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4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 4.00 (109,731 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Emma Orczy Narrator: Ralph Cosham Publisher: Craig Black Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Related: The Pimpernel Novels Release Date: January 2006 ISBN: 9781455188222
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“Who is this man, this Scarlet Pimpernel?” Each day this question grew more pressing to the rulers of the French Revolution. Only this man and his band of followers threatened their total power. Only this maddeningly elusive figure defied the vast network of fanatics, informers, and secret agents that the Revolution spread out to catch its enemies.

Some said this man of many disguises, endless ruses, and infinite daring was an exiled French nobleman, returned to wreak vengeance. Others said he was an English lord, seeking sheer adventure and supreme sport in playing the most dangerous game of all. But of only one thing could those who sought him be sure. They knew all too well the symbol of his presence, the blood-red flower known as the Scarlet Pimpernel.

This timeless historical adventure is an irresistible blend of romance, intrigue, and suspense.

Download and start listening now!

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Quotes & Awards

  • “It is something distinctly out of the common, well-conceived, vividly told, and stirring from start to finish.”

    Daily Telegraph (London)

  • “An excellent novel…There is real ingenuity in the plot, and human interest in the characters, and it is an artistic piece of work, thoroughly readable and commendable.”

    Church Times (London)

  • “'They seek him here, they seek him there, they seek him everywhere…’ Most of us have heard of the Scarlet Pimpernel, but how many have read the book in which the master of disguise first appeared? Well, don’t read it—listen to it instead. Ralph Cosham delivers a fine performance of this entertaining classic about an Englishman who rescues French aristocrats from danger during the French Revolution. Cosham gets to play with a range of French and English accents, and does an excellent job of coloring voices with character. He even manages to make the somewhat overwrought writing flow so well that the extravagances go unnoticed. This is huge fun.”

    AudioFile

  • “A swashbuckling adventure tale of epic proportions…an exciting, fast-paced story that is engrossing to read.”

    Large Print Reviews

  • AKLIATT Editor’s Choice Audiobook for 2007

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Alex Perez | 2/19/2014

    " The Scarlet Pimpernel is a very clever book. The book follows Marguerite who gets into a predicament where she can either save her brother Armand or the Scarlet Pimpernel. The book feels almost like a play, with each chapter having a different setting and the ending is very witty. Although eventually the identity of the Scarlet Pimpernel is eventually found out, I found it more exciting not knowing while reading than knowing. The only downside to the book is sometimes it drags on when discussing the emotions of Marguerite, and eventually you're like, "I get it, you're scared and worried and nervous, now get on with it!" Other than that this is a very witty book with a terrific ending. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Gemma | 2/19/2014

    " I wasn't sure what to expect of this book but I absolutely loved it. I would recommend it to everyone and my only regret is that I didn't read it earlier in my life. It is just such a fun adventure. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jess Cullinan | 2/16/2014

    " I thought I had read this book years ago, but I really didn't remember how much it is about Lady Blakeney and so much less about the title character himself. Still, love the style and the language of this period of fiction. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Diane | 2/15/2014

    " This was a great story. I have to admit that half way through I peeked at the ending just to calm myself. The old English was a little difficult to understand in some parts. And I guess it was custom to call a person Citizen back then but it was annoying. Overall really a great read. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Janice | 2/13/2014

    " This is another one of my, "How did I make it almost 40 years without reading this classic" books. Having seen the movie (with Jane Seymour) years ago, I knew I would love the story and it did not disappoint. Glad to have finally read it. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Star Shining Forever | 2/12/2014

    " Thrilling tale...couldn't put it down! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kay | 2/9/2014

    " I had no idea what it was about. I thought it was going to be a Jane Austen type book. I was pleasantly surprised. It was a feel-good book. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Rob Cohen | 2/9/2014

    " Decent-- slow for the most part but a good ending; despite its being a classic, I knew very little about it to still be surprised by how it ended. One of those books that could have been longer, but I am glad that it wasn't. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Gabriel C. | 2/8/2014

    " I mean, I understand that I can't have unrealistic expectations or whatever, but I was hoping and hoping that the female protagonist would do something, anything, useful, rather than just have emotional reactions and create nuisance and danger for her husband. The beginning was so promising! The character was strong, supposedly intelligent, independent, but then she turned out to be foolish, blind, and poor under stress. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Petey | 2/7/2014

    " There are significant cultural barriers to really getting into this book, but it was gripping and fun, all the same. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Rachel Jacobson | 2/7/2014

    " I love this book. I read it after I saw the movie which I liked too. it's slightly different, but still very clever and romantic. I've already read it several times! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Cami | 2/6/2014

    " Great classic. I read it in high school but remembered nothing but the name. Good to read again and appreciate. Fun to get all the details of these characters that are so well known. Rich detail and great character development. Slow read compared to my usual fare but well worth it. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Gail O'connor | 2/4/2014

    " a great light summer reading book, with history, romance, suspense and humor. What could be better than that? "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Susan | 2/4/2014

    " Amazing! Need I say more? "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Hannah Crawford | 2/1/2014

    " This was a really good book! It kept you guessing up till the very unveiling moment. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Elevetha Houre | 1/31/2014

    " I'll probably re read in a couple years and see if my opinion changes. I might have been too young the first time. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Renae M. | 1/24/2014

    " Historically inaccurate, but oh so entertaining. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Crystal | 1/22/2014

    " Set in revolutionary France, this is a cleverly written action novel that follows a band of aristocratic English men as they work to save innocent victims of the blood-thirsty revolution and it's dreaded Madam le Guillotine. It also follows the difficult journey of a married couple as they rediscover each other and the love, trust and confidence they once shared. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Amie | 1/20/2014

    " One of the few times the movie is better than the book. I had high hopes for this book and am still a little sad I didn't love it. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Rachel | 1/19/2014

    " sink me! i love this...such a fun story, and sir Percy is one of my absolute favourite literary heroes. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Anna Matsuyama | 1/18/2014

    " I did enjoy this story very much and I would have give 4 star easily for entertainment. But writing wasn't great, characters doesn't feel real, add anti-Semitism, classism, sexism, nationalism (the negative one) and subjective look on Great French Revolution (more misleading than subjective, actually). "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Emily | 1/17/2014

    " Just finished this for the second time. Loved the powerful forgiveness exhibited, with adventure! "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Christine | 1/16/2014

    " Melodramatic and predictable and a little slow for modern readers but it had some good twists in spite of itself. I felt like I was watching one of those old silent pictures where every emotion is so exaggerated and over the top just to try and get a point across. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Sarah Johnson | 1/14/2014

    " The characters in this are so full and real tey practically live with you...by far my favorite book EVER "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Catherine Larsen | 1/12/2014

    " I loved everything about this book. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Marvelle Morgan | 1/8/2014

    " A long-time favorite story of mine. I loved the chance to re-read it. Such a fun romance/adventure. I also love the movie and have seen the play. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Joanna | 1/4/2014

    " Action. Romance. Intrigue. Great imagery. ...a win "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Christopher | 12/31/2013

    " Kinda fun, but man... the reveal of the Scarlet Pimpernel's identity was so, so obvious. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Bethany | 12/29/2013

    " It was a very dull book in my opinion, but I have never been partial to the classics. I did enjoy some of the irony in the novel. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Nipuna | 12/28/2013

    " Lovely and cute and adorable. I'm going to re-watch the movie. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Hannah | 12/24/2013

    " It was very good, but I guessed it from the beginning. Still good, though. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Randapanda | 12/24/2013

    " When I first was assigned this book, I thought I would hate it. I gave it a chance and it turns out it wasn't such a bad book after all. I was very shocked to find out who the Scarlet Pimpernel actually was. This book also had some very suspenseful moments. The story plot was very well written. "

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

    " Great writing without being boring! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Derek | 11/30/2013

    " Fun book and an easy read... wish I would have read it when I was devouring things like "The Black Arrow" in my youth. Even more intriguing is that the book focuses on the female protagonist which is rare in this genre. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Mary | 11/6/2013

    " A fun read. The characters are engaging. The plot is a little slow at times, but I enjoyed it. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Elizabeth | 10/2/2013

    " Fun, entertaining, easy read. I was a little annoyed how long it took the main "brilliant" character to put two and two together but overall, it was a good book. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Anne | 9/20/2013

    " Swashbuckling stuff a la Georgette Heyer. When I was a teenager I thought this was the bees' knees! The equivalent of super-heroes. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Anne Lara | 9/12/2013

    " liked it so much more than I thought I would, really gripping story. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Olivia | 9/10/2013

    " I did enjoy this book as I love period pieces, though I wouldn't call if a very successful mystery! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Hannah K | 9/9/2013

    " a very romantic novel. without the r rated unnessecary scenes. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Alissa | 8/25/2013

    " I LOVED THIS BOOK!! It was brilliantly written, and the characters had me laughing the whole time. They have the funniest phrases (many of them are English) and use intelligent language. The story was clever, and I felt like the characters were developed in such a unique way. It was great. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Karin Hopkins | 8/19/2013

    " Loved!! Not at all what I was expecting! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Joanna | 8/3/2013

    " Action. Romance. Intrigue. Great imagery. ...a win "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 John Yelverton | 7/31/2013

    " A great adventure tale that keeps you riveted to every age until the very end. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Hannah | 7/26/2013

    " I saw the movie of this a few years ago and loved it so was very excited to read the book. It took a couple of chapters for me to get into who was who and the style, etc, but I loved it! It's such an awesome little story :) "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jordan Goff | 7/26/2013

    " A very entertaining read. I kept reading until the end to find out who the scarlet pimpernel was, and then if he would escape the a certain death at the guillotine. It also gave a good view of the french revolution from the side of the nobility and the English. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Tracy Lee | 7/20/2013

    " LOVED IT. ITS EXCICTING ROMANCE AND PERCY IS FUNNY TOO! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Tracy Lee | 7/15/2013

    " LOVED IT. ITS EXCICTING ROMANCE AND PERCY IS FUNNY TOO! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Lauren | 7/2/2013

    " This was such a fun book to read. Very entertaining. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Lemar | 6/15/2013

    " There is wonderful old world charm and plenty of action in this historical thriller. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jane Austen | 4/21/2013

    " One of my favorite books EVER! :D "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Sarah | 4/1/2013

    " I loved this book, and I plan on reading the rest of the series in the future. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Jeffrey | 3/19/2013

    " I wanted to like this book - it was well written and had great imagery. But the characters were lousy. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Maithili Desai | 3/1/2013

    " Had read this book when I was in school and it made the history chapter on the French Revolution so much more daunting and interesting!! Reading it again after a long long time and enjoying it every bit as I did the last time... "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Aruna | 2/26/2013

    " Though not on the scale on The tale of the two cities, it's still a worthy read about the events of French revolution from the other side of the English channel. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Paula | 2/22/2013

    " Loved this one. It was so over-the-top it just... worked. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Amie | 2/8/2013

    " One of the few times the movie is better than the book. I had high hopes for this book and am still a little sad I didn't love it. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Carmen Amato | 1/16/2013

    " Historical suspense at it's finest--a quick read and intriguing premise. Set in revolutionary France with a clean plot, great characters, nice twists. Of course the movies based on the book have been great, too. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Lahni | 1/6/2013

    " I always felt I should read this book because it is a classic. But the title never appealed to me so I prepared myself for a dry book that I would have to force myself through. I actually really liked it and would highly recommend it. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Allegra | 4/17/2012

    " Not exactly a deep book, nor a fair view of the French Revolution, but a fun read. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Amanda | 4/15/2012

    " I loved it. I had the soundtrack of the musical running through my head the entire time. There were some changes from the book to the play, of course, but it seemed a pretty faithful adaptation. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Leslie | 3/11/2012

    " A surprising read! Would definitely recommend it to anyone who wants to learn a little, likes suspense & a love story. Also very quick read. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Naida | 12/12/2011

    " First few pages are boring but when Chauvelin arrived and asked for Lady Blackeney's help, I couldn't stop myself from reading. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Kenny Landon | 12/9/2011

    " Great concept--the forerunner of all the superheroes with secret identities from Zorro to all the comic book heroes. I read this because I loved the movies, but unfortunately the novel is more of a 19th century soap opera--slow-moving, repetitive, and implausible (by modern standards anyway). "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Diane | 12/5/2011

    " This was a great story. I have to admit that half way through I peeked at the ending just to calm myself. The old English was a little difficult to understand in some parts. And I guess it was custom to call a person Citizen back then but it was annoying. Overall really a great read. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Destiny Yarbro | 10/24/2011

    " One of the best lesser known classics. I have read it too many times to count and look forward to reading it many more times. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Heather Babinsky | 10/19/2011

    " I enjoyed this for a quick read. But somehow I was left longing for so much more... "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Margaret | 10/11/2011

    " This was a really fun read with a lot of adventure and a bit of French history thrown in (the Reign of Terror in the 1790's). "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Christine | 9/4/2011

    " Melodramatic and predictable and a little slow for modern readers but it had some good twists in spite of itself. I felt like I was watching one of those old silent pictures where every emotion is so exaggerated and over the top just to try and get a point across. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Beccastreb | 9/1/2011

    " Fabulous! I can't believe it has taken me so long to get around to reading this one. I kind of knew all along who was the Scarlet Pimpernel and enjoyed finding out that I was right! This book is a good example of how lack of communication and misunderstanding can lead to heartache in marriage. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Heather Babinsky | 8/25/2011

    " I enjoyed this for a quick read. But somehow I was left longing for so much more... "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Mal | 7/12/2011

    " Honestly, the Anthony Andrews movie is better. I didn't like the end of the book as much. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Dara Young | 6/27/2011

    " A fun read along the lines of Tale of Two Cities. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Scott | 6/26/2011

    " I really enjoyed the book. It was a fun adventure story. Not terribly long, but a fairly quick and entertaining read. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Geetha | 6/22/2011

    " They seek there, They seek him here - refrain throughout the book - I cannot remember all the titles that I read but best in adventure reading. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Izzy | 6/22/2011

    " I love the adventure and romance. The second time through I started to catch Orczy's tongue-in-cheek toward her heroine. I hadn't realized the first time through how DRAMATIC everything is for Marguerite. Fun! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Gloria | 6/18/2011

    " This is the best book based in the French Revolution I have ever read. To me it explained why the French citizens hated their nobles. And you can't help but love the league of the scarlet pimpernel and Sir Percy's ingenuity! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jeannine | 6/12/2011

    " Loved it! Didn't want to put it down! It's a mystery, a love story and an adventure story all in one. Another story to inspire me to study the French Revolution! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Cindy | 6/8/2011

    " I absolutely adored this story!
    It is a tale that has suspense, mystery, adventure, humor, and love...how could anyone not love this classic book? "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Katherine | 6/8/2011

    " I cannot imagine this book included in the Everyman's Library Childrens' Classics, but it is!! along with Peter Pan, Alice in Wonderland, etc. I suppose for older children, it certainly has suspense and mystery. I certainly enjoyed it. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Amy | 6/7/2011

    " Good adventure, so-so writing. Especially choppy start, but it smoothed out a few chapters in. I think my girls (the 10yo & 7yo) will enjoy it. "

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About the Author

Baroness Emma Orczy (1865–1945) was born in Hungary, the daughter of a baron. Raised in wealth among the aristocracy, she determined to achieve success as a painter and illustrator before starting a writing career. She wrote in English, although she did not speak the language until she was fifteen, and she produced many short stories and detective novels. Her greatest success came with the historical adventure novel The Scarlet Pimpernel.

About the Narrator

Ralph Cosham (1936–2014), a.k.a. Geoffrey Howard, was a British journalist who changed careers to become a narrator and screen and stage actor. He performed in more than one hundred professional theatrical roles, and several of his narrations were named “Audio Best of the Year” by Publishers Weekly. He won seven AudioFile Earphones Awards, and in 2013 he won the coveted Audie Award for Best Mystery Narration for his reading of Louise Penny’s The Beautiful Mystery.