Paris: September 1792. At the West Barricade, the bloody guillotine continues her ghastly work. And word has gotten round that the mischievous Englishman who delights at ferrying off French aristocrats to England is somewhere among them. For today, the Citoyen Fouquier-Tinville, on his way to the Committee of Public Safety, received another enigmatic calling card. It was signed with a symbol of a red flower - the mark of the Scarlet Pimpernel.
Public Domain (P)2010 B. J. Harrison
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"Sometimes Nostalgia Comes Up Short"
This is one of those classics that define the genre. It is the tale of the Scarlet Pimpernel, an unknown hero, who is whisking doomed French nobles out of France during the Reign of Terror. As a very bookish preteen I read this book a couple of times, always thrilling to the daring Pimpernel, the fiendish villain Chauvelin who is obsessed with capturing and killing him, and the beautiful wife who is torn between the Pimpernel and her hostage brother. As a romantic child who had been brought up watching Errol Flynn movies (still my favorites!) and thrilling to Dumas' Musketeers, I was almost saddened by how dated this book is. This book is dated melodrama now, with not nearly the humor and depth of character which still enliven the works of Dumas. The plot that unfolds is totally predictable and repetitive.
Speaking of repetitive, one of the annoyances of this book is the production of the recording itself. The narrator, B.J. Harrison, is competent although his French accent is a bit hammy. I kept thinking of the inspector from the Pink Panther movies. But there are a lot of glitches where the words or entire lines are repeated. This seemed more of a nuisance than a substantive problem.
Still, after listening to this, I just gave a small, sad smile. Thomas Wolfe said "You can't go home again." This book, one of my treasured childhood reading experiences, was one that didn't fare well for me as a middle-aged man.
"A great version of an old favorite"
This is a great, old-fashioned adventure tale that most would enjoy, and Mr. Harrison does a fantastic job setting the scene and making each character come to life.
"Great book. Solid read."
This is a great book. The narration is pretty well done. For 4 bucks, I'm not complaining!
Really enjoyed this book. Had to drive from Atlanta to Washington DC and listening to this book made the trip actually fun!
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