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The Journeyer

4.31  ·  Rating Details  ·  2,416 Ratings  ·  167 Reviews
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 imagine
...more
Paperback, 1024 pages
Published June 27th 2006 by Forge Books (first published 1984)
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Best Historical Fiction
414th out of 5,712 books — 21,925 voters
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Best Traveling Vicariously
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Algernon
Sep 22, 2014 Algernon rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2014
[9/10]

"Come hither, great princes! Come hither, emperors and kings, dukes and marquises, knights and burgesses! Come hither, you people of all degrees, who wish to see the many faces of mankind and to know the diversities of the whole world! Take up this book and read it, or have it read to you. For herein you will find all the greatest wonders and most marvellous curiosities ..."

I haven't read the original account of the travels of Marco Polo from Venice to the far side of the world. I have c
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Joel Judge
Dec 02, 2011 Joel Judge rated it it was ok
While I did enjoy the Journeyer I would have to say that it was not a great read. Sure the story of Marco Polo is a fascinating one and Mr Jennings did maintain my interest for 80% percent of the time.

What annoyed me, however, is that the story is not vastly different from Aztec. Man travels, has many weird and wonderful adventures, is witness to and indulges in some bizarre sex practices and later, reflecting upon his experiences, decides to self indulgently confess about his wanderings in a t
...more
Jim
Dec 13, 2007 Jim rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Everyone
I love to read. I am a voracious reader, yet, this book has captured my heart above all others. The story and the way Mr. Jennings was able to capture the courage and inspiration that Marco Polo had to traverse the silk trail was inspirational to me. At the tender age of 18, it inspired me to travel across our country with little to no money and discover myself. It has since helped me realize that life is the journey and when I feel stuck or unable to shed myself of unhealthy things to which I'v ...more
Maeceon
Feb 21, 2013 Maeceon rated it it was amazing
The adventures of Marco Polo. I was probably 16 when I read this book. I read it because my mom had just finished it. This book will make you laugh out loud- when you least expect it, and make you slam it shut while being on the verge of tears. You will carry some of the characters with you for The rest of your life: Nostril, Aziz, and The Fondler. You can never forget their stories. Some scenes are so graphically horrible it's as if you've seen them and not read them. One of the most emotional ...more
Barry Behrstock
Sep 14, 2010 Barry Behrstock rated it it was amazing
Shelves: all-time-greats
this is my favorite read of all time. Takes about 100 pages to get going, but by the ending after a 1000 pages you wish there could be another 1000. His research into his subject matter, Marco Polo, has proven to be unbelievably accurate. The Great Khans earthquake detection machine was fully describe while I was at the national museum in Ulambator Mongolia. Aztec is his other great book and fully explains how Cortez and 60 soldiers could conquer a nation.
Carl R.
May 08, 2012 Carl R. rated it liked it
Toward the end of last year, I read Laurence Bergreen’s biography of Marco Polo. Subsequently, a buddy of mine not only clued me in to but provided a copy of Gary Jennings’ fictionalized narrative of the Venetian’s Asian wanderings in The Journeyer. I ran across a copy of another of Jennings’ works--Aztec Rage--years ago in a summer cabin or some such place, got started on it, but never finished and never got back to either the book or Jennings.
There are a couple of interesting discrepancies
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Kerriwyn
Jul 08, 2009 Kerriwyn rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Historical Fiction Fans, Explorer fans, Geography/History
This is the last book of Gary Jennings I've to read. Actually, that's not true, he wrote some book about a hot-air balloon, but I don't like those things at all so I won't be reading that.
If you like Jennings, this is classic. It's the story of Marco Polo. Full of interesting etymological "facts" and lots of sexual perversion. (Hey, you know it's true, lol)
Nothing beats a good piece of historical fiction! It's so escapist, yet, when written well, it's so very informative. One of the reasons I
...more
Nichol Albertson
May 22, 2012 Nichol Albertson rated it it was amazing
I LOVE this book. It has scarred me for life. That's a sign of a great book. Some of the images and scenes from this book have stayed with me, years after the reading. It was so good, I didn't want to put it down, and when I was done reading it, I felt a remorse that it was over.
Angela
Jul 16, 2013 Angela rated it liked it
This book pulled me in two distinct and opposite directions: on the one hand, it's a fantastic and accurate (if my fact-checking is any good) account of life in Venice and the middle and far east in the 13th century. There is a lot of interesting detail about cultural traits and knowledge that we still use today. That really hooked the history buff in me. On the other hand...the extremely graphic descriptions of torture and other sundry mayhem was over the top, even for this Game of Thrones love ...more
Dan Morris
Mar 19, 2011 Dan Morris rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I love historical fiction, and the historical fiction aspect of this book was pretty much an A+ from the start. The plot and the prose seemed pretty immature early on, but really improved, and I was retroactively convinced that the early parts of the book were immature because the narrator was still immature. This book turned into a surprisingly good story of youth and aging, along with a fantastic flurry of random historical references.
Heli
Dec 26, 2013 Heli rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Myötähäpeää aiheuttavan poloiseen kanteen piiloutuva tiiliskiviromaani on yhtäältä viihdyttävää historiallis-eroottista hömppää, toisaalta väkivaltaista ja järkyttävää roskaa seikkailijan retkistä. Jos ajatus seesamiöljyruukkuihin säilötyistä ruumiista järkyttää, kannattaa välttää vuosikausien painajaiset ja jättää kirja lukematta. Kuitenkin jos kirja jättää näin vahvoja muistijälkiä, se ei voi olla ihan huono.
Tlaloc
Oct 15, 2010 Tlaloc rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Ranks alongside 'Aztec' as Gary Jennings' greatest work. Much like Aztec, it is a first person narrative, this time concerning Marco Polo and his journey from Italy to the court of the Yuan emperor Khubilai via the middle east, Persia, Nepal and finally China (and, later on, several other places).

Definitely one of the best historical books I have ever written, can't recommend it highly enough...
Michael
Sep 12, 2010 Michael rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
David Hill
Sep 04, 2012 David Hill rated it it was amazing
This is my favorite Jennings novel. I actually read it twice -- and it's a very long book. I've always loved adventure tales, however, and The Journeyer is fine adventure as well as an accurate portrait of the Mongol court and Kublai Khan. Recommended.
Billie
Sep 24, 2011 Billie rated it liked it
This was a lllooonng book. I had read Aztec previously and this book was based on the same formula, still I kept reading because it was a different setting. If I had not read Aztec previously, I might have given it 4 stars.
Katherine
Apr 30, 2015 Katherine rated it liked it
The first half of this book should have more accurately been titled ‘Marco Polo’s Porno Journey Through Asia’, and although these antics worked for the character, it often felt a little bit over done and forced. The second half of the book was well articulated and presented, and the world was believable and slightly magical. Marco also became a more rounded character as he became a jaded, wearied traveller towards the end, especially when he settled down with Hui-sheng in Asia and started to int ...more
Violetta Vane
May 22, 2012 Violetta Vane rated it liked it
Shelves: trashy-classics
I read this book when I was frighteningly young. Basic plot: Marco Polo goes to China and fucks a lot of people on the way there. And back.

The writing is incredibly engaging and vivid. There's tons of body horror in this book (extreme torture, cannibalization) as well as sex... some gay, lesbian and transgender stuff, but it's mostly meant to be titillating from a straight male POV. It's also very racist and intensely, bizarrely, anti-Buddhist. Seriously, Marco Polo hates Buddhism as soon as he
...more
Bob Wrathall
Sep 13, 2012 Bob Wrathall rated it it was amazing
Fabulous book, a page turner. Strictly adult rated, but what kid is willing to plow through all of the cultural and historical fiction. Jennings has recorded every scatological word in every language between Italy and China in one volume as well as a rip-snorting adventure story. Also, as an added bonus, find out about all of the deviant sexual practices in said lands.

The book starts out with the statement of Marco Polo, that he is only able to record the very least portion of all the adventure
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Gene
Jul 18, 2014 Gene rated it it was amazing

I keep debating whether to knock my rating of this book down to four stars, but I've decided that it's an amazing, fascinating, and enlightening book on its own merits. The problem I have is one of comparison: I loved Jennings's novel Aztec so much, and enjoyed that subject so completely, that The Journeyer suffers in its shadow.

Still, it's a terrific historical novel, filled with the accurate detail, bawdy entertainment, ticklish humor, and curiosity of culture that made Jennings famous. Basica
...more
India
Apr 06, 2014 India rated it it was amazing
Shelves: re-read
I came across this book accidentally one summer at my parents. I read a bit of the story inside and was mesmerized.
I am not shocked or offended by graphic sex or violence because that's the way of the world.
I don't need my films or books sugar coated to make them sweet for my "delicate feminine nature" because I don't have one.
The book cannot be better described than how others have here.
Judge for yourself, but if you have a weak constitution avoid the book in case you might faint.
Kt Anne
May 23, 2013 Kt Anne rated it it was amazing
One of my all-time favorites. I've read it three times now, and each time it gets better and I discover new details. I love this book because you become immersed so completely in the story, that putting it down and returning to real like is a letdown. I look forward to free time to fit in stolen moments with the tome.
Also, new historical evidence supports this telling of the travels of Marco Polo, so you get to learn a little something.
Rohan
Jul 17, 2015 Rohan added it
This was amazing
Jessica Jordan
Sep 20, 2010 Jessica Jordan rated it really liked it
This book started out slow for me, but really got interesting about a quarter of the way through and I didn't want to put it down. The historical descriptions and the stories Marco Polo tells (it's written in his voice) make you feel like you are there, or want to be there! I almost stopped a couple times, but I stuck with it and I'm glad I did.
Blaine
Feb 07, 2015 Blaine rated it it was amazing
I always enjoyed reading about Marco Polo, but the were just quick blurbs or long paragraphs about Marco Polo going from Italy to China. Then my wife recommended this book about him and wow was she right. This account of Marco Polo's life is incredible. You will not want to put it down. You will become captivated and enthralled the moment you start reading about this man and how his life unfolds. It's so unbelievable to read about the multitude of incredible and almost unbelievable things (some ...more
Wendy
Jul 18, 2008 Wendy rated it it was ok
Shelves: read-in-2007
Overall, I liked this book.
Jennings could have toned down the sex a bit though. We didn't need to know about EVERY conquest by Marco. Lots of good detail into the time period and different cultures the Polos would have encountered at that time.
Although the part where the little boys gets eaten was a bit over the top.......
Elaine
May 25, 2013 Elaine rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is not for the squeamish, which can be said of all Jennings' novels. It is a fictionalized account of the travels and adventures of Marco Polo in the 1400's (I think). If you can tolerate the torture, extreme pain, and the endless varieties of sex, you will find a grand adventure novel.
Asher Pless
Mar 15, 2016 Asher Pless rated it it was amazing
Out of all of Gary Jennings books I found this one to be the most entertaining. Once again he starts with his character, this time Marco Polo, and starts him young and takes the reader on a trip of the young man's growing years (very often sexual in nature) which are often a series of misadventures both comical and tragic.

Character development is exceptionally strong. Character's are often self absorbed, motivated by their own needs and desires and frequently treacherous. At the same time the au
...more
Mark
Jan 17, 2016 Mark rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jorge Arnulfo
Mar 24, 2014 Jorge Arnulfo rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Cameron
May 23, 2012 Cameron rated it really liked it
Recommended to Cameron by: Found in Target sale bin
Shelves:
Marco Polo was an explorer. It looks like Jennings was using Polos lost journal and notes to write the story of Marcos adventurous travels. A rich tale, well researched, bringing to life the Mongol Empire and the Emperors Court.
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Gary Jennings led a paradoxically picaresque life. On one hand, he was a man of acknowledged intellect and erudition. His novels were international best sellers, praised around the world for their stylish prose, lively wit and adventurously bawdy spirit. They were also massive - often topping 500,000 words - and widely acclaimed for the years of research he put into each one, both in libraries and ...more
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“I let no chance go by untaken. I never hesitated to follow where my curiosity beckoned. I willingly went where there was danger in beauty and beauty in danger. I had experiences in plenty. Many were enjoyable, some were instructive, a few I would rather have missed. But I had them, and I have them still in memory. If, as soon as tomorrow, I go to my grave, it will be no black and silent hole. I can paint the darkness with vivid colors, and fill it with music both martial and languorous, with the flicker of swords and the flutter of kisses, with flavors and excitements and sensations, with the fragrance of a field of clover that has been warmed in the sun and then washed by a gentle rain, the sweetest-scented thing God ever put on this earth. Yes, I can enliven eternity. Others may have to endure it; I can enjoy it.” 3 likes
“If a man is to have a fault, it should be a passionate one, like insatiable curiosity. It would be a pity to be damned for something paltry.” 2 likes
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