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The Scarlet Pimpernel (The Scarlet Pimpernel (publication order) #1)

4.06  ·  Rating Details ·  101,148 Ratings  ·  4,865 Reviews
This timeless novel of intrigue and romance is the adventure of one man's defiance in the face of authority. The rulers of the French Revolution are unable to discern the identity of the Scarlet Pimpernel, a man whose exploits are an embarrassment to the new regime. Is he an exiled French nobleman or an English lord? The only thing for certain is his calling card--the bloo ...more
Paperback, 267 pages
Published May 1st 2000 by Signet (first published 1905)
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Rhedyn For many of them there isn't really a sequence. The Laughing Cavalier is first, followed by The First Sir Percy. Then comes The Scarlet Pimpernel.…moreFor many of them there isn't really a sequence. The Laughing Cavalier is first, followed by The First Sir Percy. Then comes The Scarlet Pimpernel. This is followed by the other books in assorted order (many of them are short story compilations that have stories from many different dates,) and ending with The Triumph of the Scarlet Pimpernel, A Child of the Revolution, and The Pimpernel and Rosemary. Hope this helps!(less)
Rhedyn You can find the whole series for free at

Community Reviews

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Aug 21, 2013 Anne rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Here's my new and improved title for this book...
The Scarlet Pimpernel: A Classic That Doesn't Suck Sweaty Balls.


I can't usually make it through classic literature.
Does this make me a bad person?
I think not.
There are manymanymany other things I do on a daily basis that make me a bad person, but not being able to force myself to read (in my opinion) outdated and overrated books is not one of them.

There are other readers out there like me, I'm sure of it! And it's you guys that I'm talking to
Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽
I've always had a thing for books that use the Scarlet Pimpernel trope: the intelligent, capable person who hides behind a mask of inanity. So Emma Orczy gets extra points from me for popularizing this secret identity plot device in her 1905 book The Scarlet Pimpernel.

It's 1792, the early days of the French Revolution, and the Reign of Terror is at its peak: thousands of French aristocrats, men, women and children, are sent to the guillotine, regardless of actual fault. But a group of brave Engl
Feb 21, 2011 Rowena rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
“A surging, seething murmuring crowd, of beings that are human only in name, for to the eye and ear they seem naught but savage creatures, animated by vile passions and by the lust of vengeance and of hate.”- The Scarlet Pimpernel, Baroness Orczy

It’s been too long since I last enjoyed a classic novel and I was beginning to fear that I was falling out of love with my favourite genre. Well, I found the remedy with “The Scarlet Pimpernel.” What a lot of fun!

The French Revolution is one of my favour
Shannon (Giraffe Days)
If, like me, you watched the movie more times than you'd care to admit when you were growing up; or if, like me, you've read all of Georgette Heyer's Regency romances and then some, you'll love this book. It doesn't pretend to be anything extraordinary, it doesn't even offer a social commentary on the period in which it's set - written by an aristocrat who is clearly on the side of the aristocrats, it's easy to see where her sympathies lie. But it is a rollicking good ride, a fun adventure story ...more
This novel is set in 1792 in England and France during the French Revolution's "Reign of Terror". In spite of the time and seriousness of these events, the novel doesn't take itself too seriously. Baroness Orczy wasn't trying to be political or make a statement, she was just trying to write a good story. What she wrote was a rollicking bit of a mystery/adventure/intrigue that was (for me) surprisingly good.

The story is about an unknown, but gallant, Englishman and his secret band of followers w
Florence (Lefty) MacIntosh
Apr 29, 2014 Florence (Lefty) MacIntosh rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Historical adverture fans - Hungarian Author
Recommended to Florence (Lefty) by: Joseph Spuckler
Melodrama all the rage when this was written so be prepared, it’s pretty silly. A fast easy read you can whip off in no time that’s a lot of fun. Odd’s fish but that Sir Percy is HIGHLY amusing! “The foppish ways, the affected movements, the perpetual inane laugh.” High intrigue will keep you turning those pages, and who can resist a guy named Pimpernel who runs around in various disguises rescuing people from having their heads lopped off? Loved him for “his marvellous audacity, the boundless ...more
Okay, I read this for exactly two reasons: one, I thought this book was on The List (it's not); and two, the Scarlet Pimpernel is the inspiration for the Bruce Wayne/Batman dichotomy and I am a giant dork.

For a book about a secret team of English nobleman working to rescue French nobles from the scary revolutionists who want them dead, this is a surprisingly unexciting book. The pace is fast, and there's plenty of spying and blackmailing and races against time, but there isn't a single fistfigh
Henry Avila
Aug 05, 2013 Henry Avila rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
When the guillotine dropped quickly, remorselessly, and often, there arose a mysterious Englishman, who crossed the channel, to rescue the French Aristocrats ( mostly innocent victims), he called himself, "The Scarlet Pimpernel" . Named after a modest, British flower, this person organized a band of twenty high-born men, he like the flower, was unpretentious . Their daring deeds, thrilled the world, Antoine Fouquier-Tinville, director of the French government, wants to capture these enemies. Off ...more
Adita ✨The Slumbering Insomniac✨


Ah, classic.
How I had always imagined that the classics are only for those who are born, brought up, spoon-fed in and potty-trained in English and how wrong was I to think that they are out of the reach of people like me who had only subnormal command over the English language.

Among many other popular authors of the classic era, Emmuska Orczy was a name much bandied about for her magnum opus, "The Scarlet Pimpernel" , even during my school days. I can't quite pinpoint th
Sep 10, 2014 Malia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have to admit, I just fell for the title of this book, The Scarlet Pimpernel just sounds like fun:-) As it happens, the story lives up to expectations. Set in the eighteenth century, the mysterious Scarlet Pimpernel is a notoriously secretive Englishman, who rescues French royals from the guillotine. The story is told from the point of view of Marguerite, a French woman married to an English aristocrat, Percy Blakeney. Her marriage is unhappy, because her husband is ignoring her after having d ...more
Feb 11, 2008 Rachelle rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I loved this book. It is so much better than the movie. I love the movie too....but the book is so much richer in detail. The only reason I didn't go for a 5 is that I am a sentimental fool and I wanted to see more of the reconciliation of Percy and Marguerite. It ended so quickly. There was so much build up as Marguerite realizes her errors - and her love...that I wanted some more resolution there. There were some good thoughts that I really related says of Marguerite "..she, too, had w ...more
I’ve watched quite a few episodes of Scooby Doo, The Road Runner, and Looney Tunes in my time, so a lot of the twists and turns in this story were spoilered for me long before I started listening to this book. Also, for many years, after I first heard the title of this book in high school, I thought it was called The Scarlet Pumpernickel, which always sounded rather disgusting to me. Who wants their bread to be the color of blood? Not this girl. And I don’t even particularly care for normal-colo ...more
Apr 25, 2012 Lightreads rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
So boring. So boring.

I read this weeks ago, and I've been waiting ever since for someone else in the group to come out with a great review. Something transformative. It would compare this to Radcliff and nineteenth-century opera and talk about modes of romanticism. Or it'd be one of those intensely personal reviews about a grimey, sweaty summer spent singing in the chorus line for a production of Pimpernel, and the backstage affair whose passions ebbed in counterpoint to the story. Or, I don't k
Lynne King
Henry in his excellent review this morning reminded me of this super book I own.

I have a Folio edition and these books are of first-class quality. The "mysterious" illustrations by Lucy Weller all add to the notion of intrigue in this novel. And finally with an introduction by Hilary Mantel, what could be better.

A sentence that comes to mind as I browse through this book:

"The Scarlet Pimpernel, mademoiselle, 'he said at last, 'is the name of a humble English wayside flower, but it is also the
I read this book for the first time, almost 16 years back. It was part of those Reader's Digest compiled editions, which has three-four famous books across different genres. Since then, I think I must have consumed this story in all forms available-the book, the movie, the tele series, the audio play, audio book and still on a lookout for a version/medium that I haven't come across.

It was infact this book that introduced me to historical roma
Oct 09, 2014 Karen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

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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”

All these years…. and I’m finally reading this! I’ve seen the movies, several of them over the years, and I finally broke down and read the book. And yes, as you would expect, it was so much better. Aren’t they all.

If you’re not familiar with the story, The Scarlet Pimpernel is a wayside flower that proliferates Great Britain and Europe. B
Jul 10, 2008 Eve rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
This book was not what I thought it would be. Who'd of thought that swashbuckling would be superceeded by romance?! Would turn around and reread this in an instant.

They seek him here, they seek him there
Those Frenchies seek him everywhere
Is he in heaven or is he in hell?
That damned elusive Pimpernel

The Scarlet Pimpernel is a brilliant novel and fully deserves five stars pinned to its jacket for valour. I first read this astounding novel as part of a holiday classics read and helped inspire me to read more classic novels so brilliant is this novel.

Few other novels contain the same mix of drama, action, romance and sheer character conflict as the Scarlet P
Jul 05, 2009 David rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2009
I read this concurrently with Victoria Woolf's "Mrs Dalloway". Mrs D. has no plot to speak of -- its virtues are in the characterization and the writing. The Scarlet Pimpernel is the direct opposite - its whole point is the plot. The characters are more or less your generic swashbuckling regulars, and the writing ranges from tolerable to truly atrocious.

But perhaps it's a little unfair to burden "The Scarlet Pimpernel" with exalted literary pretensions. First and foremost, it's an adventure stor
Chiara Pagliochini
“La cercan qui, la cercan là,
dove si trovi nessuno lo sa.
Che catturare mai non si possa,
quella dannata Primula Rossa?”

Quand’ero bambina, possedevo un libro geniale, pirotecnico, intrigante che credo non abbia mai smesso di esercitare la sua influenza su di me. Si chiamava “366 storie della buonanotte” e ancora lo conservo e lo sfoglio con piacere, sebbene le pagine si siano tutte sfaldate lungo il dorso. Non sono mai riuscita a leggere quelle 366 storie in sequenza, ma son certa di averle alme
Books should come with a warning:

Rereading is an occupational hazard,
that causes anguish and emotional trauma
when you realise the book
you thought was the best in the world
years ago,
actually sucks lemons."

That happened with "The Scarlet Pimpernel," a swash-yer-buckles-for-this little novel that yours truly read decades ago and enjoyed, and that now yours truly finds . . . uh, not very good.

Melodrama is my main objection to this story. Emmuska Orczy indulges overmuch in thea
Ally (The Scribbling Sprite)
Set amid the events of The French Revolution, The Scarlet Pimpernel is a swashbuckling tale full of adventure, romance, and intrigue. England's daring hero, named for a "humble English wayside flower" (page 40) rebels against the Reign of Terror in France, saving countless people from the guillotine. But the French agent Chauvelin is determined to reveal The Scarlet Pimpernel's true identity and see him perish at the fate he has saved so many others from.

This novel was such good fun! I thought i
Noran Miss Pumkin
Mar 24, 2008 Noran Miss Pumkin rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: everyone--even teens
Recommended to Noran by: my father william
Shelves: percy
i grew up on the classic black and white film with my father telling me about it again and again. now in my 40's i decided to read the novel, only to discover there are like 15 in the series--most not available in the usa, and they were written by a women. well, there in a scene that brought me to tears, not of sadness , but of heartache. the passage was a expression of such love between a man and a woman he might not see again-- i wept. i do not go to chick flicks ever, and i was crying.
there o
This book is about a fashionable lady who thinks she's better than her husband, but don't worry, it has a happy ending: she learns that her husband is actually a superhero and she was wrong to have opinions (outside of preferred colors for ball gowns). She learns this through hiding in the corner and crying throughout the entire book.

It's like The Count of Monte Cristo, in that there is a little bit of action and a whole lot of French people and many ridiculous disguises. But if, like, instead o
Jul 14, 2008 booklady rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone over the age of 14
Semi-light-hearted story of a gallant Englishman who risks his life to save aristocrats from Madame Guillotine during the French Revolution. Very enjoyable read and often overlooked; maybe because it isn't quite serious enough to be considered a classic and not quite funny enough to be classified as a comedy? Whatever you "call" it, you should give it a read. Have not read the sequels yet, but have enjoyed several different film versions. A timeless Good Read!

Was reminded to update this review w
Huma Rashid
Jan 27, 2011 Huma Rashid rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classic
This. Book. Is. Legendary.

There aren't enough words to do it justice. It's a fast-paced, swash-buckling tale of a young English nobleman and his gang of daring friends that rescue French aristocrats and their families that have been doomed to the guillotine by the revolutionaries during the storm of the Bastille. It's a tough sell - getting us to be sympathetic to the aristocrats after the horrors the French commoners lived through before the Revolution, but the author somehow manages.

What I par
Love, love, love. This book is amazing!

Recommended for: Ages 12 to Adult (reading level, mild romance, action violence)

My friends, especially my friend Ashley, told me that I had to read this book. I downloaded it to my kindle, and didn't really read it. Ashely kept getting onto me about reading it, and I would just be like, "yeah, I'm going to." I'd read a few chapters when I was half asleep and gotten completely lost on it, and I just kind of didn't care. I kept thinking I probably needed to j
Evelyn (devours and digests words)
I think this was the first classic I really enjoyed. I read this when I was really young. It was my favourite! Me and classic books don't really get along but this one hit the nail.

For some reasons, I kept reading the title as The Scarlet Pimple .

The aristocrats are being rounded up to be executed by the French. Hundreds upon hundreds are beheaded by the guillotine. Nothing can seem to stop the executions but under a clever disguise, a mysterious figure who calls himself 'The Scarlet Pimpernel
I would love to re-read this, but sadly, I think the evil book gnomes might steal some of my stars if I attempted it. I read this when I was a kid, and thereafter saw the movie (the 1982 version with Jane Seymour.) By that time, I'd already learned my snobbish book ways, and thought the movie was atrocious and could never compare to the book. (The book I had read when I was only 9 or so. I wonder how much of it I just didn't get, being a child and all. Ha!)

But... some 18 years later I met and m
Mar 11, 2017 Alexw rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Was an OK and fun read but females come off in here as very weak and slow witted which is amazing as was written by a woman.
Some great escapes from the bad guys which was highlights of the book.
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Full name: Emma ("Emmuska") Magdolna Rozália Mária Jozefa Borbála Orczy de Orczi was a Hungarian-British novelist, best remembered as the author of THE SCARLET PIMPERNEL (1905). Baroness Orczy's sequels to the novel were less successful. She was also an artist, and her works were exhibited at the Royal Academy, London. Her first venture into fiction was with crime stories. Among her most popular c ...more
More about Emmuska Orczy...

Other Books in the Series

The Scarlet Pimpernel (publication order) (1 - 10 of 14 books)
  • I Will Repay
  • The Elusive Pimpernel
  • El Dorado: Further Adventures of the Scarlet Pimpernel
  • Lord Tony's Wife
  • The First Sir Percy: an Adventure of the Laughing Cavalier
  • The Triumph of the Scarlet Pimpernel
  • Pimpernel and Rosemary
  • Sir Percy Hits Back
  • The Adventures Of The Scarlet Pimpernel
  • A Child of the Revolution

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“They seek him here, they seek him there
Those Frenchies seek him everywhere
Is he in heaven or is he in hell?
That demned elusive Pimpernel”
“Had he but turned back then, and looked out once more on to the rose-lit garden, she would have seen that which would have made her own sufferings seem but light and easy to bear--a strong man, overwhelmed with his own passion and despair. Pride had given way at last, obstinacy was gone: the will was powerless. He was but a man madly, blindly, passionately in love and as soon as her light footstep had died away within the house, he knelt down upon the terrace steps, and in the very madness of his love he kissed one by one the places where her small foot had trodden, and the stone balustrade, where her tiny hand had rested last.” 112 likes
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