Donn Byrne was a storyteller, the last, as he himself explained, of a long line of Irish storytellers. He belonged to the school of the romantic, the rhetorical, the magical--in short to the stylists of storytelling. Here is the convincing and unscholarly tale of Marco Polo's courtship of Golden Bells, the daughter of Kubla Khan, and of his journey from Venice, "Bride of the East," to the courts of Cathay, seen through the eyes and told in the brogue of the old Ulster Scotch-Irishman, Malachi of the Glens. Messer Marco Polo is a panoramic tapestry, richly woven of medieval colors, sights, and smells, the ivory, apes, and peacocks of a lost romance. But beneath the sweetness and light there is the terror and tragedy of "the whistling and clangor of the stars as they shot by in their orbits." There is maturity and irony as well as freshness. When Messer Marco Polo appeared in 1921 it charmed the critics; now it is set to captivate a whole new generation nearly a century later.
Messer Marco Polo