Set in the central European kingdom of Ruritania in 1870, this is a small action involving the armies of Crown Prince Rudolph and his half-brother Prince Michael. Now, it must be said, in the original book, and in all the subsequent films that have been produced under the title 'The Prisoner of Zenda', all sympathy and allegiance has been given to Rudolph. After all, he is the rightful heir to the throne. However, the original book acknowledged that Michael was actually more popular with the population. Indeed, it is clear he always carried out his state duties with energy and dedication. While his idle half brother preoccupied himself with shooting anything with four legs, and consuming the nation's grape production. So, for a change, I openly declare my allegiance to my namesake, Prince Michael the Dark, the man that will truly serve the Crown and People of Ruritania, or die fighting in their defence!
Aware that his half-brother was gaining in popularity and might just threaten Rudolph's control of the treasury, and not forgetting the palace wine cellar, the Crown Prince ordered those regimental commanders he still trusted to meet him at Zenda Railway Station. From there, he would personally lead his army against the Castle of Zenda. and destroy all potential opposition to his rule.
But Good Prince Michael had friends in high places, and forewarned, he called upon those that honoured his late father, the King, to join him at Castle Zenda, where, God Willing, the dignity of the realm might still be saved. By the way, the original book also confirmed that Michael was the more popular son of the late king!
MOVE ONE. The train arrived with Rudolph and his White Guard. Here, he took command of four battalions, and a company of artillery. There was a slight delay in their moving off, however, when Rudolph resolutely occupied the station's cafe.