At the beginning of February, on a lazy Sunday, I finished off my thoroughly enjoyable re-read of Ivanhoe by Sir Walter Scott. It had been so many years since I first read this that I remembered little to nothing about Scott’s 1819 classic, other than I vaguely recalled liking it! So when I was making my second list for The Classics Club I made sure to include it for a re-read.
For this novel, Scott moved away from Scotland and his own turbulent time, for the Age of Chivalry in England of the late 12th century. There he masterfully chronicles the adventures of the noble, brave knight, Sir Wilfred of Ivanhoe, as he returns from the Crusades incognito to claim his lady-love, Rowena, an Anglo-Saxon princess. However England is a land of fractions and tension, and it is not long before Ivanhoe finds himself embroiled in the struggle to thwart Prince John’s despicable schemes to take his brother, Richard the Lionheart’s throne. 👑
Running in parallel and becoming interspersed with Ivanhoe’s tale is the troubles of the wealthy money-lender, Isaac of York and his beautiful daughter, Rebecca; who – along with the proud Saxon lords, Cedric and Athelstan – fall prey to the machinations of the ruthless Templar knight, Brian de Bois-Gilbert and his greedy Norman cronies, Reginald Front-de-Bœuf and Maurice de Bracy. Which all adds up for an epic, sweeping adventure, that is full of intrigue, romance, danger, desire and deceit!
As well as all that, there is the pomp of a royal tournament; the mystery of ‘the Black Knight’; a daring do siege and rescue mission; an unjust witchcraft trial; and the appearance of a certain well-known outlaw and his merry men! With all that going on and the fact this is a hefty 519 pages long, I took my time to really savour this and the more I re-read, the more detail started coming back to me. And oh boy does Scott pack a lot into this exuberant, colourful and incident packed novel! I could go on and on, but fearing the length of this review and possible spoilers, I will stop there! 😉
All in all, my re-read of Ivanhoe by Sir Walter Scott reminded me what a glorious adventure, great romance and tale of chivalry it is – I fell in love with it all over again, if not more so! Now I really must try more of Sir Walter Scott’s classic novels. Great read ⭐⭐⭐
Now I’d love to hear your thoughts: Have you read this? Or any of Sir Walter Scott’s other novels? What do you recommend I read next?