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 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.