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The Prisoner of Zenda

The Prisoner of Zenda by Anthony Hope
By: (1863-1933)

There's a handsome young man about town in London, whose unusual good looks hint about a scandalous ancestry. On a visit to a tiny East European principality, he decides to take a walk through a dense forest. He falls asleep under a tree and is discovered by the king and his entourage who are out hunting. Both are stunned by their startling resemblance to each other. The king who is days away from his grand coronation invites the Englishman back to his castle and here the visitor becomes embroiled in a sinister plot to overthrow the monarch and usurp the throne.

The Prisoner of Zenda – Being the History of Three Months in the Life of an English Gentleman (to give the book its original and complete title) by Anthony Hope, is probably one of the best known and most filmed adventure classics of all time. It has been adapted for stage, set to music, transformed into an opera, and performed on radio and television. Written at a time when innumerable little kingdoms dotted the map of pre-World War Europe, the novel wonderfully captures the romance, intrigues and excitement that such remote places symbolized in the popular imagination. As a story that combines mystery and adventure, The Prisoner of Zenda is unmatched. It gave rise to a new genre of literature known as Ruritanian Romance! The mythical country of Ruritania portrayed in The Prisoner of Zenda became a symbol for a kind of novel that combined swashbuckling adventurers, damsels in distress, palace intrigues, royalty, honor, loyalty and love. As European kingdoms dissolved and disappeared, so did the public interest in their royal families and castles, but books like The Prisoner of Zenda bring that era back to life.

Anthony Hope, or Sir Anthony Hope Hawkins, to give his real name, was an extremely prolific British novelist and playwright. However, he is almost always associated only with his most famous book, The Prisoner of Zenda, published in 1893. He did write one sequel entitled Rupert of Hentzau in 1894. The amazing success of the books allowed him to retire and devote himself to writing full time. Readers thoroughly enjoyed the fast-paced style of writing, the witty and irreverent young hero and the touch of tragedy at the end of both books. Hope went on to write several books of historical fiction, set in various European kingdoms, both big and small.

The Prisoner of Zenda is an entertaining and engaging read that is sure to appeal to readers of all ages.

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Reviews (Rated: 5 Stars - 5 reviews)

Reviewer: - April 26, 2018
Very good book; sort of a "dramedy". Lots of drama with a bit of humor. Excellent narrator, also.
Reviewer: - March 9, 2016
Subject: The Prisoner of Zenda
Best reader I've listen to, wonderfully read.
Reviewer: - December 3, 2015
Subject: The Prisoner of Zenda
A very good story excellently narrated by Andy Minter.
Reviewer: - July 11, 2014
Subject: Prisoner of Zenda
I loved Andy Minter's reading so much that I looked to see what else he'd done and therefor found this wonderful adventure of bravery and choosing the right thing, even when it's hard.
Reviewer: - March 18, 2013
I have always loved this book. Andy Minter does a wonderful job reading.

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