Not great?


The Scarlet Pimpernel – Baroness Emmuska Orczy

I was surprisingly underwhelmed by this book. It is an adventure story set in England and France at the time of the French Revolution. The main idea is that the mysterious “Scarlet Pimpernel” is stealing French aristos from beneath the very noses of the vindictive French and saving them from their appointments with Madame Guillotine. The spy/rescuer is called such because he writes notes signed with a red Pimpernel, an English flower.
Maybe the problem was that I was not shocked or surprised at the revelation as to who the Pimpernel actually was. It was spoiled for me by an episode of Blackadder III – a great show if you’ve never seen or heard of it!
Maybe I am just not in tune with the social satire of the times.
Maybe I just did not sympathize with the main characters.
Maybe I was thrown off by the pacing of the story. I did find the language somewhat repetitive and uncreative.
I suspect that it is a much better play than novel – the Blackadder episode is certainly evidence of it. I can imagine that characters would transfer well on stage/screen, and that the story would receive better pacing and seem less repetitive in a script.
The story itself has great promise – spies! beautiful women! crazy radicals! thrilling chases! Danger!!! Maybe this is why I was so confused by how bored I felt reading it?
I will have to watch one of the films.
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