By Baroness Emmuska Orczy
Copyright © 1905
The French aristocracy is headed to the guillotine at the end French Revolution and the only one willing to save them is the Scarlett Pimpernel.
After the French Revolution royalty and nobility are being sent to the guillotine daily, but no European country wants to step in and stop the madness. But there is one man who will risk his neck for these aristocrats and he is known only as the Scarlet Pimpernel.
At the beginning of the story the Scarlet Pimpernel has confounded the murdering French Revolutionaries at every turn sneaking condemned men, women, and children out of France and over to England right under their captors noses. So the French Republic Government sends it’s Chief Agent of the Committee of Public Safety on a mission to England to root out the identity of the Scarlett Pimpernel and to ensnare him on French soil to have him killed. This agent, Citizen Chauvelin, enlists the aid of a former acquaintance, French expat, and high society darling of fashion Marguerite by black mailing her. Marguerite has no idea who the Scarlet Pimpernel is but she is mildly infatuated with him. When she does find out who he is she will fall madly in love with him, but will it be too late to save him?
The Scarlet Pimpernel is obviously a historical novel set in the 1790’s. While the story contains historical figures, it is obvious that the author was on the side of the Aristocracy and that history is not as much of a concern as is telling a good story. In that Orczy does a wonderful job. Though it really doesn’t come as much of a surprise who the Scarlett Pimpernel turns out to be it is still a great tale with mild intrigue, daring-do, and romance. Having read some of Alexander Dumas works, which center in and around this time period and which are generally long, highly-detailed stories, I found this book to be an extremely easy read in comparison and in general quite fun to read. This book was originally written for an adult audience, but today it translates very well as a classic for youth to read as well.