Published in May 1894, The Prisoner of Zenda popularised Hope’s work that had previously only consisted of some witty sketches - The Dolly Dialogues - and a failed novel. Like its sequel, Rupert of Hentzau, this novel concerns the adventures of Rudolf Rassendyll. He is a young gentleman in the fictional land of Ruritania. He bears a strong relation to the king in looks at least and there are rumours that certain dishonourable acts had occurred between the king and one of Ruolf’s ancestors six generations ago. Rudolf is charming, witty and courageous. He sets out on a supposed fishing expedition to Tyrol but intends to see Rudolf the Fifth crowned in Streslau. He learns that the king’s throne is in danger from ‘Black’ Michael already and so Rudolf makes his way to Zenda, a small town in favour of Michael. He meets the king himself and they get on well, but a drugged bottle send by Michael leaves Rudolf in a stupor unable to defend his crown. Our hero, Rassendyll must step in for the other Rudolf. We learn of his adventures as the king’s double and the true love of Flavia (the king’s betrothed) who he gallantly gives up finally with the kingdom. Although it is a fairly slim novel and far-fetched in the extreme, it was hugely popular. As such, in the sequel, Rupert of Hentzau - a villain from Zenda - is defeated and Rudolf has a second chance with Flavia and the throne though this time he unable to make a decision since fate intervenes.