Haarlem was overshadowed with darkness by the events of the outside world. A popular political figure was on the scaffold, and war with Spain was immanent. The son of the departed politician allowed his anger to fester into a deep bitterness, which led him to construct an astonishing scheme to deprive the Prince of Orange of his life, just as the Prince had deprived his father of life!
But one girl overheard his plots. And not just any girl- he once had been engaged to Gilda, and her brother was in the thick of the plot! So my Lord of Stoutenburg decided the best and simplest way to keep his plot safe was to bribe a nameless adventurer to kidnap and hide her for a few short days.
Only one hitch- the vagabond who took money to kidnap Gilda had a rare fancy to live and die like a gentleman of fortune. Enter Diogenes and his counter-schemes to acquire a fortune!
Today, my edition of The Laughing Cavalier, a novel by Baroness Orczy (the author of The Scarlet Pimpernel) has become available on Amazon! The main character is a soldier of fortune by name of Diogenes, and of his descendants would come Sir Percival Blakeney, of Scarlet Pimpernel fame. I found The Scarlet Pimpernel and its sequels to be very interesting, and I assure you that The Laughing Cavalier is no less so, particularly since is intimately connected with intense historical intrigue.
When I first read the book, I though it was a great story. And I still think that. But I did a little research, and I found out that Baroness Orczy had also done her research. The plot of The Laughing Cavalier is woven inside of a very complex era of Dutch history surrounding the Synod of Dort and the Spanish Wars (early to mid 1600s). I was very impressed with how she wove the story ever so accurately into real history, but without ever showing off her knowledge. Not once does she attempt to assure the reader that part of her story is based on historical fact, or that many of the characters are in fact real people.
I thought that her research deserved to be shown to the world, so I wrote a historical introduction to The Laughing Cavalier so that modern readers can better understand the characters and the Dutch world of the time. I also put a number of footnotes into the text explaining old Dutch words used at the time the story takes place (another point in favor of Baroness Orczy’s research!). Her books were originally published in England, so all of the spellings are in British English. I updated those spellings to American English (honour became honor). I did not, however, update the handful of archaic words or sentence structure, because they were also archaic when she wrote the book in the early 1900s, so I believe she wanted that flavor in the book. Some of the more obscure words do have a footnote with a definition.
I hope you enjoy The Laughing Cavalier as much as I did!