The House of Niccolò
vol. 3
Race of Scorpions

Scorpio/Detail from Les Tres Riches Heures du Duc de Berry

Sagittarius/Detail from Les Tres Riches Heures du Duc de Berry
After Marian's death, Nicholas leaves the House of Charetty and founds his own Banco di Niccolò, together with his old companions.
Venice tries once again to draw Nicholas into the wiles of her politics. In Cyprus, Zacco de Lusignan and his sister Carlotta are fighting for the throne. Venice supports Zacco, while Genoa and the Knights of St John support Carlotta, because Cyprus is the source of one of the most valuable products in the world: sugar.
Against his will Nicholas is brought to Cyprus. Zacco convinces him to join his side. In the course of the campaign against Carlotta, he must confront not only Mamelukes, Knights of St John, pirates and beautiful courtesans, but also his most hostile foe: his former lover Katelina, who is also in Cyprus.

The war between the Lusignans, the "scorpions" of the title, forms the background for the third volume of The House of Niccolò. Their Mediterranean island harbors the first and only sugar plantations in Europe. Cyprus and its ally Venice jealously guard their monopoly. Dunnett describes the first attempts of the Portuguese to smuggle out the sugar plants in the chaos of war in order to break the monopoly; the trade war between Genoa and Venice; and the larger Christian and Islamic forces contending for this island and the rest of the Mediterranean.

Katelina/Petrus Christus: Portrait of a young Woman

Niccolo/Fra Lippi: Portrait of a young Man
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