Baudolino

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Harcourt, 2003 - Fiction - 527 pages
60 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.

With dazzling digressions, outrageous tricks, extraordinary feeling, and vicarious reflections on our postmodern age, this is Eco the storyteller at his brilliant best.

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - renbedell - LibraryThing

This is a work of historic fiction, or so I thought. The character Baudolino is the adopted son of Frederick Barbarossa. He recounts his life to Niketas Choniates. Baudolino is a work of fiction, but ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - DinadansFriend - LibraryThing

A picaresque tour across the Mediterranean and on to China. Our hero likes the Buddhists best, but he has to come home eventually. I think that Eco is better in Italian than English, and without the murder mystery, this book is a good deal less popular. Read full review

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About the author (2003)

UMBERTO ECO (1932-2016) was the author of numerous essay collections and seven novels, including The Name of the Rose, The Prague Cemetery, and Inventing the Enemy. He received Italy's highest literary award, the Premio Strega, was named a Chevalier de la Legion d'Honneur by the French government, and was an honorary member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

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