In Cervantes' time, 'fiction' was synonymous with a lie. Books were either history, and true, or 'poetry' which might be invented, but had to conform to strict principles. Don Quixotetells the story of a poor nobleman, addled from reading too many books on chivalry, who deludes himself that he is a knight errant and sets off to put the world to rights. The book was hugely entertaining, broke the existing rules, devised a new set and, in the process, created a new, modern hybrid form we know today as the novel.
The Man Who Invented Fiction explores Cervantes's life and the world he lived in, showing how his life and influences converged in his work, and how his work - especially Don Quixote - radically changed the nature of literature and created a new way of viewing the world. Finally, it explains how that worldview went on to infiltrate art, politics and science, and how the world today would be unthinkable without it.