Chapter 1- Rudolf Rassendyll
Rose, Rassendyll’s sister-in-law was very disappointed with him because he had wasted so much of his life. She believed that at the age of twenty-nine, a man should have a good position.
As for Rassendyll, he knew he had not wasted his time. He had graduated from a German University and was well-travelled. He was also a skilful swordsman and horseman.
Rassendyll’s brother, Lord Burlesdon agreed with his wife. He told Rassendyll that he had found him the job of an attaché at the British Embassy in Ruritania, the country where Rassendyll had never been to. So, Rassendyll decided to go to the country to see the place himself. He also wanted to see the Coronation of King Rudolf the Fifth in Strelsau, the capital of Ruritania. He told Rose that he was going to the Alps to write a book about the people there.
Chapter 2- Rassendyll Arrives in Zenda
The next day, Rassendyll left London for Ruritania . He met George, his old friend, at the railway station in Paris. George told him something about the beautiful woman they saw at the railway station. She was a rich widow called Antoinette de Mauban. She was on her way to Strelsau to meet Duke Michael and also to see the Coronation.
The train soon left for Ruritania. From the newspaper, Rassendyll found that the date of the Coronation was made earlier. Strelsau was already crowded with people. Thinking that there was no hope he could get a room in Strelsau, Rassendyll stopped at Zenda. He asked his way to the nearest inn.
From his room in the inn, Rassendyll could see the Zenda’s famous castle which was on a hill-top. The old lady who kept the inn told Rassendyll it was a pity that Duke Michael was not crowned as the king. The Duke was a well-known and friendly figure amongst the people. The people hardly saw the King. The old lady also informed Rassendyll that the King was staying at the Duke’s hunting lodge then.
When Johann, the Duke’s forest guard walked into the inn, he was astonished to see Rassendyll. The old lady’s daughter told Rassendyll that the colour of his red hair was the same as the King’s which surprised Johann.
Chapter 3- Rudolf Rassendyll Meets King Rudolf the Fifth
Early the next morning, Rassendyll went to visit the famous Castle of Zenda . The castle was surrounded by a moat with a drawbridge across it. On the other side of the drawbridge
was a modern building which was Duke Michael’s country house.
As it was getting hotter, Rassendyll decided to go into the forest. He dozed off there. All of a sudden, he was awakened by a loud voice. Rassendyll saw two men standing beside him. They were Colonel Sapt and Fritz Von Tarlenheim. Both of them were the King’s advisors. While Rassendyll was talking with the two, King Rudolf the Fifth came up. Both Rassendyll and the King gave a cry of surprise when they saw each other. Rassendyll looked exactly like the King. Both of them had the same red hair, the same long nose and the same blue eyes. The only difference was Rassendyll had a beard while the King was not bearded.
The King then invited Rassendyll to the hunting lodge to have dinner with him. That night, the King drank a full bottle of wine given by Duke Michael.
Chapter 4 – Rassendyll Becomes Rudolf the Fifth
The next morning, Rassendyll was wakened up by Colonel Sapt with a bucket of water. The King’s advisors wanted Rassendyll to impersonate the King for the Coronation. The King was lying unconscious and could not be wakened up. There was not much time before the Coronation. Sapt, Fritz and Rassendyll suspected that the bottle of wine given to the King by Duke Michael was drugged. They knew that the Duke wanted to be the King of Ruritania.
Half of the nation and the Army wanted the Duke to be the King. And only Rassendyll could save the king.
Chapter 5- Rassendyll Arrives in Strelsau to be crowned
After shaving off his beard, Rassendyll put on the King’s white uniform and took the King’s Sword and revolver. Then Sapt and Josef, the servant, carried the unconscious King to the cellar. Josef was told to guard the King carefully. Fritz, Sapt and Rassendyll then made for the railway station to catch the train to Strelsau.
On the way, Sapt instructed Rassendyll to act like a king. The three arrived at the station, got into a special carriage and headed for Strelsau.
On their arrival at the station in Strelsau, Rassendyll the ‘King’ was welcomed by the people. Rassendyll was introduced to Marshal Strakencz and the ministers. As everyone believed that Rassendyll was the King, he began to feel more confident of his impersonation.