Dorothy Dunnett fans discussion

House of Niccolo > Niccolo Rising - #1 The House of Niccolo

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message 1: by Sandi (new)

Sandi (sandi13) | 21 comments I did not know about this course. Thank you for bringing it to my attention. It looks really interesting and covers a wide range of topics. It is a pity it appears to have been last run in 2005.

The syllabus really highlights the scope of Dorothy Dunnett's novels. I had not realised I had been so comprehensively yet painlessly educated in the 15C by reading this series.

The music assignment is the most unusual I've seen for an academic course!

- Sandi

message 2: by Sandi (last edited Aug 27, 2010 10:54AM) (new)

Sandi (sandi13) | 21 comments MaryZorro wrote: "... I wonder how it would be to read the Niccolo series before reading The Lymond Chronicles?"

Someone did a survey once of Dunnett readers, and there did seem to be a positive correlation between which series one read first with which one was the favourite. I suppose I confirmed her findings: I started with Lymond and he has my heart, although Nicholas is generally more likeable.

- Sandi

message 3: by Sandi (new)

Sandi (sandi13) | 21 comments MaryZorro wrote: "Chapter 1

Simon. Who is he?
"some silly gallant"
"a fair skinned man of quite striking good looks, wearing a silken tunic as brief as a shirt-tail."
"hair was bright as church gold"
"expression o..."

Reading this, and knowing Dorothy Dunnett's Lymond series, Simon was immediately flagged up for my attention: Scottish, blonde, handsome. But my expectations were undercut by his actions, which were insulting, rude and petty.

- Sandi

message 4: by Sandi (new)

Sandi (sandi13) | 21 comments It is difficult to rethink myself back over twenty years to when I first read the book. I knew that Simon was not going to be the main character, because of the book blurb and title, but who Niccolò was and Simon's role, was still a mystery. When Simon was introduced, I thought for the reasons I gave above, that he would play an important role, supportive of this unknown Niccolò.

But I did not like Simon from his actions in this opening chapter and therefore hoped he was not one of the 'good guys'. His actions in subsequent chapters confirmed me in my dislike.

message 5: by Pam (new)

Pam (PamLoeb) | 26 comments MaryZorro wrote: "I have read on other discussion groups that at first it was hard to tell who was going to be he main character while reading the first parts of Niccolo Rising. I already knew before starting, but ..."

I had no idea who the main character was at first (and I had not read Lymond or any Dunnett before). I had a very hard time understanding/getting into the first book until mid-way, when I realized that Claes was the main character, and was much more than he appeared to be. That's when my obsession began, and I lived in Dunnett's 15th C for 8 books and @ 4 months.

message 6: by Sandi (new)

Sandi (sandi13) | 21 comments I found it interesting that all of this first chapter is told from the point of view of Julius. Is this significant? It is certainly unlike the next chapters.

message 7: by Sandi (last edited Aug 30, 2010 12:19AM) (new)

Sandi (sandi13) | 21 comments I thought that the characters had been quite artfully introduced. I found it easy to picture Julius, Felix, Claes and Simon in particular. Obviously there is a lot more to discover about them, but they've been well differentiated both physically and in their natures. This shows the skill of the author, as she accomplished a lot in the opening pages. The one character I did not understand was Katelina, in her varying responses to Simon.

Another area that was new to me, were the close links between Flanders and Scotland, the fact that Katelina would be sent to serve the Scottish royal family. The differences between the 15C and current political and social interactions of both countries (and others that appear in the novel) will be informative. Also the complexities of the different ranks in society was highlighted. The details about the history course, posted above, is a good indication of how much complex historical information will be conveyed in the book.

message 8: by Mickey (new)

Mickey | 61 comments Yes, do keep an eye on Julius. Enough said.

message 9: by Sandi (new)

Sandi (sandi13) | 21 comments Mickey wrote: "Yes, do keep an eye on Julius. Enough said."

I know!

message 10: by Mickey (new)

Mickey | 61 comments Hi Mary,

Go over to Claes and ask your questions about politics and intrique. I am sure some one will be able to answer your questions. They are very knowledgable group.

message 11: by Pam (new)

Pam (PamLoeb) | 26 comments MaryZorro wrote: "I finished Nicolo Rising yesterday. I enjoyed the character study of the main characters and the adventures that they found themselves a part of.

I did not care about the wars, fighting, business..."

Mary -- many of the "general characters" become important as the series unfolds. A lot of it is a mystery that reveals itself as you read on. Nicholoas is a complicated person, whose motives often dont make sense until a chapter or book later. Just be patient - it is well worth it!

message 12: by Mickey (new)

Mickey | 61 comments Hi Mary,

Remember that HN is an eight book series, everyone grows, things are kind of explained (g)as the series progresses. Dorothy never made it easy for us, but then that is why, coming up nine years since her death, we are still around discussing our favorite author.
As Mary Dot always says:

Dorothy Dunnett the only author you will ever need.

message 13: by Mickey (new)

Mickey | 61 comments Oh Mary,

Just keep on reading, I hate to spill the beans.


message 14: by Mickey (new)

Mickey | 61 comments Okay, yes.

Mickey since you wanted to kown.

message 15: by Sandra (new)

Sandra  (sleo) | 314 comments Mod
Mary, the lack of depth here is certainly not due to lack of effort on your part! I wish I'd seen this group when I first started reading with GoK last fall. There don't appear to be a lot of readers here interested in the depth required to read DD. I'll keep looking in and posting.

message 16: by Janny (new)

Janny (jannywurts) | 29 comments Longtime, old reader, here. Never participated in any groups, but worked through these books in depth on my own. I've read all of Dunnett's historicals, and most of her mysteries. Why I'd be most apt to lurk, before comment.

message 17: by Sandra (new)

Sandra  (sleo) | 314 comments Mod
MaryZorro wrote: "SandraSleo, If you start reading The House of Nicolo, please let us know. I will be looking forward to your analysis and comments here. I will re-read it with you. You take the lead here on thi..."

I have not yet started House of Niccolo. But I will post here when I do. I'm spending too much time on the internet today to actually read anything, lol. The posts at Yahoo are fascinating.

message 18: by Sandra (new)

Sandra  (sleo) | 314 comments Mod
I am just starting with Chapter 1 today. On the yahoo lists, a couple of people said that DD recommended to read LC, then HoN, then LC again, so I guess I will do it that way. I'm sure this thread will be helpful.

I must say, I am overwhelmed by the number of characters! I will never remember them all.

message 19: by Sandra (new)

Sandra  (sleo) | 314 comments Mod
I'm undecided. I'm still dithering in aftermath of Checkmate, I guess. Just thought I'd read chapter 1 and see. I may do both, shifting back and forth. I frequently read more than one book at a time, but with DD, found it superfluous, so will just see how it goes. Maybe it will work as they're both DD, grin.

message 20: by Sandra (new)

Sandra  (sleo) | 314 comments Mod
I read the first two chapters and loved the scene - classic Dunnett. But found myself longing for Lymond, so went back to GoK. Will finish this when I finish that one. :D What can I say? I just love Lymond.

message 21: by Betsey (new)

Betsey (llamaduck) | 28 comments I just read Niccolo Rising last week. I did take a very short break between Lymond Chronicles & starting House of Niccolo. I appreciated the advice from Mickey, that it needed "a different mindset." I waited until I felt done (for my initial reading & rereading) with Lymond and am glad I did. This book wasn't like another Lymond book, nor like a prequel. I liked it about as much as I liked the Game of Kings the first time around, which is to say about a 4 out of 5. I thought it was a little pat, which it will undoubtably turn out not to be by the end of the series. My only small complaint about this book is that it's extremely male-heavy. I'm hoping that like the Lymond Chronicles, this one will evolve many story lines with robust female characters.

what I am finding surprising is how the character Niccolo changes my opinion and view of Lymond.

message 22: by Pam (new)

Pam (PamLoeb) | 26 comments Dont worry about strong female characters, they emerge!

message 23: by Jennifer (JC-S) (new)

Jennifer (JC-S) (jenniferjc-s) Betsey, I hope that you enjoy the House of Niccolo. As Pam writes, there will be(soon) strong female characters. Perhaps even too many ...

message 24: by Betsey (new)

Betsey (llamaduck) | 28 comments ha! ok, I will bide my time.

message 25: by Pam (new)

Pam (PamLoeb) | 26 comments At some point I would love to have a discussion about the different female characters, and their different roles. I think you need to get through 7 of the 8 books to do that though!

message 26: by Jennifer (JC-S) (new)

Jennifer (JC-S) (jenniferjc-s) Pam, I agree with you. And the dsicussion will change again during the eighth book.

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