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The Unicorn Hunt

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The exquisitely-researched standalone prequel series to Dorothy Dunnett's revered Lymond Chronicles, following the ancestors of Francis Crawford of Lymond in Continental Europe

About the Author

Frequently described as the finest historical fiction writer of her time, Dorothy Dunnett earned worldwide acclaim for her blend of scholarship and imagination. She is best known for her two superb series of historical fiction - The Lymond Chronicles and The House of Niccolo - set in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries and ranging across Europe and the Mediterranean, and for King Hereafter, the eleventh-century story of Earl Thorfinn of Orkney whom Dorothy believed was also King Macbeth. In 1992, Dorothy Dunnett was awarded the OBE for her services to literature, and in 2014 Dunnett's most enduring hero, Francis Crawford of Lymond, was voted Scotland's favourite literary character - beating the likes of Sherlock Holmes, Harry Potter and Ivanhoe. Dunnett died 9 November 2001, having sold half a million copies internationally.


Fans of the author's saga of Nicholas van der Poele will be thrilled to read the fifth installment. Dunnett (Scales of Gold, Knopf, 1992), a highly regarded author of historical romance, furthers her reputation with this work, a vivid depiction of 15th-century Europe. Nicholas works his way up through the social strata of early Renaissance Europe during the first books of the series. Here his adventures continue in great detail, starting with the discovery on his wedding night that his bride is pregnant by his sworn enemy. Dunnett's writing style is somewhat complex but rich in information. The reader can feel immersed in the environment she creates; the characters (there are many) have well-developed, unique identities. Recommended where Dunnett's previous works have been popular and for larger fiction collections.-Betsy Larson, Brennemann Lib., Chicago

Last encountered in Scales of Gold , ruthlessly determined Flemish banker/knight Nicholas vander Poele, protagonist of Dunnett's House of Niccolo series, embarks on a new set of adventures that take him across late-15th century Europe from Flanders to Egypt. After a useful recap of the saga's previous four volumes, Nicholas sails to Scotland, where he confronts his archenemy, Simon de St. Pol, who may be the father of the child whom Nicholas's wife, Gelis van Borselen, is carrying. Months later, back in Flanders, vengeful Gelis, in order to punish Nicholas for fathering an illegitimate child by her sister, hides her newborn boy. Intrigue, betrayal and adventure follow as hardened Nicholas journeys from Florence, full of Medici machinations, to the Tyrol, where he uses a divining rod to find silver. Then it's on to Alexandria, to which the intrepid wanderer is lured in search of treasure, and to Mount Sinai, where he has a dramatic confrontation with his estranged wife. In Cairo, Nicholas is captured in a mosque and tortured, but he escapes to Cyprus, where he searches for the infant boy whose very existence he has begun to doubt. Dunnett keeps the surprises coming in this richly embroidered historical romance, a splendid entertainment peopled with dozens of historical figures, as she puts her finger right on the pulse of the 15th century's turbulent politics, mercantile concerns, earthy passions and deadly feuds. (July)

Praise for Dorothy Dunnett -- - * - *

A storyteller who could teach Scheherazade a thing or two about pace, suspense and imaginative invention -- - * New York Times *
Marvellous, breathtaking -- - * The Times *
A masterpiece of historical fiction -- - * Washington Post *
One of the greatest tale-spinners since Dumas -- - * Cleveland Plain Dealer *

Lashings of excitement, colour and subtlety -- - * The Times *
Vivid, engaging, densely plotted - are almost certainly destined to be counted among the classics of popular fiction -- - * New York Times *

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