Saturday, June 10, 2023

Dorothy Dunnett’s GEMINI – A Fitting End to a Great Series

I’m taking time out from my Western reviews to review the last book in a great series set in the early Renaissance in Europe, Africa, the Middle East and Scotland by a favorite author.


This last in the House of Niccolo series is set in Scotland in 1477. Nicholas de Fleury, former banker and merchant, returns to the land that, four years earlier, he had brought very close to ruin in the course of an intense commercial and personal war with his enemies and his estranged wife Gelis, a war he won but at great cost.

Now, Nicholas finds himself embroiled in royal politics with the king and his two brothers. All the estates of Scotland are involved: the merchants of Edinburgh, the gentry, and the clergy, as well as the English, French, and the Burgundian, of which Nicholas is one. His presence soon draws Gelis (now his loving wife)  and their son Jodi to Scotland, as well as Nicholas’s companions in his past endeavors—Dr. Tobias and his wife Clémence, the shipmaster Mick Crackbene, the engineer John le Grant, and Andro Wodman.


Nicholas meets again with others who have had an influence, for good or evil, in his life: Jordan St Pol (“the fat father Jordan”), his son Simon, and young Henry, Nicholas’ bastard son thought by Simon to be his own. Mistress Bel of Cuthilgurdy and David de Salmeton, who seeks Nicholas’ death, and the always beloved, Anselm Adorne and Kathi his niece, who is a dear friend to Nicholas.


Meanwhile, more secrets as to Nicholas’ birth are revealed as Julius goes in search of proof that Nicholas is legitimate.


There are many exciting moments as Dunnett brings all the loose threads together while allowing us to dive deep into the world of the early Renaissance. I loved the hero, Nicholas, who sometimes seemed like a grown child at play, and at others a clever inventor, and still at others a man of keen strategy, who always seemed to know people’s true motives.


I was sad to see the series end. Now, I have to begin again with The Lymond Chronicles that follows this one in time but I read first.


The House of Niccolo Series:


Niccolò Rising

Spring of the Ram

Race of Scorpions

Scales of Gold

The Unicorn Hunt

To Lie with Lions

Caprice and Rondo



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