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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A fifteenth century adventure page turner., 29 May 2001
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This review is from: The Spring of the Ram: The House of Niccolo (Paperback)
This is the second in the series of 'The House of Niccolo'. This time the author takes the central character, Nicholas - an apprentice who has risen through marriage to head a trading company - to an adventure in the last outpost of western culture in the East, Trebizond. The story flows with more twists and turns than one would expect. Through competition from his arch rival Pagano Doria, and mixing with emperors, Nicholas has to use all his growing skills in intrique and busines, to keep on the pathway of survival and profit. This is a great book, as soon as I had finished it, the next in the series was ordered.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another feast, 10 Oct. 2007
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Didier (Ghent, Belgium) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Spring of the Ram: The House of Niccolo (Paperback)
Volume two of the Niccolo-series sees Niccolo/Nicholas setting out for the Ottoman empire as the head of the Charetty trader-family to outdo all rival merchants with the incomparable gusto he already demonstrated in "Niccolo Rising".

As the first volume, and all the following, this is a historical novel of a breathtaking depth and beauty. Do yourself a favour, buy them all in a single go and then just sit down and enjoy.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Glorious history, 19 Jun. 2009
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R. L. Adams Esq (Northern Ireland UK) - See all my reviews
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Dorothy Dunnett has done it again! Another multi coloured gloriously detailed picture of a long gone civilization peopled by complex and believable human beings giving yet another utterly enjoyable read.The greatest writer of historical novels!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Must be read!, 14 April 2013
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I have been a fan of Dorothy Dunnett for at least 4 decades...since I found the Lymond series in my local library. I read all I could find then bought them for myself. Having them on my kindle has been a real joy... I am now reading the Niccolo series for about the fourth time and the books never cease to entertain and challenge.
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5.0 out of 5 stars ... a small silver box with her name engraved on the side..., 25 Jan. 2013
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Eileen Shaw "Kokoschka's_cat" (Leeds, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Spring of the Ram: The House of Niccolo (Paperback)
This series of books is even more enjoyable than the Lymond series, though I am beginning to see distinct patterns emerging. The young protagonist, cheated out of his true inheritance will meet reverses, shocks and often life-threatening danger, either on land or at sea, or even in his own household. In the end, however, he will escape through his own wits and growing competence, safely on the way to the next adventure. Every step of the way will be accompanied by surprises, bad and good, In Niccolo Rising: The House of Niccolo, he married Marian de Charetty, a lady some years older than himself, and became something close to the perfect husband. But only after he had been scarred by the ring of his hateful grandfather Jordan de Riberac, and severely challenged by Simon de St Pol, in fact, his father. What they do not find out in this novel is that Simon, married to Katalina von Borselin, was not the father of Simon's only son, Henry, now three or four years old. That honour belongs to Niccolo, the ex-apprentice, now head of the house of Charetty. It gets better and better as it goes on.

Catherine Charetty, daughter of Marian, has by subterfuge, deserted her home and gone off with Doria Pagano, a sea adventurer and trader. She is only 13 years old and is a headstrong and wilful girl, but they seem to have gone through a form of marriage and she is in love with him. While her mother thinks she is safe with friends in Brussels, she is in fact embroiled heavily in the rivalry that has sprung up between Niccolo and Doria Pagano. Niccolo is powerless to object to the marriage as no one is aware of the real basis of their so-called marriage. These matters are played out against the precarious trading exploits engaged in by both men, each trying to outdo the other, as they venture towards and then away from the court of David Commenos, 21st Emperor of Trebizond. The adventurers stray into the battlefield of the White Sheep Tribe of the Turkomans, as well as the maurauding horde of Sultan Mehmet the II. Niccolo has the aid of the beautiful Violente of Nexos, married to Caterino Zeno, a Venetian merchant, though all seems lost until a young black page turns against his master.

This is such marvellous stuff - high adventure and deadly danger. Wonderful, complex plotting and the authenticity that always accompanies Dunnett's exemplary characterisations, I just can't wait for the next book.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bringing the C15th to life, 26 May 2008
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Roman Clodia (London) - See all my reviews
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This is the second volume of Dunnett's second great series built around the enigmatic Nicholas, once a dyer's apprentice in Bruges, and now the leader of a trading company setting up business in Trebizond, the last outpost of the Byzantine empire, on behalf of the Medici.

After the domestic beginning of the series (Niccolo Rising) this allows Nicholas, still only 20, to spread his wings and try his skills in a wider world. But he is as dangerous as the sphere in which he is entering, and his friends/watchers don't know whether to trust him, cage him, or follow him.

Full of intrigue, ambiguities, plot-lines, marvellous characters and lush writing, Dunnett does this like no-one else. Sophisticated and convoluted plots mean you have to read her books more than once to understand the intricacies of the story, but as any of her fans will say, that's no hardship. She also manages like almost no-one else to wrong-foot the reader so that just when you think you know what's happening and can guess the next event Dunnett pulls out a magnificent and audacious turn in the story that leaves you breathless but which is so logical and right that you can't imagine why you didn't see it coming. The end of this novel is like that, and yet so beautifully written that the the tension between what is happening and the way it's written is just stunning. Get the next volume before you read the end (Race of Scorpions) as you won't be able to wait to see where Nicholas goes next.

A far cry from the blander and easier historical fiction of a Gregory or Chadwick, this is fiction for adults.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The spring of the ram, 21 Aug. 2005
An excellent read, absorbing and full of detail. I never fully understood the relationship between Nicolas and Marion, maybe I shall find out the next time. I will read this again.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Journey through time, 12 Feb. 2013
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This review is from: The Spring of the Ram: The House of Niccolo (Paperback)
I am truly transported to a different world whenever I read a Dorothy Dunnett book. They are historical fiction of the highest order. The quality of her prose is unsurpassed in this type of fiction and her weaving together the fictional characters with the historical personalities of the time is masterful. I read them time and time again and a Dunnett book goes with me wherever I travel.
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5.0 out of 5 stars gripping and elegant prose, 29 Nov. 2014
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The writing is stunning and the scholarship and historical detail are outstanding. Most of all the characters are mesmerising, especially of course Nicholas. This is my second read of the series and I Had forgotten so much of the plotting and characterisation. Such a pleasure to reacquaint myself with this engrossing world
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5.0 out of 5 stars Superlative, 19 July 2014
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For me Dorothy Dunnett' s Lymond and Niccolo series are the absolute pinnacle of historical fiction - so far above other writers in sheer scope, breadth of knowledge as to be on another plane altogether - her characters live in my head permanently .
They are my 'if you could only read one author' choice
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The Spring of the Ram: The House of Niccolo
The Spring of the Ram: The House of Niccolo by Dorothy Dunnett (Paperback - 3 Nov. 1988)
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