The Elusive Pimpernel by Emmuska Orczy

This Pimpernel adventure was a fun read and well worth reading. Orczy’s writing style is fluid and easy to read and follow and her characters are vivid and interesting. The plot of this book was very intriguing. The Pimpernel is pitted against his enemy from the first novel, the French agent Chauvelin. Chauvelin has been given one final chance from Robespierre to catch the Pimpernell with the ultimatum that the world will either be rid of the Pimpernel or Chauvelin by the end of the adventure.

The plot that Chauvelin comes up with to capture the Pimpernel is fairly diabolical and truly seems foolproof. It stands as evidence of Orczy’s creative ingenuity and the fullness of her characters, especially as each intricate detail plays out. It exposes Chauvelin’s arrogance and his prideful desire for personal and lasting vengeance. I was very satisfied with the machinations of the plot until I realized that the remaining pages were growing few and I began to anticipate a potentially dissatisfying ending.

Upon finally reaching the climactic wrap up to the adventure, I admit to being somewhat disappointed in the way things played out. Though honestly, I expected an even worse ending based on how tightly she had tied the net around our hero. I saw little hope for an exciting and viable escape (and I doubt it’s any spoiler to anyone that the hero had to escape). The solution provided wasn’t entirely satisfactory in my mind, but it worked out well enough, especially considering the era in which the events took place.

I think I enjoyed this book better than the first Pimpernel story, but they were both a lot of fun. I hope to be able to track down more of them to read. They’re a great bit of fun for any fan of historical adventure combined with a touch of humor.

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