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Extended Audio Sample The Prisoner of Zenda Audiobook, by Anthony Hope Click for printable size audiobook cover
3.96 out of 53.96 out of 53.96 out of 53.96 out of 53.96 out of 5 3.96 (97 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Anthony Hope Narrator: Bernard Mayes Publisher: Blackstone Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Related: The Ruritania Trilogy Release Date: April 2011 ISBN: 9781455172818
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This swashbuckling romance transports a droll young English gentleman from his comfortable life in London to a fast-moving adventure in a mythical country steeped in political intrigue. Rudolf Rassendyll, pondering his life’s purpose, sets out on a journey to the tiny European kingdom of Ruritania, where he discovers that he bears a marked physical resemblance to the king. Perils and adventures ensue when he decides to impersonate the king in order to defeat a plot to dethrone him, and falls deeply in love with the king’s betrothed, Princess Flavia.

With its witty hero and shrewd villains, The Prisoner of Zenda became an instant classic when it appeared in 1894 and has been made into a film five times since.

Download and start listening now!

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Quotes & Awards

  • “The tale speeds like an arrow, never deviating from its appointed course. There are no loopholes, only a rising tide of intrigue and excitement that never abates.”

    Nathan R. Teitel, New York University

  • “This is one of those rattling good yarns whose heart is so solidly in the right place that one is prepared to forgive some shoddy writing at the margins.”

    Telegraph (London)

  • “This fast-moving, well-placed romance reaffirmed the pride of English men in what they thought they had :a sense of justice, profound honour and adroitness, all worn lightly.”

    Sunday Times (London)

  • “The story is full of swordplay (and a little gunplay), barely repressed passion, political maneuvering, and severely tested personal honor.”

    AudioFile

Listener Opinions

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 ahmed hashem | 2/18/2014

    " that book told me that the creativity of thinking started since old time "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kerrie Woods | 2/18/2014

    " Good book. Got part-way through and never finished it, which is lame. I need to get on the case... "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Cindy | 2/12/2014

    " I hadn't heard of this book until recently when I came across it by chance. It isn't very long, but the story is very entertaining. I read this on my Kindle, and I loved it so much that I decided I needed a copy for my library. This would be great for boys or girls middle school aged and up. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Eunice | 2/12/2014

    " We have succumbed and bought a kindle so I took the opportunity to indulge in some free escapism. I last read this book when a teenager and remember being entranced by the dashing hero. He is no less dashing but the whole thing has dated a bit. It is a bit harder to accept the deficiencies of the plot which include managing to persuade everyone that you are someone else for three months -not just someone else but a king of a different nationality. However it still makes a good read if you don't think about it too hard. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Paul Servini | 2/12/2014

    " Wonderful adventure story with a dash of romance thrown in. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Eileen | 2/11/2014

    " I loved this book! It is smart, funny, romantic and swashbuckling all at once. I was either surprised, delighted or brought to tears by every chapter. It deserves to be more well known than it is. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kat | 2/11/2014

    " An old-fashioned adventure tale, with all that implies. Fun and enjoyable, even if the main characters' actions often made no sense, and were clearly happening just to keep the plot jogging along. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Susette | 2/11/2014

    " it was very good! a quick and easy read and while the women in the book often made me angry because they were so....weak and stupid really (i really had to keep in mind it was written by a man and the time in which it was written)....it really was a very good book overall. very entertaining :D "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Julia | 2/8/2014

    " What every classic adventure should be. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 The other John | 2/4/2014

    " How did I miss this story for so long? This is the kind of heroic fiction I've enjoyed for years--the strong and resourceful hero fighting for right with honor and dignity. Yet until now, I've never bothered to read this book or even watch the films made from it. Oh, well. Now I know better and can put it on my shelf. Anyway, the story is thus: Rudolf Rassendyll ventures to the small country of Ruritania on a lark, to see the coronation of the new king. He is aware that he is a distant, if illegitimate, cousin of the crown prince but he is surprised to discover that he is a dead ringer for him. This happens in a chance encounter with the prince, also named Rudolf. Fortunately, this also puts Mr. Rassendyll at the right place when the prince's brother, Michael, springs his trap to remove Prince Rudolf from the scene. Rassendyll impersonates the prince to thwart Michael's scheme, but then Michael alters his plan and forces Rassendyll to carry on his impersonation longer than expected. Both sides endeavor to gain the upper hand without revealing their own machinations to the people of Ruritania. An engaging tale with wonderful characters. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Natalie | 2/3/2014

    " I just re-read this book for Book Club. Wow how fun! I really enjoy this kind of adventure book. The hero is unrealistically amazing, but I think that adds to the fun. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 PP | 1/31/2014

    " LOVED this book! Despite not really appreciating old english, I zipped through this one because of the riveting, action packed story and Anthony Hope's adequately-descriptive-yet-not-tiresome narrative style. The story is simple and predictable but for once, I didn't see this as a shortcoming in a book. It actually added to the charm, replete with themes of royalty, intrigue in the king's court, deception, honour, forbidden love, look-alikes and valour. Think I will now watch the movie... it has got to be a masala pot boiler! :) "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Carson | 1/30/2014

    " I remembered hearing my mom talk about this book all growing up and only now did I decide to pick it up. It was different than I expected, but it was super interesting and engaging! There is adventure and intrigue and you come to really appreciate and respect the main character and hope for the best. I highly recommend this book, it isn't super long so should be a quick read. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Kerry Johanson | 1/30/2014

    " The integrity of the main characters is inspiring. I think it would be great for teenagers to read. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Rimsha Salam | 1/23/2014

    " For books like these, all I can say is "Perfection". "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kerrie Woods | 1/17/2014

    " Good book. Got part-way through and never finished it, which is lame. I need to get on the case... "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Shirin bagchi | 1/17/2014

    " classic story. Sharadindu adapted this in his "jhinder bandi". "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Deborah | 1/16/2014

    " This was our bookclub book this month, and I was grateful for something different. Fast read, I just wish the characters had a little more development. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jane | 1/16/2014

    " Many old books need to be read in the context of the year written. An average tail in today's sense but probably a good story telling 100 years ago. Truly an adventure and a love story. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Joanne | 1/13/2014

    " This was a best seller when it was first published in 1894....guess escapism didn't start in the 20th century. Great read, no brain cells required. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Dan | 1/11/2014

    " A very fun swashbuckling tale of a man mistaken for a King and then forced to play the part to rescue the real King. Told from the first person and with just the right amount of swagger and braggadocio, so as to make you wonder if it really did happen or if the narrator is pulling your leg. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Leon Braun | 12/28/2013

    " Pretty much my favourite adventure book of all time. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Kerry Johanson | 12/13/2013

    " The integrity of the main characters is inspiring. I think it would be great for teenagers to read. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Prajna | 12/13/2013

    " I just loved this book! I stayed up late, til my eyes were burning, to finish it. Action, humor, love - this book has it all! I was able to download it on my Kindle, so now I can read it anytime I want. Definitely one I will read again and again. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Julia | 12/12/2013

    " What every classic adventure should be. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Korri | 12/11/2013

    " This was a surprisingly delightful swashbuckling adventure that I read through in one sitting. Charming. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Sue | 12/9/2013

    " A fun old classic I finally read. Enjoyed it for what it was. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Hannah | 12/8/2013

    " I loved this book, it had you guessing to the very end, Rudolf was a very honorable man and I loved how it ended, though rather sad, but I admire it. The book is well written and very exciting. I would recommend it to anyone who loves old tales of galantry and courage. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Roger | 12/7/2013

    " A cousin who might become king? Though stiffly written, "said I," it is still a great romantic adventure. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Sandra | 12/7/2013

    " I read this because my dad said it was his favorite book. An excellent adventure! Noble heroes, vile villains, a beautiful maiden, and lots of swashbuckling. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Athena | 11/27/2013

    " One of my very favorite books. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Nicole | 11/20/2013

    " I love this book! Some of the descriptive paragraphs lost me because of the language used. The characters are endearing and it is a fun read! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Tocotin | 10/18/2013

    " Nice, well-written, light adventure stuff. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Micha | 10/1/2013

    " Swashing and buckling, bought half for the shiny cover, but oh so genuinely entertaining. Simply indulgent, but there's nothing bad in that. Every page keeps you reading with more focus and speed because you know what will happen next yet don't want it spoiled. I love a red-headed hero. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Tehreem Hassan | 9/27/2013

    " I liked it..love,conspiracy,adventure,valour,sacrifice,royalty..all in one..:) "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Ellie | 9/26/2013

    " Haven't read anything like this for a long time. Light weight but refreshing. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Kailey | 6/25/2013

    " Loved this book! Such a classic adventure story and so devastatingly marvelous! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Mehraneh | 6/19/2013

    " it was an interesting book and was filled with suspense. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Salma | 4/27/2013

    " it's a great book the kind of books that makes you want to read again and again and again i loves it because the story is beautiful and simple and interested in the same time i hoppe you reed it and love it like i did "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Leon Braun | 4/4/2013

    " Pretty much my favourite adventure book of all time. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Prajna | 2/6/2013

    " I just loved this book! I stayed up late, til my eyes were burning, to finish it. Action, humor, love - this book has it all! I was able to download it on my Kindle, so now I can read it anytime I want. Definitely one I will read again and again. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Ethan | 1/22/2013

    " If there's on genre I keep loving no matter how many I read or how old I get, it's adventure books. This is one of the first, and if you can't come away from this liking the improbably named Rudolf Rassendyll well, then, I feel sorry for you. Rassendyll forever! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Mike Jensen | 12/31/2012

    " Every once in a while I give in to one of these THREE MUSKETEERS type adventure stories that pretends to be literature. They always disappoint. An entertaining book, not at all bad, but I wanted it to be more. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Dave Leach | 11/16/2012

    " The ending fell a little flat, but overall it was an enjoyable read. As many times as this story has been told over the years, I liked reading one of the originals. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Dalia | 9/13/2012

    " i liked the easy-going language.though i wondered Rodelf was a such a nobel man who sacrificed for the sake of the king! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Elizabeth | 8/14/2012

    " I loved this book! The old movie rendition is pretty good. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Kailey | 7/30/2012

    " Loved this book! Such a classic adventure story and so devastatingly marvelous! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Capsguy | 6/12/2012

    " Maybe too low-brow for me, but a fun read nonetheless. Unbelievable plot and characters, but you take it for what it is. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Robert Kaufman | 4/17/2012

    " Loved the book, loved both the new and the old films. A real swashbuckler. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Noor | 4/14/2012

    " Nice story... also for teens... "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jason | 4/1/2012

    " This book will swash your buckle so hard you won't know what hit you. It's a brilliantly told tale that never stops moving, keeping you in anticipation of the next move and in sympathy with its very likeable main character. I have read better books, but never one more enjoyable. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Frances Wood | 3/10/2012

    " Swashbuckling heroes before the era of cellphones. What's not to love? "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Manny | 3/2/2012

    " Not as good as the Flashman version, but essential background none the less. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Lamees | 1/8/2012

    " I have no idea why i hate this book so much.I thought it was very predictable and boring and...well maybe you should read it and decide for yourself "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Tom | 1/8/2012

    " Very enjoyable swashbuckling adventure. Plenty of action, subterfuge and skullduggery. Well worth a read. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Tieria's | 12/31/2011

    " I picked it up because I felt it was an adventure classic that I thought I should read. Not what I expected and I thoroughly enjoyed being surprised by it. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Deb | 12/25/2011

    " -sniffle- That was so beautiful! And sad. And wonderful. Really, I have no words other than "Read this book!" "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Susan Jo Grassi | 12/18/2011

    " I'm normally not at all interested in a romantic novel but this was so action packed that I loved it from start to finish. I had read it before, as a school assignment, but found that this time, since I read it for pleasure, it was so much more enjoyable. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Everett Darling | 12/13/2011

    " This swashbuckler was delightfully fun and well-written. I am curious to see what becomes of the diabolically suave Rupert Hentzau in Hope's sequels to The Prisoner of Zenda, and his ill-fated love affair with Princess Flavia. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Nourhan Hafez | 12/8/2011

    " I RECOMMEND THIS BOOK , BECAUSE IT SHOWS HOW THE ELABORATION & FREEDOM OF MIND CAN PASS ANY PHYSICAL BARRIER LIKE A PRISON "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Regina | 10/27/2011

    " What? How is this book rated so lowly? This was AMAZING. Granted, my 5-star rating is freely given, but I've read this book several times, and I will again. Adventure, love, intrigue, loyalty, sword-fighting, sneaking around... not sure why you wouldn't love this book. First read in 7th grade. :) "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Mike (the Paladin) | 9/7/2011

    " Actually a very good book. I ran across it after seeing the old movie and enjoyed the somewhat contrived plot immensely. Haven't found the sequel yet. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Prajna | 7/23/2011

    " I just loved this book! I stayed up late, til my eyes were burning, to finish it. Action, humor, love - this book has it all! I was able to download it on my Kindle, so now I can read it anytime I want. Definitely one I will read again and again. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Anna | 7/19/2011

    " Such a fun adventure! I read this forever ago, and had seen the movie around the same time... but it was a blast rediscovering the cunning and charisma of Rudolf Rassendyll. Highly recommend! "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Sheila | 6/16/2011

    " A good book except for the ending (that is what lowered it to two stars). "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Raven | 6/11/2011

    " "Heaven doesn't always make the right men kings!" - Fritz von Tarlenheim in The Prisoner of Zenda.
    "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Darcy | 6/6/2011

    " Very cool adventure story--love the chivalry. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Mohamed | 6/5/2011

    " it was a surprise when his brother locked him in the castle..so i`ve believed that you can`t trust any one in the world even yourself "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Frank | 5/21/2011

    " saw the movies the book is much better "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Epistretes | 4/9/2011

    " A nice little book. Could have done with a bit more fleshing-out, however. Some of the fight scenes were very confusing but other than these little flaws, the book was an enjoyable read. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Cindy | 4/6/2011

    " I hadn't heard of this book until recently when I came across it by chance. It isn't very long, but the story is very entertaining. I read this on my Kindle, and I loved it so much that I decided I needed a copy for my library. This would be great for boys or girls middle school aged and up. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Helen | 3/31/2011

    " classic, a bit stiff and terse but good "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Sarah | 3/29/2011

    " This was a great little long-lost classic. Fun and short. I found it on a free mp3 website. "

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About the Author
Author Anthony Hope

Anthony Hope (1863–1933) is the pseudonym of Anthony Hope Hawkins, a successful and prolific author of fiction and drama. The son of a school headmaster, Hope was born in London in 1863. While practicing law, Hope experimented with creative writing, publishing his first novel in 1890. With the publication of his most famous novel, The Prisoner of Zenda, in 1894, Hope abandoned his career in law to write full time. Throughout his productive life, Hope published a wide variety of works, ranging from light comedy to serious fiction.

About the Narrator

Bernard Mayes is a teacher, administrator, corporate executive, broadcaster, actor, dramatist, and former international commentator on US culture. He is best known for his readings of historical classics.