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Synopsis

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 thats where the story really gets interesting.

I wont 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. Blakeneys perspective. Her terror for her husbands fate is pure and adds to the tension considerably. If we saw it through the Pimpernels eyes, it would doubtless be far more composed and nowhere near as suspenseful.

In closing, The Scarlet Pimpernel is well worth buying. Its laugh out loud funny, suspenseful, romantic, and generally quite a page-turner.

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