Mr. Darcy’s Great Escape
Mr. Darcy’s Great Escape, a new sequel to Pride and Prejudice, opens some years after Elizabeth Bennet has married her beloved Mr. Darcy. Enjoying her two children, Elizabeth and Darcy are ready to continue a busy life at Pemberley. Napoleon is rampaging through Europe, and the Prince Regent is a familiar caller to the house. Darcy’s half-brother Gregoire, a monk, visits and sets off to Berlin in order to find his order, which may have been destroyed by Napoleon. When Darcy receives word that Gregoire’s life may be in jeopardy, he and Dr. Maddox set off to rescue him. Waylaid by kidnappers in Europe, Darcy and Maddox are thrown into prison, suspected of aiding Brian Maddox in the secreting away of his wife, Nadezhda, from the evil Count Vladimir of Transylvania. Horrified that Darcy and Maddox are at risk, Elizabeth, newly pregnant, and Caroline Bingley set off on a rollicking adventure through Europe in quest of their husbands, despite warnings and the trepidation of their respective families.
Anachronisms and clichéd writing blur the effectiveness of this fast-paced tale of grand adventure and gripping discoveries. At times the reader becomes thoroughly confused by the onslaught of characters introduced against sketchy settings and oddly inserted historical references. Indeed, despite the Pride and Prejudice link, the reader finds little of the restrained passions of the original—instead of a tale of manners, this novel has little subtlety, and the reader struggles with thin characterization and inconsistent setting. For the patient reader who likes plenty of action and fast dialogue somewhat related to Austen, this will suffice. A true Austen fan expecting an accurate sequel will find this novel distracting.