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El Dorado

El Dorado by Baroness Emmuska Orczy
By: (1865-1947)

If you've read and loved the exciting classic The Scarlet Pimpernel then you'd probably be delighted to follow the further adventures of the dashing Sir Percy Blakeney. El Dorado by Baronness “Emmuska” Orczy depicts the intrepid swordsman and escape artist in the role of savior of the French royal family.

Published in 1913, El Dorado was the fourth in the Pimpernel series of eleven books, numerous short stories and other related writings about her famous British adventurer. However, Orczy did not always follow a strict chronological sequence while publishing the novels and hence, there is plenty of overlap between the time frames of the stories. El Dorado is famous for its being the basis on which most of the film and stage adaptations of The Scarlet Pimpernel have been based.

The book opens in 1792, when the French Revolution is yet in its infancy. Sir Percy and Marguerite St Just (his estranged wife) are drawn into the politics of the day when her brother Armand persuades Sir Percy to travel to Paris to rescue the young Dauphin who's in mortal danger. Armand, a foolish and indiscreet young man, puts the mission in peril when he inadvertently reveals the identity of the Scarlet Pimpernel and also becomes infatuated with a Parisian actress. The arch villain in all the Pimpernel novels, Citoyen Chauvelin, makes a sinister appearance in El Dorado too. He throws Sir Percy into prison and tries all means to get him to reveal the whereabouts of the young Dauphin. The rest of the novel follows the trials and tribulations of this most debonair hero who lives a double life as a dapper, nitwitted aristocrat who transforms himself into a reckless daredevil when required to.

The Scarlet Pimpernel was originally written as a play which opened to lukewarm reviews when it was first staged in Nottingham in 1903. However, two years later, it hit the London stage with several revisions and became an instant hit. It was rewritten as a novel which was also received with great enthusiasm. For the next thirty-five years, Baroness Orczy continued to chronicle the feats of this lovable, swashbuckling adventurer. She gained international fame and also became extremely wealthy on the sales of the books. Studded with real life figures like the famous revolutionary, Robespierre, the radical journalist, Marat, the Parisian socialite, Theresa Carrabus and many more, Orczy's books are a superb blend of fact and fiction.

Sir Percy Blakeney is notable for being perhaps the first “Secret Identity” hero, who inspired a host of others like Batman, Zorro, Superman and others. El Dorado will indeed make a great addition to your Scarlet Pimpernel collection.

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Reviews (Rated: 5 Stars - 1 review)

Reviewer: - November 26, 2013
Subject: A must listen
An awesome book, superbly read by Karen Savage. The characters come alive. One of the best books I've heard in years. After listening to this book, one MUST watch the movie starring Anthony Andrews. He's an absolutely perfect Scarlet Pimpernel!

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