The Unicorn Hunt (The House of Niccolò #5) by Dorothy Dunnett

I wrote the following review back in 2007 after, what was from memory, my second reread of the series. I am rereading the series again, and I’ll revisit this review at the end of my current read of The Unicorn Hunt to see if my views have changed over the past 14 years.

‘The journey continues …’

In this book, set between October 1468 and February 1471, our hero Sir Nicholas De Fleury appears to have designs on the kingdom of Scotland under the reign of King James III. Friends, foes, and business rivals alike have different plans for Nicholas. As does his wife Gelis: the one enemy he cannot face directly.

Nicholas is as brilliant and dangerous as ever, but no longer as joyous. Driven by a range of motivations, he undertakes a series of journeys which range across Europe and the Levant. Along the way, he makes a number of discoveries, learns some painful truths and is forced to confront all manner of demons. This richly layered story is told against the backdrop of the complicated politics, religious issues and trade of the times. Underlying it all is the enigma that is Nicholas himself: a complex contradiction of strengths, weaknesses and at times suprahuman brilliance.

This is the fifth in the eight book series: House of Niccolò . I would strongly recommend anyone reading these novels to read the series in order. The plot and character developments build progressively and are interrelated.

Jennifer Cameron-Smith