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The Riddle and the Knight

In Search of Sir John Mandeville, the World's Greatest Traveler

Giles Milton

Picador

Giles Milton's first book, The Riddle and the Knight, is a fascinating account of the legend of Sir John Mandeville, a long-forgotten knight who was once the most famous writer in medieval Europe. Mandeville wrote a book about his voyage around the world that became a beacon that lit the way for the great expeditions of the Renaissance, and his exploits and adventures provided inspiration for writers such as Shakespeare, Milton, and Keats. By the nineteenth century however, his claims were largely discredited by academics. Giles Milton set off in the footsteps of Mandeville, in order to test his amazing claims, and to restore Mandeville to his rightful place in the literature of exploration.

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THE RIDDLE AND THE KNIGHT
1The InscriptionI remember a very old man named Jordan telling me much of Sir John Mandeville when I was a little boy ... He didn't talk so much about his life as about the place of his grave. Alas my memory holds but a shadow of these things.Commentarii de Scriptoribus Britannicus, JOHN LELAND, circa 1540In the days when gods dwelt in temples, a soldier named Alban was converted to Christianity. For this crime he was hauled before Britain's Roman authorities and ordered to renounce his faith. He refused, was tortured and executed. His body was buried where it fell
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REVIEWS

Praise for The Riddle and the Knight

“Count on author Giles Milton to be witty, entertaining and intellectually stimulating....Brilliant.” —The Plain Dealer (Cleveland)

“[Milton] demonstrate[s] his sharp eye for the significant detail or event....Engaging.” —The New York Times Book Review

“A rare and excellent work that combines scholarship with intrigue, Milton’s book may induce that wonderful swoon usually contracted after long hours researching libraries and labyrinths of history.” —Publishers Weekly

“Pioneer traveller or shameless charlatan, Sir John Mandeville had a huge influence both on the history of exploration and on all subsequent English literature. Here at last is a book which, while always readable and amusing, takes Sir John Mandeville as seriously as he deserves.” —John Julius Norwich

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

  • Giles Milton

  • Giles Milton is the author of the critically acclaimed Nathaniel's Nutmeg, or, The True and Incredible Adventures of the Spice Trader Who Changed the Course of History (1999) and, most recently, Big Chief Elizabeth: The Adventures and Fate of the First English Colonists in America (2000). He lives in London.
  • Giles Milton Alexandra Milton
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    The Riddle and the Knight

    In Search of Sir John Mandeville, the World's Greatest Traveler

    Giles Milton

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    Picador

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