The Laughing Cavalier by Baroness Orczy: B

From the back cover:
The year is 1623, the place Haarlem in the Netherlands. Diogenes—the first Sir Percy Blakeney, the Scarlet Pimpernel’s ancestor—and his friends Pythagoras and Socrates defend justice and the royalist cause. The famous artist Frans Hals also makes an appearance in this historical adventure. Orczy maintains that Hals’ celebrated portrait of The Laughing Cavalier is actually a portrayal of the Scarlet Pimpernel’s ancestor.

What a perfectly abysmal blurb that is. Egads.

The Laughing Cavalier, one of two prequels to The Scarlet Pimpernel, tells the story of a penniless foreign adventurer who passed down his exceptional qualities—such as “careless insouciance”—to his descendant, Sir Percy Blakeney, the hero of the more famous work. This fellow, a half-English rogue enjoying the life of a vagabond in The Netherlands, goes by the name of Diogenes and has for companions/minions two fellows calling themselves Pythagorus and Socrates. When Gilda Beresteyn, sister of one man and former love of another who together conspire to kill the current ruler, overhears of these plans, Diogenes and his men are hired to spirit her away so that the assassination atttempt may proceed without her interference.
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Doubletake: The Laughing Cavalier (Emmuska Orczy)

Sometimes there are books that two of us want to read, but one of us isn’t really interested in. In that case, instead of a triple take, we’ll do a doubletake instead.

The Plot
The year is 1624 and a plot has been hatched to kill the Prince of Orange. Gilda Beresteyn, the former fiancee of the lead plotter has inadvertently found out about their plans, and in order to prevent her alerting the authorities, the conspirators hatch a scheme to force her silence. Hired for the job: Diogenes, penniless mercenary, otherwise known as the Laughing Cavalier.

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