Bruges, 1460. Street smart, brilliant at figures, adept at the subtleties of diplomacy and the well-timed untruth, Nicholas van der Poele rises from wastrel to prodigy in a breathless adventure that wins him the love of the strongest woman in Bruges and the hatred of two powerful enemies.
Niccolo Rising combines history, adventure and high romance in the tradition stretching from Alexandre Dumas to Mary Renault.
©1986 Dorothy Dunnett (P)2013 W F Howes Ltd
The answer is yes! Dunnett's first volume of her 15th century series is sublime, even if my heart belongs to Lymond. This digital production updates my venerable '90s audiocassette version, and I hope it will be followed with the other 7 volumes so I may add them to my collection.
On this "listen" I enjoyed the comic moments, too many to count.
His reading brings an energetic pace that helps move the complex story forward. His variety of voices and accents, along with the challenges of pronunciation, kept me riveted.
Claes and Felix.
Run, don't walk, to your computer and order it.
Loving the Sci Fi author Lois McMaster Bujold I was intrigued by her dedication of a Civil Contract to Jane (Austen), Georgette (Heyer), and Dorothy (Dunnett). I knew the former two but who was Dorothy Dunnett? Turns out she's written character-centered series set in historic Europe. Niccolo Rising, book 1 of a series is set in Rennaissance Flanders, France, and Italy and is a wonderful, engrossing tale with characters you grow to love. Any Bujold fan will love this first book setting up the series as will any fan of historic fiction. If you don't mind a few battles and narrow escapes, Austen and Heyer fans will enjoy the book as well. The characters are well drawn, the story engrossing, and the narrator is perfect. I hope Audible makes the rest of the books in the series available soon--I can't wait for the next one.
I fail to understand the positive reviews of this book. I normally love historical fiction and was hoping for something like Umberto Eco, C.J. Sansom or Robert McCammon. I struggled through two hours of it and found nothing at all to make me continue listening. At least by that point in the story, the author failed to introduce a single interesting character or story line. Just endless trivia related by uninteresting people. I'm sure it's well researched historically, but for me at least, that alone does not make a novel worth reading.
Obviously, I'm missing something, but it's really not for me. Complete waste of a month's credit.
Classic bildungsroman begins...
It's incomparable! Dunnett's writing has been compared with Mary Renault, Hilary Mantel, Patrick O'Brien. Her central character(s) are fictional, but the historical settings and characters with which they interact (for example, in Niccolo Rising, 15th c. Bruges and Anselm Adorne) are accurately and brilliantly portrayed. She has a painter's eye and a poet's pen, which makes the books a pleasure to hear read aloud by a skilled narrator.
His Jordan de Fleury is appropriately scathing.
It's a complex story and a bit long for that, but I was sorry when it ended.
If you've read the book, this is a great way to revisit it. If not, this is a great introduction to the series. Hopefully Audible.com will be bringing us the rest of the House of Niccolo as well as Dunnett's Lymond Chronicles.
Rich in history with interesting and complex characters.
Much as I love this series I would really like to start the Lymond chronicles and want to start with the first book, I've been waiting years for audible to carry the series, I just don't have time to sit and read them again. Why do you have ALL the other novels but not Game of Kings??? Waiting to buy the series until the first book is available.
Complex, rich, vivid historical fiction set in 15th century Bruges, Geneva and in Italy with wonderful characters and ingenious plotting. I am devastated that more of Dunnett's novels - the rest of the "Niccolo" series and the Lymond Chronicles -- are not available on Audible. If I have one tiny quibble, it's that the Italian pronunciation, while generally spot on, is a little off on certain names, like "Tommaso" and "Acciaiuoli." Understandable, but distracting in a minor way. Overall, I loved the book, and look forward to the rest of the series (please).
Having anxiously waited for what seems to be forever, finally the House of Niccolo!
Audible, please make the Spring of the Ram (Book 2) and Scales of Gold (Book 4) available as quickly as possible! These books should be savored in the order they were written and as I have read them in the "old-fashioned" way atleast once a year since they were originally released in print.
It is so wonderful to have the books currently available read by such an accomplished narrator. Beautiful inflexion; realistic and measured pace just as I would have imagined Ms. Dunnett to have meant.
So very pleased!! I will keep these books in "My Library" for always!
I love this series and am always thrilled when one of them is offered as an audible books. I would put these book at the top of the list. Dorothy Dunnett is my favorite author. I love history and this book and all of Dunnetts books are drenched in history and drama. Clever clever books.
I bought the book because of the reviews...time period and length....I like long books, something I can listen to for a week. For some reason I just couldn't get into the book, the narration is not good. I'm on chapter 19 and I just don't get it. It's a waste of a good credit.
I would not try another book. I just can't figure out all the rave reviews. I have not been able to finish this book and it the only book out of hundred that I just can't listen to another moment.
The book has interesting people but it just seems to drone on and on.
"Niccolo at last!"
As a huge fan of all Dorothy Dunnet's novels I was delighted to seen 'Niccolo Rising' which is the first of eight novels in the 'House of Niccolo' Series.
The story, as always with DD's novels, is densely plotted, takes some concentration, is well populated with genuine historical characters and well-drawn fictional ones, immaculately researched so you get a good sense of life, both high and low in fifteenth century Europe, but most of all is a jolly good yarn!
It's well read by the narrator and although I've read the book three or four times I found there was much detail I'd missed which comes over well in the narration.
The eponymous Niccolo, introduced here as Claes, the dyeshop apprentice, is an extraordinary character who is not at all what he appears and will eventually become - amongst other things - a wealthy merchant. However, it's a long road before that and this, the first stage of it, is highly enjoyable.
I do hope that Audible will offer the other seven House of Niccolo books and also the Lymond Chronicles in future.
"A saga of a novel"
The character of Niccolo was intriguing
Niccolo - because he was an enigma
Great pace and a lively performance
Are you kidding - it took forever to get through it!
It took me one whole download section before I could even work out who the characters were and many times I thought I'd give up. Eventually though they clicked and I was hooked.
"Dunnett - the best historical novels"
I love Niccolo! This is well read and as always completely gripping. The plot and characters are well known to me, but listening allows me to pick up so many little details that I've missed before! When are all DD's other historical novels coming to Audible? Soon please!
"Escapades of a bastard dye-shop apprentice, Klaas"
The best. I read it twice. Dorothy Dunnett's style is most sophisticated. She is a brilliant writer. I want to read all 8 of the series now. The action flows fast, and there is not too much battle, but lots of adventure and romance, politics and diplomacy, trade and travel. The alum trade is fascinating and it is interesting to see the character of Klass develop into that of Niccolo, the Medici courier.
Klaas of course. Dorothy Dunnett portrays him in near death escapades right from the beginning, evoking one's immediate sympathy and hero-worship.
The attempt at his death in a barrel on the fire barge, and how he managed to escape and what it led to.
No, it is far too long, but excellent value for my one monthly credit as there are so many listening hours.
I listened to it twice, after I had finished the 2nd, 3rd and 4th in the series, because there is so much in the first book that relates to future books in the series. I appreciated who was who much better the second time. Having started to learn Italian just over a year ago and been to Florence and Venice, I could relate more to the ancient city states in Italy. I had also visited Bruges so could imagine the beautiful city with its canals in the 15th century better.
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