Sunday, May 11, 2014

An adventure in Ruritania

Another free eBook is The Prisoner of Zenda: Being the History of Three Months in the Life of an English Gentleman by Anthony Hope, accurately described in a comment at ManyBooks as "One of the first great thrillers, and still one of the best." The description at goodreads:
Anthony Hope's swashbuckling romance transports his English gentleman hero, Rudolf Rassendyll, from a comfortable life in London to fast-moving adventures in Ruritania, a mythical land steeped in political intrigue. Rassendyll bears a striking resemblance to Rudolf Elphberg who is about to be crowned King of Ruritania. When the rival to the throne, Black Michael of Strelsau, attempts to seize power by imprisoning Elphberg in the Castle of Zenda, Rassendyll is obliged to impersonate the King to uphold the rightful sovereignty and ensure political stability. Rassendyll endures a trial of strength in his encounters with the notorious Rupert of Hentzau, and a test of a different sort as he grows to love the Princess Flavia. Five times filmed, The Prisoner of Zenda has been deservedly popular as a classic of romance and adventure since its publication in 1894. [more]
My favorite of the film versions is the one made in 1937 starring Ronald Colman, Madeleine Carroll, David Niven, Raymond Massey, and Douglas Fairbanks, Jr.

Rupert of Hentzau is a sequel, also available as a free eBook download.

The Prisoner of Zenda by Anthony Hope - Free eBook