Bookworm, writer, radio host—I blog about history, fiction, and publishing in the Internet Age. You can find the full blog on my website. This space is for books.
Yes, the language is florid, the sensibility aristocratic, the emotions overwrought, the exposition excessive. It doesn't matter. The basic story of a dual-identity action hero (Orczy came up with the idea—everyone else followed) is so compelling and the story so charming that even after 109 years it still rocks.
If you've never read it, you should. And if you have, it rewards a re-read.
And if you can, grab the 1982 BBC version. It combines two books in one and creates its own (even better) version, but it remains true to Orczy's original. Anthony Andrews is Sir Percy, in all his glorious complexity.
I rest my case.