Set during the French revolution, The Scarlet Pimpernel tells the story of a brave band of men who rescue French aristocrats out of the revolutionaries’ clutches. These seemingly impossibly escapes make the man whose code name is the Scarlet Pimpernel an English legend and a thorn in France’s side. M. Chauvelin, an agent of the French government, arrives in an English pub in the opening scene of the book. He discovers information about the band and the activities of the Scarlet Pimpernel. Among this information is an incriminating letter showing Armand St. Just to be working with the Scarlet Pimpernel. Chauvelin shows this letter to his sister, Marguerite Blakeney, “the cleverest woman in Europe” and the leader of fashion and society in England. In exchange for information about the Scarlet Pimpernel, he will turn over the letter to her, and her brother will not be harmed. Through his spying at the pub, Chauvelin knows that the Scarlet Pimpernel will be visiting a party that Marguerite will be at. She finds out that the Scarlet Pimpernel will be in the dining room at one, information that she passes on to Chauvelin. In a twist of events, she regrets her decision to inform on the Scarlet Pimpernel and begins a mad chase in France trying to prevent his seemingly inevitably capture.
While I enjoyed this exciting story very much, I did anticipate all of the plot twists, which was kind of disappointing. However, this story is still entertaining, and in some places, more enjoyable, if you know something the other characters don’t. The ending did leave me with many questions as to the future of the characters now that their identities were exposed and a few other loose ends were never quite tied up. All in all, though, it was an entertaining, quick read.