Marco Polo: From Venice to Xanadu

Marco Polo: From Venice to Xanadu


By (author) Laurence Bergreen

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  • Publisher: Quercus Publishing
  • Format: Hardback | 448 pages
  • Dimensions: 156mm x 234mm x 42mm | 821g
  • Publication date: 8 January 2008
  • Publication City/Country: London
  • ISBN 10: 1847243452
  • ISBN 13: 9781847243454
  • Illustrations note: 16 pages of illustrations
  • Sales rank: 845,128

Product description

In September 1298, the rival Italian republics of Genoa and Venice fought a fierce sea battle at Curzola off the rocky coast of southern Dalmatia. Against the odds the Venetians, led by Admiral Andrea Dandolo, son of the Doge, were defeated. Enraged and humiliated, Dandolo beat his brains out against the mast of his flagship rather than suffer execution at the hands of his enemies. Among the thousands of Venetians captives was one Marco Polo, gentleman, merchant of Venice, and sometime traveller to East Asia. Imprisoned in a Ligurian fastness, he told his story to a fellow-prisoner, a writer of romances named Rustichello of Pisa. When Rustichello heard Marco's story, he realized he was hearing one of the most remarkable tales ever told.The account of his travels that Marco Polo dictated to Rustichello in captivity - Il Milione - would be exceptionally widely read and would stimulate European interest in the East and its riches. "Marco Polo: From Venice to Xanadu" is Laurence Bergreen's thrilling and masterly reconstruction of the life and wanderings of one the great adventurers of world history. The scion of a prosperous and tight-knit merchant family in a Venetian republic that was approaching the height of its political and trading power, between 1271 and 1275 Marco Polo accompanied his father Niccolo and uncle Maffeo on a journey east from Acre into central Asia along the Silk Route, eventually reaching China and the court of the Great Khan of the Mongol Empire, Kublai Khan.Entering the service of the Khan, he travelled extensively in the Mongol Empire. The three Venetians returned home by sea in 1292-5, calling at Sumatra and southern India before reaching Persia, and making the last part of their journey to Venice overland. Three years later came that fateful encounter with the Genoese fleet in the Adriatic...

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Author information

Laurence Bergreen was born in New York City and educated at Harvard University. Now a prize-winning nonfiction writer, his books include Over the Edge of the World: Magellan's Terrifying Circumnavigation of the Globe (2004) and Voyage to Mars: NASA's Search for Life Beyond Earth, a narrative of NASA's exploration of Mars and the search for extraterrestrial life (2000).

Review quote

A superb real-life thriller - The New York Times on Laurence Bergreen's Over the Edge of the WorldA fascinating account of one man's amazing life - Sunday Express

Table of contents

Prologue: The CommanderBOOK ONE / EUROPA: The Merchants of Venice; The Golden Passport; The Apprentice; The Opium Eater; High Plains Drifters; The Secret History of the Mongols.BOOK TWO / ASIA: The Universal Emperor; In the Service of the Khan; The Struggle for Survival; The General and the Queen; The City of Heaven; The Divine Wind.BOOK THREE / INDIA: The Seeker; The Mongol Princess; The Prodigal Son.Epilogue: The StorytellerAcknowledgementsNotes on SourcesSelect BibliographyIndex