When Niccolo's wealthy older wife dies in Bruges, he finds himself - at the age of 21 - in the dual role of prosperous merchant and sought-after military strategist. Niccolo's powerful private army is coveted by two warring rulers: steely Carlotta, Queen of Jerusalem, Cyprus and Armenia; and her lethally charming, illegitimate brother, James, who is determined to wrest the kingdom from his detested sister.
But Niccolo's suave demeanour and physical prowess and his ability to turn a profit as well as a battle, attracts dangerous lovers. The beautiful courtesan Primaflora and the vengeful Katerina, the mother of Niccolo's son, both disguise their intentions...
©1989 Dorothy Dunnett (P)2005 W F Howes Ltd
Cyprus setting very interesting especially as I am familiar with the areas in the story. Fascinating political and economic intrigues.
Sometimes the detailed descriptions of scene and costume were frustrating when I just wanted to know what happens next!
This is not a particularly useful question because all the characters contribute to the story.
The accents - very irritating and not very good, wander about a bit, so sometimes I was not sure who was speaking.
The performance of the reader of the first two books was better by far.
I read these books many years ago and have been delighted by how much more I have enjoyed them in audio for.
Aged 64. I listen because I have dry sore eyes and it brings me so much pleasure. I like historical novels, true life stories.
Sir Niccolo's second wife, the courtesan, because of her diplomatic skills and ability to woo Niccolo
Exotic hareems, sugar cane fields of Cyprus, ancient ships and warfare
Find out what happened to Nicholas' bastard son, and his eloping step-daughter.
Christopher Kay's irritating accents for the different characters.
There are far too many characters to have a favourite.
Without the silly accents
I would have changed the reader.
Eg. Adorne's family have been in Bruges for 5 generations. He then portrays Adorne speaking with a HEAVY Italian accent.
This is the third story in the House of Niccolo series - and as an avid Dorothy Dunnet reader I have no complaint about the story, which is as convoluted, complicated, compelling and intelligent as all her writing.
BUT - and it's a big but - it's a different narrator from the first two in the series. This narrator insists on characters having heavy, non-English accents, which didn't happen in the first two - with the exception of the hero, Nicholas, who speaks without a foreign accent. Why? Should he not have a Flemish accent if everyone else has an accent?
If the narrator was good at accents it might be OK, but he isn't, and for me it really does spoil the audio.
If I didn't want to have the whole series in audio (having got them in hardback) I would return it because I find it so irritating.
Sorry, but I think that the use of accents is illogical in this narration. Tilda and Catherine were brought up in the same household as Niccolo. Why do the girls have accents and not Niccolo? I had to give up on this one and move to the next book. The accents were spoiling the story for me.
Another wonderful book with a Narrator who almost spoiled my enjoyment as the silly accents he adopted at one point all merged into one, male and female! The trouble is, we have to suffer this for another few books.
We do, of course, come to terms with this and for the love of the writer's work endure and enjoy the rest of a fantastic work of History and fiction the like rarely experienced.
Having anxiously waited for what seems to be forever, finally more of the House of Niccolo!
Audible, please make the Spring of th 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!
"brace for hokey accents"
I have read these books in print many times, so I already know I love the story. Dunnett wrote rich, complex stories, packed with history and beautifully drawn characters.
It pains me deeply to listen to Christopher Kay, though, and I am very disappointed to see he narrates volumes 5-7 as well. If you don't mind that all but a couple characters have a phony Italian or French accent, you'll probably think it is fine.
Personally, I cringe every time a character opens its mouth. I really want all 8 of these books in audio format, but I'm not sure I can stand 3 more books worth of Kay's narration.
I may not make it through this one, although the story is great. The accents that the narrator affects are so irritating that it is almost unbearable. It's just silly for everyone but Nicolas to have an accent. Never again will I choose a book read by Christopher Kay!
No ridiculous accents!
"Not worth the cost"
A different narrator
This is a terrific story - I have read the book years ago - but since I couldn't finish listening to it, I can't remember any one specific part of the book.
Frankly offensive fake Italian accent. I couldn't get past the first 15 minutes of Ludovic of Bologna. I was listening to the series in preparation for a trip to Venice, and I enjoyed listening to the first two books of the series (different narrator), but ran aground when it came to this one, and didn't continue.
"Pepe Le Peu meets Jose Jimenez...horrible accents"
Even the abominable narrator cannot ruin Dunnett' s extraordinary tale. But why?? All of the characters are multi lingual and yet Kay makes them sound like vaudeville comedians. PLEASE RERECORD,
Almost anyone...the narrator of the first two books was good. he did not get in the way of the story.
"whispersynch the whole series, please!"
i recommend all of dunnett to anybody, anytime!
all of them.
niccolo. if yout ask why, you haven't read it!
i begged for this series to be whispersynced and, lo and behold, it was! except for book 2, spring of the ram, which is the one before this. grrr. whispersync the whole series, please??? you'll be amazed at how many people will buy it if they don't have to pay twenty (or forty!) bucks just to round out a series they've already read a hundred times! all the others are whicpersynced at 3.99!
I was trying to, the story is complex but the narrator is just killing me. The first book, Niccolo Rising had such a better narrator, I can't imagine why they switched.
The complexity, scheming and locations are great, but it is a tough listen due to the narrator
Ugh, no. The accents are an assault on the senses
Story-wise, yes, but it's long
Though my daughter loves the series, I have to pass on the audioversion, probably a better read
"Great book poorly read"
An excellent story, as complex and exciting as one might hope, but marred by atrocious reading.
"Reader makes an difference"
I missed the voice of the reader of the first two books, particularly because this reader chose exaggerated foreign accents for many characters, often sounding Italian. The choice to give Katelina an scent was strange. She & Nicholas are both Flemish and so speak the same native language & would not have accents when speaking to each other. This almost ruined their scenes together for me..
"Do Not Buy this Recording"
The Niccolo Series by Dorothy Dunnett is my all time favorite and I reread all 7 books every 2 or 3 years. I longed to hear her words on tape---FINALLY it happened! The narrator of the first two books was acceptable, although I wished for a better voice for Claus as I had imagined him. Nevertheless I enjoyed the first 2 books of the series. I read the reviews of Christopher Kay before I purchased Vol. 3 and thought, this voice can't possibly be as bad as the reviewers say----Well, to my surprise and dismay the narration was even WORSE. So bad in fact that despite the fact that I had been reading the books at home and following along on the recordings in the car (Dunnett's stories are so complex) I stopped in the middle of this volume. Please, Please Please Audible-throw out all these Christopher Kay recordings and either go back to the narrator of the first two books, or find someone like George Guidall who is excellent.
I have given an overall rating of only 2 stars because the horrible accents the narrator uses makes this recording unacceptable. The story still stands as an all time favorite.
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