Author: Gary Jennings
Original language: English
Legendary trader and explorer Marco Polo was nicknamed “Marco of the millions” because his Venetian countrymen took the grandiose stories of his travels to be exaggerated, if not outright lies. As he lay dying, his priest, family, and friends offered him a last chance to confess his mendacity, and Marco, it is said, replied, “I have not told the half of what I saw and did.”
Now Gary Jennings has imagined the half left unsaid as even more elaborate and adventurous than Polo’s tall tales. From the palazzi and back streets of medieval Venice to the sumptuous court of Kublai Khan, Marco meets all manner of people, survives all manner of danger, and becomes an almost compulsive collector of customs, languages, and women.
“He enlivens his picaresque story with wonderfully detailed descriptions of the landscape, climate, flora and fauna Polo encountered along the way. The real energy of Gary Jennings’s narrative is devoted to those old standbys lust and bloodlust. His zeal for clinical description of sexual practices is matched only by his enthusiasm for the minutiae of Oriental torture. Pound for pound,