Fuses historical events of the twelfth century with myths and fables, juicy romance, real political issues, and deep questions of faith--the result is dazzling fireworks.
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.
Baudolino tries his hand at writing.
Dommini Domini mense decembri mclv Cronicle of Baudolino of the fammily of Aulario.
I Baudolino son of
Galiaudo Gagliaudo of the Aulari with a head that looks like a lion halleluia gratias to the Allmighty may he forgive me
ego habeo facto the greatest stealing of my life, I mean from the cabbinet of the Bishop Oto I have stollen many pages that may belong to the Immperial Chancellor and I have scraped clean almost all of them excepting where the writing would not come off et now I have much parchmint to write down what I want which is my own story even if I don't know to write Latin.
if they find out the pages are gone God knows the Hell they will raze et may be theyll think it was some spy of the Roman bishops who hate the Emperer Fredericus
but may be nobody cares in the chancellery they write and write even when theres no need and whoever finds them (these pages)
can shove them up his...wont do ...
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Set in three cities in three eras, The Mirror Thief calls to mind David Mitchell and Umberto Eco in its mix of entertainment and literary bravado.
An inventive, exuberant novel that takes us from the shimmering dunes of ancient Egypt to the war-torn streets of twenty-first-century Lebanon.
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