- Also check our best rated Romance Book reviews
The Prisoner of Zenda (Oxford World's Classics) Paperback – 25 Jan 2001
|New from||Used from|
Customers who viewed this item also viewed
What other items do customers buy after viewing this item?
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Top customer reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
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.
"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.
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.
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.
Would you like to see more reviews about this item?
Most recent customer reviews