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The Talisman | [Sir Walter Scott]

The Talisman

The Crusaders, led by Richard I of England, are encamped in the Holy Land, and torn by the dissensions and jealousies of the leaders, including, besides Coeur de Lion himself, Philip of France, the duke of Austria, the Marquis of Montferrat, and the Grand Master of the Templars. The army's impotence is accentuated by the illness of Richard.
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Publisher's Summary

The Crusaders, led by Richard I of England, are encamped in the Holy Land, and torn by the dissensions and jealousies of the leaders, including, besides Coeur de Lion himself, Philip of France, the duke of Austria, the Marquis of Montferrat, and the Grand Master of the Templars. The army's impotence is accentuated by the illness of Richard.

A poor but doughty Scottish crusader, known as Sir Kenneth or the Knight of the Leopard, on a mission far from the camp encounters a Saracen emir, with whom, after an inconclusive combat, he strikes up a friendship. This emir proves subsequently to be Saladin himself, and he presently appears in the Christian camp in the disguise of a physician sent by the Soldan to Richard, whom he quickly cures.

Meanwhile, Sir Kenneth is lured from his post by Queen Berengaria, Richard's wife, who in a frolic sends him an urgent message purporting to come from Edith Plantagenet, for whom Sir Kenneth has a romantic attachment. During his brief absence, his faithful hound is wounded and the English flag torn down. Sir Kenneth, thus dishonored, narrowly escapes execution at Richard's order by the intervention of the Moorish physician, who receives him as his slave. Kindly and honorably treated by Saladin, he is sent, in the disguise of a black mute attendant, to Richard, whom he saves from assassination. Richard pierces Kenneth's disguise and gives him the opportunity he desires of discovering who wounded the hound and tore down the standard.

As the Christian princes and their forces file past the re-erected standard, the hound springs on Conrade of Montferrat and tears him from his horse. A trial by combat is arranged in which Sir Kenneth defeats and wounds Montferrat, and is revealed to be Prince David of Scotland. The obstacle that his supposed lowly birth presented to his union with Edith Plantagenet is thus removed.

Originally published in the United States, 1929; (P)2002 Blackstone Audiobooks

What the Critics Say

"In narrating the romance, Robert Whitfield excels at phrasing, which, accompanied by his pleasant voice and British accent, makes this...pleasant listening." (AudioFile)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.9 (59 )
5 star
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4.3 (21 )
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4.3 (22 )
5 star
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4 star
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3 star
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Performance
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  •  
    Benedict San Francisco, US, Canada 12-12-06
    Benedict San Francisco, US, Canada 12-12-06 Member Since 2003
    HELPFUL VOTES
    405
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    Overall
    "Pretty good"

    This book surprised me. I liked the historical flavor, which had some degree of accuracy, along with a lot of fiction. But the story is great.

    I have to say the language is quite a chore to get through. It is flowery and erudite. I decided to listen to the whole thing again and I liked it very much more the second time. If you can catch the whole meaning of the story from listening to it one time, I would like to meet you!

    Sir Walter Scott is a superlative writer. My first recommendation of course would be Ivanhoe. It is interesting to contrast Scott's writing with Hemingway's direct and simple language. The reading was great and enjoyable.

    It feels odd to me giving four stars to a classic writer's efforts, but I have done the deed. At the same time, it is worth the effort to "get it."

    Ben

    11 of 11 people found this review helpful
  •  
    GoryDetails Nashua, NH USA 10-19-05
    GoryDetails Nashua, NH USA 10-19-05 Member Since 2002

    gorydetails

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Surprisingly enjoyable adventure!"

    I had only dim recollections of The Talisman as one of Scott's lesser-known works (as compared with Ivanhoe, anyway), but when I found this version, read by favorite narrator Robert Whitfield (aka Simon Vance) I had to give it a try. And I was delighted! It's a wonderful romp, with surprisingly liberal views of Saladin and his host; King Richard comes off rather poorly in comparison. The secret identities got a bit far-fetched, but it was all entertaining. Recommended!

    11 of 11 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Adam everett, WA, USA 11-12-05
    Adam everett, WA, USA 11-12-05
    HELPFUL VOTES
    8
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    "the talisman (unabridged)"

    I'll keep this short and sweet. I was so enthralled with the reader and the story that I lost track of time in my 1 1/2 commute into Seattle. My friends are tired of me talking about it.

    8 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sofie K?benhavn KDenmark 05-28-09
    Sofie K?benhavn KDenmark 05-28-09 Member Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Very entertaining!"

    I tried to read this book and found it dull and difficult to get through, but I had to read it for a class. Then I found it here and I have really enjoyed it. The narration is brilliant and the book is perfectly suitable for beeing read aloud!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer Purcellville, VA USA 11-01-12
    Amazon Customer Purcellville, VA USA 11-01-12 Member Since 2007
    ratings
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    28
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    Story
    "A wonderful tale, delightfully told"
    What made the experience of listening to The Talisman the most enjoyable?

    The twists and turns of the plot and the delightful 19th century prose. It is a rare joy to go back to such a well constructed classic.


    What other book might you compare The Talisman to and why?

    It certainly holds it's own, and then some, amongst the rest of the Waverly Novels (Rob Roy, Ivanhoe, et al).


    What does Robert Whitfield bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    The reading is clear and flawlessly handles the rich language of the book, making the listening a real pleasure.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jack Wickenburg, AZUnited States 05-22-12
    Jack Wickenburg, AZUnited States 05-22-12 Listener Since 2007

    Pastor, Student, Gardener, Hunter, Woodworker, Happily Married, Three Grown Children, enjoy History, Biography, good descriptive writing

    ratings
    REVIEWS
    5
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    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Okay Reader, But a Bit Slow"
    Would you try another book from Sir Walter Scott and/or Robert Whitfield?

    I might buy another book read by Robert Whitfield, but probably not any more Sir Walter Scott books. The story was drawn out, plodding, and though the overall plot was good, too many words. Scott is a good writer as far as the use of the language, but he is not concise.


    Would you be willing to try another book from Sir Walter Scott? Why or why not?

    I tried two, don't think I will try another. I had heard he was a good classic writer but a bit to slow and verbose for me.


    What does Robert Whitfield bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    Robert Whitfield was a good reader, not painful to listen to, I would like to hear him read a different author and see the difference.


    Could you see The Talisman being made into a movie or a TV series? Who should the stars be?

    Yes. The main actors Viggo Mortensen should be the main character.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Michael Arlington, VA, USA 12-16-05
    Michael Arlington, VA, USA 12-16-05
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Mediocre"

    This is a mediocre, long-winded book in itself. The narration is superb though, if you like the flowery language of Sir Walter Scott. Personally, though, the story was very slow. If you really want to listen to it, go with the Abridged version.

    1 of 3 people found this review helpful
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