The first and most successful in the Baroness’s series of books that feature Percy Blakeney, who leads a double life as an English fop and a swashbuckling rescuer of aristocrats, The Scarlet Pimpernel was the blueprint for what became known as the masked-avenger genre. As Anne Perry writes in her Introduction, the novel “has almost reached its first centenary, and it is as vivid and appealing as ever because the plotting is perfect. It is a classic example of how to construct, pace, and conclude a plot. . . . To rise on the crest of laughter without capsizing, to survive being written, rewritten, and reinterpreted by each generation, is the mark of a plot that is timeless and universal, even though it happens to be set in England and France of 1792.”
Baroness Emmuska Orczy—artist, playwright, and author—was born in Tarnaörs, Hungary, in 1865. Although all her manuscripts were written in English, she did not learn the language until she and her parents, Baron Felix and Countess Emma Orczy, moved to London when she was fifteen. Schooled as a painter, she married fellow art student John Montagu Barstow in 1894. Although some of her paintings were accepted by the Royal Academy in London, the influence of the works of Charles Dickens and Bret Harte, as well as newly popular light fiction from America, encouraged her to write. A prolific author, the baroness penned dozens of romantic novels, detective stories, and plays, but is best remembered for The Scarlet Pimpernel. Based on an idea that came to her on a London underground platform, the story took just five weeks to write and become a huge success in print, on stage, and in film. Her other works include The Man in Grey, Skin O' My Tooth, The Laughing Cavalier, and Eldorado, a sequel to The Scarlet Pimpernel. Baroness Orczy died in London in 1947.
Roe Kendall is an audio book narrator whose credits include A Pale View of the Hills by Kazuo Ishiguro, The Scarlet Pimpernel by Baroness Emmuska Orczy, Murder on the Links by Agatha Christie, and The Dark Portal by Robin Jarvis.