The Prisoner of Zenda
A Classic Adventure Novel
The Prisoner of Zenda is an adventure novel by Anthony Hope, published in 1894. The king of the fictional country of Ruritania is drugged on the eve of his coronation and thus unable to attend the ceremony. Political forces are such that in order for the king to retain his crown his coronation must go forward. An English gentleman on holiday, who fortuitously resembles the monarch, is persuaded to act as his political decoy in an attempt to save the situation. The villainous Rupert of Hentzau gave his name to the sequel published in 1898, which is included in some editions of this novel. The books were extremely popular and inspired the new genre of Ruritanian romance, including the Graustark novels by George Barr McCutcheon.
On the eve of the coronation of King Rudolf of Ruritania, his brother, Prince Michael, has him drugged. In a desperate attempt to deny Michael the excuse to claim the throne, Colonel Sapt and Fritz von Tarlenheim, attendants of the King, persuade his distant cousin Rudolf Rassendyll, an English visitor, to impersonate the King at the coronation.
The unconscious king is abducted and imprisoned in a castle in the small town of Zenda. There are complications, plots, and counter-plots, among them the schemes of Michael's mistress, Antoinette de Mauban, and those of his dashing but villainous henchman Count Rupert of Hentzau.
Rassendyll falls in love with Princess Flavia, the King's betrothed, but cannot tell her the truth. He determines to rescue the king and leads an attempt to enter the castle of Zenda. The King is rescued and is restored to his throne, but the lovers, in duty bound, must part.show more