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The Prisoner of Zenda (The Ruritania Trilogy #2)

3.86 of 5 stars 3.86  ·  rating details  ·  11,591 ratings  ·  505 reviews
Anthony Hope's swashbuckling romance transports his English gentleman hero, Rudolf Rassendyll, from a comfortable life in London to fast-moving adventures in Ruritania, a mythical land steeped in political intrigue. Rassendyll bears a striking resemblance to Rudolf Elphberg who is about to be crowned King of Ruritania. When the rival to the throne, Black Michael of Strelsa ...more
Paperback, 157 pages
Published October 27th 1994 by Penguin Books Ltd. (first published 1894)
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Michelle It's definitely a swashbuckling adventure in the best way possible. Though there is not much else comparable between the two, I would say the "type"…moreIt's definitely a swashbuckling adventure in the best way possible. Though there is not much else comparable between the two, I would say the "type" of adventure in this book is pretty similar to that of the Three Musketeers. (less)
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Henry Avila
Rudolf Rassendyll,an Englishman, takes a vacation to Ruritania, don't look on a map to find it,you won't.Set in the 1890's.A new king, is to be crowned, in this Eastern European nation.Rudolf is curious to see his distant cousin,and look alike, Rudolf the Fifth( a century old family affair, was the cause of this connection).The traveler ,decides to explore a Ruritanian forest, on foot.Getting sleepy, he lies down and falls into a slumber.Imagine when the King ,while hunting with his entourage, d ...more
Sarah Sammis
The Prisoner of Zenda is one of those books I've been meaning to read for about twenty years. Over the Thanksgiving holiday I finally took the time to read this classic adventure written by Anthony Hope in 1894.

The Prisoner of Zenda brings the fairy tale of Mark Twain's The Prince and the Pauper (1888) and Pudd'nhead Wilson (1893-4) into the adventure genre for adults. Anthony Hope's story of a king kidnapped on the eve of his coronation and his English cousin who takes his place is derring-do a
I was almost immediately reminded of The 39 Steps when I started this book. Both open with a 1st Person account of the protagonist lacking occupation and being idle just before the action begins and both betray unpleasant attitudes, too. Buchan's Hannay is much worse in this regard than Hope's Rudolf: Hannay is racist, sexist, Imperialist, arrogant and frankly unlikeable. Rudolf, however, makes one fairly mild sexist remark. There are differences, though: Hannay is bored of being idle whereas Ru ...more

The Prisoner of Zenda is often called a classic of mystery and adventure. However, my expectations of this novel proved unequal to the novel itself as it is very dated in its style and tone. I can usually deal with novels which are dated, and yet something in particular about this work was hard to swallow entirely. I still accept that it should be noted as a classic of its genre, just not a classic among classics that all people should flock to read.

The story reminds one of the classic work of T
Mar 23, 2015 Alex rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to Alex by: El
Shelves: 2014, rth-lifetime
Prisoner of Zenda (1894) is a little slip of a book: its influence is heavier than its pages. Filmed numerous times, including (as El pointed out) once when it was called Dave and had Kevin Kline in it.

And it was the major influence on Nabokov's Pale Fire, which basically amounts to an extended trippy metafictional cover of the same story. (Here's more on the similarities, if you need convincing.)

The story: what, you haven't seen Dave? What's your problem, that movie is awesome. Fine: the king
I was curious about reading The Prisoner of Zenda because it started the "Ruritanian romance" genre, in which a foreigner visits a small kingdom (usually European) and becomes embroiled in royal affairs, typically due to mistaken identity. However, my fear was that it would be a stodgy old Victorian romance.

Instead, I discovered an action-packed, hot-blooded adventure. Published in 1894, this was clearly an inspiration for Rafael Sabatini as well as the entire pulp genre. Whether it be Burrough
Clare Cannon
Nov 29, 2011 Clare Cannon rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: 14 years+
What a great story, a brief but epic adventure. Perhaps some may be tempted to rate it lower because it is not the standard rose-coloured fairytale, but I don't think that is fair. The adventure is fun: a monarchy, a feud, a capture, a farce and a fight, but it is the heroic romance which makes it truly great.

Zenda shows the antithesis of Twilight's selfish, obsessive love. There's a paragraph in my Twilight review which is apt here:
"One of the most serious issues in Twilight is the glorificatio
Verdict: A competently swashbuckling semi-fairytale, Though, in a rare reversal, I think I might prefer it in film form.

My ebook reading seems to be aligning itself into themes. It started with a devouring of scifi courtesy of H. G. Wells and now I’ve fallen into a genre of book that can best be described as; novels where Errol Flynn should play the main character in the movie adaptation. I suppose in the interest of conciecety we could label the genere ‘swashbuckle’. Well, Prisoner of Zenda was
As it starts getting really cold outdoors, and as the snow starts to come down and actually stick, I always seem to get the urge to read a good, swashbuckling novel. Swords. Trickery. Escapades. Love affairs. These are the things that keep me warm as the weather changes. A big mug of hot tea and an adventure story are all I really ask.

This year the best choice was The Prisoner of Zenda. Surprisingly as I read and began to understood the plot, the first thing to come to mind was the 1993 film wit
This book was actually better than I thought it was going to be. There was a lot of fighting and a bit of romance. I think I will look for the sequels. While the men are a bit feminine that doesn't stop them from fighting and killing to defend the women they love. There is great talk of honor and loyalty which are some of my favorite topics. Read this, it is fast and fun.
But if Fate made me a king the least I could do was play the part handsomely.

Apparently this classic adventure novel was written in less than a month by Anthony Hope in 1894, and it's endured ever since - there's a 1937 movie that I will have to acquire somehow, and the BBC recently adapted it in the 80s - and it's easy to see why. This is a truly delightful, swashbuckling story that includes several of my favorite elements: love, impersonation, duels over honor, treachery, castles, mysterious
Wow. What an incredible book! Much better than I ever expected. It is the story of a man who is devoted to following his duty, no matter the cost, even to the woman he loves. Webster describes Duty as: “That which a person owes to another; that which a person is bound, by any natural, moral or legal obligation, to pay, do or perform. Obedience to princes, magistrates and the laws is the duty of every citizen and subject; obedience, respect and kindness to parents are duties of children; fidelity ...more
Mahmoud Homsi
I Like this kind of novels ...
but I didn't like the conclusion,
I wish the king were killed and the hero were married to the princess

The love depends on the personality cos' even if u are not the king .. I'll love u :)
and that is the message between rudolf and the princess but unfortunately they weren't married ..
Brisk and highly entertaining adventure! Nicely written, with amusing touches and, in my copy, some very nice illustrations. The end, though, was (to me) rather sad in a way, and a bit unresolved, but it also hints at a sequel....which I'll have to look for.
Maybe too low-brow for me, but a fun read nonetheless. Unbelievable plot and characters, but you take it for what it is.
بسمة العوفي
ممتعة ، لها فكرة مختلفة
مغامرة أن تكون ملك لفترة .. والإختيار بين الحكم والأمانة والحب والشرف..
“I wonder when in the world you’re going to do anything, Rudolf?” said my brother’s wife. “You are nine-and-twenty,” she observed, “and you’ve done nothing but–”
“Knock about? It is true. Our family doesn’t need to do things.”

The behaviour of Rudolf Rassendyll, younger brother of Robert Lord Burlesdon, appears to live up to his family motto, which is Nil quae feci (roughly translated as ‘I’ve done nothing’). But by the end of The Prisoner of Zenda Rudolf’s actions have belied that motto — at lea
When first looking at this book I thought it had promise but after a while of putting it off I became less enthusiastic. I loved the whole King in disguise idea but I couldn’t get over the setting. Something as crazy as this seems like it should be in a fantasy book but hey I liked the book anyways so I guess the setting worked.

Quick Overview: Essentially this gentleman, Rudolf, looks a lot like the King to be and when the King is drugged and kidnapped Rudolf fills in for him. With the help of t
ci chong
One of the best adventure stories I've ever come across.A thrilling tale of daring,double-identities,drugged Kings and devious Dukes; of sword fighting,villians, and heroes great and small-- in short, everything a swashbuckling tale of love and loyalty should have. Hope's mastery is amazing; from the first start of the action it flows like a rushing river,seamless, timeless, effortless, breathless.The characters are as vivid as the red hair of the Hapsburgs;the King, a weak,indecisive character ...more
Wes Freeman
Canonical swashbuckler from ass end of the 19th century. British gentleman protagonist is spitting image of the king of (fictional) Ruritania and finds self up to waistcoat in high intrigue when King's ducal brother poisons King the night before his coronation. Look-alike protagonist must act as King -- living in royal digs, Victorian-flirting with royal betrothed, hunting and suchlike -- while he and King's entourage scheme on getting King back on his throne. Real conflict in novel ain't so muc ...more
Alia (بلا همزة)
الرواية ابطالها رجال من اول الحكاية الى اخرها كمعظم افلامنا العربية
ولكن تبقى النساء مهما كانت في الظل او ضيفة شرف الا انها تلعب دور مهم في تغير منعطف الاحداث

شاهدت الفيلم لنفس الرواية الذي انتج عام
الا انه لم يشبع ذاكرتي الصورية والحسية حيث انني كنت متعطشة لعالم الفروسية والمغامرات والقصور وبالتالي لم يحسن نظرتي للرواية

لم تعجبي النهاية ابدا رغم واقعيتها
بعد التضيحة التي قام بها البطل للملك كان لابد ان يلقى الكثير من الشكر والامتنان وبعض من التعويض
فقد حصل الملك على عرشه وعلى محبوبة البطل
Hasnain Bahleem
This Book has stolen the Sleep From My eyes and the peace from my life not because of its Literary Brilliance but its On the Syllabus Of My English Exam and has Ruined My Life.
i had never heard of this Book before but it became familiar to me when i got in 12th grade with a Spoiled and rotten cover art which was the work of a true artistic Brilliance(pst.I'm being sarcastic it was horrible and couldn't stand any minute of it)
i hated this why don't they put Books like harry potter in Our School
Emil Söderman
Now this was a fun read. The plot should be known to most people: A person of distant relation and great likeness to the King of Ruritania becomes embroiled in a plot against said majesty, and forced to play his role. It works through this much-imitated plot with a brisk pace, some nice action sequences and a light and witty prose style that is quite agreeable. It's rather much less complex (in terms of the numbers of twists and turns, lies and so forth) than is usually the case with these kinds ...more
I sort of read this randomly, so I wasn't sure what to expect. What I did get was kind boring prose and "cleverest-woman-in-Europe" syndrome. By the last part I mean that the author is telling me something over and over "Oh protagonist, you were the best king" but not proving that in any way whatsoever. Annoying. Also, the romance was freaking boring as could be. And the misogyny? Women are careless and forgetful? That definitely made sure that there was no four star rating coming from me.

An enjoyable foray into classic literature. Rudolf Rassyndyll, a young layabout of the British nobility, reads of the upcoming coronation of King Rudolf V in Ruritania. He himself bears a remarkable likeness to the soon-to-be king, due to an indiscretion on the part of one of his ancestors while the King's ancestor was visiting Britain. Intrigued, Rudolf catches the train, telling no one where he's really going.

Before getting to the capital city, he stumbles upon a plot by Duke Michael, the King
Anthony Hope is Amazing Novel
رائعه أنتوني هوب التى نشرت عام 1894 وتحولت الى عدة افلام سينمائية 1937 و 1352 و 1979
Jan 16, 2011 Laura rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Bettie
Available at BBC Radio 7 for only 16 hours left:

The Prisoner of Zenda is a fun little tale of adventure and derring-do written at the turn of the century (the 19th century, that is) by Anthony Hope. It is a well-known tale. There is danger to a famous personage (in this case, the King of Ruritania) and there just happens to be a distant cousin who looks exactly like him on the spot who can fill in and help out. There have been many a book and many a film based on this idea (Danny Kaye starred in perhaps five different versions of this sort o
This swashbuckling classic is still remarkably fresh and vivacious, considering it was written in 1894. It follows the adventures of a young Englishman, Rudolf Rassendyll, who has decided to indulge himself with one last jolly before he embarks on a career in the diplomatic service. He finds himself drawn to Ruritania, a small Central European kingdom ruled by a family who have a scandalous connection to Rudolf's own ancestors - a connection proven by Rudolf's own red hair and long nose. A chanc ...more
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Sir Anthony Hope Hawkins, better known as Anthony Hope was an English novelist and playwright. Although he was a prolific writer, especially of adventure novels, he is remembered best for only two books: The Prisoner of Zenda (1894) and its sequel Rupert of Hentzau (1898). These works, "minor classics" of English literature,[2] are set in the contemporaneous fictional country of Ruritania and spaw ...more
More about Anthony Hope...

Other Books in the Series

The Ruritania Trilogy (4 books)
  • The Heart of Princess Osra
  • Rupert of Hentzau
  • The Prisoner of Zenda & Rupert of Hentzau
Rupert of Hentzau The Prisoner of Zenda & Rupert of Hentzau The Prisoner of Zenda The Heart of Princess Osra The Indiscretion of the Duchess

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“For my part, if a man must needs be a knave I would have him a debonair knave... It makes your sin no worse as I conceive, to do it à la mode and stylishly.” 13 likes
“There are moments when I dare not think of it, but there are others when I rise in spirit to where she ever dwells; then I can thank God that I love the noblest lady in the world, the most gracious and beautiful, and that there was nothing in my love that made her fall short in her high duty.” 10 likes
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