The Talisman

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Overview

"The second of Tales of the Crusaders, The Talisman is set in Palestine during the Third Crusade (1189-92). Scott constructs a story of chivalric action, apparently adopting a view of the similarities in the values of both sides that is to be found in medieval romance. But disguise is the leading theme of the tale: characters frequently wear clothing that conceals their identity, and professions and cultures hide their true nature. In this novel the Christian leaders are divided by a factious criminality, and are contrasted to the magnanimity and ...

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The Talisman

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Overview

"The second of Tales of the Crusaders, The Talisman is set in Palestine during the Third Crusade (1189-92). Scott constructs a story of chivalric action, apparently adopting a view of the similarities in the values of both sides that is to be found in medieval romance. But disguise is the leading theme of the tale: characters frequently wear clothing that conceals their identity, and professions and cultures hide their true nature. In this novel the Christian leaders are divided by a factious criminality, and are contrasted to the magnanimity and decisiveness of Saladin, the leader of the Islamic armies. In a period when the west was fascinated with the exotic east, Scott represents the Muslim other as more humane than the Christian west." The Talisman is one of Scott's great novels. It is a superb tale. It is also a bold departure as, for the first time, Scott explores cultural conflict in the opposition of two world religions.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781592243631
  • Publisher: Alan Rodgers Books
  • Publication date: 9/28/2003
  • Pages: 388
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.86 (d)

Meet the Author

Sir Walter Scott, 1st Baronet (15 August 1771 - 21 September 1832) was a prolific Scottish historical novelist and poet, popular throughout Europe during his time. Scott was the first English-language author to have a truly international career in his lifetime, with many contemporary readers in Europe, Australia, and North America. His novels and poetry are still read, and many of his works remain classics of both English-language literature and of Scottish literature. Famous titles include Ivanhoe, Rob Roy, The Lady of The Lake, Waverley, The Heart of Midlothian and The Bride of Lammermoor.
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Read an Excerpt


CHAPTER I -They too, retired To the wilderness, but 'twas with arma. Paradise Regained. The burning sun of Syria had not yet attained its highest point in the horizon, when a knight of the Red Cross, who had left his distant northern home, and joined the host of the Crusaders in Palestine, was pacing slowly along the sandy deserts which lie in the vicinity of the Dead Sea, or, as it is called, the Lake Asphaltites, where the waves of the Jordan pour themselves into an inland sea, from which there is no discharge of waters. The warlike pilgrim had toiled among cliffs and precipices during the earlier part of the morning ; more lately, issuing from those rocky and dangerous defiles, he had entered upon that great plain, where the accursed cities provoked, in ancient days, the direct and dreadful vengeance of the Omnipotent. The toil, the thirst, the dangers of the way, were forgotten, as the traveller recalled the fearful catastrophe, which had converted into an arid and dismal wilderness the fair and fertile valley of Siddim, once well watered, even as the Garden of the Lord, now a parched and blighted waste, condemned to eternal sterility. Crossing himself, as he viewed the dark mass of rolling waters, in colour as in quality unlike those of every other lake, the traveller shuddered as he remembered that beneath these sluggish waves lay the once proud cities of the plain, whose grave was dug by the thunder of the heavens or the eruption of subterraneous fire, and whose remains were hid, even by that sea which holds no living fish in its bosom, TALISMAN Jj bears no skiff on its surface, and, as if its own dreadful bed were the only fit receptacle for its sullen waters, sends not,like other lak'iS, a tribute to the ocean. The whole land around, as in the ...
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
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Sort by: Showing all of 6 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 26, 2006

    Talisman

    One way to read Sir Walter Scott's historical novels is as if he were Nostradamus writing of the 21st Century. The great Saladin boasts that, as a Kurd, he is descended from the mating of seven demons and beautiful human maidens. Saladin admits to the novel's young hero, the Scottish knight Sir Kenneth, that Mohammed had indeed sowed a better faith (Islam) among the Kurds. But Kurds still respected their pre-Islamic demon ancestors. And he chanted: 'Dark Ahriman, whom Irak (Iraq) still Holds origin of woe and ill! ..... Thine are the waves that lash the rock, Thine the tornado's deadly shock, Where countless navies sink! ..... Each mortal passion's fierce career, Love, hate, ambition, joy, and fear, Thou goadest into sin.' (Chapter III) Saladin and all good Muslims opposing the Christian knights of the Third Crusade respect madmen, for they are close to God. Hence their tolerance of the half-mad Carmelite monk Theodoric of Engaddi, who eggs the Crusaders on to recapture Jerusalem. The novel imaginatively explores the social tensions and jealousies that tear the invading Europeans apart far more than the Muslims defeat them in open battle. Dislike of the English for the Scots is epitomized by Richard the Lion Heart's closest knight, Sir Thomas of Gilsland in Cumberland. He has fought Scots all his life and finds it hard to be minimally courteous even to the bravest of them, such as Sir Kenneth. Templars, French, Austrians and Italians all resent the haughty claims of the bravest of them to be their leader -- King Richard I of England. Much of THE TALISMAN is about their efforts to break his hold on them. Sultan Saladin, disguised as El Hakim (the healer) uses a magic talisman to cure the Lion Heart of a wasting fever. Later he gives the talisman as a wedding present when Sir Kenneth, revealed as the heir apparent Prince David of Scotland, weds the royal cousin, Edith Plantagenet. But before that a silly prank by Richard's recent bride, Berengaria of Spain, tempts Sir Kenneth to desert his post guarding the pennant of England. WIthin a hair of having Kenneth beheaded, Richard relents to the pleas of El Hakim and gives the Scot to the Kurd as a present. Later Saladin blackens Kenneth's skin and sends him back to Richard as a mute slave. The slave, in turn, saves Richard from an assassin and the plot grows ever thicker. The tale abounds in songs: by Blondel the Minstrel and by followers of Saladin. THE TALISMAN climaxes in a knightly challenge at the Diamond of the Desert, an oasis near the Dead Sea. Now reconciled to Richard, the Prince of Scotland stands in for England's most popular king and mortally wounds the traitorous Conrade of Montserrat, to whom the finishing touch is then secretly given by an even more evil co-conspirator, the Master General of the Knights Templar. Saladin finishes off the latter off with his scimitar. An ending as bloody as MACBETH or HAMLET. Another rollicking good yarn by the inventor of the historical novel, Sir Walter Scott. -OOO-

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 25, 2006

    Talisman

    One way to read Sir Walter Scott's historical novels is as if he were Nostradamus writing of the 21st Century. The great Saladin boasts that, as a Kurd, he is descended from the mating of seven demons and beautiful human maidens. Saladin admits to the novel's young hero, the Scottish knight Sir Kenneth, that Mohammed had indeed sowed a better faith (Islam) among the Kurds. But Kurds still respected their pre-Islamic demon ancestors. And he chanted: Dark Ahriman, whom Irak (Iraq) still Holds origin of woe and ill! ..... Thine are the waves that lash the rock, Thine the tornado's deadly shock, Where countless navies sink! ..... Each mortal passion's fierce career, Love, hate, ambition, joy, and fear, Thou goadest into sin.' (Chapter III) *** Saladin and all good Muslims opposing the Christian knights of the Third Crusade respect madmen, for they are close to God. Hence their tolerance of the half-mad Carmelite monk Theodoric of Engaddi, who eggs the Crusaders on to recapture Jerusalem. *** The novel imaginatively explores the social tensions and jealousies that tear the invading Europeans apart far more than the Muslims defeat them in open battle. Dislike of the English for the Scots is epitomized by Richard the Lion Heart's closest knight, Sir Thomas of Gilsland in Cumberland. He has fought Scots all his life and finds it hard to be minimally courteous even to the bravest of them, such as Sir Kenneth. Templars, French, Austrians and Italians all resent the haughty claims of the bravest of them to be their leader -- King Richard I of England. Much of THE TALISMAN is about their efforts to break his hold on them. *** Sultan Saladin, disguised as El Hakim (the healer) uses a magic talisman to cure the Lion Heart of a wasting fever. Later he gives the talisman as a wedding present when Sir Kenneth, revealed as the heir apparent Prince David of Scotland, weds the royal cousin, Edith Plantagenet. *** But before that a silly prank by Richard's recent bride, Berengaria of Spain, tempts Sir Kenneth to desert his post guarding the pennant of England. WIthin a hair of having Kenneth beheaded, Richard relents to the pleas of El Hakim and gives the Scot to the Kurd as a present. Later Saladin blackens Kenneth's skin and sends him back to Richard as a mute slave. The slave, in turn, saves Richard from an assassin and the plot grows ever thicker. *** The tale abounds in songs: by Blondel the Minstrel and by followers of Saladin. THE TALISMAN climaxes in a knightly challenge at the Diamond of the Desert, an oasis near the Dead Sea. Now reconciled to Richard, the Prince of Scotland stands in for England's most popular king and mortally wounds the traitorous Conrade of Montserrat, to whom the finishing touch is then secretly given by an even more evil coconspirator, the Master General of the Knights Templar. Saladin finishes off the latter off with his scimitar. An ending as bloody as MACBETH or HAMLET. Another rollicking good yarn by the inventor of the historical novel, Sir Walter Scott. -OOO-

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 8, 2000

    Not quite Ivanhoe, but close!

    This is a wonderful adventure set in the Holy Land of Crusaderfame, a tale of Richard the Lionheart, of his noble knight Sir Kennethof the Leopard (the prince royal of Scotland in disguise) and of the great Saracen ruler Saladin who fought the historical Richard to a stand-still in Palestine and showed his chivalry and nobility in the process. In fact, Scott's tale makes it clear that it is Saladin, not Richard, who is the nobler and wiser chieftain through a series of intrigues which see Saladin playing physician, matchmaker and spy all the while Richard is being gulled by traitors and self-interested allies around him. In fact, the great hearted Richard is moved to condemn to death his greatest knight and supporter, but for the machinations of Saladin and the loyalty of one good dog. This is a fun tale, full of adventure and exotic locales, every bit as strong as Ivanhoe, but, perhaps, just a shade less rich in colorful characters and mayhem. Read it anyway. It's worth it.

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    Posted October 24, 2011

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    Posted November 18, 2008

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    Posted April 20, 2011

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