After the disaster that was The Island of the Day Before, Im giving Umberto Eco another chance. Im reading Baudolino, his follow-up to Island, and I must say, the man is on. Here's the Eco we know and love. The Eco of The Name of the Rose.
I can only compare the story to Forrest Gump, except that in Baudolino, instead of an intellectually-challenged ex-Marine, momentous events in history are influenced by the machinations and the imaginations of the protagonist, who is a gifted story-teller. Oh all right, a gifted liar.
The story is set in the 12th century during the sack of Constantinople by the Latins. Baudolino recounts his story to a Byzantine dignitary: how from a backwater town in Italy, he found himself in the court of the Holy Roman Emperor Frederick Barbarossa as the latter's adopted son, advisor, and confidante, Frederick making full use of Baudolino's skills as a liar. Absolutely hilarious. Eco isnt too show-offy in this grand tour of the Middle Ages.
Yep, Signore Eco is back. Kicking butt and taking names. Bentornato, professore.