In England most people who have heard of the travel writing of John Mandeville, knight, probably assume he was a devout English gent who wanted to set down what he'd seen and experienced on his pilgrimages to the Holy Land, and journeys into the far east. What this scholarly edition makes clear in a rather stodgily written introduction is that the work is more of a compilation (a mash-up, the professorial writer rather embarrassingly calls it), and it was originally done in French. The character of Mandeville is almost certainly a fiction, and much of the content of 'his' book is equally fictitious, and derived from a wide library of earlier writings on the wonders of the east, and of the pilgrim sites in the Holy Land. I was drawn to this version because it contains a lengthy sequence of appendices in which extracts from these sources are given in English translation. There's probably more academic detail here, as a result, than the average reader needs, and the Penguin version, which is based on the middle English versions translated from this French source, is arguably a better deal unless the reader is seeking advice on where and how the French writer made use of his sundry sources. The footnotes are mostly informative and helpful, but they can be nit-pickingly detailed. The sections on bizarre creatures and fabled monsters are fairly brief; mostly this is a rather dry account that resembles a medieval Rough Guide: it's not a narrative, and is written in an impersonal third person voice.