|Author||Sir Walter Scott|
|Series||Tales of the Crusaders ; Waverley Novels|
|Publisher||Archibald Constable and Co. (Edinburgh); Hurst, Robinson and Co. (London)|
|Pages||278 (Edinburgh Edition, 2009)|
|Preceded by||The Betrothed|
The Talisman is one of the Waverley novels by Sir Walter Scott. Published in 1825 as the second of his Tales of the Crusaders , it is set during the Third Crusade and centres on the relationship between Richard I of England and Saladin.
At the beginning of April 1824, two months before he completed Redgauntlet , Scott envisaged that it would be followed by a four-volume publication containing two tales, at least one of which would be based on the Crusades. He began composition of the first story, The Betrothed, in June, but it made slow progress and came to a halt in the second volume at some point in the autumn after criticisms by James Ballantyne. Scott then changed course and began work on the companion novel The Talisman, and the first two chapters and part of the third were set in type by the end of the year. January 1825 was full of distractions, but a decision to resume The Betrothed was made in mid-February 1825 and it was essentially complete by mid-March. The way was then clear for the main composition of The Talisman which proceeded briskly. Its first volume was completed in April and its second at the very end of May or beginning of June. 
Five clearly identifiable sources have been located for leading elements in The Talisman. The disguised Saladin's account of the origin of the Kurds is taken from the Bibliotheque orientale by Barthélemy d'Herbelot (1777‒79). The character of Leopold of Austria and his tearing down of Richard's standard was prompted by the Anglo-Norman romance Richard Coer de Lyon . The attempted assassination of Richard is recounted in The History of the Crusades by Charles Mills (1820). Saladin's beheading of Amaury comes from The History of the Knights of Malta by the Abbé de Vertot (1728). And the talisman itself is the Lee Penny used to cure people and animals up to Scott's time and preserved at the Lee near Lanark in the Scottish Borders. Scott's sceptical attitude to the Crusades, and his presentation of Richard and Saladin, follow three historians: David Hume, Edward Gibbon, and Mills. 
Edward Said suggested that Scott's information on "Oriental" subjects for this novel "probably came from Byron and Beckford". 
The first edition of The Talisman was published as part of Tales of the Crusaders in Edinburgh by Archibald Constable and Co. on 22 June 1825. It was advertised for publication by Hurst, Robinson, and Co. in London on the same date, but apparently not issued until 11 July. The price was two guineas (£2 2s or £2.10).  As with all of the Waverley novels until 1827 publication was anonymous. There is no conclusive evidence that Scott returned to the novel until the spring of 1831 when he revised the text and provided an introduction and notes for the 'Magnum' edition, in which it appeared as Volume 38 in July 1832. 
The standard modern edition, by J. B. Ellis with J. H. Alexander, P. D. Garside, and David Hewitt, was published as Volume 18b of the Edinburgh Edition of the Waverley Novels in 2009: this is based on the first edition with emendations mainly from the manuscript; the 'Magnum' material appears in Volume 25b (2012).
During a truce in the third Crusade, Sir Kenneth and a Saracen Emir ride together towards the cave of the hermit Theodoric of Engaddi, where Theodoric gives Sir Kenneth some secret information. The Emir falls asleep and the other two men go to a chapel, where Sir Kenneth meets his old lover, Lady Edith.
Sir Kenneth travels to Ascalon, where Richard Coeur de Lion lies ill in his tent. Sir Kenneth and the King discuss Sir Kenneth's visit to the chapel and a doctor gives the King some medicine. While King Richard sleeps, Conrade of Montserrat, who wishes to become King of Jerusalem, incites Archduke Leopold of Austria to plant his flag in the centre of the camp. The King wakes up and when he discovers what Leopold has done, he tears down the flag. Philip of France persuades him to refer the matter to the council, and Sir Kenneth is asked to watch the English flag until daybreak. Soon after midnight, Sir Kenneth is lured away under false pretences. The flag is stolen and Sir Kenneth's dog is deliberately injured.
The camp doctor tells Sir Kenneth that Sultan Saladin wishes to marry the Lady Edith. Sir Kenneth tries to warn the King, but the King does not believe him and banishes Sir Kenneth from court. Sir Kenneth spends a few days in Saladin's court, disguised as a Nubian slave. Saladin gives the disguised Sir Kenneth to King Richard as a gift. Shortly afterwards, Sir Kenneth, still in disguise, saves the king from an assassination attempt. He promises King Richard he can discover who stole the flag.
At a procession of the Christian armies and their leaders, Sir Kenneth's dog attacks the Marquis Conrade, recognizing the Marquis as the man who injured him. The Marquis betrays his guilt by exclaiming, "I never touched the banner" and challenges the King to a duel. Since the King is not allowed to participate in a duel, he chooses Sir Kenneth as his champion. While preparing for the duel, the King discovers that his court physician was really Saladin in disguise. It is also revealed that Saladin was the Emir whom Sir Kenneth met on the road.
Sir Kenneth wins the duel and it is then revealed that rather than being a lowly knight, he is actually the Earl of Huntingdon and Prince Royal of Scotland. Now that his higher rank is acknowledged, he becomes eligible to marry Lady Edith. King Richard acknowledges the futility of continuing the Crusade, given the lack of support from the other Christian armies, and the superiority of Saladin's forces, and so the Crusade is abandoned.
Principal characters in bold
Volume Three (of Tales of the Crusaders)
Ch.1: Kenneth and an Emir [Sheerkohf or Ilderim, Saladin incognito] clash by the Dead Sea and agree a personal truce.
Ch. 2: Kenneth and Sheerkohf are contrasted as they arrive at the oasis known as the Diamond of the Desert. They express their differing cultural views of women.
Ch. 3: As they continue to debate, Sheerkohf tells of his descent from the immortal Genii. They encounter the hermit Engaddi and are afforded shelter for the night in his cell.
Ch. 4: Entering a richly decorated chapel, Kenneth receives the clandestine acknowledgment of one of the choristers, his lady love Edith.
Ch. 5: After the service two dwarves, Nectanabus and Guenevra, enter the chapel: Engaddi dismisses them and departs with Kenneth.
Ch. 6: The fevered King Richard and Sir Thomas de Vaux discuss the inactivity of the other Crusaders and their inability to find an effective leader.
Ch. 7: Kenneth arrives and tries to persuade De Vaux (who is not well disposed to the Scots) that a Moorish physician sent by Saladin, Adouban el Hakim [Saladin again in disguise], should be admitted to Richard.
Ch. 8: Richard tells De Vaux that he will see El Hakim. De Vaux and the Archbishop of Tyre discuss the physician and receive a demonstration of his skill. The Archbishop is alarmed to learn that Kenneth has returned.
Ch. 9: Kenneth tells Richard that he sought Engaddi, at the behest of the Crusading council, to act as a vehicle for securing a lasting peace. Giles Amaury, Grand Master of the Templars, and Conrade of Montserrat urge Richard not to trust El Hakim, but he drinks the cup of water prepared by the physician by dipping a talisman in it.
Ch. 10: Amaury and Conrade consider that their ambitions will be best served by a Crusader withdrawal, to which Richard is opposed. Amaury suggests he be assassinated, but they agree that Conrade should first attempt to stir up dissent between Austria and England.
Ch. 11: Conrade arouses Leopold of Austria, who plants his banner alongside Richard's. Richard fells the Austrian flag and the Earl Wallenrode, and entrusts the care of his own standard to Kenneth.
Ch. 12: Nectanabus brings a ring as a token of summons from Edith and persuades Kenneth to leave the banner unattended.
Ch. 13: Kenneth overhears the royal ladies discussing him in their tent: it becomes clear that he has been enticed to leave the standard as a result of a wager by the Queen, and when he is revealed Edith urges him to return to his watch. He finds Richard's flag gone and his own dog Roswal injured.
Ch. 1 (14): El Hakim sets about tending Roswal and tells Kenneth that Tyre is to suggest to Richard a plan including the marriage of Saladin and Edith as part of a peace treaty.
Ch. 2 (15): Kenneth accepts the royal sentence of death for deserting the banner.
Ch. 3 (16): At Edith's urging, Queen Berengaria agrees to intercede with her husband for Kenneth's life.
Ch. 4 (17): Berengaria and Edith, supported by Engaddi, obtain a temporary stay of execution for Kenneth.
Ch. 5 (18): El Hakim obtains a pardon for Kenneth, who will become the physician's slave. Engaddi unveils an agreement which will deal with Leopold without involving violence and tells Richard his own sinful history.
Ch. 6 (19): Tyre presents the marriage plan to Richard, who is not unreceptive but decides to make one attempt to rally his allies. This is successful. Amaury proposes to Conrade that they employ a Charegite (belonging to a fanatical Islamic sect) to eliminate Richard.
Ch. 7 (20): The royal ladies decide to tell Richard the truth about Kenneth's desertion of the banner, and he pardons the Queen for her irresponsible behaviour. Edith complains to Richard about Kenneth's bondage. A mute Nubian slave, Zohauk [Kenneth in disguise], arrives with a letter from Saladin presenting him as a gift to Richard. He is followed by a dancing dervise [the Charegite].
Ch. 8 (21): Zohauk saves Richard from assassination by the dervise. He undertakes (in writing) to reveal the identity of the banner thief, and indicates that he has a message to deliver to Edith from Saladin.
Ch. 9 (22): [The narrative retrogrades to follow Ch. 18] El Hakim and his slave Kenneth out-gallop a party of Templars.
Ch. 10 (23): El Hakim reveals himself as the Emir of the opening chapters and arranges that Kenneth, disguised as Zohauk, will convey Saladin's message to Edith.
Ch. 11 (24): Roswal attacks Conrade, identifying him as the banner thief, and arrangements are made for a duel between him and a royal champion.
Ch. 12 (25): Richard, aware that Zohauk is Kenneth, hints that he may become his champion against Conrade and sends him, escorted by Sir Henry Neville, with Saladin's letter to Edith. Although she recognises him, he persists in his dumbness as agreed with Richard, and she spurns both him and the letter.
Ch. 13 (26): Blondel sings the lay of 'The Bloody Vest' at Richard's request, and Edith tells the King of her intention to reject Saladin's approach for her hand.
Ch. 14 (27): Richard and his followers arrive at the Diamond of the Desert where the duel is to take place. Saladin demonstrates his skill with a scimitar before revealing that he was El Hakim. De Vaux indicates to the King that Kenneth is ready to act as champion, and Edith that she has no particular interest in him.
Ch. 15 (28): Preparations are made for the combat, and Amaury tries to stiffen Conrade's resolve. Kenneth defeats him and Richard announces he has discovered the Scot to be the Earl of Huntingdon. Amaury kills Conrade to prevent him from revealing his own treachery, leading Saladin to kill him in turn. Saladin's sense of his responsibility as a ruler leads him to decline Richard's impetuous offer of a combat. Huntingdon and Edith marry, Saladin sending them the talisman as a gift.
Only a handful of reviewers dissented from the overwhelmingly enthusiastic reception of The Talisman.  It was generally ranked among the best of the Waverley novels, with admiration of its dazzling richness and high colouring.  The plot was skilfully conducted, and the characters well discriminated and interesting, with Richard and Saladin outstandingly complex, and Edith and De Vaux both impressive.  The small number of objectors tended to find the work extravagant and theatrical in a bad sense. 
The 2005 epic film Kingdom of Heaven , directed by Sir Ridley Scott and starring Orlando Bloom, Liam Neeson and Edward Norton, while set in an earlier period, took part of its plot from The Talisman. 
In September 1956, British Railways named the 10 o'clock London King's Cross to Edinburgh Waverley non-stop express train The Talisman.  
Aimery of Lusignan, erroneously referred to as Amalric or Amaury in earlier scholarship, was the first King of Cyprus, reigning from 1196 to his death. He also reigned as the King of Jerusalem from his marriage to Isabella I in 1197 to his death. He was a younger son of Hugh VIII of Lusignan, a nobleman in Poitou. After participating in a rebellion against Henry II of England in 1168, he went to the Holy Land and settled in the Kingdom of Jerusalem.
Ivanhoe: A Romance by Walter Scott is a historical novel published in three volumes, in 1819, as one of the Waverley novels. Set in England in the Middle Ages, this novel marked a shift away from Scott’s prior practice of setting stories in Scotland and in the more recent past. Ivanhoe became one of Scott’s best-known and most influential novels.
Yusuf ibn Ayyub ibn Shadhi, commonly known by the epithet Saladin, was the founder of the Ayyubid dynasty. Hailing from an ethnic Kurdish family, he was the first sultan of both Egypt and Syria. An important figure of the Third Crusade, he spearheaded the Muslim military effort against the Crusader states in the Levant. At the height of his power, Ayyubid territorial control spanned Egypt, Syria, Upper Mesopotamia, the Hejaz, Yemen, the Maghreb, and Nubia.
The Third Crusade (1189–1192) was an attempt led by three European monarchs of Western Christianity to reconquer the Holy Land following the capture of Jerusalem by the Ayyubid sultan Saladin in 1187. For this reason, the Third Crusade is also known as the Kings' Crusade.
The Battle of Arsuf took place on 7 September 1191, as part of the Third Crusade. It saw a multi-national force of Crusaders, led by Richard I of England, defeat a significantly larger army of the Ayyubid Sultanate, led by Saladin.
Conrad of Montferrat was a nobleman, one of the major participants in the Third Crusade. He was the de facto King of Jerusalem by virtue of his marriage to Isabella I of Jerusalem from 24 November 1190, but officially elected only in 1192, days before his death. He was also the eighth Marquess of Montferrat from 1191.
The siege of Acre was the first significant counterattack by Guy of Jerusalem against Saladin, leader of the Muslims in Syria and Egypt. This pivotal siege formed part of what later became known as the Third Crusade. The siege lasted from August 1189 until July 1191, in which time the city's coastal position meant the attacking Latin force were unable to fully invest the city and Saladin was unable to fully relieve it with both sides receiving supplies and resources by sea. Finally, it was a key victory for the Crusaders and a serious setback for Saladin's ambition to destroy the Crusader states.
Kingdom of Heaven is a 2005 epic historical fiction drama film directed and produced by Ridley Scott and written by William Monahan. It stars Orlando Bloom, Eva Green, Ghassan Massoud, Jeremy Irons, David Thewlis, Brendan Gleeson, Edward Norton, Marton Csokas, Liam Neeson, Michael Sheen, Velibor Topić, and Alexander Siddig.
The Crusade is the sixth serial of the second season in the British science fiction television series Doctor Who. Written by David Whitaker and directed by Douglas Camfield, the serial was broadcast on BBC1 in four weekly parts from 27 March to 17 April 1965. In this serial, the First Doctor and his travelling companions Ian Chesterton, Barbara Wright, and Vicki arrive in 12th century Palestine during the Third Crusade, and find themselves entangled in the conflict between King Richard the Lionheart and Saladin. They also meet King Richard's sister Lady Joanna and Saladin's brother Saphadin.
The Battle of Jaffa took place during the Crusades, as one of a series of campaigns between the army of Sultan Saladin and the Crusader forces led by King Richard I of England. It was the final battle of the Third Crusade, after which Saladin and King Richard were able to negotiate a truce. Although the Crusaders did not regain possession of Jerusalem, Christian pilgrims were permitted entry into the city, and the Crusaders were able to retain control of a sizable strip of land stretching from Beirut to Jaffa.
Charles Mills (1788–1826) was an English historian. His works include History of the Crusades for the Recovery and Possession of the Holy Land, History of Mohammedanism and History of Chivalry.
Woodstock, or The Cavalier. A Tale of the Year Sixteen Hundred and Fifty-one (1826) is a historical novel by Sir Walter Scott, one of the Waverley novels. Set just after the English Civil War, it was inspired by the legend of the Good Devil of Woodstock, which in 1649 supposedly tormented parliamentary commissioners who had taken possession of a royal residence at Woodstock, Oxfordshire. The story deals with the escape of Charles II in 1652, during the Commonwealth, and his final triumphant entry into London on 29 May 1660.
King Richard and the Crusaders is a 1954 American historical drama film made by Warner Bros. The film stars Rex Harrison, Virginia Mayo, George Sanders and Laurence Harvey, with Robert Douglas, Michael Pate and Paula Raymond. It was directed by David Butler and produced by Henry Blanke from a screenplay by John Twist based on Sir Walter Scott's 1825 novel The Talisman. The music score was by Max Steiner and the cinematography by J. Peverell Marley. This was Warner Bros.' first essay into CinemaScope. King Richard and the Crusaders was listed in the 1978 book The Fifty Worst Films of All Time.
The Betrothed (1825) is one of the Waverley novels by Sir Walter Scott. Set in the Welsh Marches in the 12th century it is the first of two Tales of the Crusaders, the second being The Talisman.
Tales of the Crusaders is a series of two historical novels by Sir Walter Scott released in 1825: The Betrothed and The Talisman. Set at the time of the Crusades, Tales of the Crusaders is a subset series which forms part of Scott's multi-novel series known as the Waverley Novels released from 1814 to 1832.
Richard the Lion-Hearted is a 1923 American silent historical adventure film directed by Chester Withey and starring Wallace Beery, Charles K. Gerrard and Kathleen Clifford. It is the sequel to Robin Hood, with Beery returning as Richard the Lion-Hearted. The film was written by Frank E. Woods and based on the 1825 Sir Walter Scott novel The Talisman.
Up the Chastity Belt is a 1971 British comedy film directed by Bob Kellett and starring Frankie Howerd. It was a spin-off from the TV series Up Pompeii!
Richard I of England has been depicted many times in romantic fiction and popular culture.
Knight Crusader, "the story of Philip d'Aubigny", is a children's historical novel by Ronald Welch, first published by Oxford in 1954 with illustrations by William Stobbs. It is set primarily in the Crusader states of Outremer in the twelfth century and features the Battle of Hattin and the Third Crusade. Welch won the annual Carnegie Medal from the Library Association, recognising the year's best children's book by a British subject.
Richard Coer de Lyon is a Middle English romance which gives a fictionalised account of the life of Richard I, King of England, concentrating on his crusading exploits. It influenced Shakespeare's King John and Walter Scott's The Talisman.
This article incorporates text from the revised 1898 edition of Henry Grey's A Key to the Waverley Novels (1880), now in the public domain.