Baroness Orczy

The Scarlet Pimpernel
  • The Scarlet Pimpernel

  • 'Every step the Scarlet Pimpernel takes on French soil is fraught with danger'

    The French Terror is raging, and few are safe from the threat of the guillotine. Sir Percy Blakeney, a foppish Englishman, decides to rescue imprisoned aristocrats before they can be executed. Showing great daring and aided by a band of brave comrades, he disguises himself as the formidable Scarlet Pimpernel. But will his beautiful French wife Marguerite unwittingly prove his downfall? Baroness Orczy's swashbuckling 1905 novel set the standard for all future tales of masked avengers and was later adapted into a famous stage play and several film versions.

    The Penguin English Library - collectable general readers' editions of the best fiction in English, from the eighteenth century to the end of the Second World War.

Emma Orczy was born into an aristocratic Hungarian family in 1865. After their estate was nearly destroyed by fire following a dispute with the local peasantry, the family left Hungary and lived in Brussels and Paris before settling in London, where Orczy studied art. Short of money, she turned to writing and in 1903 enjoyed wild success with the stage version of The Scarlet Pimpernel, which was a smash hit on the West End. Orczy's novelisation was likewise successful and spawned many sequels, allowing her to live out her later years in style in England and Monte Carlo. She died in 1947.

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