The House of Niccolò
vol. 4
Scales of Gold

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

Sagittarius/Detail from Les Tres Riches Heures du Duc de Berry
Nicholas's bank is in such trouble that only a bold project can save him. So he sails to Africa in search of gold along the banks of the River Gambia, accompanied by his priest, Godscalc; his Portuguese cousin, Diniz; and his friend and mentor, the African servant Lopez. In the Azores, Katelina's sister Gelis and her chaperone Bel join the expedition.
After many dangers, the group reaches Timbuktu, Lopez's home. Here in the city of libraries, a new task and a new goal await Nicholas. And Lopez, now once again Umar the African jurist and scholar, is reunited with his family.

From the glass factories of Murano, to the Azores, through the jungle of the African coast where only recently the Genoese and Portuguese have dared to explore, Dunnett takes her readers all the way into the legendary town of Timbuktu, the cultural centre of Islam on the edge of the great Saharan desert. And amidst all these wonders, Dunnett does not forget the price Africa pays to the Europeans: the slave trade has begun along the coast of Gambia, and greed for gold and riches attracts fortune hunters and unscrupulous buccaneers.
Umar/Detail from Hans Memling: The Three Kings

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