Marco Polo's thirteenth-century journey from Italy to Asia marked a turning point for Western civilization. He returned with stories of exotic people, tremendous riches, and the most powerful ruler in the world – Kublai Khan. The explorer told of inventions ranging from gunpowder to paper money. The intellectual ferment and cultural diversity he described helped move Europe out of the Dark Ages and into the Renaissance. In his lifetime, people scoffed at his stories. But as this book explains, he changed the world.