Dorothy Dunnett Book Club discussion

Niccolo Rising > Chapter 2

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message 1: by [deleted user] (new)


message 2: by Renee (new)

Renee M | 346 comments Mod
Niccolo Rising
Chapter 2 Summary

Despite his arguments, Julius and Felix are imprisoned. Julius calls in favors and sends for bail money. During their stay, young Felix is sure they will not be punished because they weren’t guilty of anything, but Julius knows they will likely get blamed because of those involved & the loss of the cannon. (I think Martha was an actual cannon.)

In the meantime, Claes has been “put to the question” where he tells stories of the rabbit hunt and other experiences, but makes no confession of guilt. However, he is beaten severely, then put in irons & into jail.

Julius spends some cash to get Claes cleaned up & brought up from the lower cells. Claes tells about his experiences in the lower cells, and we realize that he is apparently a great storyteller and clever mimic. We also find out that one of his girlfriends (Mabelie) has sent butter for Claes’s back The local dyers and lightermen have taken up their cause and they are going to be released with fines paid by the Guilds. Julius didn’t need to spend his money or call in those favors after all.

In this section, we’ve learned a bit more about Felix, the son and heir of the Charretty company in Bruges. He is high strung, fairly wild, & gets obsessed with things. Right now it’s horses & dogs. His father (Cornelis) died several years ago and he is being raised by his mother, but doesn’t seem much involved in the family business.

When the fellows are released, they are taken before Anselm Adorne. ( Through his eyes thoughtful, discerning eyes we learn more about the 3 fellows and get some background on the family business. Felix’s mother, the widow Marian de Charetty, is running the dyeing business and has family ties to Geneva, where Claes lived until he was 10. Claes has no surname (Although he is called Claes vander Poele) because he is an illegitimate cousin, but he is being raised in Bruges as a dyers apprentice (blue nostrils & fingers) and sometime companion to Felix. Anselm has arranged for Katerina van Borselen to encounter Claes after the hat debacle. He wants to take measure of Felix’s companion, because Felix will inherit an influential family business.

During part of the interview Claes is released to visit with Anselm’s children. (There were apparently a lot of them.) Anselm overhears some of the storytelling and the voices he does. (This is the second time these skills are mentioned.) We also find out that Claes is clever, inventive, and likes puzzles.

Also during the visit we meet the mysterious man whose leg Claes broke during the scuffle with Simon de St. Pol of Kilmirren . When Claes apologizes, we discover that the injured leg was wooden and Nicholai (Wicked Dorothy) Giorgio de Acciajuoli has suffered little from the fall. Nicholai (“the Greek with the wooden leg”) has been raising gold to ransom a brother who has been captured by the Turks in Constantinople and us related to the princes of Athens. (We also learn that Nicholai has involved himself in the “dangerous case of the sunken gun,” perhaps on behalf of the 3 young prisoners.

During the conversations with Katerina and Nicholai, Claes doesn’t always respond as expected. Many of his comments seem innocent but pack a punch.
He REALLY doesn’t like Simon.

(I like this chapter a lot because we learn so much more about the 3 fellows. And both chapters together because there’s so much groundwork laid. Most of which doesn’t pay off until later in the story. They are a freaking minefield, and just jaw-dropping on the reread.)

message 3: by Renee (last edited Sep 03, 2018 07:35AM) (new)

Renee M | 346 comments Mod

1) How have your perceptions of each character changed?
2) What are your thoughts on the two powerful men in the room? (Anselm Adorne and Nicholai Acciajuoli)
3) What are your thoughts on the women in the room?

message 4: by [deleted user] (new)

Great summary.

I guess I expect to see a lot coming from Claes. He will be our main star, and very smart, but maybe not common sense smart. Lol Felix is the real idiot and probably piggy backs off Claes. Julius is the same as before.

I am not sure what to think about the two powerful men, besides maybe they are really laid back. I think Nicholai looks out for the little people or sees potential in Claes, especially since he is trying to free his brother.

I expect to see some changes in Katelina?(I feel like spelled her name wrong) maybe in the injustice of the lesser people. I feel like she is doesn’t know how powerful she could be if she took the time to learn different things.

I liked how we could see how powerful the merchants and guilds were if they banned together.

message 5: by Giki (new)

Giki | 272 comments I think Anselm will be a force to be reckoned with. He seems quite benevolent in this episode but I think he is just trying to turn things to his own advantage - I reckon he can be quite ruthless. Nicolai seems more benevolent.

message 6: by [deleted user] (new)

That is what Dorothy wants us to think! Watch it will be the opposite. Lol

message 7: by [deleted user] (last edited Sep 03, 2018 08:25AM) (new)

I was wondering what his wooden leg would look like too. I know it seems trivial, but i was curious since my husband has a prosthetic leg. The ones I saw online look like my husband’s leg. I was thinking peg legs during that time. If it was the right period, they haven’t changed much, just material wise.

message 8: by Renee (new)

Renee M | 346 comments Mod
I know! As I was surfing around looking for info on the actual people DD uses in this novel, I found a guy named Niccolo de Niccoli, from the court of Cosimo de Medici. I was sure he would show up here somewhere until I checked the dates. :( But maybe he had a son!

message 9: by Giki (new)

Giki | 272 comments According the 'the companion' (Yay!)
- little is known about Nicholai Giorgio de Acciajuoli other than that his name appears on the register of teh great seal of scotland and he had a peg leg. The family came from bresica and founded a steel works in florence in the 12th century.

message 10: by [deleted user] (new)

I need this companion book. Lol

message 11: by Renee (new)

Renee M | 346 comments Mod
Making him the perfect semi-historical character!

message 12: by Giki (new)

Giki | 272 comments Yes- very will Scot- just a name

message 13: by Renee (new)

Renee M | 346 comments Mod
Nooooo! Will was exactly like that!!
I’m wounded to the heart.

message 14: by [deleted user] (last edited Sep 03, 2018 06:31PM) (new)

Welp, I am sad 😢 I forgot all about Will.

message 15: by Sue (new)

Sue Marsh | 48 comments Claes appears very disingenuous in his dealings with people in this chapter, but he is obviously not stupid (speaks Italian, invents games) but he just can’t help stirring the pot, mentioning that Simon made a joke in Italian about Adorne. He just got away with that, through the good graces of TGWTWL. Why?

message 16: by Judith (new)

Judith | 60 comments Sue, good insight! He is a polyglot--and no dummy!

Judith McFadden

message 17: by Renee (new)

Renee M | 346 comments Mod
One of the things I loved about this book was the sense I got of the place Bruges had in the international trade of the world at that time. I really had no idea! But that’s also what I love about historical fiction.

message 18: by Judith (new)

Judith | 60 comments Yes, Renee, you are right...opened another door in my brain.

message 19: by Sue (new)

Sue Marsh | 48 comments It seems that Adorne’s wife doesn’t think much of Katelina “her mouth twitched” when Claes announces that K is meant to apologise to him, which made me think there was no love lost between the two women.

message 20: by Renee (new)

Renee M | 346 comments Mod
Its possible. But it’s also possible that the middle aged mother of many doesn’t mind seeing the pretty popular girl getting a bit of a set down. I know a got a chuckle. :)

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