November 9, 2010

The Scarlet Pimpernel

The Scarlet Pimpernel
Baroness Emmuska Orczy

This epic tale of a daring, Zorro-like hero - who is known only as the Scarlet Pimpernel, rescuer of dozens of innocent French nobles from the guillotine and clever evader of every attempt of capture - is one of my very, very favorites.

The story takes place during the French Revolution, so not only is it a gripping, mysterious adventure, but it also proves educational. I learned a bit about the political and social structures of England and France in those days.

The storyline is essentially as follows: Marguerite St. Just, a wealthy and seemingly flighty French lady, fled from her violent home country and to England. The news in those days told of the mysterious League of the Scarlet Pimpernel, a group of Englishmen who, for the sheer thrill and heroism of it, rescue doomed French nobility and bring them safely to England. Soon Marguerite, sought out by the French officer Chauvelin, under threat of her brother's death is forced to try to uncover the identity of the Scarlet Pimpernel, England's hero. What follows is an epic adventure.... I won't give it away to you, but let's just say it involves incriminating evidence, rescue, malicious Frenchmen, spying, disguise, and a dash of pepper. >_>

In my eyes, this book has very few flaws, but they may be enough to dissuade some uncertain readers. First and quite noticeably, the beginning is slow. I admit that the first few chapters are hard to get through. But intrigue and peril are quickly sewn into the plot, and by the end I was every bit as gripped by this classic as by any modern adventure. Another downside, a bit more grave, would be the minor but frequent language. The words are not strong but idly and often used. However, it is free, as I recall, from inappropriate content.

As for the upsides: thrilling plot. A deliciously despicable villain. A dashing, admirable hero. Clever escapes. Good morals. Heroism and loyalty. It's a small book, and once beyond the first few chapters 'tis very easy to get through.

I highly recommend 'The Scarlet Pimpernel.' This is, methinks, one of my top ten favorite books.

(I don't understand copyright laws. Just in case, the picture of the Scarlet Pimpernel flower was found on and the book cover was on


Jake said...

I do not understand copyright laws either. I just grab the book's cover off of Amazon and refer to it. So far, I think things are legal. But there are so many hassles nowadays... >_>

whisper said...

'Tis true. *sad nod*

Marian said...

Great review!! Love your blog, by the way. :)

whisper said...

Why thank you, Marian! :)

Morgan J said...

I love that book! Yes, it would definitely make my top ten's list.

Vrenith said...

Ooh... *likes the flower* Cool cover, and good review!

Anonymous said...

*nods in agreement with Morgan*

Thank you, Vrenith! :)


Brianna said...

Good review... sounds interesting!

whisper said...

Thank you! I enjoyed the book very much.