Caprice and Rondo, by Dorothy Dunnett

Second paragraph of third chapter:

Because the Mission travelled by road and arrived, by intent, on the Sabbath, its ears and eyes were spared the immediate impact. It heard, in the clear, biting air, only the battling clangour of church bells and the crackling tread of the welcoming cortege, followed, as they entered the city, by the dutiful salutes of the citizens. Only when riding down the wide street to their lodging did Kathi glimpse through the portals ahead the wharves of the little Mottlau, Danzig’s river, and the second, watery city that dwelled there.

Seventh volume in the series of eight about the life of medieval merchant Nicolas de Fleury (who has many other names), this one set in Poland, the Crimea, Moscow, Flanders and a brutal climax at the Battle of Nancy, and tying up some loose ends which had been dangling since the very first book. There is a pretty chilling scene with Nicholas and his estranged wife held prisoner together on a barge in the Flemish fog, threatened by an enemy who has only been recently revealed to the reader as such; the Genoese colony on the Crimea is vividly portrayed in its last days. Less hard work than some of the earlier books; I read it slowly because I did not want to put it down.

This was my top unread non-genre fiction book. Next in that list is Julian, by Gore Vidal.