I'm making this post primarily so suffolkgirl and I have somewhere to record our thoughts on re-reading Niccolo Rising without spoiling those of you reading it for the first time.
One thing that I found so remarkable on re-read was how biased the point of view is in the early sections. We're in Julius's point of view in the first chapter! That's both creepy and wonderful. Dunnett was manipulating the reader right from the very start. And even though you can feel that she is doing so, you don't know how she's doing so, because you don't get all the reveals until the final book. Her plotting across 8 books is masterful!
I'm braindead tonight, so that's all I've got for now. But feel free to drop notes in the comments and I'll definitely come back and natter. *G*
ETA: Spoilers for the WHOLE SERIES in comments.
I've just started re-reading Niccolo Rising - on about chapter 8 now. Main thing that's easier on re-reading is that I know which characters are important to watch - one of the first time readers was commenting they found it difficult to know who the book was about and I also found that the first time round. It's fun as well waiting for certain characters to show up - Tobie's just appeared, who is one of my favourites.
It's interesting reading the first parts with Claes knowing what he's really like - Dunnett does a good job of portraying the innocent apprentice facade and keeping you unsure how much intention there is behind his words and actions.
One thing I was wondering - I know Nicholas knows who Simon is from the start, but does Simon know who Nicholas is at first? I can't remember. I was wondering during the chapter from his POV when he chases Nicholas with his dogs, whether that was the real reason for his hostility (or whether it just Simon being Simon!).
bop_radar - yes, I have read the whole series, and one of the things I'm looking forward to in the re-read is trying to spot the clues to the manipulation you refer to, because that particular revelation in Gemini took me completely by surprise. Let me know if you spot any.
dionusia - that scene with Gregorio, Tobie and Julius figuring it all out is one of my favourites too - it's very well written, because it's all exposition but not dull in the slightest.
Hopefully I'll get time to read more over the weekend. I'm working tomorrow but hope to have time on Sunday.
Tobie's just appeared, who is one of my favourites.
Mine too! I'm glad to meet another Tobie fan. *G* c_mantix has really attached herself to Julius, but I was always more drawn to Tobie.
I know Nicholas knows who Simon is from the start, but does Simon know who Nicholas is at first?
If I remember rightly, no, he doesn't.
that particular revelation in Gemini took me completely by surprise. Let me know if you spot any.
Me too! Totally blindsided. And yes, I will. *g*
I've always loved that phrase in the very first scene of Niccolo Rising - "a good astrologer would have taken Julius by the hand..." and told him to keep well away from Simon, Katelina etc. It's a very amusing line.
But now having read the whole series, the line takes on a whole new context. How Julius' life would have taken a very different path if he'd just walked away from the St Pols.
BTW, is it ok to talk openly about spoilers for the later books in this thread? I saw someone who only had read the first book comment and I don't want to spoil them.
As for Tobie...I liked him from the scene where he finds Nicholas crying after he's been stabbed by Simon. Something in Tobie's reaction to that made me like him instantly - maybe it's that he's very compassionate still tactful enough not to intrude.
I've always loved that phrase in the very first scene of Niccolo Rising - "a good astrologer would have taken Julius by the hand..."
Same! It is a wonderful line and takes on so much more resonance once you read to the end of the series.
I fear my original post was not clear--I've edited it. I think we're safe to talk about the whole series now, as I've warned dionusia above that this is what I'd meant it for.
Something in Tobie's reaction to that made me like him instantly - maybe it's that he's very compassionate still tactful enough not to intrude.
I think you're right--I warmed to him very early on too and that seemed a very balanced, compassionate response. I like the way Tobie strives to understand N but also respects his boundaries.
Wow, you're a fast reader, finishing the series that quickly. I was wondering how you would react to the Julius revelations in Gemini...I know it totally threw me for a loop (I was very fond of Julius in the first few books too, although he irritated me more in later books).
The main reason I've wanted to re-read the series is to see if there are clues about Julius in the earlier books - obviously there are as you've already found the Judas flowers.
I hate that Gemini left me with no clear impression of how Nicholas felt about Julius.
Yes, I agree there could have been a bit more exposition about how Nicholas had tried to stop Julius etc - must go and re-read the end of Gemini to see what DD said.
I think that Nicholas and even Gelis were ultimately responsible for more deaths and destruction than Julius (or Adelina) in the end. (throws out that controversial tidbit at random)
Interesting - another thing for me to consider on re-reading. I wouldn't be at all surprised if you were right, between Nicholas' plan to ruin Scotland and their private war with each other.
I must get on with the reading, I've had a busy few weeks and haven't managed to get to the end of Niccolo Rising yet.
and was getting older and her husband had died between Book VII and VIII.
*nods* That's true and I suspect she put herself under a lot of pressure to finish it. I must admit that in part my gratitude that she finished the series before she passed away (so sad! I wept that day!) outweighed my disappointment with the reductive end for Gelis.
I adored HoN, but I think that Nicholas and even Gelis were ultimately responsible for more deaths and destruction than Julius (or Adelina) in the end. (throws out that controversial tidbit at random)
I think that's really interesting, probably true, and I did wonder if you were going to become a Julius defender. ;-) That's why I was a little surprised you didn't include him in your list of favourite characters any more.