Places Discussed

(Critical Guide to Settings and Places in Literature)

Diamond of the Desert

Diamond of the Desert. Natural fountain amid solitary groups of palm trees and a bit of verdure, located in the region of the Dead Sea. At this oasis, Kenneth of the Couching Leopard and the Saracen Sheerkohf, the Lion of the Mountain, refresh themselves after confronting each other in an inconclusive duel in the desert that gives them a mutual respect for each other. Sir Kenneth is supposedly a poor Scottish knight, who as a mere adventurer has joined the crusaders in Palestine. Emir Sheerkohf (called Ilderim by the hermit of Engaddi) is supposedly a prince descended from the Seljook family of Kurdistan, the same family that produced the Saracen ruler Saladin. However, in this novel, several characters are not what they initially represent themselves to be. In the final two chapters, the Diamond of the Desert becomes the center of Saladin’s encampment.

Cave of Theodorick of Engaddi

Cave of Theodorick of Engaddi. Home of the hermit Theodorick, which is hidden among sharp eminences in a range of steep and barren hills near the Dead Sea. Theodorick (called Hamako by Sheerkohf) is a religious recluse who dresses in goatskins. In chapter 18, he reveals his true identity—Alberick Mortemar, of royal blood. He does constant penance for having corrupted a nun and causing her suicide. As the Scottish knight and Saracen spend a night in Theodorick’s cave, Theodorick leads Sir Kenneth through a secret door and up a staircase into a magnificent chapel while Sheerkohf sleeps.

Chapel of the Convent of Engaddi

Chapel of the Convent of Engaddi. Church hewn from solid rock to which Theodorick takes Sir Kenneth. The...

(The entire section is 700 words.)