Rupert of Hentzau: Anthony Hope

★★★

It has been three years since the events of The Prisoner of Zenda and, although Black Michael has been defeated, a threat still hangs over the heads of our Ruritanian friends Colonel Sapt, Fritz von Tarlenheim, King Rudolf and the beautiful Queen Flavia. Michael’s nephew, the disgraced and devil-may-care scoundrel Rupert of Hentzau, is still at large somewhere in Europe. More to the point, he is one of the few people who knows about Rudolf Rassendyll’s impersonation of Rudolf I while the king was imprisoned at the castle of Zenda. Armed with this information, Rupert skulks in exile and waits for his chance to turn his knowledge to his advantage, but a greater secret soon falls into his lap.

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The Prisoner of Zenda: Anthony Hope

★★★½

It’s high time for another swashbuckler, as a busy period looms at work. This time the book in question is a much-loved classic which I should really have read years ago. First published in 1894 (my copy was given to ‘Gladys W. Silva from Dorothy & Jack, Xmas 1895’), this wonderful romp hasn’t aged nearly as much as you might expect. It’s a deliciously fast-paced tale of disguise, secret identities, wicked plots, noble heroes and dastardly villains. Like Scaramouche, this was something that I finally decided to try when I saw that Helen had been reading it (I have to thank Helen for a lot of swashbuckling goodness). That was a full year ago, which gives you some idea of how easily I’m distracted where books are concerned. However, good things come to those who wait…

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