Saturday, March 22, 2008

The Scarlet Pimpernel, by Baroness Orczy

The Scarlet Pimpernel, by Baroness Orczy

Set during the French Revolution, The Scarlet Pimpernel tells the tale of a band of Englishmen helping doomed French aristocrats escape the guillotine. The identity of the leader of the Englishmen is a mystery, known only by the pseudonym “The Scarlet Pimpernel.” The revolutionary leadership would give anything to capture the Pimpernel, and one agent thinks he finally has a lead...

I loved this novel! I remember watching the old Leslie Howard movie as a kid and being captivated. The book grabbed me in much the same way—once I started I couldn’t put it down! Clearly the forerunner to Zorro, James Bond, and Batman, this story has it all: disguises and secret identities, espionage and betrayals, romance and rescues, and heroic derring-do. With my love of comic books and adventure novels, I can’t believe I waited so long to read this. Orczy wrote at least ten sequels to her most famous novel; I’ll be looking for others soon!

First Sentence:
A surging, seething, murmuring crowd of beings that are human only in name, for to the eye and ear they seem naught but savage creatures, animated by vile passions and by the lust of vengeance and hate.

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