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To Lie with Lions by Dorothy Dunnett
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To Lie with Lions

by Dorothy Dunnett

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: The House of Niccolo (6)

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» See also 6 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 8 (next | show all)
We are now deeper into the fifteenth century. The year is 1471 and Nicholas de Fluery is insistent on climbing to the top of the mercantile empire but as usual he has competition with the other "lions" of industry and he has bigger and more personal problems closer to home.
Niccolo kidnaps the child he believes is his flesh and blood away from his estranged wife, Gelis. This becomes a 15th century "war of the roses" when Nicholas and Gelis spar back and forth for control over their son. They have been at odds since their wedding night so both are skilled at harming each other and take great pleasure in it.
The title of the book comes from Nicholas's skillful ability to play both sides of the game. For a while he literally serves two different kings at the same time. ( )
  SeriousGrace | Feb 5, 2019 |
http://nwhyte.livejournal.com/2832586.html

Sixth of the House of Niccolò novels by Dorothy Dunnett, and very much a sequel to the fifth, The Unicorn Hunt, which I somewhat bounced off when I read it last summer. However, To Lie With Lions actually clarifies a lot of what happened in The Unicorn Hunt and indeed Scales of Gold and Race of Scorpions as well, making me feel encouraged about following the series through to the end.

The settings are Scotland, Iceland, Flanders, and France; the plot concerns Niccolò's manipulation of the market in Icelandic stockfish (ie cod) and his continuing battle of wits with his wife Gelis, in which their son is becoming a collateral victim. The three high points, more or less evenly spaced through the book, are the staging of a massive Nativity play by Niccolò in Edinburgh; a volcanic eruption on Iceland; and the final dénouement between Niccolò and Gelis.

The Icelandic eruption chapters are absolutely superb, as vivid as any of Dunnett's descriptive passages (and there are many good ones) and practically justify the book on its own. I don't think I could recommend it as a starting point for readers unfamiliar with the series though. ( )
  nwhyte | Jun 25, 2017 |
The Iceland one, although on re-reading I was surprised that Iceland made up ~20% of the book. Here, Nicholas picks up his Scottish plans after his two years promised hands off period is over. He seems to be building a home for his family, making a nativity play for King James, and fencing with Gelis, whom he has graciously allowed to join him ad their son Jodi. King James and Burgundy and France are all playing politics, and in the middle, Nicholas sails to Iceland to load up on stockfish, there's a rivalry with a ship of the Vatachino, but mostly because he wanted to go there. He gets more than he bargained for when Katla explodes. We are supposed to believe this experience changes Nicholas, but there's not a lot of evidence for it.
At the denouement, Gelis believes she has one over Nicholas, and announces she has been working for the Vatachino firm all along. Nicholas is willing to let her believe she is the victor, and therefore a good match for him; but Jordan de Riberac takes pleasure in pointing out that Nicholas deliberately misled her as he knew this already. The marriage seems to be completely over.

( )
1 vote jkdavies | Jul 7, 2016 |
Loved the whole series! ( )
  kmdelmara | Mar 4, 2014 |
Dorothy Dunnett is really testing her readers now! How much can you enjoy a book when you like the main character less and less? Turns out, quite a lot :) I started this book pro-Nicholas and anti-Gelis, and by the end I was a lot more pro-Gelis, and, while not exactly anti-Nicholas, I felt like he had to make some amends, just like everyone else! The ending was great, I didn't see Gelis's revelation coming, but I kind of guessed that Nicholas would be on top of it.

This was the first time I got the sense that Dunnet is hurling Nicholas around Europe to have him witness significant events of the period, but that said, I really loved the Iceland bits, more than anything that happened in Scotland, I just wished they were more of the book.

I've already started 'Caprice and Rondo'. I haven't enjoyed the last two books as much as the four before them, but I'm desperate to find out what's been going on all this time, so I'm ploughing on! I hope the form picks up a bit, though. ( )
  Yarrow | Feb 7, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 8 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (2 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Dorothy Dunnettprimary authorall editionscalculated
Kay, ChristopherNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0375704825, Paperback)

With the bravura storytelling and pungent authenticity of detail she brought to her acclaimed Lymond Chronicles, Dorothy Dunnett, grande dame of the historical novel, presents The House of Niccolò series. The time is the 15th century, when intrepid merchants became the new knighthood of Europe. Among them, none is bolder or more cunning than Nicholas vander Poele of Bruges, the good-natured dyer's apprentice who schemes and swashbuckles his way to the helm of a mercantile empire.
    
  The year is 1471. Within the circus of statecraft, where the lions of Burgundy, Cyprus, England, and Venice stalk and snarl, Nicholas wields a valued whip. Having wrested his little son Jordan from his estranged wife, Gelis, he embarks on the greatest business scheme of his life-- beginning with a journey to Iceland. But while Nicholas confronts merchant knights, polar bears, and the frozen volcanic wastelands of the North, a greater challenge awaits: the vengeful Gelis, whose secrets threaten to topple all Nicholas has achieved. Here is Dorothy Dunnett at her best. Robustly paced, prodigiously detailed, To Lie with Lions renders the quicksands of Renaissance politics as well as the turnings of the human soul, from love to hate and back.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:06:47 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

This novel of the 15th century centers on Nicholas vander Poele who, in 1471, is acclaimed by all the great courts of Europe, but whose personal life is tumultuous. He and his passionate rival--his wife--embark on a deadly competition for control of their mutual destiny.

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