Many years ago I saw, and loved, the tv-series with Anthony Andrews as the Scarlet Pimpernel and Jane Seymour as Marguerite St. Just. It was with great anticipation that I finally read the book. I had heard good words about it, but one never knows. I realised when I started the book (there was no information about the original titel) that it was not the first book. After some research, I found that the original title is The Elusive Pimpernel, the second book in the series (originally from 1908).
It was a great read. I was surprised by the easy going writing, the characterisation, the descriptions of the aristocratic surrounding, and the political situation in France. We come straight into the action and the scheme planned by Chauvelin to capture the Scarlet Pimpernel. Chauvelin travels to England to try to lure the Scarlet Pimpernel into France. The plot is initiated through his wife Marguerite and she soon finds herself in a situation where she has been fooled into luring her husband to travel to France.
As he is heading for France, well aware of the dangers, she decides to travel there herself to try to help him. This leads her into an even bigger trap and she sees no way out for herself, or for him. As the plot thickens, as a reader, you really don't understand how they will get out of this troubles. It is very exciting as the grip on both of them tightens, and there is a matter of their lives or the lives of the citizens of Boulogne.
It is a great story and so exciting that it is difficult to put the book down. Baroness Orczy is slowly building up the story, and then it speeds up as we are nearing the end. I don't think I am spoiling anything if I say they manage to get out of their troubles, but it is quite a surprise how the author, in just a few pages, let us face the ending. And what an ending. Although more than 100 years old it still feels fresh to read, and is a traditional adventure story that we seldom see today.