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    The Riddle and the Knight: in Search of Sir John Mandeville (Paperback) By (author) Giles Milton

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    DescriptionIn 1322 Sir John Mandeville left England on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem. Thirty-four years later, he returned, claiming to have visited not only Jerusalem, but India, China, Java, Sumatra and Borneo as well. His book about that voyage, THE TRAVELS, was heralded as the most important book of the Middle Ages as Mandeville claimed his voyage proved it was possible to circumnavigate the globe. In the nineteenth century sceptics questioned his voyage, and even doubted he had left England. THE RIDDLE AND THE KNIGHT sets out to discover whether Mandeville really could have made his voyage or whether, as is claimed, THE TRAVELS was a work of imaginative fiction. Bestselling historian Giles Milton unearths clues about the journey and reveals that THE TRAVELS is built upon a series of riddles which have, until now, remained unsolved.


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  • Full bibliographic data for The Riddle and the Knight

    Title
    The Riddle and the Knight
    Subtitle
    in Search of Sir John Mandeville
    Authors and contributors
    By (author) Giles Milton
    Physical properties
    Format: Paperback
    Number of pages: 304
    Width: 130 mm
    Height: 196 mm
    Thickness: 22 mm
    Weight: 220 g
    Language
    English
    ISBN
    ISBN 13: 9780340819456
    ISBN 10: 0340819456
    Classifications

    BIC E4L: TRV
    Nielsen BookScan Product Class 3: T8.5
    BIC subject category V2: HBG, RGR
    LC subject heading: ,
    BIC time period qualifier V2: 3H
    BIC subject category V2: WTL
    Warengruppen-Systematik des deutschen Buchhandels: 21110
    BISAC V2.8: BIO023000, HIS037010, HIS051000
    DC21: 910.41092
    BISAC V2.8: BIO006000
    BIC subject category V2: 3H
    LC subject heading:
    Thema V1.0: NHB, WTL, RGR
    Thema time period qualifier V1.0: 3KL
    Illustrations note
    b/w/ integrated
    Publisher
    Hodder & Stoughton General Division
    Imprint name
    Sceptre
    Publication date
    04 October 2001
    Publication City/Country
    London
    Author Information
    Giles Milton is a writer and historian. He is the bestselling author of Nathaniel's Nutmeg, Big Chief Elizabeth, The Riddle and the Knight, White Gold, Samurai William, Paradise Lost and, most recently, Wolfram. He has also written two novels and two children's books, one of them illustrated by his wife Alexandra. He lives in South London.
    Review quote
    Milton is a great storyteller ... he sets about filling in the historical gaps with relish, using his considerable imagination to conjure mood from dry parchment Sunday Express Grippingly told true adventure story Daily Mail 'Milton has a terrific eye for the kind of detail that can bring the past vividly to life'. The Spectator
    Review text
    Originally published in Britain in 1996, this trek in the footsteps of a medieval Englishman created the template for Milton's later studies of historic journeys ("Nathaniel's Nutmeg", 1999; "Big Chief Elizabeth", 2000). Milton has invented a unique form of travel-writing, investigating the world as it existed in the yearnings and imagination of long-ago Europeans. Here, he sets out in search of Sir John Mandeville, a native of St. Albans who claimed to have traveled through the Holy Land to China, and whose "Travels "became one of the best-known books of the 14th century. Despite his influence on explorers from Columbus to Drake, Mandeville was all but written off by the Victorians. His vivid descriptions of the monstrosities of the East didn't jibe with 19th-century sensibilities, and the general conclusion was that the old man probably never left England at all. Milton attempts to rescue his protagonist from obscurity by visiting the places Mandeville claimed to have visited, hoping to find indications of veracity. He does this with considerable charm and some degree of success, gleaning tidbits about 14th-century Constantinople, Cyprus, Syria, and Jerusalem during his stays that seem to confirm Mandeville's account. He does not, however, attempt to trace Mandeville's alleged path into China and Indonesia; instead, he concludes, correctly but half-heartedly, that Mandeville never made it any farther East, and that the second half of "Travels", with its accounts of giant snails and people with two heads, was part of a complicated allegory about the decline of Christendom that stands in purposeful contrast to the first. Milton does some impressive sleuthing along the way, tracking down all the Mandevilles in England to find his man, but his historical analysis can be questionable (e.g., his discussion of the Nestorians). The story never quite rises to the level of the author's ingenuity and wit, as it would in Milton's subsequent books. A diverting if slightly underdone effort. (Kirkus Reviews)