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The Scarlet Pimpernel Paperback – Import, September 3, 1998

4.4 out of 5 stars 773 customer reviews
Book 1 of 7 in the Scarlet Pimpernel Series

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Paperback, Import, September 3, 1998
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 312 pages
  • Publisher: Coronet Books; New Ed edition (September 3, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0340739444
  • ISBN-13: 978-0340739440
  • Shipping Weight: 6.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (773 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #14,741,402 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Alicia Van Hecke VINE VOICE on March 19, 2003
Format: Mass Market Paperback
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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Format: Mass Market Paperback
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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Format: Library Binding
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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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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Format: Hardcover
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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Format: Mass Market Paperback
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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