Friday, August 11, 2017

Finished: The Prisoner of Zenda by Anthony Hope

Image: Magnum Easy Eyes Books blog.
Title: The Prisoner of Zenda
Series: None
Author: Anthony Hope
Genre: Adventure
Pages: 223
Publisher: J. W. Arrowsmith (orig.), Lancer Books (reissue)
Year pub: 1894
Rating: ★★ - 2 1/2 stars.

This is going to be a short post because there's not much to talk about this book. It was a pretty straight forward affair, with the protagonist, Rudolf Rassendyll traveling to the fictional kingdom of Ruritania and having to pose as the king, who is his double and has been captured by the Black Michael, the king's half-brother who covets the throne for himself.

While it was a straight forward adventure and a fun one at that, it had it's problems. My chief complaint was the lack of details. At 223 pages, you don't get even a bare sketch of Ruritania and its people, other than some of the population being for the king and some supporting Duke Michael. Hell, you barely even see him, with the role of antagonist being taken chiefly by Rupert of Hentzau, a rakish rogue who honestly comes off as the more interesting than the rest of the cast. Really, you don't even get a clear indication on whether or not Michael would be a better or worse king than his half-brother, who seems more interested in getting drunk than being king.

The romance between Rassendyll and the king's cousin, Princess Flavia is bland and boring. He visits her a couple of times in the course of the book and bam! they're suddenly head over heels for each other.

So just to sum it up, The Prisoner of Zenda was a good book that could have been even better had Anthony Hope added more details about Ruritania, and more depth to the principle characters and the romance between Rudolf Rassendyll and Princess Flavia.