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The Laughing Cavalier

Baroness Emmuska Orczy

Book Overview: 

The enigmatic smile of The Laughing Cavalier of Franz Hals' famous painting invites you to wonder just what mischievousness hides behind that face. In this novel, inspired by the painting, Baroness Orczy recounts the adventures of an ancestor of her famous character, the Scarlet Pimpernel. Set in Holland during the turbulent times of 1623/1624, this is the story of a swashbuckling romanticist, whose desire for wealth and success always seems to be eclipsed by his sense of what is right and gentlemanly. The same combination of savoir-faire, insouciance, deep feeling, and humor that make the Scarlet Pimpernel such an intriguing character are already present in the DNA of the Blakeney family more than 150 years before the French Revolution. Enjoy this delightful romp through the "pages" of an historical fiction that will have you laughing right along with The Laughing Cavalier.

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .boon companions together, called each other queer, fantastic names and shouted their rough jests to one another across the width of the room. Homeless, shiftless, thriftless, they knew no other names save those which chance or the coarse buffoonery of their friends had endowed them with. There was a man here to-night who was called Wry-face and another who went by the name of Gutter-rat. Not one amongst them mayhap could have told you who his father was or who his mother, nor where he himself had first seen the light of day; but they all knew of one another's career, of one another's prowess in the field at Prague or Ghent or Magdeburg, and they formed a band of brothers—offensive and defensive—which was the despair of the town-guard whenever the law had to be enforced against anyone of them.

It was at the hour when Mynheer Beek was beginning to hope that his guests would soon bethink themselves of returning home and leaving him to his own supper and. . . Read More

Community Reviews

Why do I love the Scarlet Pimpernel books? They’re such stereotyped nonsense I should be running the other direction. For example, despite her bravery and wit, the heroine in The Laughing Cavalier spends an inordinate amount of time either about to be unconscious, being unconscious, or recovering fr

I admit that I was worried about how The Laughing Cavalier would compare with The Scarlet Pimpernel and El Dorado. However, I'm vastly pleased with how this prequel turned out. Although its shorter then I expected it it was not too abrupt in the ending. I would have liked say, one more chapter to c

An enchanting prequel to Broness Orczy's "The Scarlett Pimpernell" this short novel proves to be just as riveting and exciting as it's counterpart. This short novel focuses on the great philisopher Diogonese, the ancestor of Orczy's favorite rogue vigilante. If the Scarlet Pimpernell is a zorro-esqu

I am embarking on a read of all of the Scarlet Pimpernel novels and short stories. Not having looked at the blurb too closely, I expected this one to be set during the French Revolution like The Scarlet Pimpernel, and was pleasantly surprised to instead be transported to 17th Century Holland, the Go

This was a great story. I read "The First Sir Percy" and then I discovered that this book was about the same character and the events in the Laughing Cavalier occurred earlier. As I read this book it shed light on things it would have been good to know when reading "The First Sir Percy" It did not m

Another rousing tale, this time of a 14th century ancestor of the Scarlet Pimpernel in Holland. It was hard to get into the story as easily as the others since it dealt with history I wasn't familiar with (a conspiracy to assassinate the Prince of Orange), and it was hard to tell who was bad or good

It is hard to express how much I love The Scarlet Pimpernel and everyone of his cronies and ancestors. Let me just say I love them a lot.

Dang! This was a good book! Yes, it is old-fashioned. Yes, it's ultimate ending is predictable. Yes it lacks magic and vampires and high explosives and sex and crude language and grittiness and angst and depressing existential musings and all the other things that authors these days believe are nece

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