“They seek him here, they seek him there, those Frenchies seek him every where. Is he is heaven? Or is he in hell? That demmed (said w/ an English accent) elusive Pimpernel!” During the French Revolution, when the French aristocracy were literally losing their heads to the peasants, there was one brave Englishman who risked his life to save as many innocent people as he could from the cruel guillotine. He was called The Scarlet Pimpernel, after the little red flower he left in his mysterious wake. Was the Pimpernel a real person? Not exactly, but he was based on real people who did try to help French aristocrats escape during the Revolution. The Baroness Orczy wrote a rich fictionalization of this imaginary hero, whose exploits include breath-taking rescues, swash buckling sword fights, and dizzying romance. Oh! Has historical fiction ever been this much fun? Even though this story has gone through many incarnations (several movie versions, a Broadway play) the original novel is still tops.
The Scarlet Pimpernel by Baroness Orczy