Mrsgaskell's Reviews > The Prisoner Of Zenda
The Prisoner Of Zenda (Penguin Red Classics)
by Anthony Hope
by Anthony Hope
** spoiler alert ** Rudolf Rassendyll is the younger brother of Lord Burlesdon. He’s twenty-nine years old and the novel opens with his sister-in-law berating him for his idleness and lack of ambition. Rudolf is proud of his red hair and straight nose, traits of the Elphbergs, the royal family of Ruritania. Due to a scandal several generations ago involving an ancestress of the Rassendyll’s, these traits show up occasionally in their family. Rassendyll’s father was fascinated enough with this story to give his second son a name popular among their distant royal cousins. King Rudolf V is soon to be crowned and Rudolf decides it would be a good time to acquaint himself with Ruritania. He tells his family he will be visiting the Tyrol. He arrives in Ruritania and happens to meet the King and a few of his men in the forest near Zenda the evening before the coronation. The resemblance is striking. They spend the evening dining and drinking together. The King drinks too much and a gift of wine from his younger half-brother Duke Michael is drugged. The next morning the King cannot be roused and Rudolf is pursuaded to impersonate him for the coronation. The King is not popular among the common people and if this story were known, support for Duke Michael who is plotting to overtake the throne would increase. Numerous complications follow as Rassendyl continues the impersonation when it is discovered that the King has been taken to the Castle of Zenda as a prisoner.Neither party can betray the other without betraying themselves. Rassendyll falls in love with Princess Flavia who is to be betrothed to the King of Ruritania who suddenly finds the King more to her liking. Will the rightful King be restored to his throne, and what will happen to the lovers? This was a rattling good adventure and fun reading.
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