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You may wish to consult Marco Polo (disambiguation) for other, similarly-named pages.

Marco Polo was a novelisation based on the 1964 television serial Marco Polo.

Publisher's summary[]

The young Venetian Marco Polo is on his way to the Emperor's court in Peking when he meets the intrepid time-travellers, for the TARDIS has landed on Earth in the year 1289.

Marco Polo recognises in the TARDIS a means of winning favour with the Emperor. But in the end the Doctor has no one but himself to blame for the loss of his wondrous travelling machine – which he gambles away to Kublai Khan...

Chapter titles[]

  1. Roof of the World
  2. Emissary of Peace
  3. Down to Earth
  4. Singing Sands
  5. Desert of Death
  6. A Tale of Hashashins
  7. Five Hundred Eyes
  8. Wall of Lies
  9. Too Many Kan-Chow Cooks
  10. Bamboozled
  11. Rider from Shang-Tu
  12. Runaway
  13. Road to Karakorum
  14. Mighty Kublai Khan
  15. Gamblers
  16. Best-laid Schemes
  17. Key to the World

Deviations from televised story[]

  • In the novelisation, Tegana seals the throne room, preventing anyone from entering to rescue Kublai Khan. Rather than being bested in a sword fight with Marco Polo and committing suicide in a final act of defiance, Tegana is slain with an arrow from Ling-Tau through a secret Judas-eye in the Khan's gaming room.
  • The Doctor and his companions' departure is far less hurried in the novelisation. The Khan freely gifts Marco's key as thanks for the saving of his life. On television, Marco hurriedly returns his key and urges the travellers inside the TARDIS. The Khan acquiesces in both instances, believing in the latter account that the Doctor would have eventually won it back in Backgammon.
  • Rather than concluding on Polo's speculations, the author notes that the Khan's TARDIS key has survived the passage of time and now resides in a Peking museum as the "Key to the World".
  • The bandit Kuiju is not killed in the novel.

Writing and publishing notes[]

  • Dedication: In fond memory of the Inimitable Original, William `Bill' Hartnell
  • Along with The Myth Makers, this novelised title had the highest first print run of the Target novelisations (65,000).
  • The audiobook was released shortly after Zienia Merton's death.

Cover gallery[]

British publication history[]

First publication:

  • Hardback
W.H.Allen & Co. Ltd. UK
  • Paperback


This Target Book was released as an audiobook on 6 December 2018 complete and unabridged by BBC Audio and read by Zienia Merton.

The cover blurb and thumbnail illustrations were retained in the accompanying booklet with sleevenotes by David J. Howe. Music and sound effects by Simon Power.

External links[]

to be added