Gavin F (gavluvsga) wrote in 50bookchallenge,
Gavin F

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Book #56: Ivanhoe by Sir Walter Scott

This book was not quite what I was expecting; less swashbuckling and more heroic characters saving damsels in distress and discussion about life in Mediaeval England, but I still found it enjoyable, even though at times it seemed very long-winded. The really strange thing is that it was actually written in the 19th Century, but it seems to have been quite painstakingly researched, and it feels like it was written back in the days of Richard the Lionheart and the crusades, when the story is set.

The book takes its name from Wilfred of Ivanhoe, the hero of the novel, although strangely he does not appear much for the first two thirds of the book, and there is a large cast of characters to keep track of. The book also includes historical characters such as Prince John, and a character called Locksley, who you'll probably guess the true identity of long before it is revealed.

While at times it can be hard to keep track of what is going on, there are some very striking moments in the book. The siege of a castle as one point is truly epic, and I found it strangely effective that most of the action was actually described by captives in the castle watching the events. Also, there are some fantastic depictions of jousting matches and duels.

I liked the fact that the book does not shy away from the grisly realities of Medieval life, and it features some graphic depictions of torture, as well as a portrayal of a character being put on trial for supposed witchcraft.

Overall, a decent book, even though there seemed to be too many sections where the characters broke into lengthy songs that almost felt like it was turning into Monty Python and the Holy Grail!

Next book: Wyrd Sisters by Terry Pratchett

Tags: 19th century literature, adventure, british, classic, fiction, historical fiction, historical romance, literature, literature history, realism, witchcraft

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