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Comments for The Prisoner of Zenda

The Prisoner of ZendaThe Prisoner of Zenda: 11/27/07

The Prisoner of Zenda is one of those books I've been meaning to read for about twenty years. Over the Thanksgiving holiday I finally took the time to read this classic adventure written by Anthony Hope in 1894.

The Prisoner of Zenda brings the fairy tale of Mark Twain's The Prince and the Pauper (1888) and Pudd'nhead Wilson (1893-4) into the adventure genre for adults. Anthony Hope's story of a king kidnapped on the eve of his coronation and his English cousin who takes his place is derring-do at its best.

Sure the story has been done over and over again but that's because the story is so entertaining. It was written at at time before two world wars forever altered the map of Europe. Ruritania exists in a time when it was possible to still imagine tiny kingdoms and principalities tucked among the better known countries. Think of Ruritania existing along side the duchy of Luxembourg and the principality of Monaco.

The hero and narrator of Zenda is twenty-nine year Rudolf Rassendyll who shares a name and certain physical features with soon to be crowned Rudolph IV of Ruritania. Unfortunately for all those involved, Rudolph IV is an idiot and easily falls prey to a plot to take the crown away from him and possibly end his life. To keep things in check while the king can be found and rescued, Rudolf Rassendyll must play the king.

Throughout the narrative Rassendyll gives amusing commentary on politics and the responsibilities of leadership. All the while he is putting himself in harms way both in his portrayal of the king and in trying to rescue Rudolf IV.

I am releasing the copy I read soon through BookCrossing as it came to me from another member. I will however be keeping my eyes out for a nice hardback edition for my personal collection.

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Comment #1: Wednesday, November, 28, 2007 at 10:14:42

Wayne

Think I'll dust off my copy and read it again. Nicely written.