A self-confessed liar spins a fascinating tale of his life in this "comic and brilliantly baffling" historical novel by the author of The Name of the Rose (The Guardian, UK).
Constantinople, 1204. The Byzantine capital is under siege 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 regale him with the fantastical story of his life.
Born a simple peasant in northern Italy, Baudolino has two major gifts: a talent for learning languages and a skill in telling lies. As a boy he meets a foreign commander who adopts Baudolino and sends him to the university in Paris, where he makes a number of adventurous friends. Spurred on by myths and their own reveries, they decide to go in search of the legendary priest-king Prester John who is said to rule over a vast kingdom in the East.
The kingdom they seek is 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, Baudolino is Eco the storyteller at his brilliant best.