One of the sequels to the Scarlet Pimpernel.
Publication year: 1908
Publication year of the Finnish translation: 1948
Format: Audio
Publisher of the audio translation: Otava
Narrator: Vesa Mäkelä
Translator: Armida Enckell
Running Time: 6 hrs, 30 minutes, 5 double sided cassettes

According to Wikipedia, this is the third book in the series but the second one I’ve read, so I added it to the 2nds challenge.

The book starts with a description of France; how the ordinary people have become bloodthirsty after the Revolution. The masses want more and more victims to the guillotine, and the leaders behave in very cruel ways towards their own people. Meanwhile, citizen Chauvelin wants to get his revenge on the Scarlet Pimpernel. Robespierre himself sends Chauvelin to England as France’s official representative and with a lot of money and power. Former actress Désirée Candielle is in England and the men decide to enlist her to help them.

Meanwhile, Sir Percy Blackely and his young and beautiful French wife Marguerite are happier than in the first book. However, now that Marguerite knows that Percy is the Scarlet Pimpernel she is very anxious about his exploits. She even asks him to stop working against the French but Percy doesn’t want to do that.

Désirée is working in a puppet show tent in Richmond Green and Marguerite meets her there when Désirée’s supposedly collecting money for Paris’ poor. Marguerite is at first a little suspicious but Désirée manages to alleviate her fears and so Marguerite invites her to a party so that the Frenchwoman can sing in front of the Prince of Wales. However, almost immediately Désirée asks that she can bring a protector with her and Marguerite agrees to that. Unfortunately, the protector is none other than the devious Chauvelin. In the party, Chauvelin and Désirée manage to engineer a situation where Percy challenges the Frenchman into a duel. The duel is set to happen in France. Once again, Marguerite feels that she must do everything she can, to help her husband.

The writing is very similar to the first book. The French are described as cruel and bloodthirsty, except for the nobles who are haplessly fleeing for their lives. Their leaders are even ready to sacrifice their own people to get just one or two traitors. Often enough, just by looking at other people Marguerite can instinctively know if she should trust them or not, and her instincts are always right. Nobles are always described as behaving in a noble manner and having even noble bone structure which sets them apart from ordinary mortals.

The book has quick plot twists and lots of excitement. Marguerite is the main point-of-view character but there are lots of others, too, and the POV change can be startling. There isn’t a lot of violence; the story centers on dastardly plots and counter-plots. There are a lot of sneaking around and disguises worn by various characters.

There are some historical cultural differences which might amuse the modern reader. For example, some characters say that it’s not proper for a man and his wife to love each other, and expect that behavior to stop with time.

It’s an entertaining and fast read.

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