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Gemini (The House of Niccolo, #8)
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Gemini (The House of Niccolò #8)

4.47 of 5 stars 4.47  ·  rating details  ·  992 ratings  ·  49 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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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...more
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...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...more
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...more
Su Poole
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...more
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
Diane Calhoun
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
Feb 23, 2014 Keeley rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  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...more
Brad Kirk
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.
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.
Simon Mcleish
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...more
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)...more
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)
‘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.

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
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
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
Lesley Arrowsmith
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....
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
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...more
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...more
This book seemed to have less of an independent plot arc, drawing mostly on historical events and character motivations from previous books. Unfortunately I think that makes it the weakest in the series. That having been said, this is one of those pivotal historical fiction series that does more good for the understanding of a time period than most scholarship. Many, many thanks to the person who recommended it to me.

It is finished - I think I'll settle with stand-alone books for a bit.
This one was a harder read for me, possibly because all of the action occurred in Scotland and a great deal of it is political. We find Niccolo at peace with his family in Scotland. There is one last known enemy at large and this peaks early in the book. We are then left with the question of Niccolo's remaining family. Tragedy and revelations await amidst an overwhelming onslaught of historical accuracy involving a period of turmoil for Scotland's king (a James of course) and succession.
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
The last of the House of Niccolo novels, a book I couldn't wait to read and didn't want to finish. Sure it's a preposterous plot, but what wonderful characters and what a revelation of the world of the early Renaissance. I confess, I never do this but I actually dreamed about living in Niccolo's world. I wish there were eight more of these.
The House of Niccolo ends with all mysteries uncovered (albeit confusedly) and all characters still standing happy. Oh, and a gratuitous tie with the Lymond books. Dunnett writes very dense, occasionally confusing prose. Would probably make more sense if I read them again. Rated M for adult themes and violence. 3/5
Second time through the series, I REALLY get what happened. There were spots in this book, though, where the pace dragged just a tad and it was so very difficult to make the connections to prior books to grasp implications of what a character was thinking or saying. Still, a fantastic ending to a great series.
Loved it. Some of the politics kind of bogged down the plot for me, but I loved seeing this epic wrapped and in a way that lends itself so perfectly for the Lymond Chronicles. Can't wait to re-read this series, though I think I'll indulge in some light reads before I tackle it.

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Dorothy Dunnett fans: Villain revealed (SPOILER ALERT) 17 54 Nov 20, 2012 01:17AM  
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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...
The Game of Kings (The Lymond Chronicles, #1) Queens' Play (The Lymond Chronicles, #2) The Disorderly Knights (The Lymond Chronicles, #3) Checkmate (The Lymond Chronicles, #6) Pawn in Frankincense (The Lymond Chronicles, #4)

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