Eldorado - Emmuska Orczy Ironically, perhaps the best part of this adventure of the Scarlet Pimpernel is Orczy's petulant introduction: "Oh Em Gee, people! The Baron de Batz can't be the inspiration for Percy. They're, like, totes different! Gawd!" In fact, as psuedo-proof, the Baron de Batz plays a small role in the novel, though appearing only at the opening and closing of the book. He instigates the action by taking Armand to the theatre, and he is the dupe in Percy's plan for escape at the end. It's amusing to read Orczy descriptions of him, dwelling on her visions of a pockmarked face and podgy, beringed fingers. On this reading of Eldorado I was amused to be reminded of an old conversation. A couple years ago, I had the luck to snag a Blue Pencil appointment with Anne Perry (requested because I knew her to be familiar with The Scarlet Pimpernel). We chatted about the plot of what was then Blakeney Manor and ended up in a discussion of whether or not Percy was religious. I stand reaffirmed in my beliefs that Percy probably was, and the Baroness definitely was. The religious symbolism in Eldorado comes close to cloying. Of course, the image of the French Revolution as hell, and Chauvelin as the Devil's servant is a common one in the series, but in this novel especially, Percy is held up as a Christ-like figure, and his betrayer alternatively as Judas and Cain. Orczy weaves some interesting historical facts into her novel, including Mme. Simon, who claimed to have helped smuggle little Louis-Charles out of the Temple in a laundry basket and that he visited her in later years. Her tale was so vehement that Marie-Thérèse was compelled to visit her. Though she arrived in disguise, Mme. Simon easily identified her other ward. On the other hand, Orczy also glosses over some of the more disturbing facts: Percy rescue happens at the dismissal of the Simons, which was also when Louis-Charles' mistreatment turned to positive neglect -- his room was not even emptied of his urine and faeces. And, tellingly of both the time the book was written and the time in which it was set, there is nary a hint of the sister who paced and knitted and prayed one flight above Louis-Charles. But then, if there were, Twenty Years After would surely not have taken the shape it did. And that Marguerite never learned of the betrayed. That's interesting, that is. *Cate tuck this into her idea-file and gloats*