In 1322, Sir John Mandeville left England on an extraordinary thirty-four year voyage. He returned and wrote a book claiming it was possible to circumnavigate the globe.
For centuries none doubted Sir John. And many regarded him, not Chaucer, as the father of English prose.
But in the nineteenth century, sceptics questioned his voyage and suspected that he never left England at all. They said that The Travels was a work of imaginative fiction.
The Riddle and the Knight unearths clues about Mandeville's voyage and reveals the The Travels is built upon a series of riddles which have, until now, remained unsolved.
The Riddle and the Knight draws on Sir John Mandeville's Travels and the accounts of contemporary adventurers to bring the hitherto unexplored areas of the medieval world vividly to life.
'A brilliant and original piece of detective work... erudite, witty and adventurous.' The Mail on Sunday.
'Always readable and amusing.' John Julius Norwich.
'Although he [Milton] makes no claim to be writing an academic study... he has clearly done a good deal of research into published sources and unpublished records. Were Sir John alive today, I am sure he would have read Milton's book.' Bernard Hamilton, Times Literary Supplement.
'We travel with him [Milton] in the end because he has done his research in the British Library... Milton has scaled a mountain of research, and the twist he gives Mandeville's story is made with elegance and conviction.' Jason Goodwin, Punch Magazine.
'In the style of true medieval quest, each answer poses another question. The one thing that is irrefutably clear by the final page is that Mandeville's argument that the world was round had an enormous influence on the age of exploration.' Anthony Sattin, The Sunday Times.