Free Classic: Prisoner of Zenda by Anthony Hope

Every Friday, Marilyn Knapp Litt, who blogs at ClassicKindle.com, brings us her recommendation of a free classic book to discover (or rediscover) on Kindle. Find more of Marilyn’s recommendations at her blog, ClassicKindle.com, a guide to the best free and inexpensive classic literature for the Kindle. You can also get Marilyn’s blog on Kindle and I recommend that you “Like” the Classic Kindle Facebook page as well so you don’t miss anything. Here’s Marilyn’s post:

I came to Prisoner of Zenda by Anthony Hope the way I did to many books. I liked the movie with Stewart Granger (which I did NOT see on initial release in 1952!) As a child, I often looked at movie credits for the name of a book and author.

It is a timely book to read with the current fascination with royalty and royal weddings.

I loved this novel about a distant cousin from England with an uncanny resemblance to the heir to the Ruritanian throne.

As I looked at him, I uttered an astonished cry; and he, seeing me, drew back in sudden wonder. Saving the hair on my face and a manner of conscious dignity which his position gave him, saving also that he lacked perhaps half an inch—nay, less than that, but still something—of my height, the King of Ruritania might have been Rudolf Rassendyll, and I, Rudolf, the King.

For an instant we stood motionless, looking at one another. Then I bared my head again and bowed respectfully. The King found his voice, and asked in bewilderment:

“Colonel—Fritz—who is this gentleman?”

I was about to answer, when Colonel Sapt stepped between the King and me, and began to talk to his Majesty in a low growl. The King towered over Sapt, and, as he listened, his eyes now and again sought mine. I looked at him long and carefully. The likeness was certainly astonishing, though I saw the points of difference also. The King’s face was slightly more fleshy than mine, the oval of its contour the least trifle more pronounced, and, as I fancied, his mouth lacking something of the firmness (or obstinacy) which was to be gathered from my close-shutting lips. But, for all that, and above all minor distinctions, the likeness rose striking, salient, wonderful.

Sapt ceased speaking, and the King still frowned. Then, gradually, the corners of his mouth began to twitch, his nose came down (as mine does when I laugh), his eyes twinkled, and, behold! he burst into the merriest fit of irrepressible laughter, which rang through the woods and proclaimed him a jovial soul.

“Well met, cousin!” he cried, stepping up to me, clapping me on the back, and laughing still. “You must forgive me if I was taken aback. A man doesn’t expect to see double at this time of day, eh, Fritz?”

This a fun story of doubles, a quest for the throne and romance. As is usual, I won’t give anything away, but this is a very satisfying adventure story with villains, sacrifice and a reluctant hero.

Click here to get your free copy of Prisoner of Zenda by Anthony Hope >>>

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