Item description for The Scarlet Pimpernel by Emmuska Orczy...
Overview As the French Revolution gives way to the Reign of Terror, the Scarlet Pimpernel, an English aristocrat known for little more than dandyism and sloth, and his band of swashbuckling companions, risk their lives to enter France in disguise to save French aristocrats from Madame Guillotine. Reissue.
Publishers Description It is 1792 and France is in the grip of a seething, bloody revolution. Mobs roam the Paris streets hunting down royalists, barricades block any chance of escape, and every day hundreds die under the blade of Madame la Guillotine. But in the hearts of the condemned nobility there remains one last vestige of hope: rescue by the elusive Scarlet Pimpernel. Renowned for both his unparalleled bravery and his clever disguises, the Pimpernel's identity remains as much a mystery to his sworn enemy, the ruthless French agent Chauvelin, as to his devoted admirer, the beautiful Lady Marguerite Blakeney. First published in 1905, The Scarlet Pimpernel is an irresistible novel of love, gallantry, and swashbuckling adventure.
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Studio: Bantam Classics
Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 6.82" Width: 4.27" Height: 0.7" Weight: 0.3 lbs.
Release Date Mar 1, 1992
Publisher Bantam Classics
ISBN 0553214020 ISBN13 9780553214024
Availability 0 units.
More About Emmuska Orczy
Baroness Emmuska Orczy artist, playwright, and author, was born in Tarnaors, Hungary, in 1865. Although all her manuscripts were written in English, she did not learn the language until she and her parents, Baron Felix and Countess Emma Orczy, moved to London when she was fifteen. Schooled as a painter, she married fellow art student John Montagu Barstow in 1894. Although some of her paintings were accepted by the Royal Academy in London, the influence of the works of Dickens and Bret Harte, as well as newly popular light fiction from America, encouraged her to write. A prolific author, the Baroness penned dozens of romantic novels, detective stories, and plays, but is best remembered for The Scarlet Pimpernel. Based on an idea that came to her on a London underground platform, the story took just five weeks to write and become a huge success in print, on stage, and in film. Her other works include The Man in Grey, Skin O' My Tooth, The Laughing Cavalier, and Eldorado, a sequel to The Scarlet Pimpernel. Baroness Orczy died in London in 1947.
Reviews - What do customers think about The Scarlet Pimpernel?
Delightful! Jul 7, 2007
This book is a delightful read. In contrast to the sorrow and heaviness of other books on the French Revolution (including Marie Antoinette The Journey by Antonia Fraser), this book is a very different take on the tragedy. Sir Percy vies with his wife Marguerite, a brilliant French actress, in terms of acting ability. He has mastered the role of a brainless dandy to such an extent that he is the last person anyone would suspect as having the wits and wherewithal to be the Scarlet Pimpernel. Aristocrats are spared the guillotine time after time thanks to this man's ingenuity.
Shortly after Marguerite and Sir Percy marry, Marguerite tells Sir Percy of her involvement in the arrest of a certain marquis who had humiliated her brother. Marguerite does not tell her husband the whole story, including that she had no idea her words would be taken out of context and used against the marquis and that she had done everything within her influence to try to prevent the marquis's death at the guillotine. Sir Percy's attitude towards Marguerite changes: he is still the gallant he always was, but a certain coldness and reservation mark his manner. Marguerite had hoped that her husband would not need a full explanation, and that his worshipful devotion towards her would continue unabated. She is hurt by his changed opinion of her and retaliates with pointed sallies at Sir Percy's expense. She is considered one of the cleverest women in all of Europe, and she sharpens her wits by making fun of her husband, whom she wrongfully assumes is too unintelligent to take offense.
It is not until Marguerite partially confides in her husband when her brother's life is threatened that Sir Percy learns the truth of Marguerite's (unintentional) involvement in the marquis's death. Sir Percy repents his false impressions of his wife and vows that he will do everything within his ability to save Marguerite's brother. As Marguerite makes her way up the staircase after this intense communication, Sir Percy actually kisses the stairs where Marguerite had just walked! His worshipful attitude towards her is renewed, and Marguerite for her own part recognizes how much she has loved her husband all along. But is it too late for the lovers? Marguerite was forced by circumstance to reveal information about the Scarlet Pimpernel to an unrelenting French commissioner (an obsessive, Javert-like character) before realizing that the same man is her own husband.
The rest of the book is a clever game of cat and mouse, replete with a happily-ever-after ending (or rather, a happy-for-the-time-being ending, as there are more books in the Scarlet Pimpernel series).
I had seen the movie with Anthony Andrews and Jane Seymour several years ago. Both the book and movie are equally wonderful, though the movie's storyline is a bit different. Anthony Andrews (whom I had a crush on as a young girl after seeing him in a TV miniseries) was beyond perfection in the title role, and of course, Jane Seymour was wonderful as Marguerite.
Swashbuckling without swords and almost without violence Jun 10, 2007
"The Scarlet Pimpernel" is a swashbuckling tale of the French Revolution's reign of terror, only without any swords swashing, and open contempt for the revolutionaries.
A couragous Englishman and a band of his fellow aristocrats rescue French nobles from death at the hands of unwashed masses who shout "Librete, Egalite, Fraternite!" and murder and suppress anyone associated with the earlier regime. The Englishmen don't do this out of duty, or opposition to the brutal leaders in France, but for the sport of it, or so they claim to conceal nobler motives. The sinister Chauvelin, an agent of the French Republic is dedicated to rooting out the Scarlet Pimpernel, the leader of the band who makes fools of the Revolution.
Short, very readable, with engaging characters who have personal lives, flaws, and issues as well as heroic traits and adventures, this book is pretty darned good. Unlike most stories of late Eighteenth Century Europe, swordplay and violence in general is conspicuous by its absence. The Scarlet Pimpernel uses trickery, cunning, and audacity to outsmart the French authorities who are bent on his destruction as they try to murder the remnants of the French Aristocracy. I liked it a lot, and largely because it wouldn't get good reviews in todays media.
"The Scarlet Pimpernel" shows the virtues of monarchy, the vices of democracy, the nobility of taking personal risk to life and limb for strangers, the villiany of the will of the masses, the weakness of grim single-minded determination, and above all, the strength of laughter and a light heart. All of which constitute heresy to "real" book reviewers in academia and the media. Read it, and enjoy a perspective not normally heard, as well as an outstanding adventure story.
God Save the King! Jun 2, 2007
The Scarlet Pimpernel is a classic novel, though it is hard to categorize. It is part romance, part adventure, part spy thriller, and part superhero fiction. All of these elements went into the pot and the resulting stew is extremely entertaining.
The book follows the adventures of Sir Percy Blakeney as he seeks to help French aristocrats escape the guillotine during the French Revolution. Since official English policy forbids this, Blakeney adopts a masked identity as the Scarlet Pimpernel to remain anonymous. The French, of course, detest this interference in their affairs and set out to trap and kill the Pimpernel at all costs. As part of his effort to deflect suspicion from himself, he plays the fool in every day life and he does it well. His own wife considers him a useless fop... and that's where the story really gets interesting.
I won't give away more of the plot, but she ends up following him into danger in an attempt to save him. This allows the most suspenseful section of the book to be told from Mrs. Blakeney's perspective. Her terror for her husband's fate is pure and adds to the tension considerably. If we saw it through the Pimpernel's eyes, it would doubtless be far more composed and nowhere near as suspenseful.
In closing, The Scarlet Pimpernel is well worth buying. It's laugh out loud funny, suspenseful, romantic, and generally quite a page-turner.
One of the best books of all time. Feb 22, 2007
I adore this novel and the Baroness' writing style. I'll admit that I chose this version for its cover, but had always wanted to read the novel. Once I picked it up, I couldn't put it down. This is a great book for anyone who is a fan of historical dramas, adventure and/or romance. It's definitely a great book for both sexes and many ages!
Dual Identity equals Adventure Feb 19, 2007
This book is definitely on my top five of historical fiction. Similar in content to A Tale of Two Cities, the Scarlet Pimpernell follows a man of dual identity who, for sport, travels to France during the French revolution to rescue aristocrats. The book is filled with intrigue, romance, and adventure. A must read!