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Authors: Dorothy Dunnett

The Unicorn Hunt

BOOK: The Unicorn Hunt
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1993 by Dorothy Dunnett
Introduction copyright
1994 by Judith Wilt

All rights reserved under International and Pan-American Copyright Conventions. Published in the United States by Vintage Books, a division of Random House, Inc., New York. Originally published in Great Britain by Michael Joseph, Ltd., London, in 1993, and subsequently published in hardcover in the United States in slightly different form by Alfred A. Knopf, New York, in 1994.

Vintage Books and colophon are registered trademarks of Random House, Inc.

The Library of Congress has cataloged the Knopf edition as follows:

Dunnett, Dorothy.
The unicorn hunt / Dorothy Dunnett. — 1st ed.
p. cm.
1. Vander Poele, Nicholas (Fictitious character)— Fiction.
2. Fifteenth century— Fiction. 3. Bankers— Europe— Fiction. I. Title.
PR6054.U56U55 1994
823′.914 — dc20 93-35692

eISBN: 978-0-307-76243-6





Title Page


The House of Niccolò: Preface



Part I - Open Season: The Waiting Game

Chapter 1
Chapter 2
Chapter 3
Chapter 4
Chapter 5
Chapter 6
Chapter 7
Chapter 8
Chapter 9
Chapter 10
Chapter 11
Chapter 12
Chapter 13
Chapter 14
Chapter 15
Chapter 16
Chapter 17
Chapter 18
Chapter 19
Chapter 20
Chapter 21
Chapter 22

Part II - High Season: Doubling

Chapter 23
Chapter 24
Chapter 25
Chapter 26
Chapter 27
Chapter 28
Chapter 29
Chapter 30
Chapter 31
Chapter 32
Chapter 33
Chapter 34
Chapter 35

Part III - Close Season: The Empty Field

Chapter 36
Chapter 37
Chapter 38
Chapter 39

Part IV - The Whipping-In

Chapter 40
Chapter 41
Chapter 42
Chapter 43
Chapter 44
Chapter 45
Chapter 46

Part V - The Prise

Chapter 47
Chapter 48
Chapter 49

Reader’s Guide

About the Author

Other Books by This Author

The House of Niccolò

When my chronicle of Francis Crawford of Lymond ended, it seemed to me that there was something still to be told of his heritage: about the genetic lottery, as well as the turmoil of trials and experience which, put together, could bring such a man into being.

The House of Niccolò
, in all its volumes, deals with the forerunner without whom Lymond would not have existed: the unknown who fought his way to the high ground that Francis Crawford would occupy, and held it for him. It is fiction, but the setting at least is very real.

The man I have called Nicholas de Fleury lived in the mid-fifteenth century, three generations before Francis Crawford, and was reared as an artisan, his gifts and his burdens concealed beneath an artless manner and a joyous, sensuous personality. But he was also born at the cutting edge of the European Renaissance, which Lymond was to exploit at its zenith—the explosion of exploration and trade, high art and political duplicity, personal chivalry and violent warfare in which a young man with a genius for organization and numbers might find himself trusted by princes, loved by kings, and sought in marriage and out of it by clever women bent on power, or wealth, or revenge—or sometimes simply from fondness.

There are, of course, echoes of the present time. Trade and war don’t change much down through the centuries: today’s new multimillionaires had their counterparts in the entrepreneurs of few antecedents who evolved the first banking systems for the Medici; who developed the ruthless network of trade that ran from Scotland, Flanders, and Italy to the furthest reaches of the Mediterranean and the Baltic, and ventured from Iceland to Persia, from Muscovy to the deserts of Africa.

Scotland is important to this chronicle, as it was to Francis Crawford. Here, the young Queen of Scots is a thirteen-year-old Scandinavian, and her husband’s family are virtually children. This, framed in glorious times, is the story of the difficult, hesitant progress of a small nation, as well as that of a singular man.

Dorothy Dunnett
Edinburgh, 1998


October, 1468 – February, 1471
(Those marked * are recorded in history)


*England: King Edward IV, House of York, vying with *Henry VI, House of Lancaster
*Scotland: King James III
*France: King Louis XI
*Flanders: Duke Charles of Burgundy
*Pope: Paul II
*Venice: Doge Cristoforo Moro
*Milan: Duke Galeazzo-Maria Sforza
*Cyprus: King James de Lusignan (Zacco)
*Portugal: King Alfonso V
*Ottoman Empire: Sultan Mehmet II
*Mameluke Empire: Sultan Qayt Bey

House of Niccolò

Nicholas (Niccolò) de Fleury, master (formerly vander Poele)
Gelis van Borselen, dame de Fleury, his wife
Gregorio (Goro) of Asti, lawyer and manager
Margot, Gregorio’s mistress
Julius of Bologna, notary and manager
Cristoffels (Cefo), Venice management
Tobias Beventini of Grado, physician
Father Godscalc of Cologne, chaplain
Father Moriz of Augsburg, chaplain and metallurgist
John le Grant, engineer, Alexandria agent
Diniz Vasquez, Bruges management
Mathilde (Tilde) de Charetty, his wife
Catherine de Charetty, her younger sister
Henninc, dyeworks manager, Bruges
Astorre (Syrus de Astariis) mercenary commander
Thomas, deputy to Astorre
Michael Crackbene, shipmaster
*John (Jannekin) Bonkle, agent in Scotland, bastard of the Provost of Trinity College, Edinburgh
Oliver Semple, Scottish land factor
Wilhelm of Hall, goldsmith
Bertuccio, agent in Florence
Achille, sub-agent, Alexandria
Govaerts of Brussels, steward
Ederic of Antwerp, manservant
Donat of Louvain, huntsman/groom
Dionigi, cook
Ochoa de Marchena, former shipmaster of the


*James Stewart, (third of the name), King of Scotland
*Alexander (Sandy) Stewart, Duke of Albany, his brother
*Sir James (Jamie) Liddell of Halkerston, Albany’s steward
*John Stewart, Earl of Mar, the King’s younger brother
*Margaret Stewart (Bleezie Meg), the King’s younger sister
*Mariota Darrauch, nurse to Margaret
*Mary Stewart, Countess of Arran, the King’s elder sister
*Thomas Boyd, Earl of Arran, her husband
*Robert, Lord Boyd, father of Thomas
*James Stewart of Auchterhouse (Hearty James), half-uncle to King James
*John Stewart, Earl of Atholl, another half-uncle
*Margaret of Denmark, Norway, Vandalia etc., bride of King James
*Colin Campbell, 1st Earl of Argyll, Master of the Royal Household
*Archibald Whitelaw, Royal Secretary
*Andrew Stewart, Lord Avandale, Chancellor
*Patrick Graham, Bishop of St Andrews (nephew of Bishop Kennedy)
*James Hamilton of Cadzow, 1st Lord Hamilton
*Joneta Hamilton, his natural daughter
*Sir Robert Semple of Elliotstoun, sheriff of Renfrew
*William Semple his son, ‘second cousin to Oliver Semple’
*Robert, Lord Fleming of Biggar
*Malcolm Fleming, his son
*John and David, his grandsons
Jordan de St Pol of Kilmirren, vicomte de Ribérac, merchant-magnate of Scotland and France
Simon de St Pol the Younger of Kilmirren, his son
Henry de St Pol, son of Simon’s late wife Katelina, sister to Gelis van Borselen
Lucia, sister of Simon and mother of Diniz Vasquez
Matten, her maid
Isobella (Bel) of Cuthilgurdy, her neighbour
*Andro Wodman, ‘escort of Bel’
*John Lamb, Leith merchant
*Thomas (Thom) Swift, Edinburgh merchant
*William of Berecrofts (Old Will), Canongate merchant
*Archibald of Berecrofts the Younger (Archie), his son
*Robin, son of Archie
*William Sinclair, Earl of Caithness and Orkney
*Elizabeth (Betha) Sinclair, his daughter, widow of Patrick Dunbar of Blantyre and Cumnock
*Catherine Sinclair, his daughter by another wife
*Euphemia (Phemie) Dunbar, Betha’s cousin, daughter of George Dunbar, Earl of March, and of Orkney’s sister
BOOK: The Unicorn Hunt
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