I wish that I had read this novel before I had visited Istanbul. I most certainly would have visited the remnants of the hippodrome (at the Sultan Ahmet Square), the labyrinthine cisterns with its Medusas’ heads and the other places mentioned in the novel. At least there is a lot left to see for my next trip.Baudolino is a richly-woven, engrossing, comical and erudite novel. The many characters are engaging and fairly well-developed. Most would find this novel entertaining until the point where reality gives away to the ‘unknown’ world of the ancients, in particular the world of the Naturalis Historiae of Pliny the Elder (This may well be just one of Baudolino’s tall tales). There are lots of theological and philosophical debates throughout the book which some may find tedious. Particularly tedious (for me anyways) is the explanation of the Gnostic view of creation which comes in the form of a dialogue that lasts several pages and is really heavy, head-scratching reading.This is the third Umberto Eco novel that I have read and the diversity in style and substance between all three is simply impressive. The Name of the Rose is the best of the three and I doubt he will ever write anything better.