Vintage Books USA, Paperback, 9780375704772, 496pp.
Publication Date: March 30, 1999
With the bravura storytelling and pungent authenticity of detail she brought to her acclaimed Lymond Chronicles, Dorothy Dunnett, grande dame of the historical novel, presents The House of Niccolo series. The time is the 15th century, when intrepid merchants became the new knighthood of Europe. Among them, none is bolder or more cunning than Nicholas vander Poele of Bruges.
Niccolo Rising, Book One of the series, finds us in Bruges, 1460. Jousting is the genteel pastime, and successful merchants are, of necessity, polyglot. Street smart, brilliant at figures, adept at the subtleties of diplomacy and the well-timed untruth, Dunnett's hero rises from wastrel to prodigy in a breathless adventure that wins him the hand of the strongest woman in Bruges and the hatred of two powerful enemies. From a riotous and potentially murderous carnival in Flanders, to an avalanche in the Alps and a pitched battle on the outskirts of Naples, Niccolo Rising combines history, adventure, and high romance in the tradition stretching from Alexandre Dumas to Mary Renault.
"Dunnett's skill at mixing historical events and personages with fascinating fictive characters provides for high adventure, royal intrigues, war and passion.........The finest living writer of historical fiction." --The Washington Post Book World
"Mrs. Dunnett's gift lies in her ability to take history's bare bones and invest them with life. She does this by creating. . .characters whose humor and pathos reach across centuries." --The Christian Science Monitor