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Baudolino

by Umberto Eco

Baudolino is the ultimate joker in the pack of history, a liar and a prankster and a brutal truth teller. Myth, religion and the historical record are portrayed as a practical joke, a convenient lie to cover the machinations of the powerful. The more history you know, the funnier and more serious this book becomes.

Extract

Baudolino knew that a good relic could change the fate of a city, cause it to become the destination of uninterrupted pilgrimage, transform a simple church into a shrine. Who might be interested in the Magi? Rainald came to mind: he had been given the archbishopric of Cologne, but he had still to go there for his official consecration. To enter one's own cathedral with the three Magi would be a great deed. Was Rainald looking for symbols of imperial power? Here he had, within reach, not one but three kings who had also been priests.

He asked the old man if he could see the bodies. The priest required Baudolino's help, because they had to shift the lid of the sarcophagus until they had uncovered the box in which the bodies were kept.

Translated by William Weaver

Parallels

Q by Luther Blissett
Falstaff by Robert Nye
The Island of the Day Before by Umberto Eco
 

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