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Gemini (The House of Niccolò #8)

4.47  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,214 Ratings  ·  58 Reviews
A marvel of storytelling and historical imagination, Gemini just may be Dorothy Dunnett's pièce de résistance. This culminating installment of the House of Niccolò series is set in Scotland in 1477--and more specifically, in the world of international trade and commerce, which can deal fatal blows to those unfamiliar with its intricacies. When Nicholas de Fleury returns to ...more
Hardcover, 728 pages
Published June 29th 2000 by Michael Joseph (first published 2000)
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Nov 18, 2010 Laurie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
WHAT a family. Good God. Dorothy Dunnett is really quite the master of genetic complication. What is it that Philippa says in The Ringed Castle ... "I didn't know another permutation in breeding was possible."? Oh Philippa. With Dorothy Dunnett it is always possible.

This is without question the best historical fiction I've ever read. Perhaps the narrative is less tight here in the final book than in some of the others, but that's a trifling quibble only. The twist alone makes me want to reread t
Ah. You know that moment when you read the last page of a book, and you gently close it (or, uh, switch off your electronic reading device of choice) and you breathe out a long breath and you just have to sit there for five or ten minutes smiling and not thinking much, but just quietly hanging on to the last threads of it? Yeah.

So that's the Dunnett, then. These last two books aren't perfect -- Gemini, in particular, spends a lot of to-ing and fro-ing on petty politics that I just didn't care ab
Well.....that's it. The end of a rollicking good read and a "cracker" of a series.

This book ties the eight novels together and brings closure to the indomitable Nicholas de Fleury. I could write pages on the novel, the series overall but this is a novel and series that must be savored.

Filled with intrigue, adventure, comradeship, jealousy, rich historical detail and romance that a reader can "fall into" and not want to surface from. This book and series has it all in my opinion.

Obviously a huge
Jun 18, 2011 Diane rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have finished re-reading The House of Niccolo series and now I am so sad. I am going to miss Claus/Niccolo/Nicholas/Nicol/etc., the brilliant, tough, resilient, tender man who I have come to love, as I love few characters in fiction. This novel was so intense, bringing to an end (most of) the mysteries of Nicholas and his life. We find out who the ultimate betrayer-of-trust of these books, how Nicholas comes to stay in Scotland with his family, how the machinations of politics and war bring th ...more
Aug 07, 2013 Jenny rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Having visited Bruges in June, I set myself to re-read the entire House of Niccolo series from beginning to end. They're long books, and there are eight volumes, so it took me six weeks to read them. I was so swept along by the power and scope of the series that I didn't want it to end. It takes us from Bruges all through the trading world of the 15th century - the Black Sea and Trebizond, last outpost of the Byzantine empire, Caffa, Poland, Muscovy, Iceland, Egypt, Africa and the glories and da ...more
Was; and is; and will be.
What more could you want from the last book of a series if not a final like this? During this long journey with Nicholas I always tried to imagine what would happen next, how it would end up for this guy that from being a dyer makes his way in the world until he gets to own a bank, a trade network and a dense array of friends and enemies. Probably what made me fall in love with Dorothy Dunnett lies in her ability to surprise, to let me open-mouthed to contemplate the pa
Mar 21, 2010 Carol rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book finishes the eight volume House of Niccolo series. Dunnett wraps up all the threads and conflicts beautifully, often in surprising ways. Rather than get into the plot, though, I'm going to talk about some of my favorite characters.
Nicholas de Fleury: Dunnett's main character is utterly fascinating, thoroughly lifelike, and disarmingly likable. Even when I didn't like what he was doing or how he was behaving, I was still riveted to his story. It is the mysteries of his past and the reso
Su Poole
Jan 09, 2013 Su Poole rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A lot of people complain that this book is weaker than the rest of the series, but I disagree. It felt slightly 'kitchen-sink'ish when it was first published but on reading it years later, I appreciate the subtle way that Dunnett brought along the characters, with some superb writing during some very emotional moments.

I wasn't disappointed. I can't think of a time I've ever been disappointed by her historical fiction. At the moment I now have a reader's hangover, that moment when everything is d
Aug 03, 2011 Hannah rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Fantastic conclusion to the 8-book House of Niccolo series. By far one of my favorite series: extremely well-written historical fiction combined with adventure, comedy, drama, and some sort of mystery and twist in every book. It took me over a year to read House of Niccolo (and before that another 6 months or so to read Dunnett's first series The Lymond Chronicles), so for about 2 years I have been enthralled by this world that Dunnett created, about two ordinary men doing extraordinary things i ...more
Nov 21, 2009 Yati rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Oh. I wonder if I look at a family tree with everyone in it I'll manage to make sense of it all.

I'm a bit sad I've finished the books, and a bit glad as well, because well written as it is, Gemini almost feels like a coda to the first seven books. And all the political going-ons went completely over my head.

And now? The whole series goes into my "to be re-read" pile, along with the Lymond Chronicles, for me to actually read slowly and appreciate the details. XD
Oct 12, 2015 SamuraiKitty rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites, historical
(view spoiler) ...more
Roger Verstraete
Feb 06, 2016 Roger Verstraete rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: dorothy-dunnett
Dowager Duchess Margaret of York: Widow of Duke Charles, sister of King Edward IV
Marie, Duchess of Burgundy: Daughter of duke Charles
Alexander "Sandy" Stewart: King James's brother, Duke of Albany, Earl of March, lord of Annandale and Man, Admiral of Scotland.
John "Johndie" Stewart: Earl of Mar, King James's youngest brother
Mary Stewart: King James's elder sister, formerly married to Thomas Boyd, now to James Hamilton, 1st Lord of Cadow
Margaret "Meg" Stewart: King James's red-haired y
Feb 23, 2014 Keeley rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Niccolo fans
This book satisfying wraps up, finally, the burning questions of the House of Niccolo series. Along the way, as usual, you lose a couple dear characters; unusually, there is more reconciliation, sanity and cooperation than dissent, dissembling and disaster. Almost out of character with the tenor of the series at some times. But overall, I'm glad I picked up Niccolò Rising in the (late, lamented) Book Exchange in Durham, NC 14 years ago, and glad to have finally read to the end.
I was a bit please
Brad Kirk
Jul 29, 2012 Brad Kirk rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This series nearly lost me after the ending of Book 4 and during the tedious Books 5 & 6. It ended fairly well, with an expected, but not predictable Dunnett plot twist to cap it off. Overall, I prefer the Lymond Chronicles to this series. It was interesting to see how the two series connects, although I had to look up online the exact connection.
Wow. That's all I have to say. I'm sad that the series is over but quite satisfied by the ending. There were a few parts of this that dragged for me a little, but they were cancelled out by the OMG I CAN'T PUT THIS DOWN of the last part of the book.
Jun 30, 2008 Tania rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: historical, read-2008
I'll make a proper review later on, but right now I'm just wishing that another 8 volumes had been written, because I'm finding it a bit hard to let go. Brilliant series, historical fiction at its best, and just as good as Lymond in my opinion.
these two series by dorothy dunnett are my absolute favorite. nothing different to say about them; together, they will take you off the planet for a full summer and just might re-direct your life, as they did mine.
Dec 30, 2015 Becky rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is the 8th and last book of the series. Finally, in the last quarter of the book you get all the answers you have wondered about through thousands of pages. I have read the House of Niccolo Series of eight books, and I have found her characters to be deep and rich. They are not without flaws and make mistakes and suffer from the consequences. They are, most of them “bigger than life” in the sense they are so intelligent, learn languages and foresee events and plan for all the possibilities ...more
Simon Mcleish
Oct 08, 2012 Simon Mcleish rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Originally published on my blog here in January 2001.

I found the final novel of the House of Niccolo series almost as disappointing as the one which preceded it, Caprice and Rondo. The series comes to a climax with the fifth novel, To Lie with Lions, in which the identity of the secret partner in the Vatachino trading house whose rivalry is attempting to destroy that of Niccolo is revealed. This is surprising and almost crushing; the last two novels of the series amount to around 1500 pages tryi
Apr 25, 2012 Connie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'd love to link with other people to talk about this book. Is there such a site? Have to say I LOVED both the Lymond & Niccolo series which I have read back to back (thank KOBO) in four months, but only LIKED the ending. Would love to have the chance to discuss questions with others.

Here are my unresolved questions:
(view spoiler)
Jean Gobel
The action in this book is mostly in Scotland, in the very area from which my Barclay ancestors came, which was therefore doubly interesting to me, the terrain, villages, etc being described in detail, as Dunnett usually does. I got a bit tired of the three young royals in this book, although I know most of their actions are historically correct. I was not satisfied with the resolution of the problem of Bonne von Hanseyck. I was totally surprised when the villain was revealed, but looking back, ...more
Jennifer (JC-S)
Jul 28, 2010 Jennifer (JC-S) rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: re-reading
‘A confused King and two rudderless Princes, adrift in a world which they hardly seemed to realise was splitting apart.’

The eighth and final instalment of the House of Niccolo series opens in Scotland in 1477. After four years, Nicholas de Fleury, former banker, traveller and merchant has returned to the land he almost ruined during his private war with his secret enemies and his wife Gelis. His friends hope that he has come to make amends for the past while his enemies simply want him dead.

Jun 29, 2011 Betsey rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
phew, I made it to the end! Like many other reviewers, this book felt like a coda to the first 7 books of the series. It just didn't have quite the energy and the drama, which could have been higher given the plot, just wasn't. (view spoiler) ...more
There are times when Gemini reads a little too much as if it is a 700 page long epilogue to the Niccoló series, especially in the middle of the novel when Dunnett is working hard to make her narrative fit with historical fact, and everything seems to drag a little. It's much more episodic than the previous instalments in the series, and while the pace does pick up substantially towards the end, and the revelations once more come thick and fast, it's something of a let-down when compared to the p ...more
Jun 30, 2013 Caro rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: beach-2013
I can't give anything by Dorothy Dunnett less than three stars, but I have to say that this final book in the Niccolo series is not her best. Lots of characters had to re-appear and have their fates resolved, and it all went on just a bit too long. Still, her power to dazzle and confuse is unsurpassed. I am still puzzling out the connection to Lymond revealed at the end, and I never suspected the villain to be who it turned out to be. That's the problem with reading one Dunnett a year, on vacati ...more
Lesley Arrowsmith
Jun 12, 2014 Lesley Arrowsmith rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really didn't intend to sit up until the early hours to finish this book. "Just one chapter with my evening cocoa," I thought, foolishly.
The feud between Niccolo and the St Pols was wrapped up quite satisfactorily, with the clues to link up to the Lymond stories.
And now I'm off to look for a history of Scotland to see just how seamlessly Dorothy Dunnett merged the fictional and the historical characters.
And I want to go to Bruges. And Edinburgh. And Roslin....
Mar 19, 2009 Anne rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: light
Looking back at goodreads, it seems I've been reading this series since July. I think that's a pretty good recomendation: they kept me entertained for 9 months! For those who might consider reading, it is worth pushing through the books in the middle to get to the end. I'm undecided wether to start immideatly re-reading them (to see if I actually get all the plot details the second time around), to start reading the next series by this authour, or give myself a break to bask in the satisfaction ...more
Oct 30, 2011 Joy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Nicholas has been eliminating or neutralizing all the threats to his family. He is now free for the dangerous negotiations between vacillating James III of Scotland and vindictive Edward IV of England. But the deaths of people Nicholas loves indicates that someone within his own company is making a climactic effort.

On a second read, I knew of disasters to come, and approached my reading with fear. I had forgotten with what sweet balance Dunnett approached her people's lives in GEMINI, so I spoil
Anita Murphy
Feb 06, 2015 Anita Murphy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Excellent - one of a great series - highly recommended. Mix of historical fact and fiction.
Apr 12, 2014 Tim rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This "last of the series" book was especially satisfying, as the author wraps up a number of intrigues and linkages hinted at through all the long tale.

Dunnett is amazing for learning, understanding, and relating the social fabric of various regions hundreds of years ago. (Of course, I have no idea whether she is accurate, but the critics give her kudos as well).

And in the end, one gathers she is a romantic at heart, as the values of family (by blood or affection), loyalty, and integrity stand
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Dorothy Dunnett fans: Villain revealed (SPOILER ALERT) 17 89 Nov 20, 2012 01:17AM  
  • The Dorothy Dunnett Companion: Volume II
  • The Vizard Mask
  • The Squire's Tale (Sister Frevisse, #10)
  • The Marriage of Meggotta
  • The Black Madonna (Civil War, #1)
  • The Rose Demon
  • In Pursuit of the Green Lion (Margaret of Ashbury, #2)
  • Red Adam's Lady
  • In a Dark Wood Wandering: A Novel of the Middle Ages
  • The Reckoning  (Welsh Princes, #3)
  • The Bruce Trilogy: The Steps to the Empty Throne / The Path of the Hero King / The Price of the King's Peace (Robert the Bruce, #1-3)
  • Palladion
  • The Shield of Three Lions (Alix of Wanthwaite, #1)
  • The Wicked Winter (Roger the chapman, #6)
Dorothy Dunnett OBE was a Scottish historical novelist. She is best known for her six-part series about Francis Crawford of Lymond, The Lymond Chronicles, which she followed with the eight-part prequel The House of Niccolò. She also wrote a novel about the real Macbeth called King Hereafter (1982), and a series of mystery novels centred around Johnson Johnson, a portrait painter/spy.

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More about Dorothy Dunnett...

Other Books in the Series

The House of Niccolò (8 books)
  • Niccolò Rising (The House of Niccolò, #1)
  • The Spring of the Ram (The House of Niccolo, #2)
  • Race of Scorpions (The House of Niccolo, #3)
  • Scales of Gold (The House of Niccolo, #4)
  • The Unicorn Hunt (The House of Niccolo, #5)
  • To Lie with Lions (The House of Niccolo, #6)
  • Caprice and Rondo (The House of Niccolo, #7)

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“Happiness, that most childish of states, is infectious. Furthermore, in its innocence, it will not be hidden, even when tempered with sorrow” 1 likes
“belongs to M. de St Pol. I think he has a great deal of ingenuity, but today he is not” 0 likes
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