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Scales of Gold (1991)

por Dorothy Dunnett

Outros autores: Ver a secção outros autores.

Séries: The House of Niccolo (4)

MembrosCríticasPopularidadeAvaliação médiaMenções
650726,939 (4.43)17
'A glorious panorama of medieval times ... The historical research is impeccable' Sunday Express The year 1464 finds our hero Nicholas in Venice. Plagued by enemies bent on dissolving his assets and smearing his character, he sets sail for Africa, legendary location of the Fountain of Youth and the source of gold in such abundance that men prefer to barter in shells. He will discover the charms of the beautiful Gelis - a woman whose passion for Nicholas is rivalled only by her desire to punish him for his role in her sister's death. Erotic and lush with detail, SCALES OF GOLD embraces the complexity of the Renaissance, where mercantile adventure couples with more personal quests behind the silkeb curtains of the Age of Discovery.… (mais)
  1. 00
    Francesco's Mediterranean Voyage: A Cultural Journey Through the Mediterranean from Venice to Istanbul por Francesco da Mosto (marieke54)
    marieke54: The link is historical person (15th Cent.) Alvise da Ca’ da Mosto, a merchant explorer who in this 4th book of a terrific series guides protagonist Niccolo along the coast of West Africa. Alvise is mentioned by Francesco da Mosto as an inspiring forebear.… (mais)
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As I’ve said before, I’d already read the first three books of the House of Niccolò series, up to Race of Scorpions: this novel and its successors, by contrast, are gloriously fresh and new. During the last three books, I have to admit that I missed the breathless sensation of reading a Dunnett novel for the first time. Fortunately Scales of Gold has more than lived up to my expectations in that respect. Within the first hundred pages there is pomp and pageantry, a mass reunion, espionage, an attempted assassination, a death, a mysterious visit to Murano and the prospect of complete ruination for Nicholas’s bank. And that’s even before he unveils the main thread of the plot, more ambitious and dangerous than any of his previous escapades.

So far the story has played itself out within the confines of Western culture, but Europe is growing too small for Nicholas. Visceral and epic in every sense, Scales of Gold lures us south, to the African civilisations in the Gambia and Mali and along the trade routes to Timbuktu and the vast sweep of the desert. Here Nicholas comes, lured by curiosity and gold, to establish a fortune for himself and his bank and perhaps even to press east, further than any European has ever been, into Ethiopia in search of Prester John. But he neglects to consider the cost that such a journey might exert on those who travel with him; and the transformative effect it could have even on him...

For the full review, please see my blog:
https://theidlewoman.net/2012/10/22/scales-of-gold-dorothy-dunnett/ ( )
  TheIdleWoman | Feb 17, 2020 |
It is now the fifteenth century. We are in the Age of Discovery. Nicholas vander Poele is in need of restoring order and fortune to his banking business. He and former slave, Loppe travel to Africa in search of gold. Also traveling along with him is Gelis van Borselen. If you remember the name from Race of the Scorpions, she is on board, secretly seeking revenge. (As an aside, there is always a beautiful woman who has a love-hate relationship with Nicholas and seeking some kind of revenge.) Gelis van Borselen's sister, Katelina, was killed in The Race of the Scorpions. It was mentioned earlier that whenever Nicholas is ill and feverish he spills secrets. This time, struggling with a swamp-induced illness Nicholas tells Gelis he is the father of her sister's child. This changes the course of their relationship. Of course it does.

Underlying all the adventure and violence is Dunnett's sly humor. She gives this comedy to Scales of Gold in the form of witty repartee. When Nicholas asks Gregorio if anyone has tried to kill him lately, Gregorio replies, "I suffer from overwork and neglect but apart from that, no" (p 8).
  SeriousGrace | Dec 4, 2018 |
After all the double double dealings of Cyprus, Nicholas sets out to restore the fortunes of his Bank, and accompanies Loppe on a journey down the Guinea coast in search of gold. Pursued by a ship of the Vatachino, a rival banking company who reared their head at the end of the last book, trading and skirmishing along route. Gelis, Kateline's sister accompanies them with the desire to take revenge on Nicholas for his treatment of Kateline on Cyprus. The journey along the coast complete, they turn inland to find the source of the gold trade, and are thwarted by friends and unfriendly tribes. They eventually end up at Timbuktu, where Gelis, nursing Nicholas through swamp fever, finds out that he is the father of Kateline's child.
Quite why, after this discovery, Gelis and Nicholas become close is not clear. At least, not until the end of the book. Nicholas and Godscalc set out for Ethiopia to find the land of Prester John, but have to turn back, both worn and wounded. Gelis returns to Europe with Godscalc, and Nicholas is again nursed, by Lppe/ Umar. He finds peace in Timbuktu, until the warring tribes threaten again, and he becomes pivotal in the defence of the city. Finally, he leaves for Europe via the camel trains across the Sahara.
Finally reunited, Nicholas proposes marriage to Gelis, she asks for time to think and goes to Scotland. After being away for eight weeks, she returns to Bruges amid wedding preparations for the Duke of Burgundy; and finally agrees to marry Nicholas. On her wedding night she reveals <spoiler>that she is pregnant by Simon, Nicholas's disputed father</spoiler>; which comes as a genuine shock and kick in the guts. Leaving me (the first time, and subsequent times) shaking my head and asking What? What just happened? ( )
1 vote jkdavies | Jul 7, 2016 |
http://nwhyte.livejournal.com/2469592.html

Fourth in the series of the adventures of Niccolò, the smart young Flemish merchant who travels fifteenth century in search of wealth and its inevitable political entanglements. This time, a cunning plan to penetrate deep into Africa becomes complicated by a new wrinkle in a long-standing family feud, and extraordinary dynastic and legal manœuvres from Vanice to Madeira to Timbuktu. The ground has been well laid, as one of the supporting cast from the first three books was an African ex-slave who turns out to be extremely well-connected back in his homeland.

It's a good book, as they all are, but the portrayal of Timbuktu as a center of culture, learning, commerce and communication is particularly vivid, and directly challenges any perception of pre-colonisation Africa as somehow backward and savage. On the other hand the violence and illness endured by the protagonist and his friends are pretty graphically portrayed as well, so there is a certain squick factor. Still, very much recommended. ( )
  nwhyte | May 30, 2015 |
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Dorothy Dunnettautor principaltodas as ediçõescalculated
Griffin, GordonNarradorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
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To those who remembered him, it was typical that Nicholas should sail into Venice just as the latest news reached the Rialto, causing the ducat to fall below fifty groats and dip against the écu.
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'A glorious panorama of medieval times ... The historical research is impeccable' Sunday Express The year 1464 finds our hero Nicholas in Venice. Plagued by enemies bent on dissolving his assets and smearing his character, he sets sail for Africa, legendary location of the Fountain of Youth and the source of gold in such abundance that men prefer to barter in shells. He will discover the charms of the beautiful Gelis - a woman whose passion for Nicholas is rivalled only by her desire to punish him for his role in her sister's death. Erotic and lush with detail, SCALES OF GOLD embraces the complexity of the Renaissance, where mercantile adventure couples with more personal quests behind the silkeb curtains of the Age of Discovery.

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