Action, mystery, love, this is a classic with it all. Set during the French Revolution, The Scarlet Pimpernel is fantastically plotted, with a full-steam-ahead plot that drags its readers from the centre of London society to a dark night on the coast of France. The book barely lets us pause for breath.
Amidst the deceptive and bloodthirsty early days of the French Revolution, a band of valiant Englishmen under the leadership of the famous Scarlet Pimpernel who comes in disguise, manage to rescue the fortunate few aristocrats from the insatiable Madamme Guillotine.
The French, of course, detest this interference in their affairs and set out to trap and kill the Pimpernel at all costs. As part of his effort to deflect suspicion from himself, Sir Percy Blakeney plays the fool in every day life and he does it well. His own wife, beautiful French actress, Marguerite St. Just, known as Lady Blakeney considers him a useless fop... and that's where the story really gets interesting.
No one knows the true identity of The Scarlet Pimpernel, but he enthralls all, including Marguerite. When she is blackmailed by the sneaky French envoy Chauvelin, Marguerite finds that she must make a difficult choice: either incriminate her beloved brother Armand, or provide Chauvelin with information that may lead him to discover the Scarlet Pimpernel’s real identity. She passes along the sensitive information, but then confesses to her husband Sir Percy and pleads for his assistance. In a sudden twist, Percy disappears unexpectedly, and Marguerite realises that she may have endangered the lives of the very people closest to her.
Book in Detail
Characters To Personalise
Comtesse de Tournay - The Comtesse is a French aristocrat rescued by the Scarlet Pimpernel in the opening section of the novel, but her husband is left behind, prompting the dramatic rescue that dominates the novel's main plot. She does not like Marguerite St. Just because she thinks that she caused the demise of the St. Cyr family by denouncing them to the tribunal.
Comte de Tournay - The Comte de Tournay is the Comtesse's husband, rescued from France by the Scarlet Pimpernel.
Sir Andrew Ffoulkes - Sir Andrew is one of the Scarlet Pimpernel's devoted followers. Marguerite goes to him when she first learns that Percy is the Pimpernel and is thus in danger of being arrested by Chauvelin.
Marguerite St. Just / Lady Blakeney - Lady Blakeney, was raised a plebeian actress in France, and after seeing her brother beaten by an aristocrat family, sought revenge that got out of hand and ended in the family's execution. She married Percy because she was enamored with his adoration of her, and because he had a fortune, hoping she would someday love him, too. But she discovers her husband's secret identity and we see her husband's heroism through her eyes.
Percy Blakeney (a.k.a the Scarlet Pimpernel) - Percy Blakeney appears to us first as the maligned husband of Lady Blakeney. He is ignorant, annoying -- yet one of the richest, most fashionable men in England. He is distant from his wife after learning she was involved in an execution in France. Percy is of course secretly the Scarlet Pimpernel who raids the barricades of France to save condemned French aristocrats from the guillotine.
Armand St. Just - The brother of Marguerite who was beaten after writing a love note to the daughter of an aristocrat. Chauvelin uses Armand to blackmail Marguerite in an attempt to get to the Pimpernel. He is later endangered after being discovered as a member of the Scarlet Pimpernel's league.
Chauvelin - Chauvelin, the novel's chief villain, is a French agent who has English diplomacy rights. An adamant revolutionist who seeks to take down the Scarlet Pimpernel. He is old friends with Marguerite and wishes to use her influence to accomplish his ends. His 'hard-hearted, vengeful' nature contrasts with the dashing Pimpernel.