The Scarlet Pimpernel: Anniversary Edition

The Scarlet Pimpernel: Anniversary Edition

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A timeless novel of adventure, intrigue, and romance is sparked by one man's defiance in the face of authority...

The year is 1792. The French Revolution, driven to excess by its own triumph, has turned into a reign of terror. Daily, tumbrels bearing new victims to the guillotine roll over the cobbled streets of Paris.… Thus the stage is set for one of the most enthralling novels of historical adventure ever written.
The mysterious figure known as the Scarlet Pimpernel, sworn to rescue helpless men, women, and children from their doom; his implacable foe, the French agent Chauvelin, relentlessly hunting him down; and lovely Marguerite Blakeney, a beautiful French exile married to an English lord and caught in a terrible conflict of loyalties—all play their parts in a suspenseful tale that ranges from the squalid slums of Paris to the aristocratic salons of London, from intrigue on a great English country estate to the final denouement on the cliffs of the French coast.
There have been many imitations of The Scarlet Pimpernel, but none has ever equaled its superb sense of color and drama and its irresistible gift of wonderfully romantic escape.

With an Introduction by Gary Hoppenstand

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780451527622
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 05/28/2000
Series: Signet Classics Series
Edition description: Reissue
Pages: 288
Sales rank: 100,162
Product dimensions: 4.13(w) x 6.75(h) x 0.74(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

The byline used by Emma Magdalena Rosalia Maria Josefa Barbara Orczy (1865-1947) was Baroness Orczy. Orczy was born in Tarna-Ors, Hungary, the only daughter of Baron Felix Orczy, a noted composer and conductor, and his wife, Emma. Orczy moved with her parents from Budapest to Brussels to Paris and then to London, where she learned to speak English at the age of fifteen. She was educated at West London School of Art. Orcy's first detective stories appeared in magazines, but as a writer, she gained fame in 1903 with the stage version of The Scarlet Pimpernel. In the late 1910s, Orcy and her husband moved to Monte Carlo, where they stayed during the Nazi occupation. Her husband died in 1943, and after World War II, she spent her remaining years in England.

Gary Hoppenstand is a professor who teaches in the Department of American Thought and Language at Michigan State University. He has published numerous books and articles on topics ranging from nineteenth-century British and American literature to film studies. He has been nominated twice for the World Fantasy Award, and he has won the Popular Culture Association's National Book Award for his textbook, Popular Fiction: An Anthology. He has worked on a Penguin Twentieth-Century Classics edition of P.C. Wren's Beau Geste and has published a Penguin Classics omnibus edition of Anthony Hope's two novels The Prisoner of Zenda and Rupert of Hentzau.

Read an Excerpt

Chapter I

Excerpted from "The Scarlet Pimpernel"
by .
Copyright © 2000 Gary Orczy.
Excerpted by permission of Penguin Publishing Group.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

1Paris: September, 17921
2Dover: "The Fisherman's Rest"11
3The Refugees21
4The League of the Scarlet Pimpernel31
6An Exquisite of '9245
7The Secret Orchard57
8The Accredited Agent65
9The Outrage77
10In the Opera Box85
11Lord Grenville's Ball101
12The Scrap of Paper109
14One O'clock Precisely!123
18The Mysterious Device163
19The Scarlet Pimpernel169
20The Friend179
24The Death-trap217
25The Eagle and the Fox225
26The Jew235
27On the Track245
28The Pere Blanchard's Hut253
30The Schooner269
31The Escape283

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

“Arguably the best adventure story ever published and certainly the most influential that appeared during the early decades of the twentieth century.”—Gary Hoppenstand

Reading Group Guide

The first and most successful in the Baroness’s series of books that feature Percy Blakeney, who leads a double life as an English fop and a swashbuckling rescuer of aristocrats, The Scarlet Pimpernel was the blueprint for what became known as the masked-avenger genre. As Anne Perry writes in her Introduction, the novel “has almost reached its first centenary, and it is as vivid and appealing as ever because the plotting is perfect. It is a classic example of how to construct, pace, and conclude a plot. . . . To rise on the crest of laughter without capsizing, to survive being written, rewritten, and reinterpreted by each generation, is the mark of a plot that is timeless and universal, even though it happens to be set in England and France of 1792.”


1. 1. Does Percy treat Marguerite unfairly?

2. 2. How do the theater and theatricality function in the novel?

3. 3. Are there other heroes in the story besides Percy, and if so, who are they and why are they heroes?

4. 4. What is the significance of the flower that gives Percy his secret name?

5. 5. Discuss the use of animal imagery in the novel.

6. 6. Compare and contrast the Fisherman’s Rest with the Chat Gris.

7. 7. What do you make of Marguerite’s assumption throughout the last part of the story that Percy is unaware of the fact that Chauvelin is on his trail?

8. 8. Discuss point of view in the novel–it is told mostly from Marguerite’s point of view, but occasionally it slips into the minds of other characters, such as Percy and Chauvelin. What is the effect of these slips?

9. 9. Is Marguerite ultimately a likable character?

Customer Reviews

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The Scarlet Pimpernel: Anniversary Edition 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 34 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I am a High school student and I was required to read this book over the summer. It was a very interesting book and I'm glad I chose it. I will read this book many more times later on in my life, like I did with the Harry Potter series. I really enjoyed The Scarlet Pimpernel because it kept me interested with the suspense of what would happen next. I also enjoyed how the author introduced characters in unique ways. The ending for The Scarlet Pimpernel was by far the best part. Not only did it wrap up the story in a clever way but it demonstrated just how sly and quick-witted the Scarlet Pimpernel was.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It was good entertainment and well-written. Some of the events departed a bit from reality but I didn't mind because the writing was so good. A good book when you want to escape for a little while.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This story was alright in my opinion. They definitely revealed the Pimpernel's identity too soon, with too many obvious clues before even doing that. If you're a real mystery fan, I wouldn't recommend this, but if you're interested in a good plot, than read this book. I wasn't overly impressed, and don't understamd how come there are so many sequels to this novel. I don't get who could stand this more than once.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The characters and the whole story line kept you guessing until the very end. I would recommend this book to people who enjoy a great romance and adventure story!! This book truly shows you that love is stronger than what people think it is.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Wow, I loved this story the baroness is a genius! I hope my writings will be as good as her's someday. The unveiling of the elusive gentleman was a shock to me, and the ending was sooo romantic! Love it!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was great. I have been meaning to read it for awhile and finally had the time because finals have ended. I really fell in love with Sir Percy Blakeney!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is my favorite book I've ever read. The action and suspense was incredible. Normally I don't like romances but the romance in this was wonderful. The characters were all richly described and memorable--Marguerite and her mysterious husband especially. The villian was emensely and satisfyingly evil. The plot takes tons of twists and once you begin you can't put it down! I don't think I'll ever find a book I love as much as this.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book begins slow, but then really takes off. An excellent adventure story, and a story of unexspressed love.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Baroness Orczy's The Scarlet Pimpernel, was about heroism and loyalty. The novel takes place during the French Revolution, where social classes are at odds against each other. The story is full of adventure and daring as a mysterious man, the scarlet pimpernel, leads a band of devoted followers into the fiery furnaces of France to save innocents from the balde of the Guillotine. In order to keep from being found, the scarlet pimpernel hides behind a mask. He is seen as an English fop who acts like an extreme idiot. Not being able to look past a crooked cravat, Sir Percy was the richest, but dimwitted man in all of England. The disguise was so deceiving that even his beautiful wife, a talented actress, beleives his idiocy. His wife Margurette, was known for her cleverness, and many people mocked the union of the dumbest man with the cleverest woman. i beleive his wife, Marguarette, knew there was more to him before she married him, but was swayed by other opinions until she believed his ruse herself. I believe that she still secretly hoped for more, and that is why she readily accepted his true identity when she found out her husband was the scarlet pimpernel. She still loved him enough to risk her life for him. i think Margarette had the biggest choice to make. She had to choose between the two most important people in her life: her only and dearest brother, Armando, and her husband, Percy Blackney. She chooses her brother over her the unknown scarlet pimpernel, but later is able to warn him of the danger she put him into. Percy had to make a choice between his pride, or his love for his wife. This conflict put a rift in their relationship and caused many misunderstandings. I believe the turning point in the story is when Margarrite decides to go after Percy to warn him that Chauvelin meant to trap him. The setting changes from England to France, and the pace of the story increases. The characters must think quickly and be cunning enough to escape the traps made by Chauvelin. The falling action is when Margaruette follows the cart holding Chauvelin, Percy's enemy and an important figure in the Revolution. She is eventually caught by Chauvelin, but is reunited with her husband, who had cunningly taken on the disguise of a poor Jew. Orczy had a love for heroism and loyalty. She was able to create an exciting adventure in which there was a valiant hero that conquered over evil.
Guest More than 1 year ago
there are no words in the English dictionary to describe this book, there is no way of even comparing!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
it was SUCH a great book. I was sure it would be horrible because the school assigned it, but it turned out to be great. I really recommend it!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Ingeniously written, The Scarlet Pimpernel is a story of human nature, great love, and a daring man who defies all odds to rescue aristicrats from bloodthirsty France. Intriguing up the the very end, this story portrays the love of a young and brilliant wife, married to the biggest fool in England, for a brother and the daring plotter. I truly recommend this novel.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I read this book in 5th grade and it was a favorite for 3 years. It's great for anyone (it is not boring, girly, or predictable) and is really wellwritten with a great plot. The sequels rock too!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is an absolutely fabulous novel - B. Orzcy's language draws you in. A great love story, too - the irony of the whole plot itself makes the novel worth reading.
Guest More than 1 year ago
this book is amazing to say the least.the final twist especially is a work of genius.i'd really recommend this book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
If you have never read this book, you must aquire it as soon as possible and commense immediately. This is my favorite book. There is a lovely love story and great action. Try to read it and not fall in love with Sir Percy. On my last trip to England, my best friend and I spent an entire day searching used bookstores for sequals which are out of print. My mother filled her suitcase up with many of them on her last trip. So read it, and savor every page. The first sentence is lovely and just pulls you in. Read it, and try not to desire to read more. Read it, and be amazed that English was not B. Orczy's native language. Don't watch the movie....Percy looks rather feminine, but read read read this book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Wonderful book - a friend highly recommended it to me, and though doubtful, I took her advise and read it. I loved it! Adventure, thrills, suspicion, romance, and chivalry...this is a classic, through and through. Don't settle for modern imitators, read the book that did it first, and did it right. You won't regret it!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Well, like others said before, this book did start out quite slow. I read it in tenth grade with my English class and EVERYONE loved it. As you read, your admiration towards the Scarlet Pimpernel grows and you can't wait to find out who he really is. I can't really express how much I LOVED THIS BOOK. Like I said already, it starts slow, so be patient if you do read it. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book might sound like one of those ho-hum books at first, but once u get going, there's no turning back. This melodrama about the hero, the Scarlet Pimpernel, the damsel in distress, Lady Marguerite Blakeney, and the villian, Chauvelin, isn't one of those predictable books where you know what's going to happen before you turn the page. Full of twists and turns, this book is set during the French Revolution where hundreds of nobles die each day under the guillotine's blade, where their only hope of escape lies in the hands of the Scarlet Pimpernel...
Guest More than 1 year ago
The book the Scarlet Pimpernel,is one of intrigue, adventure and true love. I really enjoyed the story because it is not your average book. At first the title made it sound like a bore but once I read further into it was hard to put it down. This novel is well written because it slowly comes together like a puzzle. I hope you read this and enjoy it as much as I did!! Muchas gracias!
Guest More than 1 year ago
The Scarlet Pimpernel never really fascinated me. But to be quite honest I had no idea what it was about, I just didn't like the strange title. A few months ago, however, I watched the movie and I was hooked. Immediately after I picked up the book, my curiosity started running wild, and I had to know if the novel was as good as the movie. The beginning starts somewhat slow, yet I didn't really mind because the story became so good. I was literally intrigued by the plot. I couldn't put the book down. This novel shows true heroism and it tells one of the sweetest love stories I have ever read. I adore this book and plan on reading it a lot more in the future. After all, who can resist 'that damned elusive pimpernel?'
Guest More than 1 year ago
This novel weaves a romance into the bloody times of the french revolution beautifuly. The title refers to the main characters signature, a red flower. A novel like this makes history seem not so old, because it has the qualities of a good modern romance that readers of today can enjoy and understand.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was an exciting read! It was easy to follow and has the power to interest readers of both sexes. Themes like forbidden love and the masks that people where are universally applicable. A good book always has an unexpected ending like this one did. A classic worthy of a 2nd or 3rd read!
Guest More than 1 year ago
It was such an amazing book, the end was unpredictable and I loved it. It was amzing and I think everyone should read it!
burningtodd on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A fun book. I read because I was in the play and I was doing some background work, but ended up thoroughly enjoying the book anyway. A melodrama with sword fights, disguises and a female as the leading character. Though I do believe that Chauvelin is the only pure character in the book, he has a cause and is letting that guide him.