This volume will enthrall anyone interested in true adventure. Marco Polo was the original Indiana Jones and then some. Please do not waste time on Gary Jennings' The Journeyer. This is the real deal and needs no dramatic embellishments.
The Travels takes you on a trip from 13th century Venice to "Cathay" and back again. You will learn how Europeans found out about fireworks, paper currency, printing and pasta. The harrowing journey across the Gobi desert is particularly well reported.
Marco Polo was more than an explorer. He was one of the world's first anthropologists. This is an exciting read, an account of how medieval Europe initially perceived China and the far east, and of how the Mongol rulers and Chinese emperors perceived them. Highly recommended. As to the print quality of Penguin editions, which some have denigrated, I have had my copy since the early eighties and it has yellowed only slightly. Viking is now printing on acid-free paper. One must remember that these editions were printed primarily to reach the widest audience for the least amount of expense at the time. For years, Penguins were accessible to students and to the collector who couldn't afford an elaborate, fully illustrated, fully mapped volume of a particular work. I couldn't have read as many of them as I did in my late teens and early twenties if that were not the case. I owe a lifelong debt to the editors for their efforts. I've also never read a bad translation in any Penguin Classic.