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Authors: Dorothy Dunnett

Race of Scorpions

BOOK: Race of Scorpions
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Copyright © 1989 by Dorothy Dunnett
Introduction copyright © 1994 by Judith Wilt

All rights reserved under International and Pan-American Copyright Conventions. Published in the United States by Vintage Books, a division of Random House, Inc., New York. Originally published in hardcover in Great Britain by Michael Joseph, Ltd., London, 1989, and in the United States by Alfred A. Knopf, Inc., New York, in 1990.

The Introduction was originally published in slightly different form in the United States edition of
The Unicorn Hunt
published in 1994 by Alfred A. Knopf, Inc.

Vintage Books and colophon are registered trademarks of Random House, Inc.

The Library of Congress has cataloged the Knopf edition as follows:

Dunnett Dorothy.
Race of scorpions / Dunnett. — 1st American ed.
p. cm.—(The House of Niccolò)
1. Cyprus—History—Fiction. 2. Fifteenth century—Fiction.
I. Title. II. Series: Dunnett, Dorothy. House of Niccolò.
PR6054.U56R3 1990
823′.914—dc20 89-45292
eISBN: 978-0-307-76238-2




Title Page



The House of Niccolò: Preface

Characters: November 1461–February 1464


Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Chapter 9

Chapter 10

Chapter 11

Chapter 12

Chapter 13

Chapter 14

Chapter 15

Chapter 16

Chapter 17

Chapter 18

Chapter 19

Chapter 20

Chapter 21

Chapter 22

Chapter 23

Chapter 24

Chapter 25

Chapter 26

Chapter 27

Chapter 28

Chapter 29

Chapter 30

Chapter 31

Chapter 32

Chapter 33

Chapter 34

Chapter 35

Chapter 36

Chapter 37

Chapter 38

Chapter 39

Chapter 40

Chapter 41

Chapter 42

Chapter 43

Chapter 44

Chapter 45

Chapter 46

Chapter 47

Reader’s Guide

About the Author

Other Books by This Author

The House of Niccolò

When my chronicle of Francis Crawford of Lymond ended, it seemed to me that there was something still to be told of his heritage: about the genetic lottery, as well as the turmoil of trials and experience which, put together, could bring such a man into being.

The House of Niccolò
, in all its volumes, deals with the forerunner without whom Lymond would not have existed: the unknown who fought his way to the high ground that Francis Crawford would occupy, and held it for him. It is fiction, but the setting at least is very real.

The man I have called Nicholas de Fleury lived in the mid-fifteenth century, three generations before Francis Crawford, and was reared as an artisan, his gifts and his burdens concealed beneath an artless manner and a joyous, sensuous personality. But he was also born at the cutting edge of the European Renaissance, which Lymond was to exploit at its zenith—the explosion of exploration and trade, high art and political duplicity, personal chivalry and violent warfare in which a young man with a genius for organization and numbers might find himself trusted by princes, loved by kings, and sought in marriage and out of it by clever women bent on power, or wealth, or revenge—or sometimes simply from fondness.

There are, of course, echoes of the present time. Trade and war don’t change much down through the centuries: today’s new multimillionaires had their counterparts in the entrepreneurs of few antecedents who evolved the first banking systems for the Medici; who developed the ruthless network of trade that ran from Scotland, Flanders, and Italy to the furthest reaches of the Mediterranean and the Baltic, and ventured from Iceland to Persia, from Muscovy to the deserts of Africa.

Scotland is important to this chronicle, as it was to Francis Crawford. Here, the young Queen of Scots is a thirteen-year-old Scandinavian, and her husband’s family are virtually children. This, framed in glorious times, is the story of the difficult, hesitant progress of a small nation, as well as that of a singular man.

Dorothy Dunnett
Edinburgh, 1998

November 1461–February 1464

(Those marked * are recorded in history)


* France: Louis XI
* Scotland: James III
* England: Henry VI, House of Lancaster, to 1461; Edward IV, House of York, from 1461
* Flanders: Duke Philip of Burgundy
* Pope: Pius II
* Milan: Duke Francesco Sforza
* Genoa: Doges Prosper Adorno, Louis and Paul Fregoso
* Venice: Doge Pasqual Malipiero
* Portugal: Alfonso V, nephew of Henry the Navigator
* Ottoman Empire: Sultan Mehmet II

House of Niccolò


Nicholas vander Poele (Niccolò), son of the first wife of Simon de St Pol
Tobias Beventini of Grado, physician
John le Grant, Scots engineer
Loppe (Lopez), a former Guinea slave, major domo to Nicholas


Astorre (Syrus de Astariis), mercenary leader

Thomas, English under-captain to Astorre

Michael Crackbene, sailing-master

Umfrid, Crackbene’s accountant

Andrea, Florentine under-manager of Nicosia royal dyeworks

Galiot, French steward to Nicholas in Nicosia


Gregorio of Asti, lawyer
Merchant families of France, Scotland and Portugal
Jordan de St Pol, vicomte de Ribérac, Scots financier and merchant in France
Simon of Kilmirren his son, co-owner of St Pol & Vasquez in Portugal
Katelina van Borselen of Veere, Flanders, second wife to Simon de St Pol
Henry de St Pol (Arigho), child of Katelina
Lucia de St Pol, sister of Simon
Tristão Vasquez of St Pol & Vasquez, Portuguese husband of Lucia
Diniz Vasquez, son to Tristão and Lucia and nephew to Simon

Flanders and Burgundy

Mathilde (Tilde) de Charetty, elder daughter of Marian, late wife of Nicholas
Catherine, her sister
Julius, notary, seconded from the House of Niccolò
Father Godscalc of Cologne, chaplain, also seconded


* Anselm Adorne
* Margriet van der Banck, his wife
* Colard Mansion, scribe and illustrator
* Jehan Metteneye, host to the Scots merchants
* Tommaso Portinari of the Medici company, Bruges
* Isabelle of Portugal, wife of Duke Philip
* Sir João Vasquez, her secretary
* Pierre Bladelin, Duke Philip’s controller in Bruges
* Michael Alighieri of Florence and Trebizond, the Duke’s chancellor

Fleury, Dijon

Thibault, vicomte de Fleury, maternal grandfather of Nicholas
Enguerrand de Damparis, friend of Thibault’s second wife, Marian’s sister
Yvonnet, his wife


* René, Duke of Anjou, Count of Provence and titular King of Naples and Sicily
* Jeanne de Laval, his wife
* John, Duke of Calabria, his son
* Margaret of Anjou, his daughter, wife of King Henry VI of England
* Roland Cressant, Scottish Archer
* Odile Spinola, widow of the King’s Genoese maître d’hôtel
* John Perrot, abbot of Angers, René’s confessor


* Louis I, Duke of Savoy
* Anna de Lusignan, his wife, aunt of Carlotta of Cyprus
* Luis, Count of Geneva, his son, husband of Carlotta of Cyprus

Naples and the Abruzzi

* Ferrante of Aragon, King of Naples
* Federigo da Montefeltro, Count of Urbino, Papal mercenary
* Paltroni, his secretary
* Sigismondo Malatesta, lord of Rimini
* George Castriot (Skanderbeg), Albanian leader and patriot
* Moses Golento, one of his captains
* Count Jacopo Piccinino, mercenary captain


* Cosimo di Giovanni de’ Medici, head of the banking house of Medici
* Alessandra Macinghi negli Strozzi, matriarch of the Strozzi merchant house
* Lorenzo di Matteo Strozzi, her son, merchant in Naples


* Sante Bentivoglio, lord of Bologna
* Ludovico de Severi da Bologna, Franciscan Patriarch of Antioch


* Carlotta de Lusignan, daughter of King John II of Cyprus and Helen Paleoioga
* Luis, her husband, son of Luis, Duke of Savoy and Anna de Lusignan of Cyprus
Primaflora, courtesan and Carlotta’s attendant
Ansaldo, her lover; a knight of Carlotta’s
* Sor de Naves, Sicilian defender of Kyrenia
* Thomas Pardo, Cypriot follower of Carlotta
* John de Montolif, Marshal of Cyprus
* Antony de Bon, major domo to Carlotta
* Abbot of Bellapaïs
* James de Lusignan (Zacco), bastard son of King John II of Cyprus
* Marietta of Patras (Comomutene or Cropnose), his mother
* Markios of Patras, Marietta’s brother
* Jorgin, servant to Zacco
* William Goneme, Archbishop of Nicosia
* Sir Rizzo di Marino, Sicilian chamberlain to Zacco
* Sir Nicholas (Conella) Morabit, Sicilian vice-consul of Nicosia
* Philip Pesaro, Venetian captain of Sigouri
BOOK: Race of Scorpions
3.74Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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