jordan de Riberac arrives to exact revenge.
I did find it tricky going, still on this reread.I think there's a lot of plot setting going on and things become clearer in the later books. Maybe ;) ( )
1 vote jkdavies | Jul 7, 2016 |
http://nwhyte.livejournal.com/2357757.html

Cyprus is partitioned between feuding rulers, one a proxy of distant Christian Europe, the other beholden to the more local Muslim regional power; the larger part of of the island is controlled by one faction, but the key cities of Famagusta and Kyrenia are in the hands of the minority.

However it's not 1974, or any year since, but 1463, and Dorothy Dunnett's Flemish hero Niccolo gets drawn into the dynastic dispute between the legitimate (but losing) heiress Carlotta, and her very handsome half-brother James. There are beautiful women and fierce battles, and terrific derring-do; there is a brilliant scene with chemically impregnated clothes and a valley filled with snakes; there is gut-wrenching, understated tragedy as Niccolo works through his own complex family back-story against the foreground of the Lusignan succession. It's brilliant stuff.

In addition, anyone who actually knows Cyprus will find it particularly attractive. For the same reason as Dunnett's hero, I have an affinity with the Gothic cathedral in Famagusta; much of the rest of the landscape, and a surprising amount of the architecture, is familiar even today - it may be that the same is true of the scenes in Burges or Rhodes, which I know rather less well. It's not essential to enjoying the book, but it adds some much appreciated colour. ( )
  nwhyte | Oct 5, 2014 |
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Dorothy Dunnettautor principaltodas as ediçõescalculated
Kay, ChristopherNarradorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
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The exquisitely-researched standalone prequel series to Dorothy Dunnett's revered Lymond Chronicles, following the ancestors of Francis Crawford of Lymond in Continental Europe. This is the third book in the "House of Niccolo" series. Set in 15th-century Cyprus, this novel continues the saga of Nicholas van der Poel, international mercenary who started out as a dyer's apprentice, as he plays for the highest stakes with the greatest super-powers in Europe.

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