Odd Tom Coryate: The English Marco Polo by R E Pritchard - review by Anthony Sattin

Anthony Sattin

Walking the World

Odd Tom Coryate: The English Marco Polo

By

Sutton Publishing 288pp £17.99 order from our bookshop
 

HAD YOU BEEN standing on the Calais dockside at around 5pm on Saturday 14 May 1608, you would have seen a dishevelled young Englishman stagger off the open deck of a cross-Channel ferry. He looked pale, having 'varnished the exterior parts of the ship' with his breakfast. More significant than what he had left behind was what lay ahead. He was at the start of an extraordinary journey.

Thomas Coryate is one of Britain's unsung heroes of the road. While the likes of Fynes Moryson and Sir John Mandeville have been lionised, Coryate has sunk into obscurity. But before he wins the sympathy vote, it is worth pointing out that he has no one but himself to blame.

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