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The Scarlet Pimpernel

Narrated by: Mary Sarah
Series: The Scarlet Pimpernel, Book 1
Length: 7 hrs and 6 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (318 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Set during the Reign of Terror following the start of the French Revolution... The title character represents the original "hero with a secret identity" that inspired subsequent literary creations such as Don Diego de la Vega (El Zorro) and Bruce Wayne (the Batman). The popularity of the novel encouraged Orczy to write a number of sequels for her "reckless daredevil" over the next 35 years. The original play was performed to great acclaim in France, Italy, Germany, and Spain, while the novel was translated into 16 languages. Subsequently, the story has been adapted for television, film, a musical, and other media.

Public Domain (P)2012 Trout Lake Media

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Wayne
  • Matthews, NC
  • 12-04-18

This version does not do the novel justice!

THE SCARLET PIMPERNEL, the first novel in the series, was released in 1905. It is a classic. Set amid the 1790s carnage of the French Revolution the English protagonist goes about saving French noblemen from the guillotine. Audible has several versions of The Scarlet Pimpernel and this one is far from the best. I recommend the one narrated by Ralph Cosham.

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

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Good book. Sub-par reading

Enjoyed the story very much. Don't get this version if you want to listen in a car though. The reader's voice volume fluctuates wildly and often she whispers and is difficult to hear.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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Wonderful

Love this book, it was read beautifully! Lots of emotion, inflection, and tones to distinguish different characters which helps to really get into the story!

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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Not a great narration

Really bad at matching voices to the tone described in the text. For example, Bogard's grumbles are rendered high pitched and almost cheerfully. Male voices are often higher pitched than female voices and not consistent with the character. Several words are mispronounced such that you know she has no idea what it means. For example: she says, "propriate, " instead of propitiate. You can tell she doesn't know what either word means or the context would have alerted her to the error. Other than that she reads clearly and keeps it moving.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Read for Homework

I had to read this story for my AP World History Class. It starts a little slow but it was overall a truly wonderful adventure. It was absolutely brilliant and kept me on the edge of my seat!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Michael
  • Walnut Creek, CA, United States
  • 03-24-13

Mildly Exciting but Dated

This is a classic primarily because it is a very early example of the popular superhero form. While listening it occurred to me The Scarlet Pimpernel might be the very first superhero in literature. It looks like the pimpernel was number two in 1903 (Spring Heeled Jack was reportedly the first in 1867). This novel was mildly exciting but is basically like a single episode of any superhero adventure. It was also a bit odd that the story was pro-monarchy. There were a few places where ill treatment of the aristocrats was condemned (while, of course, the aristocrats’ oppression of the peasants was not even mentioned). The narration is quite good. I am happy to have listened to this, but can’t say I would recommend it to most modern listeners.

7 of 10 people found this review helpful

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Fun Historical Adventure

This is a wonderful and fun presentation of a classic adventure story. A brilliant blend of the social mores and lives of the aristocracy such as one enjoys in Jane Austen, but mixed with espionage and adventure set in the French Revolution. Highly recommended for fans of historical period tales, Jane Auten or spy adventures like the Bourne books.

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Well read

way better than paying more than a credit for the same book, glad she read this!

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Great story, strange narration

I love this story. It's a true classic. This narration is just strange, though. I had to slow the speed down just to be able to understand her (and this is even though I know this book backwards and forwards already), and her inflections, tones, and pronunciations are just weird and random. She switches back and forth between saying "Margerite" and "Margaret" and mispronounces place names, like saying "Green-which" for "Greenwich." Really?

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Loved it.

Great classic story and a woman's voice reading the book was perfect. Easy to listen to

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Profile Image for cath haye
  • cath haye
  • 07-07-14

atmospheric

What made the experience of listening to The Scarlet Pimpernel the most enjoyable?

It rolled along very well and drew you in.

What did you like best about this story?

It was very engaging and atmospheric.

Any additional comments?

Diction was very clear and easy to listen to but pronunciation of French words was not always accurate. I'm not a French speaker but I'm sure 'cure with an accent' (for curate) is not pronounced 'cure'.

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Profile Image for K. A. Newton
  • K. A. Newton
  • 06-05-13

An old favourite.

I am not reviewing the story - it has been read by so many people for so many years.

I enjoyed listening to the book very much but the narrator speaks very quickly with a French accent. After a while she slowed down just a little.

I found that words ran together so much as they were being read that a person to whom English was a second language would find it difficult to comprehend as the sentences were spoken.

The lady narrator had a nice speaking voice and did put emotion and feeling into her speech but this was spoilt by the speed she used.

I like to do other things while my ears listen to narrators but with this book I had to concentrate hard and this book therefore was a "sitting down and just listening" audio book.

If someone had to read this book for a project or similar it would be fine to listen to while their eyes followed the words printed on the page as we all read with our eyes faster than we normally listen.

I will admit here that I did not listen to the sample that Audible put at our disposal perhaps I should have done.