Sir Walter Scott's Ivanhoe takes place in the 12th century and follows one of the last remaining Saxon nobles, Wilfred of Ivanhoe. Set shortly after the crusades, Robin Hood, by the name of Locksley, is one of Scott's more famous characters. With his classic tenor voice, Jim Killavey serves as a good guide for Scott's Middle Ages. He harnesses the vernacular of the time with ease and his formality, although stiff in moments, fits the work's tone. Killavey's diction is quite remarkable, and he utilizes his deeper register to capture these masculine characters' voices.
(P)1986 Jimcin Recordings
Faced with mindless duty, when an audio book player slips into a rear pocket and mini buds pop into ears, old is made new again.
Aside from being a source for the legend of Robin Hood, “Ivanhoe” is a boring adventure with a smattering of muddled history, stilted romance, and legendary valor.
This is a story of twelfth century England, a time of great conflict between Christians, other-believers like Muslims and Jews, and non-believers (pagans that believe in many gods or no God). Layered into this religious conflict is Anglo/Saxon resentment of Norman control of England. “Ivanhoe” creates the legend of Robin Hood with an introduction of Norman-King Richard the Lionheart and his brother, Prince John, to characterize the era. This is during the time of the Crusades when Saladin is spreading Muslim beliefs through the world with conquests in Syria and the Middle East.
Sir Walter Scott may be a better writer than is shown in “Ivanhoe” but for adventure and romance, Alexander Dumas is a better practitioner of the art.
The poetry that opened each chapter gave such a marked elegance to the text and a chivalrous ambience to the portrayal of the people. The description of the land and the manner and attire of the people were so carefully detailed as to be perfect for a student studying the time period. Historical references were intermingled with a delightful story of honor and avarice, fortune and despair, which made you admire and feel for even some of the most despised characters.
I originally began to listen to this book narrated by Jim Killavey, and although it has high reviews, I personally found his voice or possibly the recording a little grating. So halfway through, I bought the recording by Michael Page whose voices are so expressive and distinct, that I understood the book better. I enjoyed Michael Page's version greatly, and even laughed out loud at some of the ways he expressed some of the lines of the jester and Cedric. But don't take my word for it. Listen carefully to the samples from both, and pick for yourself!
19th Century yarn set in Norman England, written by a Scotsman, read by an American. Should have listened to it first.
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