The Scarlet Pimpernel by Emmuska Orczy, Baroness Orczy

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Dashing hero, dangerous setting, beautiful woman, a secret society, crafty viliian. Sigh...all the things needed for an action-adventure...While not literature, this book is a classic and very worth reading.
-Reading for Sanity


This Housemartin Classics edition includes the full original text as well as an easy to use interactive table of contents.

The Scarlet Pimpernel is a play and adventure novel by Baroness Emmuska Orczy set during the Reign of Terror following the start of the French Revolution. The title character, Sir Percy Blakeney, represents the original "hero with a secret identity" that inspired subsequent literary creations such as Don Diego de la Vega (El Zorro) and Bruce Wayne (Batman).

Sir Percy is a wealthy English baronet who rescues individuals sentenced to death by the guillotine. He soon reveals himself to be a master of disguise, an imaginative planner, a formidable swordsman and a quick-thinking escape artist. With each rescue he taunts his enemies by leaving behind a card showing a small flower—a scarlet pimpernel. The identity of the Scarlet Pimpernel thus becomes a topic of widespread popular interest and the hero himself becomes the subject of an international manhunt by the French revolutionary authorities. To hide his true identity, Sir Percy presents himself in everyday life as a dim-witted, foppish playboy. His secret is kept by a band of friends known as the League of the Scarlet Pimpernel. The league operates as an undercover team in enacting Sir Percy's rescue plans.

Events in the original novel are related from the point of view of his wife, Marguerite St. Just.
Baroness Orczy's general sympathy with aristocrats is evident in her stories, where nobility of birth and nobility of character easily correspond. Even so, her tales present commoners as capable of selfless and heroic actions. Marguerite St. Just and her brother Armand, both commoners who initially help bring about the French Revolution, work closely with Sir Percy as members of the League.


About Emmuska Orczy, Baroness Orczy

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Baroness Emmuska Orczy was born in Hungary in 1865. She lived in Budapest, Brussels, Paris, Monte Carlo, and London, where she died in 1947. The author of many novels, she is best known for The Scarlet Pimpernel.
Published May 1, 2000 by Signet. 321 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction, Action & Adventure, Children's Books, History, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Romance, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Humor & Entertainment, Arts & Photography, Comics & Graphic Novels, Education & Reference, Travel, Nature & Wildlife, Science & Math, Crime, Political & Social Sciences, Biographies & Memoirs. Non-fiction
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Critic reviews for The Scarlet Pimpernel
All: 7 | Positive: 6 | Negative: 1


Reviewed by Erin Kahn on Dec 19 2011

This is a fast-paced, desperate adventure in the tradition of the old swashbuckling romance, and the precursor of such super-hero stories as Superman and Batman, in which the hero has a double identity...Lovers of adventure, romance, and French history will find in this novel a delightful and satisfying read.

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Above average
Reviewed by Captain Steve on Sep 05 2011

Have I mentioned my undying adoration for the Percy/Marguerite hook-up? I mean, yes, she was truly horrible and wretched, but at least she actually did something. So often, especially in older books, the ladies are there as decoration, which does reflect the times.

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Inverarity is not a Scottish village

Above average
Reviewed by Inverarity on Jul 15 2011

The Scarlet Pimpernel is a novel that could have used a better beta and some tighter editing, but it still deserves its reputation as a classic adventure novel...I compare The Scarlet Pimpernel to a YA novel has the right tone and style and amount of depth for that market and I think most young readers would really enjoy it.

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Jules' Book Reviews

Reviewed by Jules on Mar 31 2011

I enjoyed the book, it had a very lovely flow to the writing, that made it easy to get lost in the book, not to mention the character, the Scarlet Pimpernel, was a fun character to read about and root for, making for a very enjoyable read.

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Reading for Sanity

Reviewed by Sweet Em on Jan 18 2010

Dashing hero, dangerous setting, beautiful woman, a secret society, crafty viliian. Sigh...all the things needed for an action-adventure...While not literature, this book is a classic and very worth reading.

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She Reads Novels

Reviewed by Helen on Aug 28 2012

...I recommend reading it sooner rather than later. Compared to many classics it’s a quick read and lots of fun too: a combination of swashbuckling adventure story, historical fiction and romance. It’s one of those novels where you sit down planning to just read one or two chapters and before you know it you’re halfway through the book!

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It's All About Books

Reviewed by Suey on Feb 25 2013

I love it because it's a fast-paced, intriguing yet easy-to-read story. I love the drama and the excitement. I love the romance that's there, but not there. I love the character of Percy, how he is first one way and then another. I love the time period and the setting.

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