The Journeyer

Gary Jennings

Forge Books

Marco Polo was nicknamed "Marco of the millions" because his Venetian countrymen took the grandiose stories of his travels to be exaggerated, if not outright lies. As he lay dying, his priest, family, and friends offered him a last chance to confess his mendacity, and Marco, it is said, replied "I have not told the half of what I saw and did."
Now Gary Jennings has imagined the half that Marco left unsaid as even more elaborate and adventurous than the tall tales thought to be lies. From the palazzi and back streets of medieval Venice to the sumptuous court of Kublai Khan, from the perfumed sexuality of the Levant to the dangers and rigors of travel along the Silk Road, Marco meets all manner of people, survives all manner of danger, and, insatiably curious, becomes an almost compulsive collector of customs, languages and women.
In more than two decades of travel, Marco was variously a merchant, a warrior, a lover, a spy, even a tax collector - but always a journeyer, unflagging in his appetite for new experiences, regretting only what he missed. Here - recreated and reimagined with all the splendor, the love of adventure, the zest for the rare and curious that are Jennings's hallmarks - is the epic account, at once magnificent and delightful, of the greatest real-life adventurer in human history.

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Read an Excerpt

Journeyer, The
VENICE1ALTHOUGH the Polo family has been Venetian, and proud of it, for perhaps three hundred years now, it did not originate on this Italian peninsula, but on the other side of the Adriatic Sea. Yes, we were originally from Dalmatia, and the family name would then have been something like Pavlo. The first of my forebears to sail to Venice, and stay here, did so sometime after the year 1000. He and his descendants must have risen rather quickly to prominence in Venice, for already in the year 1094 a Domènico Polo was a member of the Grand Council of the Republic, and in the


Praise for The Journeyer

"Superb."--The New York Times on The Journeyer

"Astonishing and titillating."--The Chicago Tribune on The Journeyer

"Fabulous. . . .Sumptuous and exceedingly bawdy."--The Washington Post on The Journeyer

"He enlivens his picaresque story with wonderfully detailed descriptions of the landscape, climate, flora and fauna Polo encountered along the way. The real energy of Gary Jennings's narrative is devoted to those old standbys lust and bloodlust. His zeal for clinical description of sexual practices is matched only by his enthusiasm for the minutiae of Oriental torture. Pound for pound, The Journeyer is a classic."---Gene Lyons, Newsweek

"A novel of epic proportions."--Library Journal on The Journeyer

"As Gary Jennings did for pre-Hispanic Mexico in Aztec, he has enriched The Journeyer with an anthropologist's knowledge of diverse lands and cultures. . . . Jennings combines inexhaustible research with the yarn-spinner's art, drawing indelible portraits of Marco and his companions on the long journey. Stunning . . . You'll never want it to end. "--Los Angeles Times Book Review

"Perfect entertainment."--Philadelphia Inquirer on The Journeyer

"Employing both great sweep and meticulous detail, Gary Jennings has produced an impressively learned gem of the astounding and the titillating."--Chicago Tribune Book World on The Journeyer

"A first-rate narrative. . .spiced with bawdy tales and bizarre customs . . . Sensual delights. . . Jennings is a superb storyteller."--Houston Post on The Journeyer

"Wild adventure . . . endlessly intriguing . . . constantly surprising."--Atlantic Monthly on The Journeyer

"Relentlessly gripping."--Publishers Weekly on The Journeyer

"Remarkable . . .Extraordinary . . . Recreates a whole lost civilization."--Miami Herald on The Journeyer

Reviews from Goodreads



  • Gary Jennings

  • Gary Jennings is known for his intensive research which often includes rigorous and sometimes hazardous travels-exploring every corner of Mexico for his Aztec novels, retracing the numerous wanderings of Marco Polo for The Journeyer, joining nine different circuses for Spangle, and roaming the Balkans to do Raptor.





    Available Formats and Book Details

    The Journeyer

    Gary Jennings



    Forge Books