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The Spring of the Ram (1987)

por Dorothy Dunnett

Outros autores: Ver a secção outros autores.

Séries: The House of Niccolo (2)

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7921020,979 (4.41)15
In 1461, the mysterious enigmatic Nicholas is in Florence. Backed by none other than Cosimo de' Medici, he will sail the Black Sea to Trebizond, last outpost of Byzantium, and the last jewel missing from the crown of the Ottoman Empire. But trouble lies ahead. Nicholas's step-daughter - at the tender age of thirteen - has eloped with his rival in trade- a Machiavellian Genoese who races ahead of Nicholas, sowing disaster at every port. And time is of the essence- Trebizond may fall tot he Turks at any moment. Crackling with wit, breathtakingly paced, THE SPRING OF THE RAM is a pyro technic blend of scholarship and narrative shimmering with the scents, sounds, colors and combustible emotions of the 15th century.… (mais)
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The Spring of the Ram is book two in the House of Niccolo series. Judith Wilt, in her introduction recaps the first book, Niccolo Rising to orient those who have missed out. When we rejoin Nicholas de Fleury he is now nineteen years old and married to the owner of the dye shop for which he had apprenticed. As a budding entrepreneur this is a well played move. In terms of intelligence and cleverness, Nicholas is certainly showing his mettle. His business sense is growing; and as head of an army he is becoming well traveled and worldly. The is an era when trade and exploration are burgeoning. Art and politics are duplicitous, and sensuality and relationships are used as weapons against human emotion. In the opening chapter Nicolas' eleven year old step-daughter, Catherine, is seduced by his arch rival. He chases Catherine only to find she is in love with her captor and is perfectly content to marry him "when she is a woman" which is after he first menstrual cycle.
Niccolo's personality is as entertaining as they come. His bad boy ways earn him a reputation known far and wide as reckless and daring. Entering Florence, he aims to secure the Silk Road, the only accessible trade route to the East. That is his singular quest for the rest of The Spring of the Ram. ( )
  SeriousGrace | Sep 26, 2018 |
An amazingly researched novel, and beautifully descriptive. I occasionally get lost as to the motivations and thoughts of the characters, but it is a small price to pay. I like that you never quite know what is going to happen, and I love the quirkiness of the characters. ( )
  devilish2 | Apr 13, 2017 |
Book 2 in the Niccolo series. I managed to polish this off in less than a week, thanks to lots of airplane travel. This time Nicholas is making his way to the Empire of Trebizond, trading as a representative of the Medici Florence and also trying to track down his stepdaughter Catherine, who has run off with a man who is Not What He Seems. Intrigue is piled upon intrigue, at every level (personal, professional, international). As in the Lymond series, our hero and his immediate circle are caught up in real-world events, some small, some cataclysmic.

Nicholas is clearly coming into his own in this volume. He's miles ahead of everyone around him in terms of plotting and planning (although not always far enough ahead of his rivals and ill-wishers). You can see how much Dunnett enjoys creating a Mythic Hero type, but whereas Lymond arrived basically full-blown, Nicholas is taking his time. After two volumes, I'm finding Nicholas easier to live with than Lymond (who is so theatrically brilliant and wonderful that he becomes exhausting).

The settings are depicted at the level of detail and complexity we expect from a Dunnett novel. This is an era of warring principalities in Italy, imperial clashes between Europe and Asia, and the Ottoman Empire coming to power. It's hard to keep track of the people and the places, but as with other Dunnett books, I just keep reading and eventually I have a pretty good idea of what's going on. I enjoyed the Trebizond setting a lot. The way homosexual/bisexual, non-Christian, and non-white characters are depicted was occasionally discomfiting, and I get the feeling it fits more with 20thC attitudes than with the way people would have behaved in 15thC Europe (I'm talking less about the actual behavior than the way the behavior is processed by POV characters and the narrative).

Nevertheless, the writing is lushly descriptive and the settings themselves are fascinating. I really appreciate seeing this era from the point of view of successful merchants and traders rather than the standard aristocratic and royal perspectives. ( )
  Sunita_p | Aug 7, 2016 |
Well! After the boyish rough and tumble of Niccolò Rising, we see Claus become Nicholas, a more sober young man, but still with the habit of utterly ruining people who get in his way. This time, as he is manoeuvred into a trip to Trebizond, Pagano Dorian, a spurious sea prince appears to be crossing him at every turn, and it transpires that he is in the pay of deadly enemy and believed father, Simon de St Pol. Nicholas wishes to best Simon at trade, and it seems he has a revenge closer to home, in Katelijne's son Henry, a son who isnalso a grandson, we are led to believe. The alum monopoly of the first book is revealed even as the Sultan of Constantinople takes Trebizond with hardly a fight. Catherine de Charetty is freed from her child marriage to Doria, and they all return back to Venice, sadly too late for Nicholas to meet his wife again, died on the voyage to repudiate the papers of Catherine's marriage.
Tobie and Godscalc hear Nicholas raving with swamp fever, and find out about Henry.

I am confused, no doubt on purpose, as to how much of what happens is coincidence, and how much Nicholas's design, or the design of other players such as Simon and his father, the Naxos princesses, the other men in Nicholas' company... confused but intrigued! ( )
  jkdavies | Jun 14, 2016 |
My experience with this novel was like basically every other Dunnett novel I have read. That is I start to read it and get hopelessly bogged down in the details and all of the other setup work that she does. I plod along day after day after week after month unless something clicks. Usually about 1/2 to 2/3rds of the way through the book and there is a tipping point in the narrative and then I just consume the book until the very, very satisfying end. However, it does take me a while to get there each time.
This novel is a continuation of the story of the young dyer's apprentice Nicholas from Bruges who takes his merchantile company from Belgium to Italy and then to what would be today Turkey to the last remnant of the Byzantine Empire to set up a trade contract with the Empire there. In the mix is a rival Italian merchant who competes with him, tries to sabotage him and kill him. Needless to say Nicholas wins out in the end - but in a way that sets up the conflict for the next book as it ends with his wife and head of the company dead and Nicholas on the outs with her two daughters. ( )
  stuart10er | Nov 5, 2013 |
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Dorothy Dunnettautor principaltodas as ediçõescalculated
Griffin, GordonNarradorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
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The spring sign of the Ram is, of course, the earliest in the Zodiac; and Aries relates to the first House in the Wheel.
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In 1461, the mysterious enigmatic Nicholas is in Florence. Backed by none other than Cosimo de' Medici, he will sail the Black Sea to Trebizond, last outpost of Byzantium, and the last jewel missing from the crown of the Ottoman Empire. But trouble lies ahead. Nicholas's step-daughter - at the tender age of thirteen - has eloped with his rival in trade- a Machiavellian Genoese who races ahead of Nicholas, sowing disaster at every port. And time is of the essence- Trebizond may fall tot he Turks at any moment. Crackling with wit, breathtakingly paced, THE SPRING OF THE RAM is a pyro technic blend of scholarship and narrative shimmering with the scents, sounds, colors and combustible emotions of the 15th century.

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