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The Prisoner of Zenda - Illustrated by Mireille Fauchon. Four Corners Familiars 7 (Four Corner Familiars) Hardcover – 12 Nov 2011
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Anthony Hope created the mould for the ripping adventure yarns of the early 20th century. Andrew Pugsley gives a spirited reading of the hugely popular Prisoner of Zenda, in which Rassendyll stands in for his kidnapped cousin, the rightful King of Ruritania, falls in love with Queen Flavia, defeats the dastardly Rupert of Hentzau, frees the king and nobly abjures his love. --Christina Hardyment, The Times --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From the Back Cover
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 Strelsau, attempts to seize power by imprisoning Elphberg in the Castle of Zenda, Rassendyll is obliged to impersonate the King to uphold the rightful sovereignty and ensure political stability. Rassendyll endures a trial of strength in his encounters with the notorious Rupert of Hentzau, and a test of a different sort as he grows to love the Princess Flavia. Five times filmed, The Prisoner of Zenda has been deservedly popular as a classic of romance and adventure since its publication in 1894. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
"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.
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.
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.
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Thoroughly enjoyable. A little dated but nonetheless a great read.Published 21 months ago by starchar1
The Prisoner of Zenda is ... well ... as far as fiction goes ... "the best book ever"? I loved every page when I read it as a kid ... Read morePublished 24 months ago by Moises Enrique Rodriguez
If you like a great yarn about a handsome decent hero -and I don't mean priggish, this is the book for you. Read morePublished on 21 May 2013 by Kindle Customer
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 morePublished on 24 Jan. 2013 by Chris I