The exquisitely-researched standalone prequel series to Dorothy Dunnett's revered Lymond Chronicles, following the ancestors of Francis Crawford of Lymond in Continental Europe.
Race of Scorpions is Book Three in The House of Niccolo series.
'Who's the lady in trouble, Master Nicholas?'
'She's not a lady. She's a Queen called Carlotta.'
It is 1462 and Carlotta, the young Queen of Jerusalem, Cyprus and Armenia, is besieged by brigands at a farm on the winter road to Bologna when Nicholas vander Poele rides to her rescue - and into deeper trouble.
Now the head of his own private army, Nicholas finds himself a sought-after man by both Carlotta and her half-brother, James. Each lays claim to the throne of Cyprus and each seeks to persuade Nicholas - in more ways than one - to lend his cunning and might to their cause.
As Christians and Muslims, merchants and Mamelukes, the Pope, the Sultan and the Knights of St John wrangle over Cyprus's future, it falls to Nicholas to juggle adversaries and allies to free himself from this conspiracy of scorpions . . .
'The excitement of Dunnett's storytelling runs hand-in-hand with the erudition of her research' The Times