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The Talisman (Tales of the Crusaders #2)

3.84 of 5 stars 3.84  ·  rating details  ·  1,091 ratings  ·  81 reviews

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 medieval romance view of the similarities in the values of both sides. But disguise is the leading theme of the tale: it is not just that characters frequently wear clothing that conceals their iden

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Paperback, 336 pages
Published November 20th 1980 by Penguin Books (first published 1825)
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Bill  Kerwin

"The Talisman" wins my respect for its sympathetic portrayal of a Muslim--rare for 1825--and it wins my affection not only for its memorable characterizations of Lionheart and Saladin, but also for its vivid descriptions of Crusader and Saracen dress and pageantry. The style is verbose, the dialogue is infuriating in its deliberate stiltedness (as if anyone ever talked in this pseudo-Medieval fashion!), and its plot--a far cry from the carefully structured "Ivanhoe"--is thin and melodramatic (wi
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booklady
Sir Walter Scott writes wonderfully enjoyable historical fiction. He first ventured into this realm in 1814 with the novel, Waverley which was published anonymously as Scott's first venture into prose fiction and possibly the first-ever historical novel. His subsequent novels came to be called Waverley novels, including this story. The Talisman is the middle in the trilogy about one of England's most popular kings ~~ King Richard I (the Lion-Hearted), which begins with The Betrothed and conclude ...more
Bruce
Published in 1825, The Talisman is certainly not Sir Walter Scott’s most weighty work in terms of either length, complexity of plot, or profundity, but it is interesting in several respects. Set in 12th century Palestine, during the Third Crusade, it features Richard I of England (the Lion-heart) and figures both historical and fictional that surrounded him at that time. This Crusade eventually broke up without having achieved its goal of capturing Jerusalem from the Muslims, largely because of ...more
Lisa
Sir Walter Scott was a much-loved author of the 19th century: he wrote great tales of adventure, as appealing now as they were then, but today we read them with a keen awareness of the British sense of entitlement which guides Scott’s characters’ actions.

The Talisman is a tale of the Crusades, set in 1190 and beginning when there was a truce between the Saracens and King Richard the Lionheart. As with many another historical novel, Scott takes liberties with the historical record, and probably w
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Alger
Sep 05, 2007 Alger rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: People Who like Historical Fiction or the movie "Kingdom of Heaven"
As with 'Ivanhoe','The Talisman' is a humorous, exciting, romantic adventure that deals with the Crusades, the Church, ambitious Europeans lords of Christendom, and Richard the Lionheart. This book, however, takes place in the Holy Land during the Third Crusade and contrary to expectations contains little Christian/Mohammadan hostilities, but rather is driven entirely on the conflict of in-fighting and conspiring within the Christian camp.
There are so many intriguing facets to the novel. The por
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Jefferson
Sir Walter Scott's second Crusades novel, The Talisman (1825), is an absorbing and humorous book set in the holy land during the 3rd Crusade. The Crusaders are not unlike the invading and besieging Greeks in The Iliad: formidable fighters riven by the mutual pride, suspicion, envy, and hatred of their leaders, a connection that Scott highlights by comparing Richard the Lionheart to Achilles and King Philip of France to Odysseus. And the major movement of the plot hinges on an argument over the r ...more
Esdaile
This is the best of Walter Scott's works which I have read to date I think. I hesitate before giving four stars because this writer is extremely predictable. His approach and opinions and manner of presenting historical events is (I have read five books so far I think) always the same. In this work, his strengths are especially favourably utilised. By his strengths I have in mind his pictorial presentation of historical events and persons. The opening scenes of this tale are like a painting in w ...more
Christy
In a nutshell:

Set in the time of the Crusades (circa 1191), The Talisman primarily follows the travails of a Scottish knight, Sir Kenneth. Due in part to the extreme illness of King Richard, the European allied armies have established a temporary peace with Saladin, the Sultan leading the Muslim forces.

The story opens as Sir Kenneth travels alone in a desert. He soon encounters another lone fighter, an Emir from Kurdistan and they battle. When each recognizes the other as a worthy adversary, the
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Maya Chhabra


"...for know, that had my assailant been in very deed the Prince of Darkness, thou wert bound not the less to enter into combat with him in thy comrade's behalf."



If you loved Ivanhoe, as I did, and want something similar with more Richard the Lionheart, this is it. If you, like me, love the legends of Coeur de Lion and Saladin and aren't particularly interested in the accuracy of the details of the Crusade, this is also for you. It can be read as a prequel to Ivanhoe, though it shares only one
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Melissa
Scottish knight, Sir Kenneth, is alone in the wilderness of the middle-east, seeking help for his squire who is deathly ill. He becomes unlikely companions with an Islamic Kurdish warrior. At first the two hold the other in contempt, but a grudging respect grows between them. Sir Kenneth is looking for a certain mysterious hermit to ask him for healing for his squire, and on secret business for the knights templar.
King Richard lies ill and his crusade is on the brink of failure due to infightin
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Pam
This is not an easy book to read as it was written in 1825, but it is well worth the effort. However only one person in my book club agreed, but we were the only two who finished. Sir Walter Scott's insight into the location and people of the crusades is incredible given that he never traveled to the Holy Land.
I'mgonnabe Ateacher
قد لخصنا هذه الرواية من رواية إنكليزية شهيرة اسمها الطلسم (تلسمن) للكاتب البليغ "ده تذييل الكاتب - يعقوب صروف وهو مترجم اخر لذات الرواية - فى نهاية الكتاب "
السر والتر سكوت، وتصرفنا فيها بزيادة، وإسقاط، وتغيير، وإبدال؛ لتوافق ذوق القراء
في هذه البلاد، وهي تطابق الحقائق التاريخية في أكثر وقائعها. وأشهر مخالفتها لها
في أن دوق النمسا لم ينصب علمه بجانب علم الإنكليز في وسط المحلة، بل على أسوار
عكاء، ومركيز منسرَّات لم يقتله رئيس الهيكليين بل اغتاله اثنان من الخوارج في مدينة
صور، وصلاح الدين لم يقتل رئيس
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Paul
In the beginning this book was very slow. But it was interesting. Not that everyone would find it so. But its strength was in its slowness. We so rarely let our minds become quiet, and slip into another time, or rather a reconstruction of another time. The handkerchief falling from the hand of Edith Plantagenet had the meditative quality of the images in medieval literature. While reading it I was taken back to Chrétien de Troyes, to the blood spots in the snow that Perceval stared at, transfixe ...more
Natalie
Mar 03, 2010 Natalie rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: lovers of the classics
Recommended to Natalie by: Julie Jones
Shelves: recently-read
Sir Walter Scott is a master of historical fiction. I enjoyed The Talisman, not only because of its well drawn characters and plot intrigues, but for all that I learned about the Crusades. I had never understood just how and why they were begun, why the kings had to lead them (leaving their distant homelands vulnerable), why the crusaders abandoned their task, and the fact that there were Christians in Jerusalem at the time. I knew a little about Suleiman, the Ottoman Sultan, whose sense of hono ...more
David
‘The Talisman’ is set during the Second Crusade, and skilfully interweaves historical facts and personalities with the fictional narrative. Scott single-handedly invented the ‘historical novel’ as we now think of it, and this is one of his finest.

The story follows the fortunes of Sir Kenneth, a Scottish knight who is in the Holy Land - occupied by an army of Christian allies (France, England and Austria) - to restore his family fortunes. At the opening of the novel he has a chance encounter with
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Craig
This epic takes place in the land of Isaral during the third Crusade. King Richard the Lion Heart is in charge of the Christian armies, though many of the various factions are divided in purpose. He and his forces are arrayed against the Saracens under Saladin, though during the narrative the warring armies are at truce. The book opens with a Scottish knight confronting a Saracen warrior in the deseret near the Dead Sea. They fight to a draw then make peace and become respected friends. A carefu ...more
Even
The Tailsman gets some points for originality, being the first of the Waverley Novels set outside of Europe, and only the second outside of the British Isles. It also deserves some credit for presenting a flattering image of the Muslim Saladin, as many of Scott's previous portrayls of non-Christians were decidedley less so. Scott's presentation of Saladin was so favorable that it almost single-handedly resurrected Saladin from obscurity to a modern day icon of Arab nationalism.

The story starts
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Perry Whitford
I have recently bought a full 19th century set of the 'Waverley' novels and as there are over twenty of them I thought I better get started. Although this is far from being amongst the first Scott wrote it is just about the first chronologically, so I decided to take 'The Talisman' on holiday to Barcelona with me for some bedtime reading.
The tale is set during the 3rd Crusade, with the towering historical figures of Saladin and Richard the Lion Heart figuring prominently. The hero, however, is t
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Libby
This is my May selection in my challenge to myself. I plan to read a classic novel each month this year. So---how does May stack up?

I chose The Talisman because, long ago, when the dinosaurs ruled the earth, I read and loved Ivanhoe. The Talisman is set in roughly the same time frame and is in the period of history that I just love to read about. Our hero is a Scots knight on crusade with Richard the Lionheart. How could this be better? Well---several ways. Ivanhoe was acutely plotted. Every tu
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Ross
Another poor suggestion from GR. This started out OK as an over-the-top melodrama of knights in armor. Generally I don't like melodrama of this sort, but I always liked knights in armor stuff, so it had a kind of appeal. About half way through, however, it descended to the level of a silly nonsense farce. Not worth reading. That this was deemed to be literature in the early 19th century is an awful commentary on the intelligence of the time.
Jean Gill
Great research material if you're interested (as I am) in the 3rd Crusade and the characters of Saladin and Richard the Lionheart, as seen through the eyes of Sir Walter Scott. History is turned upside down with throw-away remarks along the lines that the Saracens must have 'caught chivalry from contact with their Christian foes' but despite Scott's intentions, Saladin is by far the most admirable character in the book (apart from a very noble hound, who plays an important role). The details suc ...more
Stuart
It took me a long long time to finish this book, but I am done now. It took so long becasue I was reading a heavy leather-bound edition that I could not take on the train, so it had to be read on other times. But, in the end, it was worth it. I enjoyed it a lot. The classic tale of a Scottish knoght at the Crusades, led by Richard the Lion Heart. How true was it? Who knows? But it was good swashbuckling stuff, along the lines of "faint heart never wins fair maiden". Saladin and Richard are portr ...more
Bruce Mcfarland
Oh. I like this stuff. I get the overblown language and the time period mistakes in culture. But, the plot twists and the heraldry. The chivalry and secret hideouts. The disguises and mysteries of mixing cultures. It all reinforces may favorite conspiracy, to wit: The Europeans returned from the Crusades with the knowledge gained from Saladin and the Saracens to improve the life of the people and leave the Dark Ages. The twist is, it did not come from Christ, it came from their adversary. Since ...more
Nelly
It's all about honour, romance, kings and chivalrous knights doing chivalrous things. I love it when people give noble speeches like "I myself will be his guarantee, with honour, life, and fortune." And I adore this novel. It's my second favourite Scott's novel after Ivanhoe.
Richard Stueber
A novel of King Richard the Lionheart and the Third Crusade. It was not meant to be history. What was true in it was that Richard was taken deathly ill, perhaps from scurvy, late in Jun 1191, so this probably starts in July 1191.
The romance between the Scottish knight Sir Kenneth and Lady Edith Plantagenet is totally fictional, as is Richard's cure from a Saracen physician by means of the Talisman (an amulet). Some of the characters turn out to be somebody else later on.
Richard did have a lot of
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T
This book was easier to read than I expected and I liked the plot twists. Do not be put off by the foreword; it seems unrelated to the actual story and is much more difficult to read.
Rick Davis
The Talisman is a first-rate adventure novel by Sir Walter Scott, though not quite on par with his more famous Ivanhoe. The events center on the end of the Third Crusade, and the historical figures of the Crusaders are rendered wonderfully. As in many accounts from the medieval time onward, Saladin’s character is romanticized to a great degree, but the story wouldn’t work otherwise. One aspect of the ending, which is will not name in order to avoid spoilers, fell a bit flat with me, but overall ...more
Joy
Favorite quote: "The sincere and earnest approach of the Christian to the throne of the Almighty teaches the best lesson of patience under affliction; since wherefore should we mock the Deity with supplications, when we insult him by murmuring under his decrees? or how, while our prayers have in every word admitted the vanity and nothingness of the things of time in comparison to those of eternity, should we hope to deceive the Searcher of Hearts, by permitting the world and worldly passions to ...more
J.E.
While the writing is powerfully articulate, it has no heart--at least that's my view through 70 pages, where I've stopped.

The characters are drawn with extraordinary psychological profiles and physical descriptions, but their actions and emotions--in short, the story--revolves so heavily around crusade-era statecraft that I start to think I'm not old enough to enjoy it. I don't mind dispassionate political history, and I can tolerate a degree of prosaic detail, but in a novel, I want to see more
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Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the GoodReads database with this name.

Sir Walter Scott was born on August 15, 1771 in Edinburgh, Scotland. Scott created and popularized historical novels in a series called the Waverley Novels. In his novels Scott arranged the plots and characters so the reader enters into the lives of both great and ordinary people caught up in violent, dramatic
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More about Walter Scott...

Other Books in the Series

Tales of the Crusaders (2 books)
  • The Waverly Novels: The Betrothed
Ivanhoe Rob Roy Waverley The Lady of the Lake The Bride of Lammermoor

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“Blessed be his name, who hath appointed the quiet night to follow the busy day, and the calm sleep to refresh the wearied limbs and to compose the troubled spirit.” 14 likes
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