Jean Gill's Reviews > The Talisman

The Talisman by Walter Scott
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May 08, 11

Read in May, 2011

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 such as clothing, armour, horses and Moorish customs, all suggest some thorough background knowledge, and the squabbling between the Europeans fleshes out the political pettiness that lost the Crusade.

However, as a novel, the plot is lame beyond belief, the two central characters of a knight and his lady-love are wooden, and the resolution is farcical. For Crusade obsessives only.

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