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53 of 54 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Adventure, Disguise, Romance, Drama... It's all Here
This story introduces us to a circle of friends in England during the French Revolution who, for the sport of it, travel to France in disguise to rescue French aristocrats from the certain death of the guillotine, right under the noses of their captors. The identity of their leader, the Scarlet Pimpernel, is a guarded secret but one that interests more and more people as...
Published on March 19, 2003 by Alicia Van Hecke

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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A Fun Romp in a Field of Swashbuckling Predictability
THE SCARLET PIMPERNEL, published in 1905, derives from an even earlier play, and the reader can see it easily revert to the earlier form in his mind's eye as he is carried from plot to plot, mystery to mystery, and intrigue to intrigue. In becoming a short novel, the plot has in no way lost its entertaining histrionic attributes.

The story is essentially a...
Published on March 17, 2006 by WILLIAM H FULLER


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53 of 54 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Adventure, Disguise, Romance, Drama... It's all Here, March 19, 2003
This story introduces us to a circle of friends in England during the French Revolution who, for the sport of it, travel to France in disguise to rescue French aristocrats from the certain death of the guillotine, right under the noses of their captors. The identity of their leader, the Scarlet Pimpernel, is a guarded secret but one that interests more and more people as more and more French aristocrats are discovered in safety in England. Constant danger, wit, romance, and adventure befall the reader at every turn.
I've noticed in other reviews that people complain about the book starting out slow or gruesome or whatever. I don't remember noticing this myself, but I think any book worth reading can take a little patience in parts. Just let yourself absorb the story and give the author a chance. Don't spoil the book by watching the movies first. It's more fun to see the mystery unfold in all its subtleties and intensity in the book first.
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95 of 103 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars God Save the King!, August 11, 2007
By 
Joseph Boone (Irvine, CA United States) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (2008 HOLIDAY TEAM)    (REAL NAME)   
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.
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34 of 35 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Percy does it again, November 29, 1999
By 
A spunky young Parisian named Josette must find a way to help her best friend, a young mother whose husband has been murdered by the CGS, get out of France. She barters for their passage to England with some incriminating letters that the CGS is desperate to get ahold of. But when the plan falls apart and Josette herself is facing the guillotine, The Scarlet Pimpernel must spirit her away from the jaws of death. This is a well-crafted tale of intrigue, murder and romance. Percy is in top form battling Chauvelin and his goons. Chauvelin is particularly bloodthirsty in this one!
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39 of 42 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Orczy has woven a stirring French Revolution-era tale., September 27, 1999
By A Customer
I picked up this book when I was fourteen and have read it numerous times since. Orczy's dramatic writing fully captures the drama and the tragedy of the French Revolution. This novel has something for everyone: political intrigue, adventure and romance. I particularly appreciate the development of her three main characters. They live lives that require superhuman intellect and courage. All of them find themselves searching for something: whether it be love, power or heroic fulfillment. Orczy has a true talent for writing. She envelopes her plot with dramatic dressing. One can see this by reading the novel's first sentence: "The seething, surging, mumuring crowd of people, human only in name..." If you enjoy this book, I recommend you read her other titles in the series. Most are not in print, but usually libraries have some or most of the hard to get titles. My other favorite novel in the series is The Triumph of the Scarlet Pimpernel. It carries the same premise as the first book but incorporates more edge-of-your seat excitement.
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31 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Edition, June 25, 2005
This is one of my favorite books. I love the story and was excited to finally own my own copy. This edition is really great because it is lightly annotated. There are one or two footnotes on just about every page, defining french terms or just uncommon words. This makes reading that much more enjoyable because one understands more.

If you enjoy the book, there is a musical with an amazing soundtrack by the same name.
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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Pure Fun, June 15, 2003
This book is just plain fun to read. No profound insight into humanity or burning indictment against someone or something - this is just great, fast paced fun. It reminded me of the Sherlock Holmes adventures or a modern suspense movie.
The Scarlet Pimpernel is an Englishman who leads a group saving the lives of French Aristocrats who are being systematically hunted down and killed in a French revolution. His identity is secret and he is really putting egg on the face of the revolutionaries so they attempt to find him through the aid of the expatriot Marguerite St. Just, now Lady Blakeney and the head of society in England. The plot comes into full throttle when she puts them on the trail of the Pimpernel only to discover afterwards the identity of the Pimpernel herself. The race is on. Will they find and kill the Pimpernel before she can find and save him?
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A Fun Romp in a Field of Swashbuckling Predictability, March 17, 2006
By 
WILLIAM H FULLER (SPEARFISH, SD USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
THE SCARLET PIMPERNEL, published in 1905, derives from an even earlier play, and the reader can see it easily revert to the earlier form in his mind's eye as he is carried from plot to plot, mystery to mystery, and intrigue to intrigue. In becoming a short novel, the plot has in no way lost its entertaining histrionic attributes.

The story is essentially a mixture of imaginative intrigue and swashbuckling adventure. Written purely to entertain, it achieves its ends well enough. The character of the Pimpernel is, of course, not to be taken seriously, for his adventures, successes and escapes in the face of determined opposition are incredible. He simply cannot be vanquished, and his cunning is always a step ahead of that of his enemies. He is of the genre of Rafael Sabatini's heroes such as the Sea Hawk and Captain Blood, though he is no copy of them, for he has his own unique personality. As do Sabatini's swashbucklers, he does, predictably, win his fair lady by story's end.

In short, the reader never fears that the Pimpernel will win out in every situation, yet the odds seem so stacked against him that one cannot but wonder whether or not his luck is about to change! It is this current of uncertainty beating against the reassurance and security that one feels in the presence of the indefatigable Pimpernel that brings tension to the story and leads the reader ever forward through its pages.

If I must find something in Baroness Orczy's work to criticize, it would be that her use of language, while assuredly correct, is neither imaginative nor creative. The exclamations and expressions of her characters become rapidly predictable, even repetitious at times. The language is not plodding exactly, but neither does it excite the reader. The speech of Orczy's characters as well as the narrative descriptions and expositions of the narrator are rather flat; there is simply no linguistic excitement in her writing. The second criticism I would levy is that the pronouncements of the horrors of the French First Republic under Robespierre are all but unceasing. Not to excuse its excesses or to make light of its copious use of the guillotine, but I found the too-frequent "Republic bashing" tedious after a while. The loathing becomes hyperbolic.

The female protagonist becomes a bit annoying, too, I'm afraid, but is probably an appropriate heroine for the time in which she was created. Her intentions are noble enough, but she is of the "weaker sex" and unwittingly creates problems for herself and others. On several occasions, she foolishly acts to the detriment of her friends; indeed, her remarks send the entire St Cyr family to the guillotine. The strong heroine had yet to make her appearance when Orczy wrote.

Still, its uninspired language, predictability and negative hyperbole notwithstanding, the novel remains an entertaining read. Now and then, a reader needs to be able to relax in the assurance that a swashbuckling hero will overcome all odds and win the day. THE SCARLET PIMPERNEL provides such relaxation while definitely avoiding boredom and is a rational expenditure of one's reading time. If I cannot recommend it "enthusiastically," I can at least recommend it just because it's fun.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars My Least Favorite...but Still a Good Read, September 22, 2001
By A Customer
This book was as well-written as the rest, but I was disappointed to find that the Scarlet Pimpernel/Sir Percy is only really featured in the last ten pages of the book. While Josette was interesting enough...I wanted more of the hero for whom the book was named.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Laugh, and A Song, September 21, 2006
For those of you who have read the book you will understand what my title means. The wonderful laugh that is ready to send terror through the heart of the agent of the French Revolution, and chills of excitement and happiness through yours. And a song bearing despair and hope.

This is a wonderful book! I started and finished it within a day. The first chapter is a little gruesome but not overly so, seeing that it is set in the

French Revolution. If you keep reading though, you are caught within two chapters. The entire book is an emotional roller coaster. So if you don't like books that will keep you up till all hours of the night reading, this book is not for you. The Scarlet Pimpernel is one of the most wonderful men that ever didn't live. And so let us all break out and ask,

"Is he in Heaven? Is he in Hell?"

"That demmed elusive Pimpernel."

-E
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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The League of the Scarlet Pimpernel Review, July 10, 2007
Suspenseful and realistic, The League of the Scarlet Pimpernel leaves the reader wanting more. It all seems so real. Could there really have been an Englishman who helped aristocrats escape out of Paris during the French Revolution? Each of the Scarlet Pimpernel's plans actually could have worked. Finding out the ingenious schemes the Scarlet Pimpernel used was my favorite part of the book. The plans the Scarlet Pimpernel used to get the aristocrats safely out of Paris included several disguises and even fake passports. I would recommend this book to people who enjoy short adventure stories. These stories include tricky English spies, determined French patriots, scared French aristocrats, and severe consequences.
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The Scarlet Pimpernel (Dover Thrift Editions)
The Scarlet Pimpernel (Dover Thrift Editions) by Emmuska Orczy (Paperback - August 6, 2002)
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