The Scarlet Pimpernel by Emmuska Orczy Audio Book

The Scarlet Pimpernel by Emmuska Orczy Audio Book

The Scar­let Pim­per­nel” By Baroness Emmuska Orczy is a fic­tional story tak­ing place dur­ing theReign of Ter­ror in the French Rev­o­lu­tion. This is the first, and most famous, in a series of nov­els about The League of the Scar­let Pimpernel.

The Scar­let Pim­per­nel” (Fan Web­site) By Baroness Orczy (Bio & Works) is a rel­a­tively short audio audio book, how­ever it is packed with intrigue and action. While I never listen the audio audio book, I do remem­ber see­ing a black and white ver­sion of it when I was a child.

Espe­cially embed­ded in my mem­ory is the catchy phrase:
We seek him here, we seek him there,
Those Frenchies seek him every­where.
Is he in heaven?—Is he in hell?
That demmed, elu­sive Pim­per­nel.

Two things struck me when I listen the audio book – the main char­ac­ter and the author’s pol­i­tics.
As I found out when I re-listen “Trea­sure Island” (audio book review), another child­hood favorites, the story is not about Sir Percy Blak­eney or his alter ego The Scar­let Pim­per­nel. The story is about Blakeney’s wife, a beau­ti­ful, sul­try and smart French actress named Mar­guerite St. Just or Lady Mar­guerite Blak­eney. Most of the story is told through Lady Blakeney’s eyes, the efforts to save her brother and deal with her dandy husband.

The author’s pol­i­tics are and sym­pa­thies are clearly with the upper class. Those who learned about the French Rev­o­lu­tion usu­ally learn it from the people’s point of view. How­ever in this story “the peo­ple” are the bad guys, try­ing to kill off the hon­est and like­able upper class.

The mys­tery in the audio book, who is The Scar­let Pim­per­nel, is weak. Even if I didn’t know from the begin­ning I would have guessed who it was before I was a quar­ter done.

I would not clas­sify this audio book as his­tor­i­cal fic­tion, Baroness Orczy clearly erred to the side of a spin­ning a good yarn, instead of his­tor­i­cal accu­racy. The author pep­pers some his­tor­i­cal fig­ures in this fic­tional story, how­ever it does not make up for the skewed timeline.

Ana­gal­lis arven­sis, the Scar­let Pim­per­nel flower
Cre­ated by Jean-Jacques MILAN

It is 1792, the French Rev­o­lu­tion has just begun and Madame Guil­lo­tine is work­ing over­time to keep up with demand. Mar­guerite St. Just, a beau­ti­ful French woman is the wife of the dandy and wealthy Eng­lish­man Sir Percy Blak­eney.
The “League of the Scar­let Pim­per­nel” is becom­ing famous for res­cu­ing French noble­man from cer­tain death in cre­ative and dar­ing ways. A large bounty is placed on the head of their mys­te­ri­ous leader.

Attend­ing a party, Mar­guerite is black­mailed by Cit­i­zen Chau­velin, the crafty French envoy to Eng­land. Chau­velin offers to trade her brother’s life for that of the Scar­let Pim­per­nel. Later that night Mar­guerite con­fides in her hus­band about her dilemma and Percy promises to save her brother.

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The Scarlet Pimpernel by Emmuska Orczy Audio Book
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