Classics Review: Laughing Cavalier


The Laughing Cavalier 
by Emmuska Orczy

4 out of 5 stars on GoodReads

Diogenes is a carefree swordsman who lives by his wits, known as the Laughing Cavalier in 1600s Holland. He is hired to kidnap the lovely Gilda Beresteyn, because she has overheard a plot to kill the Prince of Orange, and the assassins, one of whom is her own brother, want her out of the city for a few days so she can’t divulge their evil plans. All goes according to plan, until Diogenes begins to fall in love with the beautiful Gilda, won over by her gentle ways.

I love the sword-fighting, political intrigue, betrayal, secret plans, adventure, and mystery. The plot is almost non-stop action, and every situation seems impossible for the heroes to survive, but somehow, amazingly, incredibly, they pull through. Every plot twist is a surprise! I love the agile writing style, because it keeps the reader interested through every page.
Diogenes pretends to be a devil-may-care rogue, but he has a noble heart, and a truly chivalrous code of honor. He is a figure larger than life, utterly strong and brave, laughing in the face of death, and able to win people over with his charm and ready wit.

Gilda is sweetness itself. She has led a sheltered life, but she is resilient in dire circumstances, and resourceful in her attempts to stop the assassins and save the Prince of Orange. She does some fainting and crying, but also has some strong scenes of courage and clever dialogue.

I adore all of the Scarlet Pimpernel books, and really enjoyed this spin-off about Blakeney’s “famous ancestor.”

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