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By Sir Walter Scott

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By Sir Walter Scott
Large Print Edition
ISIS Clear Type Classics (1992)
ISBN: 1-85089-494-9
Genre: Classic Fiction - Adventure

Reviewed by Auggie Moore - August 7, 2007

Sir Walter Scott's Ivanhoe is by far my favorite adventure / historical novel of all times. It has everything you could possibly want. It has high drama, romance, unrequited love, the nastiest of nasty villains, sword fights, jousts, kidnappings, lots of danger, a castle or two is stormed, and it has a lovely heroine and a handsome and honorable hero. Oh, and did I mention, even Robin Hood and his Merry Men make an appearance in this mystical tale, as does a mysterious Black Knight!

Ivanhoe is set in that tumultuous period of English history when King Richard the Lionhearted (Richard I of England), returning from the crusades, was taken prisoner by the Austrians and imprisoned. During his absences, his devious brother, Prince John, has been ruling the country in his stead. Ostensibly, as the book opens, Prince John was working tirelessly to raise the ransom monies to win his brother's release, but instead was pocketing the loot, while he waited for his brother to die so he could be crowned king. To complicate matters, despite decades having past since the Norman conquest, the relationship between the Norman and Saxon populations are strained - a discord that is further exacerbated by Prince John and his nobles' actions.

Into this heady mix rides the brave knight, Ivanhoe, who is in love with the beautiful Saxon Princess Rowena. Ivanhoe has been away from home for many years, fighting alongside of King Richard. When he finally makes his way home, he does so in disguise, in order to secure his own inheritance that has been stolen by Prince John, and to take the necessary steps to ensure that when King Richard returns to England, Prince John does not kill him before he can retake his throne!

During these endeavors, Ivanhoe is injured and is tended to by Rebecca, a ravishing young Jewess, who saves his life. Despite their differences, Rebecca falls in love with Ivanhoe, and though she knows that nothing will come of her love, she does everything in her power to help him in his quests. In the process, she comes to the attention of Sir Brian de Bois-Guilbert, Ivanhoe's arch enemy. de Bois-Gilbert is a hard-hearted Templar who falls passionately in love with Rebecca. When his love is not returned, and in a fit of indignation, he kidnaps her and brings her to Templestowe, a Templar stronghold. There, the Grand Master of the Templars orders that Rebecca be tried as a witch - after all, what but sorcery would explain why a Templar would fall in love with a Jew!

Will Rebecca survive her ordeal, will Ivanhoe reclaim his lands and his Rowena, will King Richard make it back to England, and will Prince John get his comeuppance? These are but a few of the questions that are answered in this non-stop page turner!

If you've never read Ivanhoe, I'm sure that you have heard of it. The story was first published around 1819, and it is one of the best-known stories by Sir Walter Scott. It is, in the truest sense, a classic. Not only is the story well-written, but the story has a timeless quality that has resonated with readers through countless generations, and will continue to do so as long as books remain in existence! Ivanhoe is a complex story with numerous sub-plots, and it is a story that you can read over and over again. Reading this book as a child, you may only read it as a thrilling tale of knights and ladies in distress, as an adult, re-reading this book, you'll uncover new layers of the story with each rereading.

I've long wanted to reread Ivanhoe for the enth time, but I've been stymied due to tiny print that is used in most of the copies of the book. At long last, however, I have found a large print edition! Published by ISIS, this hardcover edition is one of the books in the ISIS Clear Type Classics series. The text is printed in a very dark, 14 point font size, and it is a wonderful boon to both those with 'tired' eyes as well as anyone tired of squinting over the hard to read paperback editions of Ivanhoe that seem to be so prevalent.

If you've never read this book before - you are in for a real treat. If this is an old friend, enjoy this large print edition!

Ivanhoe can be purchased directly from Ulverscroft, the parent company of ISIS.

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