The Triumph of the Scarlet Pimpernel

The Triumph of the Scarlet Pimpernel

Infobox Book |
name = The Triumph of the Scarlet Pimpernel
title_orig =
translator =

image_caption = 1922 First Edition
author = Baroness Orczy
illustrator =
cover_artist =
country = United Kingdom
language = English
series = The Scarlet Pimpernel
genre = Adventure, Historical novel
publisher = Hodder & Stoughton
release_date = 1922
english_release_date =
media_type = Print (Hardback & Paperback)
pages = 320
isbn = NA
preceded_by = Sir Percy Hits Back
followed_by = A Child of the Revolution

"The Triumph of the Scarlet Pimpernel", first published in 1922, is the last book about the Scarlet Pimpernel's adventures, in the popular series by Baroness Orczy. Again Orczy skillfully interweaves historic fact with fiction, this time through the real life figures of Thérésa Cabarrus, and Jean-Lambert Tallien; inserting the Scarlet Pimpernel as an instigator of the role Tallien played in the Thermidorian Reaction in July 1794.

Plot summary

The story starts in Paris in April 1794, year II of the French Revolution. Theresia Cabarrus is a beautiful but shallow Spaniard who is betrothed to Citizen Tallien the popular Representative in the Convention and one of Robespierre's inner circle. She is credited with exercising a mellowing influence over Tallien, whom she met in Bordeaux but although she is engaged to be married to him, what little love she has appears to be lavished on another.

Bertrand Moncrif is a good-looking but impulsive young man who appears determined to martyr himself in opposition to the revolutionary government. To this end, he has gathered the siblings of his long-term sweetheart, Régine de Serval, into his plan to denounce Robespierre at one of the Fraternal suppers. Despite warnings from Régine he insists on carrying through his plans which inevitably go awry and the wrath of the mob is soon turned towards the small group. After a timely intervention on the part of the Scarlet Pimpernel, using the guise of the coal heaver Rateau (who also appears in several short stories in The League of the Scarlet Pimpernel - "The Cabaret de la Liberté", "Needs Must" and "A Battle of Wits"), the de Servals are saved from a lynching while Moncrif lies unconscious and unseen under a table.

When he eventually awakens, Bertrand heads straight for Theresia's house (whom he worships) and all thoughts of his old love Régine disappear in her wake. Theresia is horrified to find him at her house as Tallien, Robespierre and several other high ranking political figures are due at her apartment for a meeting. Realising that he is putting her at risk, Bertrand hides in the kitchen while the men meet. Also present is Citizen Chauvelin, who plans to use Theresia to entrap his old enemy the Scarlet Pimpernel and has been planting ideas to the effect in Robespierre's mind.

Robespierre makes it clear that he knows Bertrand was behind the fracas at the supper and implies that Theresia and Bertrand are involved. Despite the implied threat, she refuses to help trap the Pimpernel, but after the party has left she discovers that Bertrand has been taken by the daring Englishman from her kitchen. Chauvelin returns brandishing a note left by the Pimpernel, to persuade her to take part in his plan once more. Peeved at the Pimpernel removing her plaything, she eventually agrees.

In England, Moncrif and the de Servals are finally free to resume an almost normal life. Theresia arrives at Dover dressed in men's clothes and claiming she has been driven out of France by her association with Bertrand, in fear of her life. An obviously staged row between the Spaniard and Chauvelin outside Sir Percy's cottage fails to persuade our hero that she is up to anything but mischief, but he seems to relish the prospect of such an intelligent and wily adversary and promises not to reveal her true identity to anyone for he "is a lover of sport"."

With her plans to seduce Percy scuppered, Theresia turns her attention to Sir Percy's wife Marguerite and uses an all too willing Bertrand to set the trap. Lady Blakeney is kidnapped yet again and taken to France and imprisoned as bait for Sir Percy.

Can our dashing hero evade capture and live to enjoy a day "when tyranny was crushed and men dared to be men again"?

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