Sunday, November 11, 2012

Ivanhoe - Book 27 of 52 in 52

Ivanhoe by Sir Walter Scott takes place in England during the days of King John and Robin Hood where the noble knight Ivanhoe has returned from the Crusades to claim the lands given to him by King Richard.  Traveling in disguise, he assists a Jew named Isaac of York in escaping from the fierce Templar Sir Brian de Bois-Guilbert who wishes to kill him.  In return, Isaac loans Ivanhoe the armor and war horse that he needs to take part in the king's tournament at Ashby.  With these, Ivanhoe easily defeats all 5 of the king's challengers in the jousting match on the first day and receives the king's reward and the privilege of naming the lady to act as the Queen of Love and Beauty for the remainder of the tournament.  This he bestows upon his childhood love Rowena.  On the second day in the general battle, Ivanhoe's team is nearly defeated when 3 of the opposing knights move to attack him from all sides, but a knight in black armor steps in and takes out two of the opponents.  After the match the wounded Ivanhoe collapses and is whisked away from the tournament by Isaac of York at the behest of his daughter Rebecca.  She promises Ivanhoe that if he allows her to tend his wounds, then he will be able to wear his armor again within eight days.  The following day, as they journey to York, the Jews are joined by the party of Cedric, Rowena's protector and Ivanhoe's father.  The entire party is attacked by Normans masquerading as men of the forest and taken to the castle of Front-de-Boeuf, and all but two of the slaves are captured.  These with the aid of Robin Hood, the Black Knight, and Cedric's allies storm the castle and manage to rescue all but the Jewess Rebecca, who is carried off by the Templar knight.  She is placed on trial for witchcraft and sends a message to Ivanhoe requesting him to act as her champion in a trial by combat. 

Although the story is not historical accurate, it is most certainly a captivating and enjoyable read especially for those who enjoy tales of medieval knights and chivalry.  I would heartily recommend this book for ages 13 and up and am looking forward to being able to read again in a couple of years with my second daughter.

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