In 1279, thirteen years before Marco Polo returns from China, Ponzio Bastone, a Genoese crossbowman, wrote his will, giving a basketful of macaroni to his heirs. A copy of the will was filed in the city archives of Genoa.
Lantern Across the Sea is the story of Bastone who sets out on a trading expedition across the Mediterranean during the thirteenth century. He departs Genoa, arranged to be married to a woman of the most powerful family in the city, but on the voyage becomes enthralled with Esmeray, the daughter of a Greek fisherman.
As he travels across the expansive Genoese trading empire, Bastone conceals his prime aim midst the commercial venture. Charles of Anjou, King of Sicily, is massing his fleets, proclaiming he will lead a crusade to free Jerusalem from the Muslims, hiding his real goal of attacking Christian Constantinople. At each port of call, Bastone secretly meets with powerful state leaders from Constantinople to Sicily to Spain, as a part of the conspiracy to thwart the king’s attack.
Bastone and Esmeray, amid a chaotic and dangerous world of pirates, assassins, slave traders, and hostile family prejudice, must together prevent a history-changing catastrophe.