Wilfred of Ivanhoe is a Saxon loyal to the Norman king Richard I. Because of this loyalty, and his love for Lady Rowena, Ivanhoe is cast out by his father, a Saxon loyalist determined to liberate the Saxon people from Norman rule. He plans to marry Rowena, his ward and a descendant of the Saxon king Alfred, to Lord Aethelstane, pretender to the throne of England. In so doing, Ivanhoe would unite two rival Saxon houses in their claim for the crown. Ivanhoe returns from the Crusades in secret and is joined in his plans to re-establish Richard on the thrown by the moneylender Isaac of York, his daughter Rebecca, the mysterious Black Knight, Lady Rowena, and Robin Hood and his merry men.
‘Caution comes too late when we are in the midst of evils.’
Set just before the Jacobite Rising in 1715, Scott drew upon the political and economic struggles leading up to the rebellion and the tumultuous history of the Highlands in his classic adventure novel Rob Roy. Despite the book’s title, Frank Osbaldistone is the protagonist, travelling through England and the Scottish Highlands to collect a debt owed to his father by his cousin Rashleigh. On his journey he comes across the mysterious and striking Rob Roy, the infamous yet hunted outlaw. A story about justice, love and the harsh realities of 18th-century Highland life, Scott’s work is still viewed as the ultimate historical adventure novel.