24 Jan 2015


The Riddle and the Knight by Giles MiltonTHE RIDDLE AND THE KNIGHT by GILES MILTON.

SOURCE: A birthday present.

BACK COVER BLURB: In 1322, Sir John Mandeville left England on a thirty-four year pilgrimage. He returned and wrote a book claiming it was possible to circumnavigate the globe.

For centuries none doubted Sir John, many regarding him, not Chaucer, as the father of English literature. In the nineteenth century, sceptics questioned his voyage, and suspected that he never left England at all, and that The Travels was a work of imaginative fiction.

In The Riddle and the Knight, best selling historian Giles Milton unearths clues about Mandeville's journey and reveals that The Travels is built upon a series of riddles which have, until now, remained unsolved.

FIRST SENTENCE {Chapter One: The Inscription}: In the days when gods dwelt in temples, a soldier named Alban was converted to Christianity.

MEMORABLE MOMENT {Page 87}: It looks as if a giant hand has given the church's innards a sudden twist whilst leaving the outside walls in the same position.

MY THOUGHTS: I have a bit of a like/dislike thing for this author in that some of his works I've really enjoyed (Samurai William), others (White Gold, Nathaniel's Nutmeg) not.

Falling into the latter category, for me the main problem with this book is it concentrates less on Sir Mandeville and more on Giles Milton as he follows in Mandeville's footsteps though stopping short of China and Indonesia. Then there is the matter of is it a travelogue OR is it a history book? A combination that can (and does) of course work well, just not in this instance. 

Whilst the author's enthusiasm for his subject shines through I'm afraid in many ways I felt The Riddle And The Knight took a superficial glimpse into the life and travels of Mandeville, his seemingly finding a British monk to talk with on the matter wherever he found himself somewhat dubious. Still, on a positive note it did whet my appetite, leaving me wanting to find out more about the intrepid knight who may or may not have circumnavigated the globe.


Sherry Ellis said...

Sorry this wasn't a most enjoyable read for you.

Kelly said...

So this is a biography of Sir John Mandeville?

I'm afraid the blurb from the back would not have enticed me to get this and your thoughts only confirmed that decision.

I appreciate your review and am sorry it disappointed you.

Suko said...

Thanks for your honesty! Sorry this was a disappointment. I hope your next book is more to your liking.

Stephanie Faris said...

It's interesting that you like some of his work and not others. Normally it's one or the other, but it sounds like this author is inconsistent.

So many books, so little time said...

I think this wouldn't be for me either. Thanks for reviewing honestly, there will be people who love it.

Lainy http://www.alwaysreading.net

Melliane said...

Sorry to see this one wasn't in the really good category...

Brian Joseph said...

This is a fascinating subject and I also want to know more about Sir John Mandeville.

The actual execution of the book does sound very messy.

Arti said...

The book, at first glance, seemed to hold much promise but sadly, the execution sounds lacking.

Have a great day, Tracy.

Elizabeth said...

Sorry to hear it wasn't a favorite.

ENJOY this reading week, and thanks for coming by my blog.

Silver's Reviews
My Blog

Lindsay said...

This does sound interesting though it sounds like the author intruded a bit on the subject matter and more of the actual history would have been more interesting. But I do like it when books at least whet the readers appetitle to be inspired to go off and find out more.

Bo said...

Oddly enough, I bought this book for hubby for Christmas. I really liked the synopsis. He sounds like quite a character.

I will let Cam read it though and let him tell me about it. He loves to lecture about history, which is his passion, so why deprive him of that.

Literary Feline said...

While I am not sure about this particular book, my interest in Sir John Mandeville is piqued!

Stephanie@Fairday's Blog said...

Sorry to hear you didn't enjoy this one. Always good to hear your thoughts!

Naida said...

It's too bad this one didn't work.