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Wednesday, February 18, 2009


- Rebecca and Sir Brian de Bois-Guilbert by Léon Cogniet

My latest book from the library is Ivanhoe by Sir Walter Scott. It's set in England in 1194 during the reign of Richard the Lionheart, though when it begins, he's not yet back in England after the third crusade in the Holy Land. Prince John is regent and portrayed as pretty awful (I think he gets too much bad press) and Richard is being waited for with the combination of reverence and hope one associates with the second coming (I believe he was actually a pretty bad king, all in all). The Normans are top dogs, the Saxons are put upon, and the Jews are terribly used.

The main characters are Cedric the Saxon, a direct descendant of Harold II and one of the few Saxon thanes still holding on to a bit of property and power, his ward Rowena, mostly known for her beauty, and Cedric's son Ivanhoe, who loves Rowena and is incognito, just back from fighting in the crusade under Richard.

Other characters - the Jewish moneylender, Isaac of York, his beautiful daughter Rebecca, and a Knight Templar named Brian de Bois-Guilbert who falls for Rebecca. Oh, and Robin Hood too :)

There's a tournament, a castle seige, and combat between Ivanhoe and the Templar, with the heart of Rowena and the life of Rebecca hanging in the balance. All is saved in the end by the appearance of King Richard.

The book has been made into movies a number of times and you can read it online here


Blogger cowboyangel said...

I owe my vocation as a writer to Ivanhoe. Bored to death in a high school English class "discussion" about it, I started writing a poem to the music of "Knights in White Satin." (And I didn't even catch the irony in that until now.)

I should re-read it. Such fascinating elements. I think I liked it at the time, I just got bored talking about it.

[John] gets too much bad press . . . [Richard] was actually a pretty bad king

You realize that Robin Hood's going to kick your ass for saying that!

10:53 AM  
Blogger crystal said...

Knights in White Satin :)

Robin Hood probably liked Richard best because he was never around - made it easier to be an outlaw.

12:56 PM  
Blogger cowboyangel said...

So now you're ripping on Robin Hood!?!? Blaaaasssss-pheeeeemer!

You're making poor old Errol Flynn roll in his grave. :-)

5:35 PM  

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