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The Prisoner of Zenda (Penguin Classics) [Paperback]

Anthony Hope
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
RRP: 7.99
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Book Description

7 Jun 2007 Penguin Classics
Rudolph Rassendyll's life is interrupted by his unexpected and personal involvement in the affairs of Ruritania whilst travelling through the town of Zenda. He is shortly on the way to Streslau, the capital, where he finds himself engaged in plans to rescue the imprisoned king.

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The Prisoner of Zenda (Penguin Classics) + The Complete Richard Hannay Stories: The Thirty-Nine Steps, Greenmantle, Mr Standfast, The Three Hostages, The Island of Sheep (Wordsworth Classics)
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Product details

  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Classics (7 Jun 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 014103128X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0141031286
  • Product Dimensions: 11.4 x 18.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 508,303 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


"I "highly recommend" Campfire's comics. They do what they are intended to do and do it in a way that excites kids about classic literature."

-- Chris Wilson, The Graphic Classroom (a resource for teachers and librarians)

About the Author

Anthony Hope (1863–1933), British novelist mostly recognised for his adventure romance The Prisoner of Zenda (1894).

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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First Sentence
'I wonder when in the world you're going to do anything, Rudolf?' said my brother's wife. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stirring stuff 23 Mar 2009
By Secret Spi TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Some books are brilliant through the sheer beauty of the writing, others through the characterisation or the quality of thought on the subject matter. But there are some books that, quite simply, capture your imagination and hold it prisoner in another world.

"The Prisoner of Zenda" does just that. In 200 pages, one is transported with the hero into a world of adventure, intrigue and romance, amongst deep forests, in dark dungeons and splendid palaces. This world is peopled with brave heroes, dastardly villains and noble ladies. And who cares that some of the turns of the plot may seem far-fetched? This is pure escapism at its best.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Thrilling chases, daring escapes, dashing heroes (and villains), kidnapped Kings, beautiful Princesses, dastardly evil plots, derring-do, swordfights, amazing coincidences, stalwart friendship and honour saving the day. This classic tale of adventure has it all.

This was one of the first `proper books' I read as a child, and it got me hooked on reading. Unfortunately, no other adventure story I ever read quite matched the heights of this true original!

It tells the story of Rudolph Rassendyll, holidaying in the central European Kingdom of Ruritania. By chance it turns out Rassendyll is the exact double of the King. When the King is kidnapped by his evil brother Michael, it is up to Rassenyll to save the Kingdom by first impersonating the King so that no-one realises anything is wrong, then launching a daring night assault on Michael's castle to rescue the real King.

As well as a strong plot, the book is brought to life with great characters - the stout and implacable Colonel Sapt, the loyal young Fritz, the weak playboy King, the evil Black Michael and, of course, the devilishly dashing Rupert of Hentzau. Each is given a distinctive voice and really lives when one reads the book. Added to this, Hope had a great eye for action, describing fights scenes in such a manner as to leave you feeling quite breathless by the end of it. He also had an eye for the human story, with the motives of many of the characters examined, making their actions seem more believable and not just merely convenient plot devices.

This is a truly classic story, one that bears reading and re-reading. Definitely one to get reluctant young readers interested in books, and a great pece of escapism for the older reader. Highly recommended. Also check out the sequel `Rupert of Hentzau', in which the story is satisfactorily continued and concluded.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Swash Buckling Fun 14 May 2008
When reading I found myself surprised at how quickly and well the story unfolded, told as a narrative by Rudolf Rassendyll, the principal character, it skipped along quickly and drew me in without much effort, so much so that I read it at one sitting.

I greatly enjoyed his adventures in Ruritania, the humour, the deviousness and towards the latter part of the book the pathos. The characters were well drawn and although it was first published in 1894 it appeared to me that the style seemed timeless.

The plot is well known, an Englishman meets the crown prince of Ruritania and due to a romantic encounter, many years before, by a member of the Rassendylls and a member of the Elphbergs, it means that the two men are distant cousins, but more fortuitously it turns out, they also look so alike as to be mistaken one for the other, and so the story unfolds.

If you want adventure this is a good book to read, swashbuckling, chivalry, bravery and honour with romance and a choice of villainous enemies. Most enjoyable.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Perfect escape to a swashbuckling age 20 Dec 2008
You will not find a richer concentration of sword fighting, dramatic love, plots counter plots and downright intrigue than in `The Prisoner of Zenda'. It is a book where men ride with revolvers loaded and swords drawn eager to fight, whether it be for love or the King.

Set in the fictional European Kingdom of Ruritania the novel begins with the journey of Rudolph Rassendyll, `an English gentleman, a cadet of a good house, but a man of no wealth or position, nor of much rank' to see the crowning of the new King. Owing to a past family scandal Rudolph and the King are distant cousins and share a striking resemblance. With both wine and treachery to blame Rudolph ends up taking the King's place on the morning of the coronation and the actual heir is taken prisoner by his brother, the villainous Duke `Black Michael'. Rudolph is forced to continue this pretence, determined as he is to free the rightful King, for duty and honour but also driven as he is by his deepening love for the beautiful Princess Flavia.

First published in 1894 `The Prisoner of Zenda' maintains the codes of a different time. Unsullied by the violent misery of the early 20th Century, Hope's characters still fight for their honour and duty and lust after heroic deeds. The Prisoner of Zenda is a blissful peep round the corner of the century and beyond to a land of sword fighting gentleman on horseback, ladies in distress, treasonous plots and prisoners in cells deep within castles surrounded by great moats. The subject matter is distant but the prose is as familiar as if it were written today and the plot as pacy as an expensive mini-series. Indeed much of the charm of the novel comes from the luxuriant and honourable description of swordfights and the desperate and passionate scenes of love.

`The Prisoner of Zenda' is a short swashbuckling rush to another age. A perfect escape from the modern day.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars A rollicking romance
If you like a great yarn about a handsome decent hero -and I don't mean priggish, this is the book for you. Read more
Published 11 months ago by Kindle Customer
4.0 out of 5 stars What a great story
I remembered watching the movie years ago at the local cinema and saw the book on Amazon so thought I would give it a go. Its a great story. Thoroughly enjoyed it. Read more
Published 15 months ago by Chris I
4.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining adventure story
If you're a fan of the Flashman novels, you'll enjoy The Prisoner of Zenda. Its hero, English gentleman Rudolf Rassendyll, can't match Harry Flashman for snivelling cowardice. Read more
Published 22 months ago by Simon Bendle
4.0 out of 5 stars An unexpectedly frothy Victorian adventure
Rudolph Rassendyll is an upper class English idler with a distinctive nose and red hair which suggest that rumours of a family connection to the royal family of Ruritania might... Read more
Published on 11 Feb 2011 by Katie Stevens
4.0 out of 5 stars A light read that is page turningly enjoyable
An action adventure story worthy of Dumas, with believable characters, careful plot development, fast unfolding events and poignant love interest. Read more
Published on 28 July 2010 by Brownbear101
5.0 out of 5 stars 'Prisoner of Zenda' held me captive!
This is a wonderful, classic tale, well known in film and now in audiobook form. The story is unabridged and the masterful reading by Andrew Pugsley holds the listener enthralled... Read more
Published on 29 Jun 2010
5.0 out of 5 stars The Prisoner of Zenda, Anthony Hope - THE classic adventure story
Thrilling chases, daring escapes, dashing heroes (and villains), kidnapped Kings, beautiful Princesses, dastardly evil plots, derring-do, swordfights, amazing coincidences,... Read more
Published on 31 May 2010 by Victor
5.0 out of 5 stars A Really Swish Swash Buckler!
First published in 1894, and not out-of-print since, 'The Prisoner of Zenda' remains one of the slickest, sharpest and most entertaining of novels loosely bracketed as... Read more
Published on 11 May 2010 by Barty Literati
5.0 out of 5 stars A Really Swish Swash Buckler!

First published in 1894, and not out-of-print since, 'The Prisoner of Zenda' remains one of the slickest, sharpest... Read more
Published on 10 May 2010 by Barty Literati
4.0 out of 5 stars Action, adventure and romance
Due to a royal indiscretion in a former generation Rudolf Rassendyll, second son of an English aristocratic family, looks exactly like the King of Ruritania. Read more
Published on 18 Mar 2010 by Roman Clodia
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