The Prisoner of Zenda by Anthony Hope

Two rings surrounding a person on a purple background.  Two open white pages on an orange background.  A black background with a white W.  A black background with a white symbol, that has a black play symbol in the middle.  A black background with a white tentacled cat.

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The Prisoner of Zenda by Anthony Hope is an adventure novel that takes place in the fictional kingdom of Ruritania. On the eve of his coronation, King Rudolf V is drugged and kidnapped, held prisoner in a castle in the town of Zenda. However, the coronation cannot be called off or postponed. Luckily, his cousin, Rudolf Rassendyll, is in town. He is persuaded by attendants of the king to pose in his cousin’s place and accept the crown (as Rudolf V).

The Prisoner of Zenda has been adapted several times in the 125 years since its initial publication – on stage, as a musical, as an operetta, for radio, television, and (mainly) film. One of the more famous adaptations is the Academy Award winning 1937 film of the same name. The book even kick started its own genre, known as Ruritanian romance – adventure or romance books that take place in a fictional Central or Eastern European country. Examples include:

A book can have a long legacy – one that is not always immediate to others. But ideas are spread through contact – and one of the oldest ways to connect with others (besides oratory) is through literature.

You can buy a hard copy of the book here. Savrola by Winson Churchill can be bought here, and you can get a copy of Graustark here. You can get a double feature of the book here.