Scales of Gold: The Fourth Book of The House of Niccolo

By Dorothy Dunnett

With the bravura storytelling and smelly authenticity of element she dropped at her acclaimed Lymond Chronicles, Dorothy Dunnett, grande dame of the historic novel, provides the home of Niccolò sequence. The time is the fifteenth century, whilst intrepid retailers grew to become the recent knighthood of Europe. between them, none is bolder or extra crafty than Nicholas vander Poele of Bruges, the good-natured dyer's apprentice who schemes and swashbuckles his strategy to the helm of a mercantile empire.
      
The yr 1464 unearths Nicholas again in Venice. tormented by enemies bent on dissolving his resources and smearing his personality, he units sail for Africa, mythical place of the Fountain of youngster, domestic to a descendant of Sheba and Solomon, and the resource of gold in such abundance that males wish to barter in shells. he'll study firsthand the brutality and grandeur of the darkish Continent, from the horror of the slave exchange to the austere the Aristocracy of Islamic Timbuktu. he'll observe, too, the charms of the gorgeous Gelis van Borselen--a lady whose ardour for Nicholas is rivaled purely by means of her wish to punish him for his position in her sister s dying. Erotic and plush with element, Scales of Gold embraces the complexity of the Renaissance, the place mercantile experience with extra own quests at the back of the silken curtains of the Age of Discovery.

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Even with out the consultant, Nicholas might have recognized he used to be forthcoming the property of Tristão Vasquez by way of the smells overwhelmed into the grindstones: the dense vinous breath of the presses, and the aroma he may possibly always remember, the natural sweetness that also steamed, he was hoping, from his copper vats via the temple at Kouklia. It had no longer been a talkative trip. The song used to be in basic terms the width of a wagon, and smooth and pitted with use: one other point of the wet balmy weather that produced the tropical large quantity of flower and foliage he might in basic terms feel, and the darting, bustling lifetime of the undergrowth. His advisor possessed a flambeau, yet had now not had to mild it. The evening had cleared, and the starlight and the unusual mirrored mild of the ocean on his left-hand aspect have been sufficient. He rode, for the instant enveloped back within the tranquil detachment he had won, after which misplaced, within the solitary months after Marian’s dying, and had came upon back basically in Cyprus, on his strategy to and from Kouklia. He met not anyone at the highway: no frantic boy spurring again, bereaved, adrift and now pauperised via the golden uncle whom his father, out of generosity, had made his companion in a very good, starting to be enterprise. He was once going to be in time. prior to the advisor spoke, the frenzy of the movement advised him he used to be coming in the direction of Diniz’ patrimony. the bounds of the tilled land weren't effortless to outline within the darkness, yet he observed a bridge and a mill and a suite of cabins, and additional off a stockade in which seemed a couple of roofs, in general thatched, and them all illuminated through the gleaming lamps within the home windows of a far better place of dwelling whose top storey he may determine. The gates to the stockade stood open, signal of perturbation sufficient, and as he and the consultant dismounted and went in, a brace of canines started to bark wildly, inflicting a toddler someplace to cry. A man’s voice shouted an enquiry, and Nicholas stopped in a pool of sunshine. The principal condo of 2 storeys used to be lit alongside its complete size, the home windows neither shuttered nor coated with muslin, and its partitions thick with vines. a guy, totally clothed, got here out at the balcony, and Nicholas took off his hat to teach his face. He stated, ‘Nicholas vander Poele of Venice. I was hoping to determine Senhor Diniz. ’ It used to be midway throughout the evening. ‘Wait,’ acknowledged the guy. opposed to the sunshine he was once broad-built yet no longer younger, and his voice had a hoop of authority. He might be not anyone however the issue. Nicholas waited, listening to a pressured sound of voices throughout the open window. Then shortly the door less than burst open and Diniz got here out and stopped. The slanting mild sharpened the hollows of cheekbone and eye and his hair, exposed, hung in tough strands. there has been no hint left of the tight-lipped hauteur of his leaving. He stated, ‘I knew you are going to come. ’ ‘I’m sorry,’ stated Nicholas. ‘Yes. So am I,’ Diniz stated. ‘We’re now not – you want to be drained. Come upstairs. ’ the guy from the balcony got here out at his again, vulnerable his head and, strolling prior Nicholas, went to talk to his advisor. Diniz stated, ‘He’s my father’s … he’s the Vasquez issue, Jaime, who lives the following.

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