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.
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.