Sir Walter Scott's most popular novel, and the first of his works to be set in England, Ivanhoe was first published in 1819.
During the reign of Richard I, Wilfred of Ivanhoe earns his father's disapproval by falling in love with Rowena, his father's ward. His father had planned to wed her himself, and reestablish the Saxon line.
Ivanhoe serves with Richard I during the Crusades, while the King's brother attempts to take the throne for himself in his brother's absence. When Richard I and Ivanhoe return, a series of adventures takes place against the backdrop of a tournament where Knights Templar are entered into contests. Ivanhoe catches the eye of Rebecca, a beautiful and courageous Jew; he is taken prisoner, along with his father and hers, and Rowena as well; and they rely upon one Locksley (Robin Hood) and his band of outlaws to set them free. When Rebecca is subsequently charged with witchcraft, she asks Ivanhoe to champion her in a trial by combat. But have his affections shifted, or does he still love Rowena?
Sir Walter Scott's fanciful, vivid reinterpretation of medieval life makes for a successful novel that blends fact, myth, and romance.