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Baudolinoby Umberto Eco
Baudolino was just plain old fun. I love history and getting what amounts to a con man's eye-view of the Crusades was a blast.
Synopses & Reviews
It is April 1204, and Constantinople, the splendid capital of the Byzantine Empire, is being sacked and burned by the knights of the Fourth Crusade. Amid the carnage and confusion, one Baudolino saves a historian and high court official from certain death at the hands of the crusading warriors and proceeds to tell his own fantastical story.
Born a simple peasant in northern Italy, Baudolino has two major gifts--a talent for learning languages and a skill in telling lies. When still a boy he meets a foreign commander in the woods, charming him with his quick wit and lively mind. The commander--who proves to be Emperor Frederick Barbarossa--adopts Baudolino and sends him to the university in Paris, where he makes a number of fearless, adventurous friends.
Spurred on by myths and their own reveries, this merry band sets out in search of Prester John, a legendary priest-king said to rule over a vast kingdom in the East--a phantasmagorical land of strange creatures with eyes on their shoulders and mouths on their stomachs, of eunuchs, unicorns, and lovely maidens.
As always with Eco, this abundant novel includes dazzling digressions, outrageous tricks, extraordinary feeling, and vicarious reflections on our postmodern age. This is Eco the storyteller at his brilliant best.
"[A]nother grand mythical epic....While this book lacks the suspense of The Name of the Rose, it is nevertheless a spirited story that might offer those previously daunted by his writing a more accessible entrée." Publishers Weekly
"It is a picaresque novel set in the late twelfth and early thirteenth centuries that pays its respects to medieval chronicle and to Woody Allen's Zelig." Ingrid D. Rowland, The New Republic (read the entire New Republic review)
About the Author
UMBERTO ECO is the author of three bestselling novels, The Name of the Rose, Foucault's Pendulum, and The Island of the Day Before. His collections of essays include Five Moral Pieces, Kant and the Platypus, Serendipities, Travels in Hyperreality, and How to Travel with a Salmon and other Essays. A Professor of Semiotics at the University of Bologna, Eco lives in Italy.
WILLIAM WEAVER has translated Umberto Eco's three previous novels, earning great critical acclaim and several prominent awards, among them the PEN medal for translation. Among the other modern Italian writers he has translated are Alberto Moravia, Elsa Morante, Luigi Pirandello, and Italo Calvino. He teaches at Bard College.
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