The historical novel entitled The Scarlet Pimpernel is a classic and truly deserves
this prestigious title. The author of this enthralling 267 page book is Baroness Emma
Orczy and it was published by Dodd, Mead & Company in the year 1964. The scene is
set in the terrorized Paris of revolutionary France in the 1800's. During this time
period nobody was safe from the horrifying grasp of "Madame la Guillotine" which
claimed hundreds of lives every day. But a few brave men headed by a courageous
person known only as the anonymous Scarlet Pimpernel, helped the innocent escape from
their deaths. By use of trickery and deceit, these 20 men helped many endangered
aristocrats escape from France back to the safety of England. There, the lives of the
royalty and honored citizens were protected. Among the most widely acknowledged
person of high society at the time was Lady Marguerite Blakeney who was also known as
being the "cleverest woman in Europe." She had married a man by the name of Sir
Percy Blakeney who had flattered her with his deep love. But they soon grew apart
after Lady Blakeney confessed to her husband how she had accidentally been involved in
sending a noble family to the guillotine. Feeling shocked and disappointed towards his
wife, Sir Percy's adoration of her was not shown anymore. However he continued on
with his life of which a part was left untold to his wife whom he could not trust. He
never let her know of the secretive life he led as the celebrated Scarlet Pimpernel.
Later on, Lady Blakeney was blackmailed into making a deal with a French spy
named Chauvelin. He had promised the return of her beloved brother, Armand, from
death in France if she promised to help in leading him to the elusive man known as the
Scarlet Pimpernel. It was a difficult moral decision, but out of the love for her dear
brother and not knowing that her husband was actually the man she was sacrificing for
him, Marguerite Blakeney helped Chauvelin. After discovering the true identity of the
Scarlet Pimpernel, Marguerite raced to France in hopes of undoing her grave mistake
and saving her husband who she knew was being hunted by Chauvelin. The suspense
mounted as Marguerite felt the time ticking away in which her dear husband and
brother had to live. She secretly followed Chauvelin through the dark streets of France
as he tracked down her husband. Chauvelin's soldiers were guided by a Jewish man to a
hut where the Scarlet Pimpernel was thought to be hiding with Armand. However,
Marguerite Blakeney was soon discovered by the soldiers. She was tied and gagged
along with the Jewish man and the hut was searched for Armand and the other men, but
they had escaped. However, Chauvelin had found a small note in the corner of the hut
which seemed to have been forgotten by them. It was written by the Scarlet Pimpernel
and had directions to the place where he was next headed. Leaving the weak
Marguerite Blakeney and the Jewish man alone, Chauvelin and his soldiers marched off
to the place described in the note. Little did they know that the Scarlet Pimpernel had
been with them the entire time, as the disguised Jewish man. Reunited at last, Lady
Blakeney and her daring husband rekindled their love as they saw how their lives had
almost been sacrificed for each other. They traveled back to the safety of England
where they met Armand and the innocent ones who had escaped with him. As for
Chauvelin, his fate was not made very clear in the novel but it can be guessed that an
appointment was arranged for him to meet "Madame la Guillotine."

This novel seemed to be well written being filled with suspense, mystery, wit,
romance, and a "twist" at the end. The use of a few illustrations throughout the novel
assisted in visually portraying the story. They gave flare to the vivid descriptions of
Lady Marguerite Blakeney, the "cleverest woman in Europe," and depicted her husband's
valor. The sentence stating, "her beauty was at its most dazzling stage. . .the sweet
childlike mouth, the straight chiselled nose, round chin, and delicate throat, all seemed
set off by picturesque costume of the period," is brought to life by these illustrations.
The language in which this was written is also interesting. The book was obviously
written in the 18th century which is demonstrated by the sort of English used. The
characters seem to be very conservative, all the customs and polite