Dorothy Dunnett Book Club discussion

Niccolo Rising > Chapter 3

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message 1: by [deleted user] (new)


message 2: by Giki (new)

Giki | 272 comments Katelina takes the barge from Anselm Adorne 's house to her fathers home. She travels through the colourful, warm, bustling canals of Bruges and reflects on how different they are from Edinburgh's vertical, grey streets. She is apprehensive about meeting her father again, he sent her to Scotland to marry a rich lord but Katelina has refused him and returns unwed. She thinks Simon may offer for her hand – he stands to inherit a lordship so her father may approve, but she is unsure, he has remained unwed so far, and she is not even sure yet that she wants him, but it is nice to be asked.

Felix and Claes have managed to escape the wise consul of Julius and are lolling about with some other likely lads. Lorenzo Strozzi (I think we will have to keep an eye on him) reveals that he and another chap have been invited to a do at Katalina's fathers house, but he does not intend to go. Felix argues with him, he wants him to go so he can tell him what happens. The boys joke that Felix either has a fancy for Katalina or wants to know what Handsome Simon is wearing. It is the latter.
Claes accuses Felix of throwing Katalina's hat in the canal.

Lorenzo does attend the party with Tommaso Portinari, and pays careful attention to Handsome Simons outfit. Trade is discussed and gossip exchanged. They discuss a ransom for a silk trader being held by the sultan in turkey.

Simon and Katelina talk with her father and his chaplain, Katelina wonders if Simon will propose, and wonders if he has already spoken to her father. They discuss the fate of various women set away from home to marry. Katelina says something cheeky and her father sends her out. Smooth-moves Simon offers to accompany her to watch the sunset. They light a fire to ward off the gnats, both having come from Scotland they ought to be expert in this, but they end up covered in soot. Simon kisses Katelina fairly inexpertly and she is extremely rude to him, total crash and burn, poor chap. She is left alone in the garden, hoping that there is something better out there.

There was a lot of info in this chapter, background on the setting and main characters as well as a host of other characters and nuggets of gossip. It is difficult to sieve out what will become important later on – Any ideas for where the story might go?

I feel Katelina might regret her “smutty” encounter with Simon. He seems quite vain – he will not forget that in a hurry!

message 3: by [deleted user] (new)

Great summary. :D

So far I like Katelina. I like her cheeky attitude. It made me laugh when she told Simon off, which I do believe he won't forget easily. He deserved it, especially when he tried to insult her.

I was thinking, besides learning about the setting and what is going on, that Katelina is taking Claes advice about listening to what men say around her. It also makes me think that she might have a thing for Claes, which she noticed and doesn't want to acknowledge, or it is the beginning of things. She also mentioned Julius' attention, maybe he will be a prospect?

I think Simon is going to cause a lot of trouble, probably because of an romantic relationship. I feel really weary on the bishop too.

Side note: I just read about the War of the Roses. It is cool that my last book collaborates with this novel. I guess the Yorks are going to take Henry VI down soon. I wonder if we will see a trade/money shift either booming or otherwise because of that war.

message 4: by Giki (new)

Giki | 272 comments I love these short chapters - much kinder on book groups that the game of kings epic 8 hour chapters with sub sections and sub sub sections.

message 5: by [deleted user] (new)

Agree. Lol I feel successful after reading 10-12 pages. Lol

message 6: by Sue (new)

Sue Marsh | 48 comments I think Katelina is fairly depressed at her prospects. Being unmarried at 19 after 3 years at the Scottish court is not a great achievement and she faces the convent, having refused her father’s choice. She is obviously very “picky”, and has not achieved a proposal despite her fine looks. I guess she was hoping Simon would be suitable: he has the inheritance and the looks she would find attractive, but he turns out to be an insufferable and clumsy oaf without any finesse. It seems she is waiting for something but even she is not sure what!

message 7: by Renee (new)

Renee M | 346 comments Mod
I’m surprised that Simon played his hand so awkwardly. Is his reputation unearned? Or was he overconfident and rounding bases too quickly? From the cut she used, I get the impression that maybe his technique too practiced. So, yeah, maybe overconfident.

message 8: by Renee (new)

Renee M | 346 comments Mod
But she also says “fumbling attentions” so I’m not sure.

Going back...

His black lips were in hers, and his pink tongue was inside her pink mouth, disturbing her Her chin, when she jerked it away, was wet and sticky. (Ew.) She wiped it with trembling fingers.

“Mother Mary,” she said. “They said you had the conduct of an oaf and the talents of a girl, to the shame of your father. Now I believe them.”

Okay, so a bad kisser. Kinda surprised.

message 9: by Giki (new)

Giki | 272 comments I guess, with kissing, a lot of it depends on how you feel about the kisser. I reckon that deep down katelina was just not that into him

message 10: by Renee (new)

Renee M | 346 comments Mod

message 11: by [deleted user] (new)

Do you think all that smoke from the fire was to conceal themselves from the servant and whomever could be watching? I guess maybe Simon doesn't really know how to start an adequate fire, but maybe he just wants to be more sly about it.

message 12: by Judith (new)

Judith | 60 comments Renee wrote: "Ha!"

Giki wrote: "I guess, with kissing, a lot of it depends on how you feel about the kisser. I reckon that deep down katelina was just not that into him"

Judith here. Simon is so slimy---eek.

message 13: by Renee (new)

Renee M | 346 comments Mod
Yep. But I agree with Alex. I think he’s pretty sly as well.

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