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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...more

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 t...more

Could any book be this perfect? Maybe.

The only thing that would make this book better would have been a proper epilogue. Fortunately, it's part of the Scarlet Pimpernel series and so I have hopes of hearing about Diogenes and the Lady's happily ever after.

I love a good adv...more

The story was amazing, though I did find most of the characters irritating as well as the parts or scenes in the story that seemed irrelevant to me, a few portions of the story were like summaries of the previous events, I couldn't quite see the point in that. But, I must admit that the plot is q...more

A few years ago, I read a few of Orczy's Scarlett Pimpernel books and really liked them. So I thought I'd start at the beginning of the series and read them all.

This book is listed as "Book 1" in the Scarlett Pimpernel series, but it's actually about an ancestor of Sir Percy's who was called The Laughing...more

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-e...more

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 g...more

A fun little novel set in the 1624 Netherlands where the protagonist gets involved in deadly political plots. Offers some nice historical details, but also raises some questions about its accuracy when it comes to certain details.

The writing style is very pulpish in the way that the p...more

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