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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

Overall

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    150
  • 4 Stars
    77
  • 3 Stars
    42
  • 2 Stars
    8
  • 1 Stars
    4

Performance

  • 4 out of 5 stars
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    133
  • 4 Stars
    56
  • 3 Stars
    41
  • 2 Stars
    13
  • 1 Stars
    5

Story

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    152
  • 4 Stars
    65
  • 3 Stars
    27
  • 2 Stars
    8
  • 1 Stars
    1
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  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

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.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

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

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

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.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

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

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • 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

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

A Horrible Recording of a Great Work

The Scarlet Pimpernel is both exciting and trend-setting, being the precursor of just about every novel about a secret hero with a public alter-ego. The pathos of Marguerite's relationships and the exploits of the Scarlet Pimpernel are both well worth reading.

But Mary Sarah's reading of this work is almost comically bad. First of all, the only possible explanation for the pace at which she reads would be that she has been placed in a guillotine and she's being given the choice between finishing the book aloud in 7 hours or losing her head. So fast did she read that I had to check to see if I'd accidentally set the reading speed on my iPhone at 1.5 x the normal speed. I hadn't. But checking it gave me an idea: what if I slowed down the recording to its slowest speed: 0.75 x the normal speed. I did this for the better part of a chapter, but soon realized that I was just prolonging my agony. Indeed, Ms Mary Sarah's haste in reading was a blessing in disguise, for it covered up her inane inability to pronounce most of the words that she encountered. For one thing, she was pitifully ill equipped to read a novel with such a large number of French words and names. My favorite mispronunciation was soupçon, which she pronounced as soup-con. But I suppose she made up for it when she arrived at the word nonplussed and pronounced as thought it were a French expression. Another word that Mary Sarah had trouble with was one of Baroness Orczy's favorites: obsequiousness. I can't quite spell her pronunciation (which the reader was treated to at least a dozen times), but if you do happen to do the very thing I'm advising you not to (i.e. download this audiobook) you'll no doubt get a kick out of it yourself. The final example I'll give (though I assure you there were far too many to number in Mary Sarah's performance) was the word Greenwich. I thought everybody in the English-speaking world knew that this location was not pronounced Green-witch, but apparently Mary Sarah was absent the day we were all taught that.

In summary: Great book, Poor (note the capital P) narration. Buy another version, even if it costs you more.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

The Scarlet Pimpernel

I have read this story before and liked it. The reader did a very good job making it an enjoyable time of listening.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Mark
  • Berlin, MA, United States
  • 11-18-17

Historically Important story

This is not the best story of its genre, but it is extremely important because it is quite possibly the first identifiable "super-hero" story, complete with a secret identity and tales of derring-do. Written in 1905 but set in 1792, this swashbuckler is notable not only for its groundbreaking, but also because almost the whole story is told from the point-of-view of the title character's wife.

There is some unfortunate anti-Semitism late in the story, which is acceptable only in that it is considered a trait of the villains of the piece.

I rated the overall score higher than either of its parts because this is what gave us Zorro, the Lone Ranger, and eventually Batman. If you love this genre, you have to know this book.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Great storytelling

The Scarlet Pimpernel is the story of a brave man that saved the French aristocracy from the guillotine. And it is the story of Margarite, the French woman who married the fop, Lord Blakely. Lady B is tricked into revealing the plans of the mysterious Scarlet Pimpernel.....

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

great book.

absolutely loved it. best story ever. I read it time and time again. extremely great.

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • 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'.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • 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.