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The Prisoner of Zenda (The Ruritania Trilogy #2)

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3.86  ·  Rating details ·  15,783 Ratings  ·  815 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
Hardcover, 252 pages
Published 1961 by Looking Glass Library (first published 1894)
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Lydia Corey Absolutely! It is by far one of my favorite. It's got a little bit of everything to make it just right.
Nicky C With an outstanding mixture of Adventure, Drama and Romance this novel is worth a read. Adventure and Thrill at its best with an icing of decent…moreWith an outstanding mixture of Adventure, Drama and Romance this novel is worth a read. Adventure and Thrill at its best with an icing of decent romance on it. I loved it.(less)
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Sanjay Gautam
It was not an interesting read, though it seemed to be at first. I started with some expectations but I soon realized I am going to be bored. Yet I kept reading; and did not stop till I finished the novel. Now, my reactions about the book are not all positive. The premise of the book, as seemed to me, was unrealistic but plausible. But it was not this that upset me - it was the shallow characterization done by the author.

The characters were shallow, and uninspiring. Anthony Hope never tried to g
...more
Jan-Maat
Getting myself a library card for the first time in years has enabled me to binge on lightweight adventures it seems. I don't remember seeing one of the several film versions of this, though that's not saying much, absence of evidence is not evidence of absence and all that. Lying in bed last night, reading the last few pages of this book it seemed so clearly related to A Princess of Mars and at least two other books I've munched down recently. That connection this morning, even after coffee, se ...more
K.J. Charles
Rereading this for the 400th time in prep for writing my own version for Riptide's Queered Classics series. This time, I read it from the perspective that the narrator is a lying SOB. It's amazing how well it lends itself to that.

Brilliant book though, with flashes of utter genius in the writing, along with all the expected flaws of Victorian pulp.

Thus he vanished--reckless and wary, graceful and graceless, handsome, debonair, vile, and unconquered.


Purrrrrr.
Sarah Sammis
Nov 05, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: released
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
...more
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
Teal
I'm staying with 4 stars, for old times' sake. This Victorian-era novel delighted me as a child, back before the invention of the "Young Adult" genre, when I read anything I could get my hands on.

It had been years since I last re-read it, so it held some surprises for me this time around. There's a zest and verve to the writing that's perfect for a swashbuckling adventure novel. Our hero, Rudolf Rassendyl, is more of a rogue than I remembered -- sexual adventures are even hinted at. *gasp* Some
...more
Clare Cannon
Apr 29, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
...more
Robert
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
Bev
Apr 16, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition


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
...more
The Rags of Time
Sep 04, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 19th-century, fiction
The Prisoner of Zenda is a classic story taking place in the fictional German state "Ruritania"–a word which has come to be a generic term for "small fictional country in Europe which saved the writer the trouble of too much research", so well-known was Anthony Hope's story once. I should probably state up front that I love fictional places; countries, cities, stately homes, the occasional uninhabited island... You name it. That I would sooner or later have to visit Ruritania was obviously inevi ...more
محمود النوري

أعشق الكلاسيكيات فهي روايات واضحة تدعو للنُبل وتمقُت الشر وتحاربه، تلك الأشياء التي لم تعد واضحة في الأعمال الروائية الجديدة.

تحدث مؤامرة في في مملكة روريتاريا يدُبرها الدوق للملك، ويتصادف وجود "رودلف راسندل" هو يعتبر إبن عم الملك وشبيهه ويقوم بدوره لحين الإنتهاء من المؤامرة.

لا تخلو الرواية من علاقات عاطفية ومن صداقة وفية.
Ahmed
السبب الأساسي لقرائتي لهذة الرواية هو محاولة فهم الكوميكس الكثيرة المنتشرة على الفيس بوك حولها
لأنها تدرس لطلبة الثانوية العامة المصرية :D
Hussam H Aql
.أسهل وصفة لضمان قراءة ممتعة؛ إقرأ في الكلاسيكيات
Alex
Jul 27, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 another time when it played out in the background of a Bojack Horseman episode.

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,
...more
Gerry
Jul 05, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Having been disappointed by a couple of recent reads, I thought I would revisit a book from many years ago, one that I thoroughly enjoyed at that time. And my re-read was not to disappoint for 'The Prisoner of Zenda' is just as fresh and thrilling now as it was then. And one can always reflect back to the 1937 and 1952 film versions when Ronald Colman, Douglas Fairbanks Jr, C Aubrey Smith, Madeleine Carroll and others (1937) and Stewart Granger, James Mason, Deborah Kerr and the rest (1952) swas ...more
El
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
...more
Liberty
Mar 22, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Kimbolimbo
Oct 29, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Mahmut Homsi
Feb 03, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: english-novels
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 ..
Jon(athan) Nakapalau
I liked this book very much...just the right amount of cliff-hangers and action to keep you turning the pages. Sure this book has been copied many times in many different types of film and literature.
Silvia Cachia
A somehow predictable an simpleton book, maybe a good YA title. Nothing espectacular, just a fun light read.
Lacie
Nov 06, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Loved. It.
Allison Tebo
Big shout out to Jessica Prescott to recommending this to me; thanks girl!

At last, a good old-fashioned swashbuckling adventure! I loved the writing style - so rich and yet so easy to read and I really liked the MC - even though he was playing a rather fast playboy, he was intelligent, noble hearted and decisive.

I was actually more involved in this romance then say, anything in TSP series. Instead of spelling out every heartbeat and exchanged look there is more IMPLIED romance, which I find mor
...more
Emily
Feb 25, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
...more
Tisha
Sep 23, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Although it felt like reading an adult, adventurous version of the classic The Prince and the Pauper, I have quite enjoyed it. :)
ci chong
Aug 10, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Chloe
Jan 24, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of The Scarlet Pimpernel.
Adventure, romance, mystery, humor and a generally quirky nature. What’s not to love? The Prisoner of Zenda is one of the most enjoyable books to settle down with and read cover to cover. The main character’s rather laid-back personality and endearing humor guides the reader through an adventure story of political intrigue and swashbuckling fun. It is THE story for those who have finished The Scarlet Pimpernel books and want something else to read.
Schuyler
Oct 10, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4.5 stars. The moral conclusions were epically meaty in the midst of the fun. This book achieves tight plotting, unique characters, and a vivid look at honor. Definitely a book for budding writers to study and emulate. Only flaw was scattered uses of profanity.

May do a longer review eventually.
Qt
May 10, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: action-adventure
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.
Rosemary
May 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
For a Victorian novel, this was an amazingly quick and easy read! Rudolf Rassendyll is the younger son of a British earl. Somewhere in the family history, one of the ladies had a dalliance with a king of Ruritania, leaving a streak of red hair and derring-do which has come out in our Rudolf.

At a loose end, he goes to have a look at Ruritania, where he proves to be the double of the kidnapped king. He takes the king’s place to prevent the king’s dastardly half-brother from grabbing the crown and
...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 (3 books)
  • The Heart of Princess Osra
  • Rupert of Hentzau

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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.” 23 likes
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